If you’re a music fan, then at one point you’ve probably seen one or more Steinberger guitars. These minimalist headless guitars were designed and originally manufactured by Ned Steinberger. Due to extremely high demand in the 1980s, Ned Steinberger needed a larger company to help produce his products and sold Steinberger guitars to Gibson in 1987.
Notable Musicians Who Famously Played Steinberger Guitars
The music industry is full of famous musicians who loved their Steinberger guitars. Some lifelong Steinberger fans include Buck Dharma from Blue Oyster Cult, Geddy Lee from RUSH, Vito Bratta from White Lion, Eddie Van Halen, Sting, David Bowie and David Gilmour of Pink Floyd to name a few.
Can You Still Buy Original Steinberger Guitars?
Unfortunately Gibson no longer produces Steinberger guitars as they were originally designed. If you still want to get an “original Steinberger,” then you’ll have to (eBay link) (eBay link) (eBay link) (eBay link)(eBay link) use this special link to search eBay that filters out Steinberger clones and knockoffs.
But if you want a new Steinberger guitar, then you’ll have to settle for an instrument “inspired” by Ned Steinberger, not designed by him. All new instruments that include any elements of what made a Steinberger guitar a “Steinberger,” are now sold under the “Spirit by Steinberger” or “Steinberger Spirit Collection” brands.
Synapse guitars and basses are the latest instruments manufactured by Gibson under the Steinberger name and are currently in production. While they appear to resemble the original Steinberger line, none of the Synapse guitars feature the original Steinberger parts or dimensions. As well as a regular guitar model, the Synapse line also includes baritone guitars with a built-in Transcale capo that can be rolled up the frets.
If you just want the Steinberger look, then you’ll have an easier time. Several companies have licensed the headless technology from Steinberger and produce all-wood clones or similar instruments. Hohner, for example, produces licensed all-wood Steinberger L-series copies. And Cort produced headless guitars with different body designs.
What It’s Like To Play An Original Steinberger Guitar
The image above is my personal Steinberger guitar that I was lucky enough to acquire from Frank Radice in 2005. Frank was personally handed this guitar right off the assembly line by Ned Steinberger himself.
It is by far one of my favorite guitars of all time. Not only are Steinberger guitars compact, but depending on what effects I use, I can make my Steinberger guitar sound like whatever I want. If you’re an experienced guitar player, then you know how difficult this can be with most guitars.
Do you own one or more Steinberger guitars? If so, please tell us about it in the comments below.
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Frank Wilson is a retired teacher with over 30 years of combined experience in the education, small business technology, and real estate business. He now blogs as a hobby and spends most days tinkering with old computers. Wilson is passionate about tech, enjoys fishing, and loves drinking beer.