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The Universal Steinberger Question

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Richland123, Apr 20, 2010.

  1. Richland123


    Apr 17, 2009
    I play a Steinberger L2, which I have had for 26 years. As long as I have played it, I usually hear this question at least a few times a month.

    What's Do You Call That Thing You Are Playing?

    Most people have no idea that it is a bass guitar, including many musicians. I always get a kick out of telling people about it. They usually follow up with comments and questions such as "It is so small", "How do you tune it?", "Where is the top?", "How do you get so much sound out of such a little guitar?", and "Where's the rest of it?"

    I often tell people it was on sale 1/2 off.
  2. That's not the question I was asked when I got stopped by the police on the way home from a gig....

    I stopped leaving it in the front seat after that... :D

    He figured he had an easy DUI following me coming out of a bar parking lot at 2:30. Then got VERY curious what that object was in what looked like a gun case....

    Damn lucky I hadn't been drinking. Damn lucky I didn't reach for it to show him what a cool bass guitar it was.

    Mr_Moo, Randy Ward, SWRnut and 2 others like this.
  3. I always get asked, "What happened to your guitar?"

    I think the question is more inexplicable than a headless instrument. I try to reply in kind -

    "It was a normal bass guitar, naturally, and we had lots of fun together playing the silent parts of the songs. But one day, as I was standing at the back of the stage (of course) a TRAIN crashed through the building, right through the wall, and smashed right into my normal bass guitar. Well, one thing led to another, and now it looks like this. That's what happened to my guitar. Thanks for asking."
  4. Richland123


    Apr 17, 2009
    I know what you mean that people think you are carrying a gun when they see your gig bag. We were playing for a wedding reception and when I came walking into the hall, somebody asked me if there was a gun in my bag. I replied with, "Isn't this a shotgun wedding?"
    Mr_Moo, kesslari, SWRnut and 2 others like this.
  5. Not the same, but I've gotten quizical looks for my effects pedal's carrying case. I took a gun case and carved out spots for the pedals - works like a charm. I played in a country band for a while... no questions or odd looks, 'cause I guess they're used to guns around. Lots with the reggae-rock band, tho!
    Mr_Moo likes this.
  6. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    i almost got kicked off a plane in '92!!! i go to my seat and two security guards were led to my seat by a flight attendant.
    Mr_Moo likes this.
  7. TheDarkReaver

    TheDarkReaver Banned

    Mar 20, 2006
    Lincolnshire, UK
    You never get "Don't you realise the '80s ended 20 years ago"?
    Mr_Moo, SWRnut, mohrds and 1 other person like this.
  8. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    lol,.. my son wants my 'berger so bad right now to use at gigs. you don't them anymore, but they sound so damn good!!!
  9. bassvi


    Jul 12, 2005
    Boat paddle is another one mine's been called. "What happened, did your bass have an accident? Hyuk Hyuk" is another frequent comment. Someone also called it a "Devo fa***t bass" once (a guy from a southern rock band, go figure)

    I've had my Steinberger L2 since 89' and it's more than earned it's place in my collection. I still travel with it when I fly since it is the ultimate travel bass even though I play mostly 6'ers these days. It's just a great, great bass. I tried to sell it in the 90's when I was in school and needed money, but no one would buy it. Lucky for me :)
    Mr_Moo and SWRnut like this.
  10. the greek

    the greek

    Apr 17, 2010
    i had a fretless Hohner (what a gutless piece of ****, with a plastic fretboard) in the 80's which my friends referred to as "the cricket bat". I used to sit and play at my 3rd floor flat window - passing Police Officers would often give me funny looks as if it was a shotgun...
  11. BergerHead

    BergerHead plastic phantastic Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2018
    Basel, Switzerland
    Aeons ago i had to unzip the bag onto a cop patrol; they really liked it, perhaps because it is made outta same material as their guns! :)
  12. Holdsg

    Holdsg I should be practicing Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 10, 2009
    Alta Loma, CA
    I knew a guy in the 80s when I was only playing keys. He brought one to a jazz jam session. A few sniggers from the band ensued. He plugged in, started playing, and everyone shut up, because the dude could play anything.
    Mr_Moo and kesslari like this.
  13. redwingxix


    Oct 21, 2015
    My first instructor played one at lessons. I thought what the hell is this guy going to teach me on that silly thing? I learned.
  14. arbiterusa


    Sep 24, 2015
    San Diego, CA
    Dead thread!

    I carried mine in a .22 rifle bag for over a decade, which I never had any trouble with, even carrying on airplanes. One day in the mid 90s that changed - when carrying it onto a plane. Flight attendant freaked out. So I got a case.

    REALLY should have seen that coming. My dad's a pilot. I just wasn't thinking, at all. It was in a gun case and looks like a gun.

    I have gotten a lot of crap over the years from various examples of moronus musicianus and an occasional audience member about mine (which is also fretless, so double the potential for crap). That always stops about five notes into the first tune, replaced with dropped jaws or raw shame. It's literally the only object that I have that will get yanked from a burning house (wife and dog first, as is proper). Can't be replaced and absolutely can't be substituted for - nothing else on the planet sounds like them.

    I think most of the adverse reaction is that it's very much the "80's video" bass, and as a result people don't take it seriously. Sometimes it's from people who've heard the Hohner clones or the woodbody Steinbergers, and that I get. Those things sound lousy, nothing like the real deal.
    Richland123 and SWRnut like this.
  15. SWRnut

    SWRnut Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2008
    Columbia, SC
    I still have my L2A, although I don't play it often these days. I used to tell people that I couldn't afford the rest of the bass, so I was buying it on an installment plan. This was all I had so far.....
    Mr_Moo likes this.
  16. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    Yep, same here: Must have been 1987 or '88, I'm walking into a New York City subway station late at night trying to get home from a gig, and there are 4 uniformed NYPD patrolmen standing by the turnstiles...one of them spots me and does some kind of double-take, then they all notice and almost instantly surround me. "Hey buddy, what's in the bag?"

    I tell them what it is. I offer to show them. They look at it, look at one another, look at me, and one of them says "I'm sorry, what did you say it was?"

    So I take it out of the case and play a few bars of Pink Floyd's "Money" ...and they're still looking at me all skeptical!!! One cop actually wanted to "call it in" !!!

    Finally another said "It's a funny guitar, get out of here."
    Mr_Moo and kesslari like this.
  17. Along the same lines of being confused as guns... We had the local cops come into our guitar building shop because a neighbor had seen guys coming in carrying lots of gun cases??? They didn't come in all friendly like either, not guns drawn but holsters unclipped and very cautiously.
    Mr_Moo likes this.
  18. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Back in the 80's I had one of Harry Fleishman's headless basses. It came in a tan plastic rifle case. Because I didn't leave my bass in the car, I'd take it into restaurants, banks, stores and never had a problem...

    it was a different time to say the least. I knew a guy who would take turkeys out of grocery stores. The trick, he said, was to act normal. He didn't hide them, just walked out like he was supposed to. I never walked out with a turkey but I did learn that if I'm not acting suspicious it goes a long way
    Mr_Moo likes this.
  19. turf3


    Sep 26, 2011
    How the world has changed. When I was in high school the band gave our band director a deer rifle for Christmas and presented it to him at the Christmas concert. Imagine if you will, a high school senior walking out to center stage with a deer rifle in its leather case, wrapped with a big bow; hands to band director; band director takes it, gets all choked up, opens the case, shows the rifle to the audience, who go "Awwwww!" and then clap enthusiastically; band director then hands the rifle back to the student who takes it backstage and stashes it (probably handed it off to his mom for safekeeping). For reference I did NOT grow up in a small rural town but rather in one of the 10 largest cities in the USA.

    Can you imagine the reaction to something like that today?

    Back then if anyone had pitched a fit those concerned would just have said something like "what are you on about? I checked to make sure it was unloaded and the bolt was open."
    Mr_Moo and BergerHead like this.
  20. BergerHead

    BergerHead plastic phantastic Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2018
    Basel, Switzerland
    These days a .12 pump gun or right away a Ingram MAC 11 would probably make more sense ... to give it bitta more style, one could switch it over a Wah Wah or Octavider! :)

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