Gear Friday : Steinberger Spirit

I remember seeing the Steinbergers in the 80's and thinking they looked either really dumb or really awesome. I couldn't ever figure it out. So, when I got ill and had lung surgery, I needed something lighter weight to get back into playing. Forums suggested either an SG or a Steinberger, so naturally I got both.

This post isn't about the SG. I'll save that for another day. This one is about the Steinberger.

I let this particular guitar make its home at my office most of the time. The headless design and small body makes it easy to put away when we have guests showing up, but it's still plenty of guitar for learning some tunes on or relaxing when things in app or web development aren't working.

So, a few questions I get asked about it.

Is it weird playing a guitar without a headstock?

Yes. It took me about 15 minutes to get adjusted to that "0" fret. I kept hearing everything sound awful and realized I was off by one fret because I wasn't taking the 0 into account. Otherwise, no big deal.

Is it a toy?

Looking at it, you might think so. However, I've come to find the sound is better than many of my other guitars, including the SG. It's also not as light as you might think, and it's a neck-through build, so most certainly not a toy in my book.

Does it shred?

Actually, yes. The neck is pretty quick, and if you don't mind looking like a dork on stage, it would totally work for playing whatever you like. I think it's best suited for an 80's hair cover band, but if you really want to rock out some Avenged Sevenfold, I've done it.

How do you change the strings?

You have to purchase special strings for these. They've got a ball on each end and you have to just loosen the tuner to the point you can get the ball out on the bridge end. The ball on the other end comes out easy enough once you take the rubber band off. Then, just tune it up at the bridge and you're good to go

How do you tune it?

It's much like a Floyd Rose equipped guitar in that tuning is on the bridge end. Only difference is that there's no tuner at the other end as well.

Do you like it?

It's certainly not my first choice to pick up when it's at home, but I will play it on occasion on the couch or when I just want to play something and don't want to spend a lot of time playing. I'd probably buy it again just for the novelty, but it's certainly not something I couldn't do without.

How do you play sitting down with that?

There is a little "Kick stand" on the bottom side that you flip out to keep it on your leg. It's actually quite comfortable to play while sitting.

Does it stay in tune well?

Yes, it does. You can actually use a little lever inside of the body cavity below the bridge to lock the tremolo in place, and then it stays in tune even better. That said, this is a pretty stable trem system and it's pretty easy to adjust.

What are your least favorite things about this guitar?

  1. Oddball strings for one. I have a ton of "other" strings that aren't double ball end, so it'd be nice to use those.
  2. Color is also on my least favorite list. I'd prefer something other than white.
  3. Neck finish. I prefer a satin finish or unfinished, but this is glossy so it gets sticky with sweat (for me, anyway).
  4. Tuning. Just like any Floyd based guitar, tuning is more of a pain. I have trouble not bumping the string next to the one I'm tuning, so it's not my favorite thing about the guitar for sure.

Any questions on my Steinberger Spirit, just ask. I'm sure I either have an opinion or know how to do whatever you're asking of me with it. After all, I've played quite a few shows with it and have used it for many practices.


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