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Need a headless guitar builder

grooveht

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
553
Soooo, I have this guitar...


It's a swamp ash, semi hollow (as far as I know) Fretsong take on a telecaster. There are a bunch of things that are great about this guitar, and a bunch of things that are completely wonky. The neck is a Moses graphite neck, which for my constant travelling with work, is a great thing. One of the things that I think I chose well with this guitar we getting threaded inserts in the neck so I could break it down as required. The neck pickup is an SD SM-1, and the bridge is an Area Hot T, both of which I'd think of going with again. Also, Paul at Fretsong used a licensed copy of the Steinberg R-Trem; I think I like the R-Trem, but this Hohner copy is made of even more cheap pot metal than the normal R-Trem.

So, if I have this guitar, why do I need a headless builder? I would like somebody to build it again, but doing it right. In fairness to Paul, he advertised it as a prototype, but there are some things that got boned up pretty well in the execution. The laquer is on SUPER thick and uneven around the volume and tone knobs. The route for the switch isn't deep enough; I can't put a switch tip on it because it sits too close to the body and gets knocked off every time it's in position 1 and 4. The jack was bored into the wood so close to the tone pot that I can only use a mini pot for the tone; anything larger would contact the jack. The jack route itself is a mess. The control cavity route is a mess. Not anyone's fault but mine in retrospect, but I would genuinely have liked it with a middle pickup, not evenly between neck and bridge, but at the correct spacing for a strat middle pickup measured from the bridge.

Despite it all, this is the guitar that seems to travel the most with me, quirky though it may be. Or maybe that's the reason; the quirks. Regardless, any guitar builders feel like taking a crack at a headless build?
 

Kurt L

Member
Messages
5,573
Paging Chris Forshage!!!

Forshage Guitars on Facebook... he'd knock that outta the park, no doubt! He's in Pflugerville, Texas - a suburb of Austin.

Can't recommend him highly enough. In fact, I'm heading to his shop next week to discuss a possible build...
 
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grooveht

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
553
Kiesel offers a good selection of headless guitars, and you can spec them the exact way you want.
Hey CM, thanks...I think I may be trying to do a few too many things my way compared to Kiesel's offerings, but I have a buddy trying to talk me into one of theirs... :D

Paging Chris Forshage!!!

Forshage Guitars on Facebook... he'd knock that outta the park, no doubt! He's in Pflugerville, Texas - a suburb of Austin.

Can't recommend him highly enough.
Do you think he'd be interested in a lame-o build like this? The stuff I've seen of his is all artwork!
 

AdmiralB

Member
Messages
3,060
One of the things that I think I chose well with this guitar we getting threaded inserts in the neck so I could break it down as required.
I don't think Moses does it any other way (you can't really thread into carbon fabric). The Moses necks MusicYo used all had inserts, as did the original Newburghs.

The switch rout issue can be easily fixed. I'd bet most of it could, actually - I can't see the jack, obviously, but there are probably several possibilities.

Not much you can do about the R-trem. J Custom makes an S-trem style bridge that bolts on to S- and T-Trem guitars, but they have a different footprint.

If you're starting from scratch, you might see if you can source a bridge from Hipshot - that's what the Kiesels are using now, and while it's not on the Hipshot website yet, they do sell the headless fixed-bridge stuff, so the vibrato should arrive eventually.
 

Kurt L

Member
Messages
5,573
Do you think he'd be interested in a lame-o build like this? The stuff I've seen of his is all artwork!
Chris likes all kinds of different things. Or maybe your lame-o build becomes artwork... but I would at least contact him and see what he says.

Tell him Kurt sent you... that entitles you to absolutely no special treatment whatsoever!!!
 

mwhy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,755
Paging Chris Forshage!!!

Forshage Guitars on Facebook... he'd knock that outta the park, no doubt! He's in Pflugerville, Texas - a suburb of Austin.

Can't recommend him highly enough. In fact, I'm heading to his shop next week to discuss a possible build...
Yep, +100 on Chris.
 

s2y

Member
Messages
19,683
Tough to beat Forshage when ya look at the quality.

Kiesel has certainly improved the range of options since the early days of the headless Holdsworth. They recently got a trem for 6 string and a fanned 7 string bridge with some custom Hipshot hardware. I have Hipshot hardware on my headless bass and have been very impressed so far.
 

Carltone

Member
Messages
4,816
Chris Forshage makes the best headless I've played... and I've played quite a few over the years and owned a couple different makes before. My Orion from Forshage is the deal!!!
 

Be.eM

Member
Messages
1,211
…a licensed copy of the Steinberg R-Trem; I think I like the R-Trem, but this Hohner copy is made of even more cheap pot metal than the normal R-Trem…
There is no "other" R-Trem, both Steinberger Spirits and Hohner - to my best knowledge - still use the same R-Trem (just with different saddles). However, manufacturing has been moved from Korea to China a couple of years ago, and this obviously was not an improvement. Hohner has officially ended production of headless instruments in 2016. I know (inofficially) it happened because of quality issues the manufacturer didn't want to fix. And I've seen a few brand new R-Trems which definitely had quality issues. Hohner was not happy about that.
 

grooveht

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
553
There is no "other" R-Trem, both Steinberger Spirits and Hohner - to my best knowledge - still use the same R-Trem (just with different saddles). However, manufacturing has been moved from Korea to China a couple of years ago, and this obviously was not an improvement. Hohner has officially ended production of headless instruments in 2016. I know (inofficially) it happened because of quality issues the manufacturer didn't want to fix. And I've seen a few brand new R-Trems which definitely had quality issues. Hohner was not happy about that.
Hello Bernd! The main difference that I found between the Steinberger and Hohner r-trems was the base plate that gets screwed to the body; Steinberger used four large screws, had removable bridge posts (thanks again for those!!!) and used cheap pot metal, while Hohner used six very small screws, poorly designed fixed bridge posts, and even cheaper pot metal. I've had this build since 2009 or so, so before the downhill turn in manufacturing I think. Additionally, I believe the Hohner saddles differed from the steinberger models. So when are you going to build a full licensed copy of the r-trem?
 

Be.eM

Member
Messages
1,211
The main difference that I found between the Steinberger and Hohner r-trems was the base plate that gets screwed to the body; Steinberger used four large screws, had removable bridge posts (thanks again for those!!!) and used cheap pot metal, while Hohner used six very small screws, poorly designed fixed bridge posts, and even cheaper pot metal. I've had this build since 2009 or so,…
I really have no idea what kind of thing you have, but this does not sound like the base of a Hohner R-Trem. It always looked like this, as still sold by Hohner. In very early days they had an M4 thread on the posts, instead of M5 like all trems used on Steinbergers, and they've always used different (plain black) saddles, but apart from that they are the same. Would you mind sharing some pics of your base? I've never seen something that looks like your description.
 

S1Player

Member
Messages
3,448
Watson Guitars. Oakland Axe Factory (OAF).

OAF has switched to some production models instead of all custom. But, you might actually be able to get one of their standard models configured very closely to what you have there.
 

grooveht

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
553
I really have no idea what kind of thing you have, but this does not sound like the base of a Hohner R-Trem. It always looked like this, as still sold by Hohner. In very early days they had an M4 thread on the posts, instead of M5 like all trems used on Steinbergers, and they've always used different (plain black) saddles, but apart from that they are the same. Would you mind sharing some pics of your base? I've never seen something that looks like your description.
Bernd,
Happy new years! I took the bridge apart (and inadvertently knocking the saddles out of whack while I did so!) and it turns out this is not the bridge plate that I was thinking of. I know I have seen that one before, but it's not this one. I'll have to order two more of the bridge posts for this one! When I track down the other bridge of which we spoke earlier, I'll be sure to send pictures. Is there any way to tell if a Hohner bridge uses M4 or M5 threads? The good news is that I think new posts will solve some tuning stability issues!

S1,
I hadn't seen OAF before, thanks for that! Some very interesting builds over there.
 

lemonpaul59

Senior Member
Messages
2,065
Bump for the evening crowd
I've heard many headless guitar builders can be found in topless bars. One headless guitar builder rides a horse around northern Westchester county in NY State. Watch out for that guy.

In regards to your question, let Kiesel build one to your specs.
 

Be.eM

Member
Messages
1,211
Is there any way to tell if a Hohner bridge uses M4 or M5 threads?
Easy, just caliper the thread diameter of the posts. If it's almost 4 mm (3.9x), it's an M4 thread, and with almost 5 mm (4.9x) an M5 thread :)
 

Stephen Davis

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
684
If you are still looking, I have another vote for Chris Forshage. I have owned 4 Orions from him, 5 Steinbergers, and a Canton Equinox. They are all great guitars, but Chris is second to none. I can't say one negative word about his work.
 






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