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Steinberger's = horrible pieces of 80's crap??

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by seratone, Mar 4, 2004.

  1. seratone


    Feb 27, 2004
    I’d like to know people experiences with these bases. I saw one used at my local shop for a really good price. I’m building a home studio in such a cramped space that I was thinking this bass would be less cumbersome seeing as I’m constantly switching from bass to keyboards. Every time I’ve tried one they seemed lifeless and dead with a funny knobby, plastic feeling neck.

    Does anyone one on this forum actually use them? Or own one?. I know they one the design of the year award in the 1980’s and Geddy Lee, Sting and that dude from the Dixi Dreggs used them briefly as a novelty. Did they stand the test of time? Is it possible to get strings for them? Do they have a distinct sound? sustain?
  2. Funkize you

    Funkize you Guest

    Nov 4, 2003
    Westminster Ca.
    I really like them, I dont own one, but a friend of mine (The person who turned me on to bass) bought a nice 4 stringer and it was also a Short Scale bass, It was VERY comfy to play standing up.. A little wierd sitting down, and (For me) Impossible withought a Strap...

    The sustain was great, the Tone was Round and Deep (Vintage like?) and it was kind of a relief playing a short scale for a while. (Prolly N/A for you though)

    But I would suggest it, and If you dont like it after all, Plop it on Ebay... The KILL on ebay...

    Good luck, Hope you like it.
  3. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I own one (and used to own a second one). They are NOT short scale. They feel like plastic because they are (well, graphite)...unless you are talking about the Spirit models which are cheap wooden copies with the look but not the feel or sound.

    Incredible sustain, very even tone across the neck, exceptional intonation and tuning stability.

    Downsides: They look funny and the models with no bodies (L, XL, XP) mean there's nowhere to rest your right arm while playing.

    What's your really good price? Graphite Bergers seem to start at about a grand these days.
  4. Was there even a Steinberger short-scale bass, or could it have perhaps been an illusion based on the lack of headstock? (I recall an interview with Tina Weymouth stating that she would sometimes play 4 higher than usual, thinking the first four frets were "headstock space"). I did a quick googling, and found no reference to a short-scale instrument.

    The one additional observation I have about Steinies are that they have huge necks. That might be an issue to some players.
  5. "Huge" is a pretty variable term...the neck on my XL is very comfortable.
    There are a lot of basses labeled "Steinberger" out there...if you're not familiar with the entire range, go to steinbergerworld.com and read up. It's the best single resource on these instruments I've come across.
    The early- to mid-80s L basses (the little boat-paddle ones) are, to me, the best...they can be easily identified by the plate bolted onto the top of the body, where the bridge and pickups are, rather than the back as on later models. Not sure what changed, but the older ones sound much better to my ears.
    Where have we heard that before? :rolleyes:
  6. Definitely not a novelty. More like a serious, innovative design. I've heard and played the L2 and the XL2 and they both frickin' rock.
  7. Electricmayhem


    Dec 18, 2003
    Anyone know where to find pics of these basses?
  8. Jerry Ziarko

    Jerry Ziarko Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    Actually, The Xl series was not only a good instrument, but a great instrument. It felt as though it was a short scale due to the fact that the bass hung more towards the right (rh bass) from the way the strap attached to the pivot plate. I played an XL2 for about 7 or 8 yrs exclusively. Had it not been for the look, I believe the instrument would still be as popular today. It's true it did have a sort of vintage tone, round and beefy, but it also had a GREAT upper mid growl that would cut through just about any mix. It was the only bass I have ever owned that sounded good on any rig. During the time I owned the bass, the group I was with, played on the bill with many of the top country acts in the USA. usually I was expected to use the headliners rig in most cases which spanned from a small Peavy on TNN to a Hartke stack to just going through the monitors at the mercy of the hlners. eq settings. In almost every instance, that bass sounded nothing short of great. Was it a sound for everyone? Not exactly, but it worked wonders for me at the time. When I finally started to use my own rig, (Eden WT800- 2-4x10's) I was in heaven. It's just to bad, the strange body shape was so closely tied to the decade we knew as the 80's.
  9. The Lurker

    The Lurker

    Aug 16, 2002

    I find them rather uncomfortable ergonomically (can't seem to get them to balance, or to stay put when playing whist seated) but they do play and sound quite nice.
  10. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Junk! No way! I have an XM2A (with Trans-trem, no less!), and it is incredible. It balances perfectly, sounds great, and the neck is fast. It is not a huge neck, but it's a little deeper than most (it's kind of like a Warwick neck with slightly more space between strings). Mine has a body, so it feels and balances great; it has become my number one bass.

    If what you played was dull and lifeless, then the strings and/or the battery may have been dead. Steinys are very clean, very articulate, very bright basses with fantastic sustain and no dead spots.

    Once I become famous every bass player will want one again, I assure you. :bassist:
  11. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    They're highly collectible and are considered legends in the development of the electric bass.
    Ned Steinberger, originally a furniture designer, set the bass world on its ear with his basses.

    Bass Central has an 80's "boat paddle" offered for sale right now at about 2 grand...........hardly what you'd pay for a P.O.S.

    I wish I could afford it. They're treasures.
  12. The Lurker

    The Lurker

    Aug 16, 2002
    Ok, I'm no steiny expert.... i thought the trans-trem only came on guitars? How good is it on bass?
  13. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    I have not played one since the 80s, when they were great, so I'm having to speak from distant memory here.

    As I recall, i loved playing every one I ever held. They were so well balanced and played so easily that I remember wanting one badly.

    I had a friend who had several Kubickis and a Steiney and I remember liking both for their playability and balance, though each was a completely different monster.

    My only problem with them now is their dated 80s look. I'm not a fan of much that came out of that decade, save for the Porsche 928, so you'd have to twist my arm to buy such a shape for anything more than a serious steal.

    They were anything BUT crap, though!
  14. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    There at best guess between 150-200 Bass TransTrems floating around out there. Just the part alone can fetch upwards of $800 on ebay. They are quite fantastic; they stay in tune no matter how much I wank on it. I love it.

    I also love the fact that I got it, and the bass it was installed on, for $950!
  15. Mike Money

    Mike Money In Memoriam

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    i dislike them with a primal passion.
  16. seratone


    Feb 27, 2004
    It was about 1000$ Canadian which is only 750$ US You'all have sort of piqued my interest. I'm going the check that thing out again. I just looked at Ebay and there's only 1 L series four string there for 1250 USD....
  17. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
  18. I'll never forget the one and only time I was able to try a Steinberger...

    Around 1985, Lee's Music, Yakima Washington.

    I was buying a combo amp on layaway, and while in the store, the owner said "Here, try this"

    The Steinberger's playability and tone were absolutely delicious!!! :cool:
  19. natebass


    Sep 6, 2001
    Bremerton, WA
    I used to work for a dealership after they went to Gibson. Personally, while I liked the XL, the one I liked was the Q5.
  20. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    I sleep with my XM2A tucked in next to my bed...

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