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STEINBERGER GM4S (USA) Project

MY HEADLESS TRAVEL GUITAR PROTOTYPE

STEINBERGER L2 bass (Newburgh)


STEINBERGER GM4S



Steinberger GM4S. Made in USA. click to enlarge
Steinberger GM4S. Made in USA. click to enlarge

 

This is almost like my Steinberger GM4S looked

before my deliberate and ruthless annihilation of its guitar body started.

 

Mine was candy apple red without the flame maple top and had a coil tap mini switch additionally.

 

All the photos from my original guitar were stolen in 1995 out of my car trunk

(together with everything else I possesed) in Hollywood.

I still love America!

Once in a while.

 

 

New body shape and new custom made tuners on the Steinberger S-Trem. My fingers were to fat for the original tuners. Not finished yet, of course. Still a lot of trouble ahead. Click to enlarge.
New body shape and new custom made tuners on the Steinberger S-Trem. My fingers were to fat for the original tuners. Not finished yet, of course. Still a lot of trouble ahead. Click to enlarge.
Not mine but pretty much like it. Steinberger maple body with rounded edges. Not as elegant as the early Newburgh models which had angular edges and binding. But more comfortable. click 2 enlarge
Not mine but pretty much like it. Steinberger maple body with rounded edges. Not as elegant as the early Newburgh models which had angular edges and binding. But more comfortable. click 2 enlarge
The Guitarfritz version of a Steinberger body. work in progress. Click to enlarge
The Guitarfritz version of a Steinberger body. work in progress. Click to enlarge

 

Am I the inventor of bound pickup routings?

I have never seen this before

... and I fucked up applying it.

 

Something missing? click to enlarge
Something missing? click to enlarge

I cut that original Steinberger body in three pieces and sanded away most of the candy apple red finish.

 

Then I took the middle piece with al the crucial routings (trem, neck pocket, pickups), glued new wood on it and designed a new body shape.


In order to hide the three-piece-desaster I glued an expensive flame maple top on it.

 

I`m not yet sure how fat the new body should be. It is mostly hollow in order to create something I missed a lot from the original: Resonance...
I`m not yet sure how fat the new body should be. It is mostly hollow in order to create something I missed a lot from the original: Resonance...

 

STEINBERGER BODY BUILDING

 

I always felt that the Steinberger guitars with the bigger wooden bodies weren`t good looking.

Check out these "buttocks" on both sides of the whammy and the pointy horns.

(no insult intended, of course this is a matter of personal taste.)

 

It wasn`t Ned Steinberger himself

but English luthier Roger Giffin who custom designed this shape exclusively for Mike Rutherford, a giant from a little Progrock band called "Genesis" who felt that the paddle Steinbergers just looked ridiculouly small on him. True.

 

I have to admit that the Steinberger GM body kind of works okay as a guitar body... But still I am disappointed in that it looks "too normal", too boring, not as radical as the small Steinberger paddle models.

 

So I decided to "improve" the body shape and find THE one and only modern looking new solution that Steinberger, Giffin and Rutherford had missed out.



It started as a lifesize drawing that had to be worked over and over and over hundreds of times.
It started as a lifesize drawing that had to be worked over and over and over hundreds of times.



Travelling around California and Nevada in 1995 I went to dozens of guitar shops searching for ANY Steinberger guitar. No one had one, no one was interested. Steinbergers were totally out!

 

The only Steinberger guitar I got to see was found at "Guitar Trader" in San Diego. The high E-string was missing but the guys in the shop didn`t bother to order a replacement string (It requires these special strings with ball ends on both sides). 

In short: No one gave a shit about Steinberger at that time, only ten years after Steinberger`s world wide success mainly with their radical all-composite one piece bass guitars like the L2 that I own.

(see below)

 

So I bought this unsuccessfull US-made oddment for 800 $.

It is a GM4S model with the carbon neck (without truss rod) and a maple body.

It has the second best Steinberger trem, the S-model and EMG pickups, of course.

 

The trem has ball bearings and works pretty well, apart from the fact that it carries the tuners as well.

 

The EMGs are ...well, ... they are ..., well, they are good proof for the fact that

Ned Steinberger himself is no guitar player.

He listened to the wrong people and probably to the wrong kind of music, too.

 

The next problem: Guitars don`t work like bass guitars.

in the 80s a bass guitar was fine if it had a very balanced and powerfull HiFi sound.

A sound like a synthesizer.

 

But guitars don`t work like that: If the sound is too balanced, if they sound like a synthesizer, then they suck.

 

Play a composite-neck Steinberger guitar without any amp for thirty seconds and you will immediately understand that there is something wrong with this guitar. 

In German we say: "Dead trousers" when we mean:

There is NOTHING going on!

The guitar does not resonate, is very quiet, faint, dull.

dead.

 

Maybe if you want to play 80`s rock through 10`000 effect processors and if you want the most clean or clinical HiFi-sound ever... clean, even with a lot of distorion ...


 

 

The new body, old neck and modded trem on my sofa. On the floor the lower part of the body-sandwich with the hole to grant access to the trem lock and trem tension spring and screw.
The new body, old neck and modded trem on my sofa. On the floor the lower part of the body-sandwich with the hole to grant access to the trem lock and trem tension spring and screw.
Cutting guitar bodies in pieces reminds me of modern art and postmodern architecture ... Deconstructivism with a hint of cubism. The Steinberger pieces are the red ones.
Cutting guitar bodies in pieces reminds me of modern art and postmodern architecture ... Deconstructivism with a hint of cubism. The Steinberger pieces are the red ones.
While my guitar gently weeps.... inspired by Picasso, Gris, Braque, Pete Townshend  and Jack the Ripper.
While my guitar gently weeps.... inspired by Picasso, Gris, Braque, Pete Townshend and Jack the Ripper.

Always trouble with Steinberger?

 

 

A WHAMMY WITH TUNERS?

 

As you can see I didn`t get to grips well with the Steinberger Trem.

 

The whammy itself is pretty cool and suffers only fro the usual disease: That the handle keeps getting loose and wobbles about in its thread all the time. Not enough grip.

(If you don`t want that, get a Duesenberg whammy on your guitar.)

There is a screw that fastens the handle but that doesn`t last long.

 

But up- and downbends are wide and nice and tuning stability is outstanding.


 a whammy with tuners on the moving parts? The lady has doubts
a whammy with tuners on the moving parts? The lady has doubts
The original tuners on that S-Trem bridge. Short, fat, small, too close togehter
The original tuners on that S-Trem bridge. Short, fat, small, too close togehter
better ... but still not very practical.
better ... but still not very practical.



The tuners are the parts that I have trouble with!

 

They are small, short and fat and crammed very closely together on the back of the moving part of the whammy bridge.

 

1.

My fingers are too fat. When I tuned the D-string my fingers also touched the tunig wheels of the A- and G-string on both sides ...

So while tuning one string I detuned an other one...

 

2.

I also keep tuning the wrong gears all the time beause you can`t see the tuning wheels very well. They are sunk underneath the body surface.

(call me an idiot if you want  - I will accept it)

 

3.

In order to tune the guitar you have to lock the bridge, of course. There is a short handle on the back to do that.

But it doesn`t lock 100%! The thing keeps moving around a little bit as you fumble on one of the 6 darned tuning wheels...

 

And since it is simply impossible not to use a tiny amount of pressure in your fingers while you are tuning the strings you will push the whole bridge a little bit down... As soon as you let go, the bridge will move slightly upwards again and thus change the tuning a tiny little bit.

It drives me crazy.

 

THE PROBLEMS:

 

1. The tuners are too close to each other. Tuning my Steinberger is a terrible pain in the butt to me.

 

2. Mounting tuners on a guitar part that is slack and moves around proves to be a bad idea.

 

MY CONCLUSION:

 

The Steinberger whammy itself would be pretty good if only the tuners were somewhere else

(on the headstock? ... What headstock?)

 

 

Hey,

 

this sounds like a

 

great idea: 

 

Why don`t we invent a guitar

with a ... shall we call it:

 

 

"headstock"?

 

where you could

mount some

 

tuning gears! 

 


... it could be done lieke this:  

 

not mine, unfortunately. A STEINBERGER prototype for Gibson with ...
not mine, unfortunately. A STEINBERGER prototype for Gibson with ...
...with - dare I say it? - with headstock! Cool!
...with - dare I say it? - with headstock! Cool!
Ad from 1987...
Ad from 1987...
The Gibson Steinberger bass (above) reminds me of this Herrnsdorfer guitar model coming from the late GDR, the eastern German Republic. So it may be even older than the Gibson bass. Not mine, unfortunately. click to enlarge
The Gibson Steinberger bass (above) reminds me of this Herrnsdorfer guitar model coming from the late GDR, the eastern German Republic. So it may be even older than the Gibson bass. Not mine, unfortunately. click to enlarge
by the way and speaking of "headless": Check this out: A Martin travel guitar, decades older than any Steinberger
by the way and speaking of "headless": Check this out: A Martin travel guitar, decades older than any Steinberger


MY HEADLESS


TRAVEL GUITAR


PROTOTYPE


My headless travel guitar prototype with 6 single ABM bridge-tuners ...
My headless travel guitar prototype with 6 single ABM bridge-tuners ...
... make it shorter if you want to travel with it: The arm-rest for the right arm can be flipped over.
... make it shorter if you want to travel with it: The arm-rest for the right arm can be flipped over.
"open" to full lenght, ready to be played...
"open" to full lenght, ready to be played...
"closed" and shortened, ready to be packed away and travel
"closed" and shortened, ready to be packed away and travel
Short enough for an overhead compartment on a plane. And very silent: No pickup, not a hollowbody
Short enough for an overhead compartment on a plane. And very silent: No pickup, not a hollowbody
...still a prototype... built around a Carvin through neck
...still a prototype... built around a Carvin through neck
As with my Steinberger I have the same problem with these 6 fine individual ABM tuner-bridge units  here: They are too close together for fat fingers like mine
As with my Steinberger I have the same problem with these 6 fine individual ABM tuner-bridge units here: They are too close together for fat fingers like mine
primitve but simple: 2 Floyd-Rose-style locking nuts clamp the strings. No double-ball-end-strings needed.
primitve but simple: 2 Floyd-Rose-style locking nuts clamp the strings. No double-ball-end-strings needed.



STEINBERGER L2


BASS


(Newburgh)


My early L2 model from Newburgh. The pre-owner took off the STEINBERGER logo.
My early L2 model from Newburgh. The pre-owner took off the STEINBERGER logo.
..and added a thumb rest. The serial number inside is somwhere around 700.
..and added a thumb rest. The serial number inside is somwhere around 700.
there is a leg rest somewhere too ...I know I have it ... but where?
there is a leg rest somewhere too ...I know I have it ... but where?