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Headless basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by blake11, Mar 17, 2014.

  1. blake11


    Apr 1, 2013
    San Diego
    What do you think about headless basses/bridges? I've never really had the chance to sit down with one for long but I think they look bad ass. Are there trade-offs with balance and ease of use?
  2. smcd


    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    Depends on the quality of the bass. I've owned Kubickis and Steinbergers that were incredible. But I've played Kramers and Hohners that were awful.
  3. Were those Kramers and Hohners bad by design or due to bad craftmanship/materials?
  4. Johnny Crab

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

    Feb 11, 2004
    South Texas
    The original, non-wood Steinbergers are amazing but it saddens me that they made none in the shape of a Thunderbird bass.
  5. alembicbones


    Nov 10, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    I recently bought one of the NS Design Radius basses. I think it is one of the most functional designs that Ned Steinberger has come up with. I will be gigging it tomorrow night. If you get to try one, give it a run and see what you think.

  6. ronin614


    May 15, 2008
    I've owned multiple Hohner headless basses.
    Three Jack Basses (full body headless) - all time favorite bass and I'm currently looking for another one.
    Two B2AVs. Good build quality but not thrilled with the finish durability on the nitro one that I currently own.
    Waiting for my newly purchased B2A to arrive, hopefully tomorrow.

    The craftsmanship and build quality was great on all of them. VERY durable instruments, and with the exception of the nitro, the finish is like armor.

    Now to answer your question... The bodyless style will sit further to the left because of the placement of the strap button at the base of the neck due to the lack of an upper horn.
    There are two easy fixes for this but you need to be willing to do one of two very slight modifications.
  7. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    I'd be interested to see your review post gig. To be honest, I'm somewhat turned off by the somewhat-limited bridge adjustment.

  8. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon. Supporting Member

    +1 but they look great and the reviews I have read have been almost all positive. Not sure if the bridge would be a huge issue but I would like to hear a few opinions from owners that live in an area where there are big temp/humidity fluctuations.

    I am very interested in a fretless 5er in any case.
  9. alembicbones


    Nov 10, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    This will actually be my second gig with this bass. First time out it sounded great. I guess if there is a flaw with the bass it is that you can't individually intonate each string. However, this is not an issue with my particular bass (and maybe really isn't an issue with all of the radius basses). Being able to blend the magnetic and piezo pickups is a cool feature. Lot's of character with this bass. Mine is the fretted version but I bet the fretless is really expressive.

  10. My experience with 2 Hohner headless basses has been very good. I'd compare quality to about a MIM range bass, which I also have.

    Had a 5 string version, but got away from 5's in general.

    Have a P/J style 4 string now. I mod'd it with a Steinberger strap extension bar (Steinberger's newer ones come with it, goes where the upper horn on a regular body style bass would be) which makes it sit perfectly in terms of balance, and improved the playing position of the bass so you're not reaching waaaayyyy out there for 1st position--it's normal now. The lower end EMG P/J pickups in it sound decent, or it'd be easy to mod with whatever favorite electronics.

    I've enjoyed this bass. That said, I have one too many basses and I don't need this form factor at this point, so I am about to part with it and some hard and soft cases. I didn't pay nearly as much as I see on eBay for these (maybe $500 is decent for new), and these have been around a while, so keep an eye out for good deals, they are out there on used ones.
  11. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Pacifica CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    how about a Kubicki "Factorbird"?

  12. jgroh

    jgroh Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    Have to say that I love my Steinberger XL2. I really like headless basses and now having one I think moving the tuners and weight to the body was genius.
  13. prokopenkor


    Jan 7, 2014
    I have a Steinberger V1 bass. 16.5, fast neck. One of the best I ever had.Intonation is perfect.
  14. rstellar13

    rstellar13 Sarcastic Panda

    Sep 2, 2012
    Allentown, PA
    I have a custom headless bass everything about it balances great and tuning is so exact, one downfall is restringing it can become a hassle ImageUploadedByTalkBass1395112527.173079.
  15. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    If you have the scratch, Carey Nordstrand is building the most beautiful headless basses I've ever seen. The dark one I first played with barbecued or smoked wood was one of the most amazing basses I've played in some time. Go on the Nordstrand site and take a look.
  16. Be_eM


    Jul 27, 2013
    Bavaria, Germany

    So far there are a lot of assumptions that there must be an intonation issue by people who just saw pics of that bass, but none of the owners here has actually reported an issue. I've even asked Ned regarding alternate tunings, and his response was:

    In real life I don't see alternate tunings on basses that much, but it seems to become a major issue when somebody assumes "won't work".
  17. smcd


    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    The Hohners I've played were the Steinberger XL2 copies. Thinking back, I suppose they weren't "awful". They were made of wood, as opposed to the all-graphite Steinbergers. And they sounded ok. But being a near exact replica of a Steinberger, you couldn't help but draw a direct comparison to the XL2, and there the Hohner fell far short.

    The Kramers I tried were the Duke model, and those were awful. Cheap, ugly and all around crappy sounding and playing basses. They were what I would have thought were Soviet-era copies of Steinbergers.
  18. Forgot about Kubicki. Briefly had an Ex Factor. Cool, but not what I'd want as a main bass. Bought and sold it maybe 10-11 years ago for a fraction of what they go for today.
  19. zontar


    Feb 19, 2014
    They''re not really my thing, but if you get a good one--and you like it--go for it.
    No rule saying we all have to like the same thing.
  20. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    I have a Hohner B2ADB- the active with the built in drop tuner. I love this bass, while it's not my "go-to" bass, I enjoy playing it nonetheless.

    Pro: light and compact. Nice sound and feel. Can be used as a cricket bat in a pinch.
    Con: Limited selection in terms of strings (at least for the Hohners - some headless basses use regular strings anyway) - can be easily remedied by a $40 string adapter so you can use regular bass strings.