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  #1  
Old 08-25-2010, 08:31 AM
lang.murphy lang.murphy is offline
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Cort Steinberger headless guitar - Pros/Cons?

Local guy has one of these for sale. Looks to be in good condition and is reasonably priced. I know sets of two headed (?) strings are about $10 each, a little more than regular strings... any other considerations to buying such a guitar? Hard to find replacement parts, maybe?

TIA,

Lang
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Old 08-25-2010, 08:44 AM
Valtyr Valtyr is offline
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If you have access to replacement strings and you like the guitar than go for it.

I have a 5 string Spirit (import Steinberger) bass. The balance is great, tuning and neck are extremely stable. Not having a headstock can be an advantage if you are on a crowded stage.
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Old 08-25-2010, 11:54 AM
Gitarman Gitarman is offline
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re: the strings. There's a guy on Ebay (sorry, can't remember his ID) that sells 'string adapters' that allow you to use regular strings with your 'berger. They fit onto the end of the neck and string tension holds it in place. Works perfectly!

You can see one in this pic of my Spirit:

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Old 08-25-2010, 12:40 PM
phantasm phantasm is offline
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Aside from the string issues, it's the perfect chance to snap a great tuning bridge.
Those are pretty much exactly like the Steinberger bridges, except marked differently. If it said Steinberger on it, you'd probably have to shell out $300 for the bridge alone.
A friend of mine has a Cort bass version. fantastic hardware, but the electronics and pickups are trashy-replace them and it should be pretty awesome. These are much heavier than the Steinbergers- i believe they're all maple.

How reasonably priced is it?
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  #5  
Old 08-25-2010, 01:18 PM
epluribus epluribus is offline
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I have one of those, got an ugly orphan for cheap that cleaned up to be a really nice guitar. Mine is my traveler, and it does that exceedingly well.



Lessee, pros and cons...

True dat, it's indeed heavier than my Steiny by a little bit. What little info is available on the web about these things is that they are indeed maple throughout. The finish is decent but certainly nothing to write home about--IMHO they could've at least run the deck and back through a decent planer to get the ripples out. Still, it's holding up well and looks good for the price point.

The bridge and tuners are Steinberger-licensed, and are made pretty much as well as the home brand--metals and tolerances are very similar, if not identical. The pups are some sort of no-name Cort pups from what I can gather by tearing the guitar apart, and the associated hardware and wiring are holding up just fine.

Soundwise, it's gonna simply come down to taste. They have that distinctive neck-thru jangle to 'em for one thing, and the body/bridge design gives it a further flavor that no other style of guitar has. Personally I was very impressed with the sound out of the box, esp for rock of all sorts and blues. Not really a metal axe though, IMHO, but I've not tweaked my metal-style rigs to suit it either. That said, I thought it had some terrific voices in it, whether plugged into my Deluxe Reverb II or my TSL.

Comfort-wise the boat-oar thing we lovingly refer to takes some getting used to. They slide off your lap like a Flying V for one thing. A bean bag with a little velcro wrap-around tail will fix that. (I use a stuffed monkey or just use a classical posture.) Standing up, they tend to flop around till you acquire the touch--just not a lot of inertia like you're used to. But if you've gigged an LP, boy are you gonna love the weight.

Beyond that, the scale length is of course full-sized and so the guitar plays and feels like its conventional cousins. Personally I like the rather traditional neck geometry, so it's very comfy IMHO. Not a fan of zero-frets, as they tend to allow the strings to displace following bends. Fretwork is good but not fabulous, but oddly enough it's better than that of my Synapse. Good old Cort--figures.

About those tuners--you're gonna absolutely love 'em. Steiny tuning systems in general have legendary tuning stability, and all four of my Steinberger-equipped guitars testify to that. (Two Epi Spotlights besides the paddle-axes.) Adjusting the saddles is quite the fiddly pain, to be honest, but once you get 'em set the day-to-day ownership is a breeze. Oh yeah...if the allen wrenches don't come with it, you need to buy a set of small ones.

So far strings are no big deal, with at least two mfgrs. making them at slightly elevated prices. Or, if you like, you can plunk down $80 for JCustoms's locking headpiece so you can use standard strings. I have a modded JCustom on my (very hotrodded) Synapse and they work fine. However, they have string guides to stabilize the zero fret issue, so you may have to do a little grinding to get one to fit a Cort.

If you don't have a gig bag, I highly recommend the nicely embroidered Steiny factory ones, periodically available from RiceAge on EBay for about $25.00 plus shipping. (The cheapies say Steinberger sometimes, but not in the trademarked logo script.) The fabric is very stout, the padding is remarkably thick, the zippers are smooth large-tooth outdoor style, and they're fur-lined. Very nice bags.

Oh yeah...prices. Do an Advanced Search on EBay, and check the "Completed Auctions" box before you hit "Search." It'll pull up several of the most recent auctions so you can see what these go for. IIRC they price in the $200-$300 range for good ones, with the occasional loonie going higher.

Caveat emptor on that price...for the same dough you can get a solid-finish Steinberger Synapse or Spirit with a trem and three pups if you look carefully. The JCustom definitely doesn't fit, so you need to stick with the stock headpiece. But it does come with a lap brace built in, and has that carbon-fiber (aka "graphite") backbone in the neck so that Ned can stand on the guitar like in the YouTube vid. And you'll probably get one of those gig bags right with it.

Decisions...

--Ray

Oh yeah...parts. Steiny parts are pretty notorious for being hard to find. Gib basically refuses to support the brand. But the newer ones, and the Cort among them, have parts floating around EBay all the time. Trouble is, you need to do some digging in the Steinberger world to determine compatibility, as they have scads of nuances between the models. Fortunately, the Cort uses some very common components in the Steiny world, so parts are plentiful by the brand's standards. Just do some research and be creative.
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Last edited by epluribus; 08-26-2010 at 01:24 AM.
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  #6  
Old 03-26-2011, 01:01 PM
lang.murphy lang.murphy is offline
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Bumping my own thread after six plus months... thanks to y'all for your replies.

I did buy the Cort... paid $125 for it, $40 for a new zero fret install and setup, $25 for strings... so I've got $185 into it.

And, man! I love the tuners! This thing stays in tune forever! Easy to tune with pretty high ratio tuners.

And, like epluribus noted, the sound is unique. This thing absolutely RINGS through my Super Lead. Stunning, really... who needs reverb? Not with this axe. I could see it turning some peeps off, but I really like it a lot.

Like it so much, I'm considering getting another... although these Cort's don't show up on ebay all that often. There's a strat styled Cort with Steiny tuners that I've never seen before, but the dude's selling with a Cort bass and I'm not buying both. Plus he's asking too much money, imho.

Considering the Steinberger SS-2F also.

Anyway... thanks Valtyr, Gitarman, phantasm, and, especially, epluribus for that extended review.

I can add that when I got it, I thought the pups just sucked majorly. The neck pup is stock, the bridge pup is a Dimarzio Air Classic bridge. Running it through my Vox or my (now gone) Morgan DAG15, it just sounded like crap when compared to my Gibby MM. Now that I have my Super Lead... it sounds like a totally different guitar. Even the neck pup sounds OK. I can get a nice mix between the two pups, which I just could not get on either of my EL84 amps.

Yeah... it is not fun to play it sitting down... don't think any of the Cort's had that same piece that real Steiny's had... the one of the bottom that flips out to provide a stop. But standing up, it's great. I like that it's easy to change orientation... I can pull it up almost vertical for playing an F barre chord. And I love the weight... or lack thereof. (When compared to other gits...)

The thing that totally rocks is the ability to hold tune extremely well. One must attribute some of that to the double ended strings... no chance that the strings will slip from a poorly done string job. And less of a chance of the tuners slipping too, I think...

Anyway, now that I've got the SL, the Cort has become my main guitar, now that it sounds decent. Now I'm going to start watching ebay for a decent deal on either another Cort or the SS-2F.

Here's mine:

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  #7  
Old 03-26-2011, 02:16 PM
rsm rsm is offline
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I had a Steinberger GL2 back in the day, still have my XL2. I went looking for a used GL2, and eventually got a new SS-2F, had it for about two weeks. Great guitar IMO. I dig mine. I always liked Steinbergers, the SS-2F does not disappoint.

YMMV
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  #8  
Old 03-26-2011, 02:21 PM
epluribus epluribus is offline
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Hey Lang, nice to hear the update! Always fun to see family photos of the guits...that's a nice one.

Coupla notes: Your Cort, the Steinberger Spirits, and the Hohner headless (I'm told, and on good authority IMHO.) are all made at the same plant, with bits of different milling on each. As a shared trait, they're all neck-through maple. I note that the upper-fret access is quite a bit better on the Spirit and Synapse owing to the cutaway carves, and that the Cort neck has quite a bit more V in the profile than the Synapse does. As for other milling, I find I much prefer the Cort hourglass to the Steiny trademark taper for staying in your lap. But that said, both of 'em are like playing a banana.

Got to talking to Be.eM (Bernd) here on TGP about these, as he has long tech experience in the Steinberger world. Turns out that the Synapse is a very different guitar from the Spirit/Cort/Hohner cousins--the Synapse uses the Steinberger carbon-composite core channel in the neck, the other don't. I've discovered that makes a huge difference in the sound and resonance of the guitar, with the Synapse having a wee bit more sustain, and a much tighter and purer sound with tons more detail in the output signal than the woodies.

Takes some getting used to and it amps differently. The woodies, as you've discovered, have a terrific traditional guitar-harmonic fatness to them, totally unexpected in so small a package. Gorgeous, I love it!

The Synapse, OTOH, produces a much cleaner sound, relying much more on the fundamental. Might sound bad, but the way it responds to nuances in the pups and wiring is quite remarkable and highly addictive. The other adjustment you'll make is you'll run your amps a bit hotter to get roughly equivalent richness in the harmonic stew...but that's a very cool feature in my book. Makes your amp all that much more open and responsive to playing dynamics...and then that highly detailed signal gets to do all sorts of unique and musical stuff.

Durability-wise, that carbon core makes the Synapse nearly indestructible and provides dimensional stability beyond anything wood can do. If you like tuning stability, you'll love the carbon core...but don't plan on headstock-pulls for your bends.

You'll also notice the Synapse pulls in about a $300 premium on EBay. Part of that is the neck, but a big part is the greatly upgraded pups (EMG 81/85 IIRC) and a nice upgrade in the bridge/tailpiece/tuner assembly as well. Lotta nice construction in the Synapse. But be careful of the flame-tops. The flame veneer is downright gorgeous, but it's very thin and exceedingly prone to damage. Ding it, you almost certainly chip it a bit, and you expose the adhesive...tough to make a fill invisible. I love the look and feel of mine, but it's touchy.

Tail-end note for anybody that hasn't dozed off by now......Caveat: I don't have a stock Synapse. Mine was a nekkid orphan I picked up on EBay. Had some milling chips in the deck, bad battery compartment rout, otherwise solid and a great hotrodder. Tried out a Steiny cast-zinc stock tailpiece on it, eventually made a steel soleplate for a Bondy aircraft-grade aluminum tuner, a steel TonePros TOM, and a J.Custom headpiece. Loaded it with SD P-Rails mounted in Triple-Shots, did a fancy switching circuit with a Super Switch and some EQ filtering between pups, then topped it off with a ToneStyler in place of the regular tone knob. (Approx 104 pup configs in all--two knobs and a switch.) I love the mods, and I'm still experimenting with new ones, but it's really tough to tell what a stock Synapse sounds like by playing this thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by epluribus View Post
Gear Correction, 4-2-11:
Above I stated that I've used a "steel" Tone Pros Tune O Matic in this guitar. Problem is, Tone Pros TOMs aren't steel. Callaham, according to their website, is the only seller of a steel TOM. This correction now appears in the original post as well. Apologies to all.

...and sometimes it rains.

--Ray


Beware the Synapse Bug...they bite bad!

--Ray
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Last edited by epluribus; 04-01-2011 at 09:23 PM.
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  #9  
Old 03-26-2011, 03:58 PM
lang.murphy lang.murphy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rsm View Post
I had a Steinberger GL2 back in the day, still have my XL2. I went looking for a used GL2, and eventually got a new SS-2F, had it for about two weeks. Great guitar IMO. I dig mine. I always liked Steinbergers, the SS-2F does not disappoint.

YMMV
rsm: thanks for the vote of confidence on the SS-2F. That's probably going to be my next guitar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by epluribus View Post
Hey Lang, nice to hear the update! Always fun to see family photos of the guits...that's a nice one.

Coupla notes: Your Cort, the Steinberger Spirits, and the Hohner headless (I'm told, and on good authority IMHO.) are all made at the same plant, with bits of different milling on each.

... ... ...

Beware the Synapse Bug...they bite bad!

--Ray
Ray: hey, man; thanks again for some really detailed info on these guitars. I'm really liking what you have to say about the Synapse... too bad they're hard to get parts for... but I don't think that will make a difference to my decision.

I was not really considering the Spirit at all... not interested in an axe with a whammy bar. But given what you and Be.eM had to say about it in the thread on yours, I know now, beyond doubt, to stay away from them.

Seems like the SS-2F's are holding their value pretty well, if ebay's completed listings are a good indication.

Wow, man! I really like the look of your Synapse. I will probably shoot for a black one... I love that look. I might grab a white one if the price is right, or I could go for one like yours, but not blue, nope.

Here's a close up of my Cort's body:



I have seen Cort's that have Steinberger on the plate that covers the tuners. Mine is blank. On both sides... wonder if that indicates anything specific?

Man... the work you did on your axe: very nice! Wow, I'm impressed! I just set the intonation on my Fretlight and thought I was the bomb... lol. To put it in the right perspective:



Thanks for sharing your experiences with these guitars; very much appreciated!

Lang
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  #10  
Old 03-26-2011, 04:32 PM
Ampegasaur Ampegasaur is offline
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Where are the new Steinbergers made? I have been looking strongly at one of these. I use various tunings, and use 2-3 guitars a night, plus an acoustic for certain gigs. This does the various tunings, piezo bridge, lightweight, and very stable. I really want the baritone version, because I am not a fan of 7 strings at all, but do tune low for certain projects I am in. I also do a lot of fill ins for bands, and projects that require flying, and would love to have a guitar that fits in an overhead bin. The quality, frets, and electical components are what concern me the most. Let's be honest, kind of ugly, just bizarrew, but could really fill a niche. I was thinking about starting a thread regarding this, but hey, here it is.
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Old 03-26-2011, 05:14 PM
jtees4 jtees4 is offline
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I am a big Hohner G2T fan and own a few. I have owned three Steinbergers over the years. Unless I'm wrong, the Corts only came with fixed bridges????Very different than the Steinbergers.
All current Steinbergers are imports, i believe still made in Korea. The last USA Steinbergers were made about two years ago (In the Gibson factory who owned them). I owned one of if not the last USA made Steinberger. After they stopped production I got a crazy high offer and sold my GLB-T. The truth is, once modded....I like the Honer G2T's better. I currently own two.
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  #12  
Old 03-26-2011, 05:59 PM
epluribus epluribus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lang.murphy View Post
I have seen Cort's that have Steinberger on the plate that covers the tuners. Mine is blank. On both sides... wonder if that indicates anything specific?
Not that I can tell, and of course the license is printed on your guitar by the name. Bernd or Rick Canton might have some better info, but I've scrounged a couple of these hardtails now and I can't find a difference between the labeled ones and those like yours. That's the trouble with this headless thing, btw...when you see a really cool deal on parts or a donor axe, you start stockpiling this stuff.

Quote:
Man... the work you did on your axe: very nice! Wow, I'm impressed! I just set the intonation on my Fretlight and thought I was the bomb... lol. To put it in the right perspective:

Thanks Lang, just returning a bit for all the folks who who've done so much of this for me. But I'll print the little bow guy and put him on the fridge where the SO can see him. Maybe it'll get me out of trouble or win me an argument sometime...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ampegasaur View Post
...Let's be honest, kind of ugly...
Ugly?...wutchootalkinboutWillis? Yeah, okay, they're...um...different...

Big +1 for the overhead! Perfect with those heavy padded factory Steiny gig bags too, pretty much Timex. Don't wanna jinx it, but I've never heard of an airline that didn't let you carry these on. Plus you see guys all the time running around with these slung on their back in the terminal...great conversation pieces. Gets inspected by security a lot, mostly curiosity...usually good for a few bars of Mustang Sally to brighten their day. Outstanding travel guitars. You can play 'em in a hotel room and the folks next door don't hear a thing. Easy to pull out on long shuttle bus rides. The flametop is a bit susceptible to suntan lotion, btw. Spent a lot of time by the pool playing one of these with headsets...but be careful you don't start singing...



...ps...Lang, the Fretlight...how you likin' that thing? Very interesting approach to learning the fretboard, neat technology.
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Old 03-26-2011, 11:01 PM
lang.murphy lang.murphy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ampegasaur View Post
Let's be honest, kind of ugly, just bizarrew, but could really fill a niche. I was thinking about starting a thread regarding this, but hey, here it is.
Well... that's a matter of opinion, no? Personally, I think they are beautiful in a minimalist kind of way. Yeah... nothing like a nice flame carve top, but I really do like the black Steinberger "look." Yeah, not crazy about the cut of my Cort... but, shoot... only cost me $185 including new zero fret, setup, and two sets of strings. When I originally got it, I thought, "hey, this was a waste of time and money" but after pairing it up with my Marshall, I'm really digging it. Looking forward to trying out the Steinberger SS-2F with my first active pups.

I know Felicia Collins of the CBS Orchestra (Paul Shaffer's band on Letterman's show) plays a white Steinberger on a -very- regular basis. Which model of Steinberger is beyond me, as I type.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jtees4 View Post
I like the Honer G2T's better. I currently own two.
I noticed that the Hohner's seem to retain a good resale price on ebay. They hadn't been on my radar before, but I'm definitely paying attention now. Thanks for the feedback; appreciated!

Quote:
Originally Posted by epluribus View Post
Not that I can tell, and of course the license is printed on your guitar by the name. Bernd or Rick Canton might have some better info, but I've scrounged a couple of these hardtails now and I can't find a difference between the labeled ones and those like yours. That's the trouble with this headless thing, btw...when you see a really cool deal on parts or a donor axe, you start stockpiling this stuff.

Thanks Lang, just returning a bit for all the folks who who've done so much of this for me. But I'll print the little bow guy and put him on the fridge where the SO can see him. Maybe it'll get me out of trouble or win me an argument sometime...
...

...ps...Lang, the Fretlight...how you likin' that thing? Very interesting approach to learning the fretboard, neat technology.
Ray: Don't know that I'll start stockpiling headless parts... but who knows if I get another? And, yes, please do post the dude on your fridge. Anything to win an argument... especially gear related ones... "I thought you were DONE buying amps." "Yes, dear." "Then WHY are you buying THIS amp?" "Because, dear... it is like the different sewing machines you have... they all do different jobs." "Yeah, RIGHT! MY sewing machines BRING MONEY IN. How much money does your new amp bring in, huh?" "Hey, Look! WHAT'S THAT OVER THERE?!?"

As to the Fretlight... geez... I'm a goof... I don't use it as much as I should. That said, I think they are friggin' awesome learning tools. S'right there on the board... scales... great stuff. I've purchased a few songs for that tool. The problem with the songs is you don't know what you're playing... it shows you the notes to hit, in time, but unless you know the fretboard, you have no clue what notes you're playing. Even so... I think it's the BEST way for ME to learn. I hate books... look at the book... try and "translate" to the fretboard. With the Fretlight... it's right there on the fretboard... no translation required. "Geez... am I on the right fret? Is that the 4th or 5th fret? DANG!"

Plus... I got mine for $150 on CL... WITH the $30 foot switch.

And... I actually like the board... it's silky smooth. Although it is absolutely flat. No curve at all. I like a little curve in my boards, but I put up with it, because, as stated, it is the BEST learning tool for ME. (Sorry for the caps, but I've learned one must stress certain statements otherwise third parties to a thread might come rolling in saying "What do you mean it's the BEST way to learn? Why, you... you... PIG!" lol)

Anyway... yes, very cool tech. I need to use it more frequently.

Hey, man... I'm glad to have resurrected this thread not only for myself, but if it interests others in these axes, then it's even better, right?

And... thinking about it... I thought that I didn't, maybe, stress just how much this axe friggin' RINGS through my Marshall! IT'S CRAZY! You had made the observation that it was, probably, an unexpected result, given the mass of the Cort's. (Or any of the all maple "S-types".) I swear... it rivals analog 'verb. No lie. (Well... YOU know that... just saying...)

Anyway... having fun... s'all that matters to me. Thanks, bro.

Best,

Lang
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Old 03-26-2011, 11:26 PM
lang.murphy lang.murphy is offline
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Originally Posted by epluribus View Post
Now... THIS... lol

My fav cable is an Armor Gold.

Wasn't cognizant of the Korg Pandora PX5D. May have to investigate that puppy.

And the Radial Dragster... dude! Too much knowledge! (JK, of course...)
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Old 03-26-2011, 11:31 PM
Ampegasaur Ampegasaur is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lang.murphy View Post
Well... that's a matter of opinion, no? Personally, I think they are beautiful in a minimalist kind of way. Yeah... nothing like a nice flame carve top, but I really do like the black Steinberger "look." Yeah, not crazy about the cut of my Cort... but, shoot... only cost me $185 including new zero fret, setup, and two sets of strings. When I originally got it, I thought, "hey, this was a waste of time and money" but after pairing it up with my Marshall, I'm really digging it. Looking forward to trying out the Steinberger SS-2F with my first active pups.

I know Felicia Collins of the CBS Orchestra (Paul Shaffer's band on Letterman's show) plays a white Steinberger on a -very- regular basis. Which model of Steinberger is beyond me, as I type.



I noticed that the Hohner's seem to retain a good resale price on ebay. They hadn't been on my radar before, but I'm definitely paying attention now. Thanks for the feedback; appreciated!



Ray: Don't know that I'll start stockpiling headless parts... but who knows if I get another? And, yes, please do post the dude on your fridge. Anything to win an argument... especially gear related ones... "I thought you were DONE buying amps." "Yes, dear." "Then WHY are you buying THIS amp?" "Because, dear... it is like the different sewing machines you have... they all do different jobs." "Yeah, RIGHT! MY sewing machines BRING MONEY IN. How much money does your new amp bring in, huh?" "Hey, Look! WHAT'S THAT OVER THERE?!?"

As to the Fretlight... geez... I'm a goof... I don't use it as much as I should. That said, I think they are friggin' awesome learning tools. S'right there on the board... scales... great stuff. I've purchased a few songs for that tool. The problem with the songs is you don't know what you're playing... it shows you the notes to hit, in time, but unless you know the fretboard, you have no clue what notes you're playing. Even so... I think it's the BEST way for ME to learn. I hate books... look at the book... try and "translate" to the fretboard. With the Fretlight... it's right there on the fretboard... no translation required. "Geez... am I on the right fret? Is that the 4th or 5th fret? DANG!"

Plus... I got mine for $150 on CL... WITH the $30 foot switch.

And... I actually like the board... it's silky smooth. Although it is absolutely flat. No curve at all. I like a little curve in my boards, but I put up with it, because, as stated, it is the BEST learning tool for ME. (Sorry for the caps, but I've learned one must stress certain statements otherwise third parties to a thread might come rolling in saying "What do you mean it's the BEST way to learn? Why, you... you... PIG!" lol)

Anyway... yes, very cool tech. I need to use it more frequently.

Hey, man... I'm glad to have resurrected this thread not only for myself, but if it interests others in these axes, then it's even better, right?

And... thinking about it... I thought that I didn't, maybe, stress just how much this axe friggin' RINGS through my Marshall! IT'S CRAZY! You had made the observation that it was, probably, an unexpected result, given the mass of the Cort's. (Or any of the all maple "S-types".) I swear... it rivals analog 'verb. No lie. (Well... YOU know that... just saying...)

Anyway... having fun... s'all that matters to me. Thanks, bro.

Best,

Lang
No offense, I am looking at buying a Steinberger, really want some feedback on the Baritone model.
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