Cheapie Headless Basses on eBay

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by twocargar, Jan 14, 2014.


  1. twocargar

    twocargar Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2008
    Location:
    Manchester, NH
    Has anyone here been brave enough to buy one of those sub-$200 Maestro headless basses on eBay? Just curious as to the quality.

    Isn't Maestro a Gibson brand too along with Steinberger?
  2. Exploiter8

    Exploiter8 Supporting Member

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    [​IMG]
    About a half dozen or so years ago I bought a "Starfire" headless bass. Probably the same just a different decal. Yes it is a headless, BUT, it uses regular strings. The tuners are a crude sidewinder type. The knobs extend individually to assist in tuning but I had to keep something similar to a jar opener to help grip and turn. Worse yet, they turned opposite of my '80s LotuStein. The string slots and hole openings needed to be opened up for any normal set of strings to fit. The OEM strings had tiny, rounded ball ends and no silk wrap.

    Getting past all of that, I was able to do a setup and it sounded okay after some massaging with a BDDI. I bought a Gator guitar case that fits it perfectly.

    I'm glad I got it but I wouldn't get another if lost or stolen.

    X8
  3. Maxdusty

    Maxdusty Supporting Member

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    Mar 9, 2012
    Location:
    Michigan USA
    no... it's not the same Maestro as in Gibson Maestro.. it's completely a different company altogether.
    This Maestro also makes Stingray bass copies as well as the headless and several others.
    While I haven't had the opportunity to try one, I do know a few people who have- .....it requires a lot of work -frets need a lot of work, pickups need changing, also the tuners tend to go out of tune a little bit too much.
    For $200, I wouldn't recommend it unless you want to take on a project that will rack up additional cost to get it playable. I would recommend looking for a used Hohner headless bass instead if you're looking at that price range. I got mine for $250.
  4. twocargar

    twocargar Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2008
    Location:
    Manchester, NH
    Thanks for the replies. I am going to see if I can score a Hohner.

    What about the BadAax Basses? Those look a little nicer than the $180 jobbies. ;)
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  6. Maxdusty

    Maxdusty Supporting Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Michigan USA
    Don't know anything about the BadAax headless basses... bridge does looks better. Bass is passive - looks to be similar to the Lotus or Cort headless basses but with two humbucker pickups- actually looks pretty good. I've had a Cort Headless bass with the p/j pickups- pretty decent.
    However, for that price, you're close to a Hohner.
    Here's a listing to keep an eye on... 2 days left on the bids:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Hohner-Head...B-/370983439070?pt=Guitar&hash=item5660560ade

    Hohner headless basses are available in both passive and active versions. My active has a switch (yay) to switch between passive or active. Sound of the hohner is excellent, very full sounding bass- very happy with it.
    If you do get a headless bass and it uses the special double ball strings, you can always pick up a string adapter for $40 so you can use regular bass strings on it.

    Attached Files:

  7. Sid Fang

    Sid Fang Reformed Fusion Player Supporting Member

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    Jun 12, 2008
    If what you want is a functional, relatively cheap headless, Gibson/Steinberg/Spirit basses can be had for around $400. They're by no stretch of the imagination as good as the original Steinberg L/XLs, nor as good as the Gibson/Steinberger/Synapse models at around $1000, but might be worth considering as an alternative to paying $250 for a body with junk hardware and another $150 on pickups, tuners, etc.
    maestrovert likes this.
  8. MethodsofDance

    MethodsofDance

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  9. twocargar

    twocargar Supporting Member

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    Sweet bass on eBay UK. I saw that red one on the US site as well. Thanks! I'll definitely keep my eyes peeled for a Spirit. Those look nice! I'd really love to test-drive one. Of course my local guitar shops are fresh out.

    I'm such an impatient bastard, so my money is burning a hole in my pocket!! :)~
  10. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab ACME,QSC,Fame/Hondo/Greco user & BOSE Abuser Gold Supporting Member

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    Location:
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    Had 80's Steinbergers in the past(sold due to EXTREME financial need) and now have two Spirits(boat oar and the one with a body). Both were got used as Sid suggested with one from eBay and one from Elderly Instruments. I also have a Maestro and a K-Tone(clear acrylic) here.

    The red Maestro was bought to use as a parts donor for a headless T-Bird project(Epiphone T-Bird body + Maestro stuff + white paint + Greco chrome T-Bird pickups + fretonthenet pickup rings). It came functional but would require a good bit of time and possibly $$ to make not nearly as good as the used Steinbergers.

    FWIW: the Texas seller(no relation) is OK to deal with, I've been to his location to save $$$ on a multiple-item purchase. It looks like he gets containers directly from "over there" FULL of instruments. ALL of the normal basses from him are good for the money with a little setup time(about Rondo/SX quality IMO).
  11. Maxdusty

    Maxdusty Supporting Member

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  12. twocargar

    twocargar Supporting Member

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  13. Maxdusty

    Maxdusty Supporting Member

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    GC gets them fairly frequently, Hohner and Steinbergers. They also get bought pretty quickly too, so if and when you see one, I recommend calling up asap. When I bought my Hohner over the phone, there was a customer in the store that was waiting to see if I would purchase it and ready to pounce on it.
  14. twocargar

    twocargar Supporting Member

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    Man, a brand new Spirit XT-2 on Amazon for $399. We have Amazon Prime so free shipping too! Hmmmmmm
  15. Maxdusty

    Maxdusty Supporting Member

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    You'll also need to sign up for the Amazon credit card and get an additional discount... then drop it later. I don't know if they still have that promo...
  16. Sid Fang

    Sid Fang Reformed Fusion Player Supporting Member

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    Jun 12, 2008
    Hey, when I said "about $400", I was talkin' NEW. ;o)
  17. twocargar

    twocargar Supporting Member

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    Okay, I took the plunge, so to speak, on one of the cheapie Starfire headless basses on eBay. Since I need some stuff for the band, I didn't want to spend my whole wad on a $400 bass that I have no idear if I'm going to like or not. I like to tinker, so maybe I can whip it into shape. I have some EMGs I can throw in there if they fit, so that's a start if the pickups are terrible.

    Looking forward to it.
  18. Exploiter8

    Exploiter8 Supporting Member

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    Any update to your Starfire?

    X8
  19. twocargar

    twocargar Supporting Member

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    Location:
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    Yes! I got it a few weeks ago and think the adage "You get what you pay for" applies here. It has it's good qualities and bad, like most budget instruments.

    I agree with keeping a jar opener handy for tuning, but I was able to string it up with EB Super Slinkies, and it sounds decent. I don't know if I'm going to try to out my EMGs in it, as I would have to make some custom pickup rings for it since the pickup holes are longer than regular humbuckers. I had to glue the output jack because it kept coming out when I tried to pull out the signal cable.

    The fit and finish is what makes it worth the amount I paid for it, but overall I'm still glad I didn't drop up to $400 on a Spirit or similar bass. Of course, a couple days after I had it, there ended up being not one but TWO Steiny bass copies on my local CL.

    I would recommend one of these if you haven't tried a headless bass before and didn't want to break the bank. If I end up gigging again in the future, I'll see how it holds up and if I need to upgrade to a nicer headless bass. It's definitely different playing it, and nice not having a heavy bass strapped on--it's so light and short!

    Thanks for the feedback everyone!
  20. Texsunburst59

    Texsunburst59

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    Location:
    Texas Gulf Coast
    Congrats on you new headless. I guess it can get you through practices. I'd always wanted a headless bass, but never wanted to pony up good money for the better ones. I finally found an affordable one about 3 yrs. ago in a pawnshop. I picked up a Hohner B2b passive bass which isn't bad for $58 out door .;)

    [​IMG]
    maestrovert likes this.
  21. DreadyDiggs

    DreadyDiggs

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    Apr 15, 2008
    Location:
    Charlottesville, Virginia
    I bought a Spirit off of Ebay years ago. I can't even remember what I paid for it but I was in college so it couldn't have been a lot, under $300. Tone knob didn't work. Here's a pic of me with it in my college dorm. Haven't been in college since 2009 so this had to be 08 or 07 when it was taken.

    [​IMG]

    I was stupid and sold it to a guy that said he couldn't even play he was just always fascinated by them and just wanted to own one.

    I couldn't play it for long, I was an imitator back then so I was trying to play it high and flat and the extra long neck tired out my left arm/shoulder very quickly. I could never get comfortable with it. Of course in that picture I'm holding it angled but I would never keep it like that for long and that strap sucked for it too. I will be buying another at some point to make up for those mistakes.

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