In recent times, there has been a lot of talk about the headless guitar, and people have different opinions about it. Though it is talked about as an innovative design, its origin can be traced back to the ’80s. Ned Steinberger is credited for inventing modern design.
Today, it still seems weird for a guitar to have no headstock. But over the years, there has been a better acceptance of this set of guitars, unlike in the ’80s when many detested it.
The headless electric guitar has some advantages which could make it worth considering in place of the conventional guitars with headstocks. What are the pros and cons of this guitar? Are the modifications in it necessary? These and other frequently asked questions about this guitar will be addressed in this article.
Upon taking a closer look, the guitar seems incomplete and broken due to the absence of a tailstock. Many people have argued that it is much better than standard guitars in terms of tone and comfortability.
The earliest versions of the guitar can be dated back to the 18th century, but do not seem to have a particular origin or who it can be traced to as the first inventor.
Ned Steinberger is popularly known as the father of modern headless guitar designs. During his early days, he brought about the headless guitar design concept, and in 1980, his company, Steinberger Guitars, was registered.
Headless Guitar: Pros and Cons
Headless guitars have advantages and disadvantages which may influence your choice when looking for the best model for you. Though there aren’t disadvantages, it only boils down to individual preferences and choice.
A Headless guitar is an ergonomic instrument that tends to be lighter than its traditional counterparts due to a lack of a giant wood trunk. The lightweight guitar weighs about 9lbs. The tuners, usually on the headstock, have also been removed.
Generally, having a light guitar is much better for your body and your bones. It is much more balanced than the typical guitars, with no neck dives and no effect on the nerves.
In playing guitar while standing, one of the main issues is the Neck dive, where you have to focus on what you are playing and the position of the guitar. With the headless guitar, neck dives are eliminated, and the guitar stays wherever you position it.
Faster String Changes
Because of how the headless guitar hardware and locking notes have been set up, you don’t have to spend the whole day wrapping a string around a post, unlike in typical guitars with tailstocks. This will save you a reasonable amount of time.
It requires no winding at all, just put the string in, and that’s all. They don’t have tuning pegs like the standard guitars. Simply insert them into a slot, tighten them, and clip off the string ends.
Unlike standard guitars, headless guitars don’t have nuts. Instead, they have zero stainless steel frets, which helps to eliminate fret-buzz and improves the sound consistency, especially when playing open strings. Usually, the zero frets put an extra upper fret in place of the nuts.
Due to the zero frets used in headless guitars, there is better intonation than the traditional models. One way the zero frets give the headless guitar a better intonation is that it stays on the same level with the remaining frets, raising the action slightly towards the but.
In regular guitars, the nuts are always higher than the frets, raising the string slightly and leading to intonation problems. But since headless guitars do not have nuts, you won’t need to worry about this.
Uniqueness in Look
One thing about the headless electric guitar is its uniqueness compared to regular ones. The look attracts many people, although this may vary, depending on interests and choices.
Looking at the case for the guitar, it is perfect for travels, functions, events, and outings since it is lighter and smaller in size.
Sometimes, mistakes occur when a guitar player hits the face with the headstock, especially during performance. But for headless guitars, the risk of this happening is reduced since they don’t possess headstocks.
Difficult to Hang
While regular guitars can be hung using hangers and their headstocks, headless guitars don’t have headstocks which makes it impossible to hang them safely.
You Can’t Attack Tune
One of the few limitations is that you can’t tune and play the guitar simultaneously. The tuners are located down at the bridge, making it difficult to switch to that area while playing.
Headless guitars still haven’t gone around due to a limited number of product manufacturers. There are only a few known producers.
The regular guitars have many cheaper options available, unlike the headless electric guitars. The higher price isn’t due to the fact that they are unique from traditional guitars. It’s just for the fact that there is a limited production, so they are not so common.
Only a few people use headless guitars, which has made the manufacturers not make cheaper options available for people to purchase.
Feels like Toy
As much as the lightweight of the headless guitar is a tremendous advantage to consider, some people still prefer the standard guitar because the headless one feels like a toy to them.
Some prefer heavier guitars for stability. So this is just based on individual preferences and choices; it’s not a downside per se.
Steinberger, the foremost modern headless guitar producer, has continually improved over the years since it came into existence in the ’80s. The idea behind the design and innovation was to eliminate irrelevant weight and reduce the size of guitars.
Strandberg was founded in 2007 by a Swedish, Ola Strandberg. The company is known for producing versatile, portable, and ergonomic headless instruments.
In terms of popularity, Kiesel is one of the most recognized headless guitar brands. Majorly, they produce guitars with headstocks, but the company also makes headless electric guitars with various amounts of strings.
Although many people know Teuffel for their bird fish headless guitar, they also manufacture the headless tesla, with many asymmetrical control configurations across its models.
The idea behind Leon Cox’s guitar design was to produce a lightweight and portable headless guitar. The traveler guitar is one of the cheapest headless guitars compared to the top brands mentioned earlier.
Frequently Asked Questions
How are Headless Guitars different?
The significant difference between headless guitars and the typical guitars that are common is the headstock. Headless guitars don’t have headstock like regular guitars, which makes them lighter and more portable for use.
Are Headless Guitars Cheaper?
The regular guitars have cheaper options, unlike the headless guitars. This is because they are not as popular as the traditional guitars and don’t have many users, so there are a limited number of companies producing them. So it is safe to say that the regular guitars are cheaper.
Are Headless Guitars reliable?
Headless guitars are very reliable. They perform the same functions as regular ones, only with slight differences in their modes of operation. Many times, they even have better intonation than the traditional guitars.
How do I set up a Headless Guitar?
For instructions on how to set up a headless guitar for your guitar playing, click the link below:
From all that has been discussed, it can be seen that the headless guitar was developed to produce something that will be less stressful to carry and more portable to handle.
Headless guitars can be your best bet based on your choice and preferences because they don’t relegate the traditional guitars that are well known.