Interested? Ordering a guitar is easier than you may think. Let's start with a phone call. We'll discuss your playing style and purposes. I'll ask some questions about guitars you have played or heard, liked or disliked, and why. We'll talk about how I can build a guitar that suits your preferences, and some of the choices that will go into it. Don't worry if you aren't sure about everything you may want. We will work all that out together before I start building for you.
When you are ready to go forward with your guitar, I'll require a $500 non-refundable deposit, and write up a contract. This guarantees your place on my build schedule and also exempts you from any later price increases.
The current waiting time before I begin a guitar is about 9 months. You can use this time to work out the details of your new guitar with me. I am available to advise you and discuss your choices. You may involve yourself in the design, or leave many of the aesthetic decisions to me. Anything about your guitar can be changed up to the time I start building. When I am ready to start work on your guitar, the deposit increases to 50% of the final price.
Now the fun begins. I will set up an internet page where I'll post photos of all the steps in the construction of your guitar. If there is any part that you want to see more of, just let me know.
The building process takes about 6-7 weeks, followed by a 5 week finishing process and then 2 weeks of final assembly and adjustment. I work alone, and unexpected things can happen that throw off my work schedule, so I like to estimate about 4 months from the start of construction to completion. It often takes less. In rare cases, it may take more. I am proud of my record over many years for delivering guitars right on schedule.
When your guitar is completed, I ask for the remaining 50% balance plus shipping costs before I send it to you.
Your satisfaction is guaranteed. You have three days after receiving the guitar in which to return it for a refund. In this unlikely event (it never has happened), you will pay the return shipping costs. When I receive the guitar in the condition in which I shipped it, I will refund your full purchase price, less shipping costs and the $500 non-refundable deposit. If there is wear or damage, I will deduct what I estimate to be the value of repairing and restoring the instrument to its new condition.
If there are unusual or personalized aspects of your order that may make the guaranty of satisfaction impractical, I will discuss this with you when you place your order, and any changes to the return policy will be spelled out in our contract.
All guitars have a lifetime warranty to the original owner against defects in materials and workmanship.
I do not have models in the sense that guitar factories use the word. Every guitar I make is unique and will get a custom price quote. I have grouped many options into the styles below in order to simplify the decision process. But every order can be fully customized.
Guitar sizes are designated according to the width of the lower bout:
Size 0 (13-1/2")
Size 00 (14-1/4")
Size 000/OM (15")
Size 0000 (16")
Dreadnought: square shoulder (15-5/8"), or slope shoulder (16")
With the exception of the dreadnoughts, which follow the traditional Martin and Gibson shapes, all are my own patterns. All are available with either 12 or 14 frets to the body, solid or slotted headstock, and with an optional cutaway. My "recurve" body shape is available only with 12 frets to the body.
STYLES AND PRICES
Prices have increased to better reflect the quality of my instruments and the hours I spend building them. However, more features are now included as standard, many of which are usually found elsewhere as extra cost options.
Standard features include:
--Top of European alpine or Adirondack red spruce. Port Orford, incense, and western red cedar are no charge options.
--Back and sides: Woods available with no upcharge include East Indian rosewood, Honduras mahogany, wenge, curly claro walnut, and (on size OM or smaller) the famous "Church Bell" cocobolo. All these are quartersawn first-quality sets. Many other woods are available from my huge wood library without upcharge. Inquire.
--Multipiece neck construction with 5-7 layer contrasting laminates, adjustable truss rod, and carbon fiber reinforcing rods.
--Figured or exotic hardwood bindings including curly koa and Madagascar rosewood
--Fretboard of ebony or various rosewoods (e.g., Madagascar, Amazon, cocobolo or others) with binding, pearl position markers, and pearl side markers.
--Bridge of ebony or various rosewoods.
--Side soundport with binding.
--Carbon fiber neck block support struts, a/k/a "flying buttresses."
--Headstock veneered front and back with rosewoods or other exotic hardwoods.
--Burl or exotic hardwood rosette and endgraft. I have a large selection of unique, highly figured burlwoods.
--Bone nut and saddle.
--Gotoh 510 tuners.
--Nitrocellulose lacquer finish entirely by my hand (many luthiers send their guitars to outside shops for finishing).
--Deluxe hard shell case.
Price for Style A: $8500.
Style B adds:
--My original, handmade marquetry purflings.
--Bound headstock with multiple purfling lines.
--Headstock backstrapped with multiple veneer layers, or with a Martin style rear dart.
--Side purflings on all bound edges.
--Fretboard with pearl diamond position markers and custom side markers.
--Hand turned (by my hand) and inlayed bridge pins and strap buttons.
--Elevated and cantilevered fretboard extension with partial 20th fret.
--Camel bone saddle.
Price for Style B: $9750.
People have asked me if I can build a "player's" guitar that is all about tone and functionality with simplified trim. This is it. But it's hardly a bare bones guitar. Included are bone nut and saddle, multiline purfling, mother-of-pearl fretboard markers and woods such as western red cedar, European and Adirondack spruce, sapele, walnut, rosewood and even koa. Gotoh 510 tuners, nitrocellulose lacquer finish, and a hard shell case are included. I've cut my profit margin on these in order to put Klepper guitars in the hands of players who might otherwise be unable to afford them, but I have made no compromises to construction quality, sound, or playability. As with all Klepper guitars, they are completely built by my hands and tuned by me for optimal performance. In order to keep the price to a minimum, I do not take custom orders for these guitars. I build them "on spec" and offer them on the "For Sale" page of this website. Most will be 14-fret guitars in the 00 and OM sizes. The price may vary with the instrument; it typically will be from $4000-5000. My usual lifetime warranty against any defects applies, as does the three day trial period. Your only risk if you are for any reason not satisfied is the cost of round-trip shipping.
Archtop, Classical, and Electric
I have designed and built very successful guitars in all these styles and welcome custom orders for them. Please ask for more information.
I offer a much wider range of construction and wood options than I can list below. Please inquire, as there is virtually no limit to the possibilities for a custom design. Neck width and shape, nut and bridge spacing, and scale length can be chosen to suit the player without any extra charge. Among the other common options are:
Construction and Trim
--Cutaway in Venetian or Florentine style $450-600
--Armrest bevel $600-800
--double recurve body shape $750
--Multiscale fretboard $750
--Slotted headstock (including Waverly tuners) $400
--Abalone pearl top border $450
--Sunburst top finish $300
--bound headstock with multiple purfling lines $250
Among contemporary luthiers I have one of the largest libraries of exotic and figured tonewoods, and access to virtually any legally available wood due to my many years in the business and extensive supplier network. Highly figured snakewood is available for fretboards, bridges, and bindings, as are Brazilian rosewood, African blackwood, and other rosewoods. Among the woods I offer for backs and sides are African blackwood, Madagascar rosewood, Honduran rosewood, curly koa, ziricote, Ceylon satinwood and many others. In most cases the wood sets I have selected and put aside over the years are of considerably better quality than those currently on the market. Each tonewood set is unique and will be individually priced; I will send photos of sets for you to choose among.
I have reserves of two outstanding tonewoods that are now restricted in availability due to international treaties: Brazilian rosewood and pernambuco, which I discuss below.
Brazilian rosewood (Dalbergia nigra) has long been considered the premier wood for guitar backs and sides. All Brazilian rosewood comes from the Brazilian Atlantic forest (not the Amazon, as is commonly believed). My sets are either pre-treaty old stock, reharvested from stumps, or sawn from salvaged 100+ year old beams. Most of my sets are quartersawn and of a quality that is now rarely available. I will furnish photos of available sets on request. Upcharges range from $2500 to $5000.
Pernambuco (Caesalpinia echinata) also grows only in the Brazilian Atlantic forest. Known in Brazil as the "Music Tree," it has for the past 250 years been the only wood from which professional quality bows for instruments in the violin family are made. Guitar sets of pernambuco have rarely been available, yet the few guitars made with it have gained a special reputation for their vibrancy and clarity of tone. I was fortunate to acquire a good supply of pernambuco before the current treaty restrictions went into place. Recently a similar-looking wood in the same genus (Caesalpinia platyloba) from southern Mexico has been called pernambuco. Caesalpinia platyloba is known in the lumber trade as chackte-viga or paela. This wood can make a fine guitar, and I also have it available. But Caesalpinia echinata from Brazil is the only wood properly known as 'pernambuco,' and it is the only wood I call by that name. My upcharges for pernambuco range from $1500 to $3000. Photos of available sets are available on request.