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Steinberger Synapse headpiece issues - possible solution

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by acroce, Aug 3, 2017.

  1. acroce


    Sep 8, 2007
    Central Italy
    Hi everyone,
    I recently bought a Steinberger Synapse 4 string bass in perfect condition except for a broken clamp on the headpiece, the original owner told me he broke it the very first time he tried to use regular strings! This is a well-documented problem of the Synapse basses and guitars (along with the well-known truss rod issues), but there are many musicians who only use double-ball end strings with this bass and other who are successfully using these single ball string adapters with no issues.
    I'm using double-ball end strings with no problem, but I really wanted to have an adapter to use regular strings as an alternative to the double-ball end sets with a much wider choice of gauges and materials.
    I contacted various Synapse users through this and other forums and some dealers, but I didn't have any satisfying reply to solve the problem, so I found my own solution, cheap and rather quick to apply, and want to share it with anyone having the same problem.

    Here is a picture of the original Synapse headpiece, clamp inserts and screws:

    The inserts are made with a rather delicate alloy and shatter under the screw pressure, like in this case:


    Here is a picture of the headpiece with the inserts removed, top and bottom sides:


    Gibson/Steinberger never sold replacement inserts for this headpiece, just the complete set, but as many of you know these spare parts are almost impossible to find.

    I decided to replace the broken clamps with some new ones, adapting them to the headpiece body size. The best ones are the motorcyle throttle cable clamps, that exist in various sizes. The original clamp inserts have a diameter of 7mm, but the closest available size I found was 8mm. I also bought some hex screws to be cut to the exact size wanted.


    The clamp bodies were reduced in size to a diameter of approx.7mm in order to insert them tighly into the headpiece body


    View from the bottom


    The clamps were secured with a drop of superglue, although they are tight enough to stay in that position.


    The hexagonal head screws were cut to different lengths, so when the strings are on the bass they have all the same height, here is the final result


    The work was rather easy to finish in approx.3 hours with no particular tools, just a Dremel used to cut and smooth the parts. The cost of the bike clamps and screws was just a few Euros.

  2. Good tip. That could also work for a DIY headless bass or guitar. Thanks.
  3. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    That's pretty slick. I had a single-ball adapter for my old Steinberger XP-2 of a similar design, but it always cut through the string windings, so I gave up on it. Maybe a stupid question, but any reason to not use the standard double ball strings? I'm not too familiar with the Synapse, but I've never had any trouble getting double ball strings in the guages I like, still a few companies making them in most of the standard guages. What are you stringing them with? The tuning system on the NS Design basses is pretty ingenious, the headstock anchors the single ball ends, and the string ends feed into the bridge. The original double ball system is nearly foolproof, but a lot of people prefer single ball. Ned has finally worked the bugs out! How did you reduce the barrels to 7mm, lathe or filing?
  4. acroce


    Sep 8, 2007
    Central Italy
    As said, it is just to have a wider choice of strings. Moreover, regular strings are much cheaper than double-ball end sets, so this gives me the chance to experiment with new brands. And, last but not least, the fact that single strings are not available as replacements in double-ball end configuration, you have to buy a whole set if you break one.

    At the moment, I'm trying D'Addario Half-rounds 105-45, I don't think they exist with double-ball-end.

    All I used was a Dremel, mostly 240-grit sanding band and sanding discs, it only took 30-35 mins for each barrel.
    Gilmourisgod likes this.
  5. MPU


    Sep 21, 2004
    Valkeala Finland
    Nice modification.
    Status sells single double ball end strings as well as sets. Their strings cost pretty close the same as regular single ball end strings.
  6. acroce


    Sep 8, 2007
    Central Italy
    Thanks, I never noticed this!
  7. Ueli


    Dec 27, 2017
    Byron Bay NSW
  8. Felix Lopez

    Felix Lopez

    May 15, 2018
    AWESOME modification!
    acroce likes this.
  9. Andy_73


    Dec 13, 2014
    Hi everyone,

    yesterday I got hold of an almost new synapse 5-string bass and tried to mount single ball strings - one clamp broke immediately.

    Could you please give a hint from where you got the replacement parts?

    Kind regards

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