Steinberger guitar ...explain please.

edward

Supporting Member
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4,293
OK, so yes I remember when these made a splash over 2 decades ago. But then again, there was lots of "flash" and "new" back then that did not survive to this millenium. So an honest question to those who really know these guitars (not looking to bash ...educate me): what is it about Steinbergers that give them good press over the years, not to mention such a loyal following. TIA!

Edward
 

Flinto2002

Senior Member
Messages
2,030
one word..... TRANS-TREM

Allows you to bend entire chords in tune, had preset detents in the bar that would allow you to lock the pitch up or down like a moving capo. A bunch of songs off 5150 are not possible to play without this device.
 

derekd

Supporting Member
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40,935
I played a banged up Steiny bass in the late 80's early 90's in a band, great tone, feel, light, easy to play. Had a cheap Spirit Strat shaped for about 5 years, sold last year. Other than the crappy EMG Select pups, all the same features as the above bass.

Great design ideas, but good ones (like any other instrument) get expensive.
 

phantasm

Member
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1,220
A friend of mine had one in the early 90's. To demonstrate how well it stayed in tune and how stable it was he tossed it down a flight of stairs. I'm still kicking myself for not buying it from him for $200 at that time.

Oh, the stairs were carpeted so there wasn't any damage when he let it loose. ha!
 

Kentano2000

Member
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3,806
I owned a GM4T from '88 to '94. Great guitar. Played like butter, easily transported, no neck worries. It had the maple body so it weighed a bit more than one might suspect. The TransTrem was cool. The application I used it for most was detuning all the strings together using the master screw in the back for playing along to records where the guitar was tuned to Eb. Lots of Van Halen and Hendrix! And if you wanted to do alternate tunings, you just locked the trem into the "zero" position and it became a hardtail bridge. Total awesomeness!:D
 

Pat Healy

Member
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10,954
one word..... TRANS-TREM

Allows you to bend entire chords in tune, had preset detents in the bar that would allow you to lock the pitch up or down like a moving capo. A bunch of songs off 5150 are not possible to play without this device.
:agree

A wonderful invention, and I don't know why it didn't become more broadly popular. Seems as though they could have licensed it like the Floyd. The Trans-Trem was like the next generation of the Floyd.
 

Dave L

Member
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1,256
The Trans-Trem is a monster bridge, like you guys said it would have been interesting to see how it would have fared if it had been licensed out and fitted on more "regular" guitars.

Other than what´s been said, wasn´t Steinberger pretty early with adopting EMG pickups as standard?
 

dumbell78

Member
Messages
4,945
great guitars for rehearsals/lessons. once you carry them a few times with subway/bus/train/plane, you start to feel like a violin player...

+1

I had one for a while (synapse) and mainly used it for traveling and such. It was so cool to be able to just throw it in the overhead bin and not worry about the airlines giving me trouble about a guitar. In the end I sold it because I just dont travel as much anymore.

I remember it having a real chunky neck which really surprised the hell out of me, didnt think something that small could pack such a neck.

Cool guitars!
 

Luke

Senior Member
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11,898
The necks were thick and the sound shrill. I had one for a decade as my travel guitar.
 

edward

Supporting Member
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4,293
Great thoughts. Ahhh, the trem. Now that you bring that up, I recall folks talking about that. Very cool ...thanks for the thoughts!

Edward
 

Snail

Member
Messages
663
How are the current models? Are they any good? I don't see them around at all... In terms of the small body-sized ones, there only seems to be the low-budget Spirit series.
 

BigDoug1053

Supporting Member
Messages
3,392
I can't vouch for Steinberger guitars with EMG pickups - but I had an XP bass that was a wonderful instrument. It sounded and played great.

Because of how well made the bass was, I bought a GL-2 custom guitar with passive Duncan Alan Holdsworth humbuckers in 91 as a travel guitar. It had the standard trem - which is a better design than any other traditional trem I have seen. The trem has a simple and accessible adjustment knob to match string tension, and it can be locked into a hard-tail configuration with a flip of another accessible lever.

The intonation is perfect all over the neck, and it never goes out of tune. The action is low and I have it strung with .011 - .052 GHS Boomers with a wound .018 G. Not only that, the carbon composite is a fairly resonant material and the guitar has a good sound. Lots of harmonics and a surprising acoustic volume. It was my main practice guitar because it was so ergonomic and comfortable to play, and I ended up falling in love with it.

When my hands were injured (repetitive strain from PC in 95), I modded it to 3 PUs, series/parallel/single switches and a 6-way rotary selector switch. I put a Duncan Vintage Rail in the middle, with is a silent split single coil PU (think Precision Bass, or the Fralin P-92). I also lined the inner cavity with copper tape and grounded everything. It is as quiet as any guitar with single coils can sound. The most versatile of my guitars, it can cover standard Strat to Les Paul settings, and chimey clean to dirty raunch. It only lacks P90 stink, but for that I have a nasty LP Special DC.

I won't say my Steinberger is a good looking guitar, but I sure as hell have bonded with it and love playing it.
 
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diego

Member
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2,893
I think their dissapearance had to do with guitar players being conservative about gear. And Gibson might not have known what to do with them, or possibly wanted to bury them.

I still have and play a GL and GM and a couple of Klein guitars. The original guitar was incredibly even sounding all over the neck... when I first tried one, it was tuned down a minor third... sounded fantastic with even the most complex chords, then I bought a GM with a transtrem and could transpose up and down. They don't sound like traditional guitars, but they have their own sound, and are especially great, to my ears, through all tube amplifiers -- this warms them up. I used to play mine through a fifties champ and a microverb to teach college music classes... put the champ under a chair and no one could see it, and the tone truly freaked people out... rolled the tone knob nearly all the way off.

I also like the narrow 2" radius at the bridge. And, no fuss... very stable necks. Can't beat the portability either.
 
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Aslan

Silver Supporting Member
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2,529
I owned one of the original all graphite models and for travel and at home they are perfect but when playing live they don't feel comfortable on a guitar strap. I never could get used to playing it live. Also they have their own sound and if your used to either Fender or Gibson, the Steinberger takes some getting used to.
 

Alter

Member
Messages
769
How are the current models? Are they any good? I don't see them around at all... In terms of the small body-sized ones, there only seems to be the low-budget Spirit series.
i 've got one of these. i 've played with it a lot (theatre gigs mostly), everything works ok with no issues, but changing pickups puts it in a whole different ball game..
 

Pietro

2-Voice Guitar Junkie and All-Around Awesome Guy
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16,443
Never like 'em. Not enough "soul"... I guess I just need wood.

Even the ones with wooden bodies and graphite necks didn't do it for me. Neither did the Modulus guitars (the basses are another story).

They were extraordinarily well-crafted instruments, though...
 


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