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Benefits of Headless

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by nate 0 jt, Feb 20, 2002.

  1. What are some of the benefits of having a headless bass? I know that it will help the bass to stay in tune better but what other reasons are there? would it be worth extra money($150) to go headless on a custom job coming up?
    Thanks, nate m
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Better balance

    Maybe less deadspots

    Shorter bass length
  3. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Looks. If you like it...oh...and, you'll probably run less of a risk of hitting the keyboardist with your headstock who stands just off your left:D
  4. I've never played a headless but I would imagine that they would stay in tune better because the tuners are less vulnerable. Just a wild guess. They are supposed to balance really well too.
  5. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    A drunk would have to be playing with your butt to get near the tuning gears vs. merely bumping into your headstock repeatedly.

    It's a fact.

    The main benefit...

    no hats.
  6. tuning is more stable as the double ball end strings can't slip at the tuners like they can do on headed basses.

    on my Hohner B2A,
    advantages; aforementioned better tuning stability, better balance, lower all round weight, smaller more portable instrument, no headstock to get dented against cymbals, or break off if knocked over (which happens a lot....), no deadspots in traditional places on the neck.

    disadvantages; obviously you can't put a Hipshot D tuner on it, as there aren't any machineheads- my version doesn't have the detuning bridge....so unless I can find another bridge I'll have to keep retuning the E string manually for "Killing in the name" and other D tuned songs.
    deadspots in odd places- B and C on the E string, open D string, octave G on the G string- strange...

    psychologically it's strange with no headstock, and you have to watch you don't run off the end of the neck when doing fast position changes.
  7. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    They fit in a guitar gig bag.
  8. rojo412

    rojo412 Walnut is fun! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Most of what was said is right. It's all right on a real Steinberger, but on Hohers and the like, they do have dead spots. And they don't balance that well. But They are very nice to have if you are a spaz or have too many people in the band to fit on stage. A buddy of mine is in a punk band and uses a Hohner with a wireless and he can go crazy with it.

    To answer the question first posed, IMHO it is not too wise to go headless.
    Finding strings is getting harder and harder and more expensive. That is my main concern.
    They will stay in tune better, but so will better tuners. And if you have a problem with drunks, STOP COMING TO MY FAMILY PARTIES!!!
    ... I mean, uh...

  9. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    I wasn't referring to Steinberger or its clones but rather Status and Lefay (for example) with a "regular" body shape.
    Their balance is better than their headstock counterparts.

    Most headless basses can handle regular strings, you won't need to buy double ballend strings.
  10. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    For me the biggest advantage (not including looks) is the balance. When I play a bass with a headstock for a couple hours my shoulder gets tired, but with my Kubicki I can play for hours and hours and my shoulder is fine.
  11. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    From a luthier's standpoint, you might want to contact David King for his opinions. The only convenience that I could see, if you want to call it that, would be that tuning might be easier since the "controls" would be at the bridge. However, if you think that tuning your bass while wearing it is a chore, you might want to find a new hobby! :eek:
    Otherwise, I've only tried to play a headless bass once, and while I didn't spend much time with it, I was extremely uncomfortable and made many mistakes because I was constantly out of position. If you've learned to play on a traditional bass with a headstock, I'm sure that the change wouldn't be that much different than going from 4 to 5 strings (people do it all the time), but it was definately an off experience for me.
  12. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    The whole balance thing...it's not much of an argument when it comes to Status. Status headstocks are quite small, to begin with. I've played headed Status' and found the headstock just doesn't have that much mass to counterbalance the body.
  13. I used to play a headless years ago. I really liked it, although sometimes it felt like I was air-guitaring on a tennis racket. I used to have a problem with my left hand going off the end sometimes, like The Mock Turtle guy said.
  14. natebass


    Sep 6, 2001
    Bremerton, WA
    I love my Kubicki so much that I won't even play another bass. period.
  15. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    My steinberger is Portable, never goes out of tune, and looks pretty sharp.

    I don't agree that it balances better. When you hardly have any body and you change positions rapidly, you can tilt, twist or turn your bass in weird ways. A full bodied bass anchors the bass much better.
  16. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    balance, meaning less neck dive than a bass with the same body, but a headstock.
    easier tuning, when you've learned to turn the right nut (which was the only thing that took me some time to adjust to)
    no dead spots (unless the mluthier is plain clumsy!)
    overall length, allows you to move with confidence in close stage situations
    less vulnerable for tip-over

    peoples comments.

    I change between headless BassLab and Squier P without any problem. And then the P has an enormous headstock, and the BassLab has a longer distance from body to neck end.

    RE. strings, most headless today use a screw fastening device instead of the double ball thing. Opens for using any string of your preference.

    I say go for the headless, and have your luthier cut off that extra, beacause it saves him time and effort - while the hardware can be slightly more expensive, depending on where you buy it. ABM are expensive, but perhaps Dave King will sell some parts at a more conveniant level.
  17. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Well, correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't Steinbergers anchored with a pivoting plate in the back? If you didn't have that pivoting plate, would the balancing act still be an issue?
  18. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    Honestly I am not sure what you are describing. My Steiny does not neck dive. It's just if I change positions, it's easy to move the neck forward or back, since there is not a large body to hold it in place. The weight is one part of the anchor, the size is the other (how much of the bass body can lean against the bassists body).
  19. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    No...I agree with you about body size weighted against a player's body...

    What I'm talking about is that on the Steinbergers I'd seen, those with the little rectangular bodies, are setup with a pivoting plate on the back of the bass. That plate has two strap pins where your strap gets attached. But, the whole mechanism is attached to the back of the bass by a single button of some sort, which allows the bassist to alter the position of the bass quite easily.

    That's what I'm talking about. That mechanism makes a big difference in the bass' neck position.
  20. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    Ah, I see. I do not have that on my model.

    Just standard strap buttons on the back of the body, near the neck, and on the upper edge of the body, near the bridge.