Headless Bass


Spirit by Steinberger XT-2

Price Paid:
$299 US

Where Purchased?:

New or Used:

4 - Good

4 - Good

5 - Great

Overall Rating:
4 - Good

In the mid-80's I first saw Geddy Lee play a headless Steinberger and have wanted one ever since. Ned Steinberger sold his company to Gibson and Gibson now sells this model exclusively through www.musicyo.com. I bought this bass because I was getting ready to play live again and didn't want to damage my 1965 JG Hollowbody bass which was the only bass I owned at the time. My budget was limited and this bass fit the bill. It has some great features for the price including:
Body Wing Material: Maple
Neck Material: 3-piece Hard Maple
Neck Joint: Thru-Neck
Fingerboard: Rosewood
Fingerboard Radius: 14"
Scale Length: 34"
Frets: 24
Neck Width at Zero Fret: 1.50"
Pickups (passive): Bridge - EMG Select Humbucker
Neck - EMG Select Humbucker
Controls: 1 - Neck Pickup Volume
1 - Bridge Pickup Volume
1 - Master Tone
Bridge: Patented Steinberger Bass Bridge with direct-pull 40:1 fine tuners
Tuning System: Patented, Steinberger Double-Ball System.
Strings: - Medium
Overall Length: 38.50"
Finishes: Black
It also came with a decent gigbag. This bass draws a lot of attention when I play it in a live setting. The Steinberger double-ball strings and the tuning system lock the bass in tune and it rarely needs to be tweaked. Since it doesn't have typical tuners, you can't bump them when putting the bass in its gigbag.
I had to move the rear strap button up the body towards the neck in order to pull the bass to the right. Before I added this strap button the bass pushed to far to the left which made playing the lower notes difficult.
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With the rear strap button move forward
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Steinberger XT-2



I never could decide if I liked or disliked the design of the Steinberger basses. I'd love to try one out for more than a few minutes to see if I could get used to it. Must be great for travelling though.


Steinberger Basses

Jimi66 Actually Steinberger made Larger body Headless Basses, and they sound great. I think I still have a pic of the one I've seen. I'll try and post.



Hey Pete! I admit these

Hey Pete!

I admit these things look cool, and are no doubt good instruments. The whole headless design has always been a bit uncomfortable for me, however. The first time I played one, it was hard for me to put my fretting hand in the proper place without thinking about it. I don't like thinking about such things. Since then, I have pretty much stayed away from them, though I admit this is probably a senseless predjudice on my part.

Was this your experience as well, and if so, was it fairly easy to get over?

I must admit, I have lusted after the weird little Ashbory bass ever since I heard the big, woody upright sound that comes out of that little instrument with its silicone strings. I'm sure I could adjust to that, and probably could to the headless basses as well if I wanted to badly enough.


There is no substitute for proper technique!

There is no substitute for proper technique!

Easy to Adapt

Hi Kelly,

I really didn't have any trouble adapting to the headless neck. The problem I had with this bass was it didn't come with the stap extender that the originals had back in the 80's, As a result when you strapped it on, it pushed way out to ther left which made plaing the lower register difficult. I corrected that by adding another strap button.

The new Synaps (spell ?) models have the extender... but they cost $1,000 more. This bass is very easy to play.

I have always wanted to try the Ashbory too. I have never seen one in person.


wheat's picture

But, oh, the sound!

I was never down with the look, but the few Steinbergers I've played sounded amazing and were very playable basses. I remember when they were the must have bass for lots of folks, especially for session work (sort of the Sadowsky of the early 80s). And I wouldn't mind having something so portable. I've tried the Guild/DeArmond Ashbury's. And they have their own weird vibe. But the ultra short scale is a little odd. And I'm really not a fretless guy at heart.

For a little while, Fernandes was making these ultra-short-scale basses with a speaker built into the body. Anybody ever seen one of those? I don't think I ever played one. But I liked the concept.


i saw one like that made by cort once upon a time....

i saw one like that made by cort once upon a time....


*and it harm none,do what thou will*

*and it harm none,do what thou will*

Spiky1's picture


There have been availability problems with those double ended strings in the past, you might want to stock up on them. A mate of mine told me that his steinberger (80's model) simply would not go out of tune, no matter how it was kicked around, or left in the boot of his car on hot days etc.

Fat man, fat bass.


I haven't had any problems so far with strings. There is an adapter out that you can install on end of the neck which allows the use of regular strings. It's only $20 -$30 and would open up a vast variety of string choices. Right now they have them for sale at www.musicyo.com but they only have the adapters for the 5-string models. They emailed me that they will be getting more of the 4-string adapters soon. if so, I plan to buy one eventually.