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Looking to acquire one, pretty sold on a Kramer Duke but wanted to know what was so special about the Steinberger system adopted by several manufacturers such as Hohner, Cort, etc?  Is there anything to be aware of when buying a headless?

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Earlier today I posted this about headless basses in response to this thread:

I play two Status S2 Classics and a Hohner B2A, and to me the biggest advantages are:

  • Tuning stability: because you don't need to wind the strings around a tuning post, there is a lot less slipping and stretching. Instead, on most headless systems, the ball ends of the string clamp into a claw at the bridge end and the claw moves forward and backward on a threaded tuning screw. Once the strings are properly stretched, there is barely any detuning;
  • Compact size. I like how compact my Status basses are, especially for portability: they fit into a regular guitar gigbag. The Hohner has its own dedicated gigbag which is even more compact because of the body size (if you can call it a body). 

 

A Kramer Duke has regular bass guitar tuners, so the first argument doesn't count for those basses, but they are really compact (even more so than a Steinberger, because of their short scale which makes them pretty unique). The aluminium necks with wood inserts are a bit of an oddity too, and have many lovers and haters alike for their weight and (apparent lack of) tuning stability because of their sensitivity to temperature changes. For these reasons it wouldn't be my weapon of choice. I would also be weary of the balance on these. Because the body is so compact it doesn't add much weight to balance out the weight of the neck, and the front strap button is roughly behind fret 16/17. 

Edited by LeftyJ
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You might want to check whether it uses double ball end strings or standard strings clamped behind the nut.

There's less options on the market for double ball end end strings but there's stil a reasonable amount of choice.

Some headless basses, like my Washburn Status, can accomodate both types of string, but the grub screw clamp on the A string on mine wore out/broke years ago,  so that's maybe something to look out for. 

Edited by Cato
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A vote in favour of double ball ends. I have a Seibass Original 5 and can confirm everything @LeftyJ has said in regard to his Status basses.

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1 hour ago, Cato said:

You might want to check whether it uses double ball end strings or standard strings clamped behind the nut.

There's less options on the market for double ball end end strings but there's stil a reasonable amount of choice.

Some headless basses, like my Washburn Status, can accomodate both types of string, but the grub screw clamp on the A string on mine wore out/broke years ago,  so that's maybe something to look out for. 

The Kramer uses standard strings I believe.........

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If you're looking for a headless system avoid this one. Bulky and heavy the bass I have one fitted to suffers from the opposite of neck dive though it may be that the strap is fitted to the upper strap lock.

bassesinthesnow007.jpg

Personally I've never had any issues with the Overlord systems but others speak of issues they've had because of the poor quality of the materials used.

Edited by TheGreek
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I think Status have nailed the headless design and engineering. Rock solid tuning, ability to use double or single ball end strings, compact (mine fits in a guitar gig bag). 

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I had an Ibanez Axstar a couple of years ago but lent it to a mate who has since vanished......b'stard.  Would like to find one again

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Just now, SuperSeagull said:

I think Status have nailed the headless design and engineering. Rock solid tuning, ability to use double or single ball end strings, compact (mine fits in a guitar gig bag). 

Bit out of my budget I would imagine?

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You haven't mentioned your budget yet 😉

If a Status is too expensive, a Washburn S1000 might fit your bill. It's a licensed copy with real Status pickups and preamp but with a wooden neck instead of graphite. 

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1 minute ago, LeftyJ said:

You haven't mentioned your budget yet 😉

If a Status is too expensive, a Washburn S1000 might fit your bill. It's a licensed copy with real Status pickups and preamp but with a wooden neck instead of graphite. 

My Washburn Status has some sort of carbon fibre wrap over a wooden core.

Not sure if actual Statuses are solid carbon fibre.

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23 minutes ago, Cato said:

My Washburn Status has some sort of carbon fibre wrap over a wooden core.

Not sure if actual Statuses are solid carbon fibre.

Not fully solid, they're a carbon graphite shell with (probably) some sort of foam core and a fingerboard made of phenolic resin. 

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3 hours ago, Cato said:

My Washburn Status has some sort of carbon fibre wrap over a wooden core.

Not sure if actual Statuses are solid carbon fibre.

It does not. It is a wooden bass. Phenolic or rosewood fingerboard, black wooden neck. Yes, I have one.

Status has CF basses and necks. If you would have the neck made out of solid CF, you could carry a truck with it. The construction is hollow.

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If you’re considering a Hohner B2 series bass, check out whether you can cope with it standing up using a strap. The inherent design of them makes the way it balances very odd ( for me anyway). The bass hangs in a position that makes the neck too far away and a stretch for the lower frets. I used to often miss notes by a fret or two, and found it so awkward that I ended up selling mine which was a shame as I loved everything else about it.

Someone designed a strap button ‘extender’ that solved this on the original Steinberger models but I couldn’t find one when I had my Hohner - would have kept it if I had.

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This^^^^^^

The Hofner clones are otherwise great if you can get on with the unusual way they sit on a strap. Sitting is okay, since there is a fold out stay that is practical and actual works to keep the small body from moving around.

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28 minutes ago, casapete said:

If you’re considering a Hohner B2 series bass, check out whether you can cope with it standing up using a strap.

If you are considering a Hohner B2 series bass.... there is an exceptionally keenly priced one in the classifieds at the moment... 🤨

 

 

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51 minutes ago, casapete said:

If you’re considering a Hohner B2 series bass, check out whether you can cope with it standing up using a strap. The inherent design of them makes the way it balances very odd ( for me anyway). The bass hangs in a position that makes the neck too far away and a stretch for the lower frets. I used to often miss notes by a fret or two, and found it so awkward that I ended up selling mine which was a shame as I loved everything else about it.

Someone designed a strap button ‘extender’ that solved this on the original Steinberger models but I couldn’t find one when I had my Hohner - would have kept it if I had.

I recently acquired a Cort Steinberger Clone headless bass (even though I'm already at N+1...or in truth, it's really N+3 lol)
It was going rather cheap, and very close to me, and I'm thinking ahead, and that I've been asked to join in with someone who is now busking fairly regularly. It may be that there are no more pub gigs for quite some time - so if singing is allowed and legal outdoors - I'll think about busking - So the tiny overall size of my new Cort will be a boon.

First thing to say, is that I couldn't get over the quality of its' construction, especially as it was so cheap. The sound from it is great too, it's PJ pickup arrangement being a fave of mine.
But as others have said, the location of the strap button means that the bottom end of the neck is miles away. I'm 6 feet tall, and my arms are a fair length, but I struggled to reach F and F#
Moreover, I'm consistently hitting notes one whole tone up from those intended, unless I constantly look at my left hand position.

Anyhow, I found this YouTube video of a guy who has posted a helpful and cheap modification, using a £1.49 bracket from Wickes DIY shop.
I've heard that the Steinberger extender is really expensive, if you can even find one - apparently they're are rare as Hen's Teeth.... or even Hen's Gold Crowns! ;)
I did this mod myself, and it worked OK - it definitely brought F and F# that bit closer... but I still automatically hit higher notes than intended unless I keep looking at my left hand

So I've used this bracket method of strap extension in the video - BUT I've shaped a small offcut of wood, to act as an "upper bout" - to extend the strap button position even further. No photos ATM, cos I decided to paint it black to match the bass body. I'll take some pics once it's dry, and play about with it on the bass for a while - see if improves things further still. My reservation here, is that due to the shape of the body, it may well sit in the wrong position anyway..... apparently, someone makes a foam "wedge" to help the bass sit in a more natural position - but these are as rare as the Stenberger extenders! Perhaps I could fashion a piece of extruded polystyrene or other foam material? - I know, you may be thinking that's a lot of mods, and you're adding bulk - but the gigbag is really small, and there's still plenty of space in it :)

Enough of me rambling on - here's the video.... with thanks to the guy posting, in case he's on here :)
 

 

 

Edited by Marc S
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22 minutes ago, Paul S said:

If you are considering a Hohner B2 series bass.... there is an exceptionally keenly priced one in the classifieds at the moment... 🤨

 

Funnily enough - I had thought about contacting Paul about this bass - it looks great, and has PJ pickups.... then my Cort turned up locally... so I opted for that.
Just wanted to say, I've dealt with Paul, and he's a top BC'er to deal with. If I was considering a small, compact Stenberger type bass - this looks a great option :) 

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17 hours ago, LeftyJ said:

A Kramer Duke has regular bass guitar tuners, so the first argument doesn't count for those basses, but they are really compact (even more so than a Steinberger, because of their short scale which makes them pretty unique). The aluminium necks with wood inserts are a bit of an oddity too, and have many lovers and haters alike for their weight and (apparent lack of) tuning stability because of their sensitivity to temperature changes. For these reasons it wouldn't be my weapon of choice. I would also be weary of the balance on these. Because the body is so compact it doesn't add much weight to balance out the weight of the neck, and the front strap button is roughly behind fret 16/17. 

I used to own a Hondo Alien which is essentially a copy of The Duke but with low quality hardware and wooden fingerboard. Once I had replaced the bridge and machine heads with proper Schaller versions, it was a very decent instrument. No problems with balance or tuning stability. However unless you find one very cheap (under £100) and are prepared to replace the hardware, I wouldn't recommend the Hondo, as a alternative to a proper Kramer The Duke.

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1 hour ago, Paul S said:

If you are considering a Hohner B2 series bass.... there is an exceptionally keenly priced one in the classifieds at the moment... 🤨

 

 

I saw this and it's a great price.  If I go ahead with a "paddle" style headless I think I'll stick to the Kramer.  

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I wholeheartedly agree with what others say about the Hohner B2 models. The proper composite Steinbergers have a "Boomerang" strap button extension to make them hang more like a regular bass guitar on a strap. The Hohners don't, and the front strap button is behind fret 20/21! So the nut and fret 1 and 2 are indeed very far away. I'm tall and have long arms so I can deal with it on my B2A, but it still feels weird and uncomfortable. Incidentally, I sold mine yesterday. 

https://www.marktplaats.nl/a/muziek-en-instrumenten/snaarinstrumenten-gitaren-bas/m1593866049-linkshandige-hohner-b2a.html

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I have just acquired this, love the sound  , cant get in with a double octave kneck.😐

 

Tuning system seems great on it though, I also think not having to use double balled strings is a binus.

20200925_201924-2.jpg

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