Steinberger headless basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Cambass, Mar 29, 2001.

  1. I was just wondering if anyone here has played a Steinberger headless bass, the ones with small body (looks like a cricket bat :) )? If so, what are they like? How different does it feel to play a bass with such a small body and are they still available? (also what at price?).

  2. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
  3. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I've played a few over the years since they first came out in the early 1980's. They're difficult for some people, myself included, to get used to, perhaps due to the small body. Because the body is so small, it forces the neck to be longer to accommodate the 34" scale.

    Some people like their sound, but I've had less favorable experiences regarding tone. They're certainly interesting looking, and may suit you well.
  4. JohnL


    Sep 20, 2000
    Grayson, GA
    Had one, great '80's look for the hair-band days. Sound? had a great '80's look! The Stienberger originals were a composite body (graphite?) and cost a lot. The ones made of wood, I don't know about their sound. I think they just have a Stienberger-licensed bridge, but that's all. I once went into a studio with it with our band at that time, and about 30 minutes into the session, Mr. Engineer asked me if I could play the house bass instead, an old Jazz bass. Been playing them ever since!
  5. alembicbones


    Nov 10, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    Personally, I think the Steinberger XL bass is a very versatile instrument. They can be as bright and punchy as you want them and get warm and mellow with the right eq.

    I've had no interest in the Spirit model sold on MusicYo but you can find an XL on eBay for between 700 - 1500 based on condition and chemistry of the auction. That's where I found mine and I've been extremely happy with it.

    Check out for links and a great yahoo club about these instruments.
  6. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    I have a pair of the Spirits and love them to pieces. One is in the process of being upgraded to EMG-HBs and a EMG-BTC, after which I can A-B them and figure out just how bad the stock EMG Selects are. I'm thinking quality passives in the other.

    Seriously, they sustain for days, and are as cheap ($230) as a decent night out with the wife! Try one, you can always sell it on eBay if you don't like it. I actually like the Spirit more than the original, but that could just be my wallet talking.
  7. SlapDaddy


    Mar 28, 2000
    The most difficulty I experienced with this bass is the illusion that you are 'at' the correct fret by just glancing at the approximate position you are 'used to' being at. (clear as mud) Anyway, there is an adjustment to be made as to distance of the nut or first fret.
  8. gozan


    Sep 17, 2000
    I have owned a Steinberger XL Graphite since 1986. Paid $2,300 . It is small but a lot of weight density . Very smooth Bass to play . NEVER GOES OUT OF TUNE FOR DAYS EVEN WEEKS. It takes getting use to the fret board , as the first fret is about 3 more frets furthur than a P bass. No dead spots anywhere, all 24 frets are perfect . I will never sell it .
  9. I got a 5-string Spirit that I picked up online from Musicyo. It plays pretty well, but I'm thinking of upgrading to active pickups. The wooden Spirits are the only ones in production right now, but they keep telling me in emails that they are going to start producing the graphites again. I was turned on last summer to a guy that has a website that deals in a lot of used Steinberger's(I can't remember the site right now). This guy had worked for Steinberger originally and had a lot of information on them posted. He said in his opinion the wooden Spirit's had better tone, but that the graphites caught on because they were so different when they were first produced.
  10. Bass 385, I think you're referring to Ed Roman;

    he makes composite replacement necks too.
    I understand that Bunnybass aren't fans of his.......
  11. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    ...nor are the fine folks at the "Steinberber World" club/forum at Yahoo.

    Refitting a Spirit 5 with EMGs is reputed to be quite a challange, due to unusual pickup size. Let us know what you find out!
  12. Someone asked about Steinberger basses? The one you mentioned was the XL or XT model. I actually own a Steinberger Spirit Series XT 4 string lefty. Its a pretty good sounding bass. Has a kind of low end metal sound to it - very unique I think. It is a little weird getting used to playing a bass with no head, but it definitely catches people's eyes. The Spirit Series(XT) is the exact same thing as the original Steinberger XL except the XT has a maple neck instead of a graphite neck. I bought this bass from for $270 and it included a gigbag that fits it perfectly. You can't use the gigbag for any other bass though! hope I could be of some help.

  13. alx564


    Jul 31, 2000
    Emmaus, PA
    I have never been able to play a Steinberger and I have a question that has been on my mind for a while. Are they really light? To me they seem like it would be picking up a feather. And how do they play with a strap on. A lot different from other basses.
  14. gozan


    Sep 17, 2000
    The Steinberger XL 2 Graphite Bass is a very dense Bass. Graphite composite materials are heavy in terms of pounds per square inch. However they are so small that you can easily manipulate the entire fret board without breaking your back. The strap itself is very clever in design. A plastic brace is formed around your stomach and the strap clings you and the Bass as one . Great sound , very tight notes . 24 fret neck yet all notes can be reached without reaching.
  15. alx564


    Jul 31, 2000
    Emmaus, PA
    Well what about the wood versions that are now in production. Would they be lighter the graphite models.
  16. gozan


    Sep 17, 2000
    Yes the wood is lighter,..But it is a whole different monkey. The concept of a 1 piece graphite was to stay away from conventional basses. No warping ,no weak spots , no fear of climate changes . and rarely needed tuning . If you want wood get a FENDER P or Jazz Bass.
  17. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    I've played enough of the carbon-fiber originals to know I actually prefer the wood me a heretic.

    Now, the version with the wood body and composite neck is a whole different matter...
  18. nirvanafan13


    Apr 14, 2000
    Austin, TX
    A local band around New Orleans LA called embreo uses them.. (the bassist does) he handled it very well and looked really comfortable playing it. It sounded Amazing! ... but i have no personal experiences..
  19. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Well, not EXACTLY the same. The original Steinbergers had the real EMG active pickups, not the 'Select by EMG' pickups.

    BIG difference.
  20. the Hohner B2A I've got is pretty much identical to the Steinberger Spirit (made in the same factory).
    it's very light at 6 and a half lbs.
    I had a bit of trouble getting used to that as it kept moving when I did position shifts up the neck (a heavy Fender tends to stay put:) ).
    it balances well (conventional strap buttons).

    BUT it does have deadspots (unlike the real graphite Steinbergers)- on the E and A strings, oddly enough.
    I'd love to have one with a wood body and graphite neck.