A while back I posted a blog article about the Kahler 2300 Pro series tremolo. I was blessed with the opportunity to design and build a Signature Series guitar for an artist endorsed by Kahler and the design included a 2300 Pro series tremolo with which I have had no prior experience.

In my previous article I explained how impressed I was with the Kahler Pro bridge compared to the Kahler style tremolos that I had experienced back in the 80’s which were very poor quality. The Pro series was a huge improvement and I believe that it is a top quality product.

That blog article made its way to the crew at Kahler and sparked a series of conversations and emails about product quality and their history. I feel it is important to share this information  because there is a chance that you, the reader, are as misinformed as I was previously.

The guitar that I first experienced a “Kahler” on was a Charvel Model 1 that I acquired somewhere between 1986-88. I don’t remember exactly how I got it but I know  I didn’t buy it new so I don’t know for sure if the bridge on it was OEM from the factory or if it had been installed afterward. But I am sure of this; it was a total piece of crap. It wouldn’t stay in tune and it felt sloppy to play. This is what drove me to dismiss the Kahler brand for over 20  years.

Through my conversations with Bob Smith, General Manager at Kahler International, I was informed that this bridge was most likely a fake. As it turns out, the boys at Kahler have been fighting bootleggers for over 20 years.  An authentic Kahler bridge is all hand handmade in America to the exacting specs that Gary Kahler set over 2 decades ago. In fact Gary Kahler still heads the company and has NEVER licensed out his designs to be reproduced or copied. Regardless of whether the product was licensed or not these “Fake Kahlers”  started to appear on OEM manufactured guitars in the mid eighties and they have been a sore spot for Gary Kahler ever since. It’s one thing for a counterfeiter to copy a product and sell in on the aftermarket as authentic but it cuts even worse when this is done by major guitar manufacturers  because they know they can’t secure the license rights.

As a builder over the last decade I have had to deal with my share of “licensed” tremolos. Fender licensed out the patent for the Floyd Rose Tremolo when they acquired it from the defunct Kramer Guitar company in 1990 and now the market is flooded with so many worthless copies that it makes my head spin. I cannot tell you the number of conversations I have had with clients who are willing to spend hundreds of dollars on exotic woods yet they are willing to put a $35.00 “licensed” Floyd Rose copy on a guitar because they don’t want to spend the extra money.

The internet has opened up the client to a slurry of new information on the availability of these cheap knockoffs and I spend a great deal of time talking people out of making such mistakes. In every case these inexpensive “licensed” products wear out almost immediately and they never return to pitch.  Cheap tremolos are made of cheap metal and therefore they wear out faster. When they wear out they don’t return to pitch. This was indeed the problem I experienced back in the 80’s with my “Fake Kahler”. You must understand that the most important thing about a tremolo isn’t being able to dive bomb like Eddie Van Halen, its being able to return to pitch afterward…like Eddie Van Halen.

Remember that a guitar is only worth what you are willing to put into it.

Allow me to explain simple guitar economics- A $3000 guitar with a $35.00 bridge is now worth $35.00. 

With all that being said  lets get back to my interaction with Bob at Kahler. Throughout my conversations and emails it quickly became clear that these guys are passionate about their product and about the satisfaction that their clients have.  I explained to Bob my dissatisfaction back in the eighties and he took the time to make sure that I understood their commitment to quality and explained the fact that they were victimized by illegal patent infringement and seemed apologetic for my
prior bad experience. I am not a high volume builder yet nonetheless Bob took the time to make sure I was satisfied. Not only is Kahler International committed to the highest standards in precision craftsmanship but they are 100% committed to customer satisfaction.

This entire experience has made me like this product and this company even more. If you are reading this blog then you are passionate about guitars and the finest quality and craftsmanship so I  strongly suggest that you consider the Kahler tremolo system as an option for your next custom build.

Kahler offers a full array of bass and guitar bridges including 7 and 8 string bridges which I will incorporate into our product line in 2013.

I look forward to doing more good things with these guys in the future so Pasquale Custom Guitars is proud to offer a Signature Guitar Series dedicated just to the Kahler bridge. Our KT Series guitars will be designed around the Kahler 2300 Pro Locking Tremolo System and offer their top of the line bridge as a standard feature. For all the great features this bridge has to offer to the discerning player see my blog article at http://pasqualecustomguitars.com/pasquales-perspective/13-kahler-2300-pro-tremolo

This is part of our goal of offering the best guitars with only the best hardware in the world. 

For more info on other Kahler products check out www.kahlerusa.com

Contact Pasquale USA Custom

Phone: 312-912-7533

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