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Steinberger Anyone?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Greg Johnsen, Sep 29, 2005.

  1. Greg Johnsen

    Greg Johnsen

    May 1, 2005
    Hickory NC
    I'm having a very bad case of GAS over Steinbergers! I used to think they were te ugliest things, and now, they're so awesome.

    I just want to know the pro's and cons of steinberger's, and which models are good, and which ones aren't.

    I'm looking for around 700 give or take some bills. Like up to 800 and below.

    Thanks, I'm sure I'll get both sides of hate and like, but I'll find some good info in there.

  2. Well, its a litte over your price range. But these are good "basses."

  3. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
  4. Frugle


    Sep 4, 2005
    Atlanta GA
    In my humble opinion...

    They are the stupidest guitars ever made... the ONLY good comment that i've heard about them is that they stay in tune for months........

    isn't that what tuning pegs are for? takes me like 30 seconds to make sure i'm in tune.......

    and keep in mind... you want the respect of your peers... not to be laughed off the stage :hyper:
  5. AHbassist


    Sep 22, 2005
    Kennesaw, GA
    I think they'er tight lookin basses
  6. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    I love my Steinie.

    It has incredible tone, and it's by far the most rock-solid bass I've ever laid hands on. It has no truss rod, since it's an original neck-through carbon fiber bass. It weighs a heck of a lot more than it seems like it should, 'cause it's so solid -- about 9 lbs.

    The weight and solidity give it the terrific tone and sustain. The Active EMG's are totally quiet -- a recodring engineer's dream, and the fretwork is impeccable. Changing strings is a snap, which makes it incredibly easy to soak your strings to freshen them up, if you're into doing that.

    There's a lot more to Steinbergers than the tuning system and stability. It gets a lot of grief for the appearance -- expect a lot of '80s jokes, but if you're like me, and care only about playability and tone, and don't care what people think of appearance (and most non-bass players like it, in my experience), then it's a great option.

    However, it won't sound like a Fender Jazz, etc. -- it's a modern sounding instrument.

    The biggest caution I would say is to try to find a used XL-2 or L-2 on ebay -- I've found that while the other models may look similar, there's a HUGE difference between the bolt-on (wood neck or body) models and the neck-through carbon-fiber models in terms of tone and stability/solidity. The neck-through models are in a different league in those respects, and they stopped making the 100% carbon fiber models a number of years ago. To be honest, I probably wouldn't buy any other model of Steinberger -- to me, the greatest aspect of the Steinberger is the 100% carbon fiber construction -- it does wonders for the tone and makes it the most solid bass around. I have never needed a single setup or adjustment on my XL-2 in the 16 years I've owned it. But more importantly, it delivers in terms of tone. Unless you're really into the looks of the Steinberger, I don't really see the point of getting one with a wood body or neck, except for it being so light in terms of weight. From what I've seen, the XL-2s and L-2s go for around $1K on ebay. I'm not selling mine though. :D

    I'd love to get a "wide 5" XL-2. :hyper:
  7. Greg Johnsen

    Greg Johnsen

    May 1, 2005
    Hickory NC
    thanks guys, I'm glad you could help.

    I'm one of those people that doesn't care how expensive the instrument is, but if I need and want it, I'll get it. My instructor however is a little different. He suggest I get an EB SUB, but those are only ok, I'd much prefer a used sterling, or a used steinberger because I love the tone (I saw the WMP video on musicians friends). I also love carbon fiber. To me is looks awesome, and sounds cool.

    I've noticed that some new Steinbergers are alot cheaper, because of the wood neck, but you can buy upgrade necks that are carbon fiber. I don't know if this is a good idea to get these, but it may be what I have to do...

  8. dhadleyray

    dhadleyray Guest

    Dec 7, 2004
    Frugle, Worry about your peers? Oh, I just read your profile. You're a youngster. :rolleyes:
  9. Greg Johnsen

    Greg Johnsen

    May 1, 2005
    Hickory NC
    as am I, I'm 15 but I can't beleive I started bass a year ago, I should have started 5 years ago... I love this instrument.

    Do steinberger's ever go on sale here at TB? I know we bassists give good rpices to other bassists, and I'd love to buy one from someone here, or else I'm stuck with ebay.

  10. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    That's a Bradley Steinberger copy. I think it's closer to mid-80's than late 1970's, though. I don't even remember seeing a real Berger until 1980. I bought one last year for $75 on Ebay, sans "custom" taped-on finish. For $75, it was great, though I had to replace the extremely noisy pickups. I bought it for a travel bass, and then I bought this beauty 98 Jazz and couldn't stand to bring the Bradley anymore, but ever since the airlines started giving me crap about putting my bass in the carryon bins, I'm going to start bringing the Bradley again. It's not bad. Sounds like a cheap Steinberger copy, but I've heard worse.
  11. Frugle


    Sep 4, 2005
    Atlanta GA
    exactly, I'm new to the market... I have to look normal and fit in.. the people I normally work with are extreme ventage jazz tone guys (and frankly I am too... I'm not into the new tone type bass...) if I came in with that they would try to break it...even though they couldn't with the carbon fiber.
  12. xshawnxearthx


    Aug 23, 2004
    new jersey
    i'd like to get one, but elixir doesnt make ball end strings.
  13. adouglas


    Jun 23, 2003
    Bridgeport, CT
    I got hooked on Steinbergers when I went to see the Dixie Dregs in 1982.

    It's very important to understand the differences between the various Steinbergers...appearances can be really deceiving, and there are some that are really not worth considering.

    The original L2 came out, IIRC, in 1980. It evolved into the XL2, which had some enhancements, such as a flip-out leg rest instead of a removeable one, a slightly better bridge, body screws on the back instead of the front, etc.

    These original basses were all carbon fiber, with no trussrod. They have a zero fret. They also have a distinctive "boomerang" strap attachment that is fixed to the bass with one great big brass bolt right at the center of gravity...the wooden ones have two conventional strap buttons, and are very poorly balanced.

    Somewhere along the line Steinberger came out with basses that had wood bodies, including a mini-V shaped one. These basses still had a solid carbon neck. They are not worth as much as the all-carbon, bodyless basses.

    Steinberger also licensed the design and hardware to a few Asian companies, such as Hohner, who made officially-licensed wooden Steinberger copies that were conventional except for the shape...with trussrods, etc. I had one of these, a fretless Hohner B2A. It sounded like ass...nothing like the real deal at all.

    Ned Steinberger sold the company to Gibson in the late 80s or maybe 1990, and Gibson in their infinite wisdom promptly forgot that they even had them. I had an early post-Gibson XL2 and it was fine, but there are some reports of shoddy workmanship. Typical corporate nonsense. Gibson did the same thing to Tobias: took a premium brand and cheapened it so much it became a joke.

    Somewhere in there they introduced the Steinberger Spirit series, which were $400 Korean wooden copies of the original, and pieces of chit compared to the real deal.

    I don't know anything about the current ones that Gibson just introduced, but I do know that they're wood.

    My recommendation: If you get one, make sure it's an original, all-graphite L2 or XL2. Don't bother with any of the others.

    The sound is very modern, which you either love or your hate, and not only does it never go out of tune, it also NEVER needs a trussrod adjustment. Perfect action, every time, no matter what the weather. Bliss.

    I sold my Steinberger because I went to a 5 string.

    Hope this helps.
  14. AGCurry


    Jun 29, 2005
    Kansas City
    1. Compact and easy to take on an airplane.
    2. Modern solid tone.
    3. No truss rod, stable setup.

    1. They look weird.
    2. Harder to find strings for.
    3. Modern solid tone.

    I saw an internationally-known band a couple of weeks ago, in which there was a Steinberger. I had real trouble distinguishing the notes he was playing. Had no trouble at all distinguishing notes from upright bass and Fender bass on the same stage. Maybe it was just the bass player, not the bass...
  15. craigb

    craigb G&L churnmeister Supporting Member

    I haven't had the pleasure of trying any US Steinbergers (yet) but have had a bunch of the imported MusicYo Spirits (still have 2). The imports aren't bad, particularly for the price. I find them quite usable and love the form factor, portability and engineering that's present even without the composite construction.

    MusicYo does sell, at times, new US Steinbergers (currently out of stock). They have wood bodies, bolt-on composite necks and US EMG electronics.

    Steinberger is now producing the hybrid Synapse line (in Korea) that is distributed through Musician's Friend (and possibly other places). The construction is wood with a composite U-channel. A single EMG pickup with a piezo bridge. Ned Steinberger was involved in the design. I think of it as something like the Modulus Genesis series - trying to combine the good points of both wood and graphite. I haven't played one so I don't know how well it works.

    Steinberger World is a good enthusiast site to jump off from for more info. The Yahoo discussion group associated with it is great for Steinberger info.

    Double-ball strings are readily available as long as you are willing to go mail-order. Juststrings has been my source so far and Status Graphite is another place I will place an order at some point in time.

    Personally when I consider whether to look for a used US Steinberger (I'd be targetting the XM line) I worry about parts availability for the bridges. They do break jaws and parts are not particularly easy to come by. Watch the Steinberger discussion group to see how that goes.

    There are other sources of headless, composite and composite-necked basses. If you aren't totally set on the XL style Steinbergers you can look at Status Graphite (all-composite, neck-through composite with wood body wings, bolt-on composite necked), Basslabs, Zon (the Vinny model) and probably some others. If bolt-on works for you then Wilkat has made some very cool basses using Moses headless necks. There are other cool headlesses that aren't composite (David King, Basslines Worp, Manne, Marchlewski, etc.). Many luthiers have done some number of headlesses.
  16. markorbit


    Apr 16, 2004
    I have owned a Brooklyn made L2 about 15 years ago and just recently had the GAS again for another one but this time I got the XL2a.

    Around 1983?? they changed the pickups slightly and it is said that the orig L2 pickups sound better. I know my first Steinberger sounds better than the one I have now. EMG can make similar pickups to the originals made to order (HBCS) and I'm currently having mine fitted with these at the moment.

    The main worry that I see with the basses is the tuning claws - these can wear out and parts are very hard to come by.

    I also find that due to the lack of somewhere to rest the forearm, they can be awkward to play. A Fender does seem much more natural to me. Give me a GOOD Precision anyday.

    The sound is very defined and crisp, mine has LOADS of crispy top which the replacement pickups should reduce and warm up. The basses are also quite 'compressed' and even/clear.

    The XL2s look better and neater than the L2s due to the screws on the back rather than the front.

    Gotta admit though, they are a fantastic design, still futuristic 25 years on and extremely portable and robust. The neck should never warp and if you can set it up to your liking once, you have it. But you will notice a big difference as you move back to a wooden bass.
  17. RG


    May 11, 2000
    central Illinois
    I have a Synapse and I love it. I bought mine from Musicians Friend thinking that if I didnt like it I would just send it back.Especially since I had never bought a scratch and dent item. ( BYW it was in perfect condition) They've made some useful improvements like a wider body, combo head piece (for using regular strings) ,strap hook for balance and piezo pick up. There are some reviews of different models on Harmony Central .com . Since the Synapse is a wood using a composite channel , it has a sound of its own.
    I hope this helps.
  18. Greg Johnsen

    Greg Johnsen

    May 1, 2005
    Hickory NC
    thanks guys, I'm getting alot of information from this, and it's really helping.

    Too bad my GAS is getting bigger for these things.

  19. dhadleyray

    dhadleyray Guest

    Dec 7, 2004
    I would kill for a six string all graphite steinberger. Since I don't play four strings anymore, except for double bass. The portability would give any bassist a stiffy! :smug: Jeez, peers, those were the days. :cool:
  20. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    It's nice having a bass that fits in the overhead bin. Makes plane travel a worry-free experience, that's for sure.