I was thrilled by
the look and the
layout of [Steve
Klein’s acoustics] …
I decided to build a
“cover” version of
Other than a balalaika that he constructed out of an old desk when he
was 13 years old, this Steve Klein-inspired acoustic from 1985 was the
first instrument Teuffel ever built. “I made 10 acoustic guitars while I
worked as a trainee at Daimler-Benz. This is my personal guitar, so it has
a wide neck for fingerpicking. It has survived some campfires and has
many dings from that era.”
How would you say your apprenticeship at Mercedes-Benz
affected your design philosophies as a luthier?
My design approach has actually been guided more by my design
teacher at the university, Hartmut Esslinger, who is the designer
of the Apple Macintosh. The apprenticeship at the car company
affected my execution work and handcrafting skills—I learned
to work with metal as if it was wood. Before that, I used to work
with wood only.
You were later inspired by Steve Klein’s designs. What drew you
I discovered his guitars in Donald Brosnac’s book The Steel String
Guitar: Its Construction, Origin, and Design. I was thrilled by the
look and the layout of his instruments. In Germany, none of his
guitars were available, so I decided to build my first guitar after
Was that first guitar your acoustic?
Yes. In the German issue of Brosnac’s book, there were photos of
three of Steve Klein’s guitars. When I saw the picture, I decided to
build a “cover” version of those guitars.
Who were your musical heroes when you first got into guitar?
And did they affect the path you took as a luthier?
When I started to build electrics in the late ’80s, I was captivated
by the Mark Knopfler tone—that bridge-and-middle-pickup
sound—and I developed a way to achieve this tone with two hum-
buckers and a single-coil, too. At the end, though, I realized you
need a Strat with three single-coils to get that tone 100 percent.
From Townes Van Zandt and Mark Ribot, I learned about the
pure tone of a simple instrument. Finally, Johnny Marr from the
Smiths inspired me to build a 12-string electric. Eddie Van Halen
gave me an impression of how a Strat with a humbucker can