Headless guitars are back and more popular than ever! It’s pretty incredible to see their spike in popularity over three decades after being first conceptualized and built by American creator Ned Steinberger in the 1980s.
It’s fair to say Mr. Steinberger was ahead of his time as a new generation of guitarists, who tend to embrace modernity in guitar design, have paved the way for newer shops such as Kiesel and Legator who now produce their own renditions of the headless guitar concept.
I’ll start this article by sharing my thoughts on some of the best headless guitars out there right now, but if you want to learn more about them before reading reviews, check out our headless guitar information guide at the bottom of the page here.
|Name of Product||Image of Product||Description||Price Range||Full Review|
|1. Ibanez QX54||Pickups: See below|
Bridge: Custom bridge
|$1,100||Read Full Review Below|
|2. EART Headless Electric Guitar (Budget Pick)||Pickups: HH pickup|
Bridge: Fixed or Tremolo available
|$330||Read Full Review Below|
|3. Strandberg Boden Fusion 6 (Best Overall)||Pickups: 2 humbucking and 1 single|
Bridge: Strandberg EGS 5
|$2495||Read Full Review Below|
|4. Strandberg Boden Plini Edition Natural (Best Signature)||Pickups: Suhr SSH plus and SSV|
Bridge: Tremolo bridge and locks
|$2495||Read Full Review Below|
|5. Asmuse Headless Electric Travel Guitar (Best Travel Size)||Pickups: See below|
Bridge: Modular bridge
|$395||Read Full Review Below|
|6. Boden Original 8 Black||Pickups: HH pickup|
Bridge: Strandberg EGS series 5
|$2395||Read Full Review Below|
|7. LegatorGhost Performance 7 (Best 7 String Headless)||Pickups: HH Passive Neck and Bridge|
Bridge: See below
|$1000||Read Full Review Below|
|8. JAMMY MIDI Guitar (Best MIDI Headless Guitar)||Pickups: MIDI||$500||Read Full Review Below|
|9. ZA6 Kiesel Zeus (Best Headless Acoustic Electric Guitar)||Pickups: LR Baggs Element Acoustic|
Bridge: Hipshot hardtail
|$1550||Read Full Review Below|
|10. Strandberg Boden Classic 6 Trem||Pickups: Bridge and Single-Coil|
Bridge: EGD Series 5
|$1495||Read Full Review Below|
|11. Boss V-BDN VG-Strandberg||Pickups: See below|
Bridge: EGS pro 4 tremolo bridge
|$5190||Read Full Review Below|
|12. Steinberger (GM) GM4T (Best Rock/Fusion)||Pickups: 2 single coil and humbucker|
Bridge: S-Trem, TransTrem, Vibrato
|$2000||Read Full Review Below|
|13. HH2 Allan Holdsworth||Pickups: Kiesel Holdsworth Humbuckers|
Bridge: See below
|$1550||Read Full Review Below|
|14. Steinberger Spirit GT-Pro||Pickups: See below|
Bridge: Direct Drive R-Trem Tremolo
|$400||Read Full Review Below|
|15. Ibanez EHB1505MS 5-String Headless Bass||Pickups: Nordstrand Custom|
Bridge: MR5HS bridge
|$1700||Read Full Review Below|
|16. Marconi Lab Ego Thunder 2k17||Pickups: See below|
Bridge: Tremolo 6 strings
|$3200||Read Full Review Below|
|17. Rick Toone USM-PRO||Pickups: OEM Custom DiMarzio|
Bridge: See below
|$11000||Read Full Review Below|
Here Are the Best Headless Guitars
1. Ibanez QX (Best Value)
Estimated Price: $1,100
Pickup Configuration: R1 (S) neck, R1 (S) middle, Q58 (H) bridge
Bridge: Ibanez Mono Tune Bridge
Scale Length: 25.5”
Body Material: Maple top / Nyatoh body
Neck: 3 piece Roasted Maple/Bubinga
Fret Count: 24
Fretboard Radius: 508mm
Country of Origin: Japan
My Review: The Ibanez Q (Quest) series includes both slanted frets (QX) and traditional straight fret (Q) models. I’m personally not as experienced with slanted frets in my own playing, but when I sat down with each model for this review I forced myself to handle the fanned fret version as much as possible. I expected there to be more of a learning curve, but that didn’t end up being the case. My hand settled in on the slant of the frets quite naturally. One thing I learned is that this is especially natural for the hand in a more modern seated playing position with the guitar propped up high on your leg. I’m sure this was by design. The specific 8 degree slant of the frets is no accident and seems to be yet another great example of Ibanez listening and working with musicians on what they want out of a modern day guitar.
I loved the feel of the neck on this guitar. Even though the guitars i played were brand new, the roasted maple with satin finish neck had a perfectly “broken in” feel that so many guitar players desire. That, along with the narrow fanned frets made for a very natural playing experience, especially for fast tapping action.
I couldn’t believe how incredibly light this guitar felt. I put the guitar on a scale and this one in particular weighed in about 5.8 lbs. What I thought made this guitar feel even lighter then what it was is the compactness. Being someone used to holding a guitar with a headstock, you may be used to the weight of the guitar being more spread out. Picking up a headless guitar has a much more stable feeling with no subtle deadstock to body weight teetering.
The hardware is all good quality. The pots and tuning bridge move smoothly and are consistent. This guitar has a 5 way selector switch which function like a typical HSS Strat system would, however there is also an Alter switch, which when ON engages 5 additional pickup configurations. I love when guitars electronics offer as much versatility as possible so this was a huge plus for me. I spent the first hour just going through the switching system to dial in different tones. The one master volume and master tone simplified things a bit in that regard. I would have preferred a second tone knob to be able to blend atleast a subset of the pickup combinations but this configuration is fairly standard for headless guitars so its not necessarily a shortcoming compared to other comparable models.
I was disappointed these guitars only came with a gig bag. I personally prefer a hardshell case, especially for transportation purposes. I would describe the gig bag quality as “decent”. It has some padding, made out of a durable feeling material, has 2 front pockets to keep your cables and other accessories, and has both a hand grip and backpack straps for your preference in carrying method. Its also branded “Ibanez” if you like to show off your brand loyalty.
Headless guitars have historically been more of a niche product in the guitar market since their conception. Unless you live in a major city with music stores that stock boutique products, it’s can be difficult to even find headless guitars in your local music shop. This makes it next to impossible to try before you buy. Sometimes Guitar Center may have 1 or 2 Strandberg type guitars in store, but selection is typically very limited. One of the reasons I’m so excited about the Ibanez Q series is it will give alot more buyers a chance to walk into a local guitar store, pick up a headless guitar and play it for the first time. On top of that, this is made by one of the best known and trusted brands and is priced relatively affordably.
Target Customer: Modern and Prog metal, pop, rock players. Modern Finger tapping style.
Bottom Line: High build quality and all the specs that you expect from a fully equipped modern guitar all at an affordable value.
2. EART Headless Electric Guitar (Budget Pick)
Estimated Price: $300
Pickup Configuration: 2 open double coil humbuckers
Bridge: W1 model with Tremolo, W2 model with fixed Bridge
Body Material: Carbonized African redwood xylophone body
Neck: Maple, “C” curved
Frets: Highly durable stainless steel frets
Fretboard: Indian rosewood
My Review: Let me just say that I really enjoyed playing this one. I would honestly describe the fret job as “really good”, considering the price point. The playability was great and right out of the box, the guitar just needed a quick tune. The intonation was really close as was the action. Only some minor tweaking was needed to set up. The neck felt great and I was very impressed with the finish. The veneer they use on these guitars simply looks awesome.
Hardware is decent, but I suppose that’s where you can say they cut costs on this one for affordability. It’s safe to say they focused on quality in all the places it matters most and cut corners where it matters least. The neck, body, and fret job quality is good for the price, but I would rate the electronics as “usable” and suggest this is something that could be upgraded later. But electronics is a project that is easy enough for most tinkerers and would make a significant and budget friendly improvement.
I can tell you you’ll likely be very happy with this purchase. This is easily one of the best values on the market.
Key Specs and Features: There are 2 bridge options available, the W1 version will have a Tremolo bridge whereas the W2 version will have a fixed bridge setup. There are several incredible looking veneer finishes to choose from
Target Customer: Modern progressive metal, metal, rock, electro, modern pop-rock, and even jazz
Bottom Line: This headless guitar easily forced its way toward the top of this list with its great looks, awesome playability, and absolutely unbeatable value. When comparing it to a Strandberg guitar like it is styled after, I like to describe this guitar as 80 percent of the guitar for 20 percent of the money.
3. Strandberg Boden Fusion 6 (Best Overall)
Estimated Price: $2495
Pickup Configuration: 2 humbucking pickups and 1 single-coil pick
Bridge: Strandberg EGS 5 Tremolo
Scale Length: 25″–25.5″ multi-scale fingerboard
Body Material: Alder Solidbody, Chambered
Neck: Roasted Maple EndurNeck
Fretboard Radius: 20″-radius fretboard with jumbo frets
Fret Count: 24
Country of Origin: Indonesia
My Review: I absolutely love the chambered body on this guitar and the overall feel, when playing. Compared to the classic model, the pickups on fusion are slightly better. As the name entails, it’s perfect for fusion, and, while slightly on the pricey side, it definitely makes up for it. Interestingly, the neck of the guitar is thinner around the higher notes, making it easier to solo around that range. Of course, I’m in love with the EndurNeck, the intonation on this guitar is excellent and the tremolo system is stable and I like how much expression can be added by subtly using it.
Key Specs and Features: Another Strandberg beauty, this Fusion 6 features an Alder Solidbody, Chambered body, with a Roasted Maple EndurNeck. The pickup configuration is 2 humbucking pickups and 1 single-coil pick, with a .strandberg EGS 5 Tremolo Bridge. It has 24 jumbo frets with a 20” radius and a 25″–25.5″ multi-scale fingerboard.
Target Customer: If you’re looking for a great fusion headless guitar, then this guitar is for you.
Bottom Line: This instrument is extremely versatile, easy to play, and full of quality. If you can afford to invest more in your purchase and upgrade from the Classic version, then getting Fusion is definitely a good decision.
4. Strandberg Boden Plini Edition Natural (Best Signature)
Estimated Price: $2495
Pickup Configuration: Suhr SSH+ and SSV pickups with a 3-way switch
Bridge: Strandberg EGS Series 5 tremolo bridge & string locks
Scale Length: Long Scale: 25.5” and Short Scale: 25”
Body Material: Chambered Swamp Ash body with a maple top
Neck: Roasted Maple neck
Fret Count: 24 frets
Fretboard Radius: 20’’
Country of Origin: Indonesia
My Review: If you’re into the modern progressive metal guitar scene, you’ve probably heard of Plini! Well, just like his music, this signature guitar is full of beauty and variety. Due to its advanced pick-up configuration, as well as the superior wood build, this guitar is well suited for premium quality sounds in any genre, whether you’d like to play hardcore djent riffs or just really intimate jazzy harmonies.
Key Specs and Features: The Strandberg Boden Plini Edition Natural features a superb Chambered Swamp Ash body with a maple top and a Roasted Maple neck. There are a total of 24 frets, with a fretboard radius of 20’’. Built-in Indonesia, this beautiful guitar has a Strandberg EGS Series 5 tremolo bridge & string locks and a pickup configuration of Suhr SSH+ and SSV pickups with a 3-way switch. The Long Scale is 25.5” and the Short Scale is 25”.
Target Customer: If you love Plini, an electric guitar with great acoustic and futuristic looks, then this guitar is for you.
Bottom Line: I really like Plini’s take on improving the stock Strandberg Guitar versions and feel like this guitar has its own character, capable of beautifully covering any styles from jazz to progressive metal and really taking that Solo Guitar journey further.
5. Asmuse Headless Travel Guitar (Best Travel Size)
Estimated Price: $395
Pickup Configuration: Combination of Neck Pick-up：LIGHTNING LH-N Aluminum-nickel-cobalt pickup (Switchable single coil pickup) and Bridge Pick-up：LIGHTNING LH-B Aluminum-nickel-cobalt pickup (Switchable single coil pickup）
Bridge: Special Adjustable modular bridge for update and exchange
Scale Length: 25.5 Inches/648 MM
Body Material: Mahogany
My Review: I like the design of this guitar and overall looks. The pickups and playability really good for the price range. The wood and overall build are very good. A really great value buy if you like a compact travel guitar without sacrificing playibilty and tone.
Key Specs and Features: This instrument has a combination of pickups consisting of 1 Neck Pick-up：LIGHTNING LH-N Aluminum-nickel-cobalt pickup (Switchable single coil pickup) and 1 Bridge Pick-up：LIGHTNING LH-B Aluminum-nickel-cobalt pickup (Switchable single coil pickup).
Target Customer: Anyone interested in a good looking budget Headless Guitar.
Bottom Line: I would recommend this guitar if you have a very low budget.
6. Boden Original 8 Black
Estimated Price: $2395
Pickup Configuration: HH pickup configuration with 3-way pickup selector, neck, neck and bridge in parallel, and bridge
Bridge: Strandberg EGS series 5 fixed bridge & string lock
Scale Length: Long scale: 28” (8-string)
Body Material: Swamp Ash with 4A Flame Maple top
Neck: Roasted maple neck
Fret Count: 24 Stainless Steel frets
Fretboard Radius: 20″
Country of Origin: Indonesia
My Review: I’ve been playing this guitar for many years now and I have to admit, I have found absolutely nothing to complain about. The sound is dynamic, balanced and the neck is very fluid and ergonomic. Despite it having 8 strings, it is considerably light and comfortable. It is my first 8 string guitar and I’ve mainly purchased it because I just had to have a Strandberg Guitar and if I could get more strings on it, why not. It felt a bit weird switching to an 8 string in the first week, especially when playing chords, but soon adapted to it. Having the 2 additional strings instantly made me rethink the instrument overall, as they offer completely new possibilities.
I’ve initially used the E – B – E – A – D – G – B – E bottom-down tuning, which is very useful to quicker translate chords you’re used to playing as a 6 or 7 string guitarist, but then went more adventurous and played around with other configurations. The EndurNeck makes it very efficient to reach that 8 string, while also playing chords on the higher strings and the pickups do a great job at accurately capturing and rendering the frequency spectrum. I quite like the neutral black look of it and the paint holds up really well but might change it to a swirl, or painted body in the future. Not to mention how groovy you can get with bass techniques like thumbing, while at the same time being able to express a wide range of harmonic content.
Key Specs and Features: This amazing 8 string Strandberg Boden Original electric guitar features a Swamp Ash body, with a Roasted Maple neck built in Indonesia. The pickup configuration is HH with a 3-way pickup selector – neck, neck + bridge in parallel + bridge. It has 24 frets, with a fretboard radius of 20’’ and a 28’’ long scale. It also has a patented Strandberg EGS series 5 fixed bridge & string lock.
Target Customer: Anyone interested in the best ergonomic 8 string guitar ever made. If you’re looking to jump from a 6 string, or a 7 string to an 8 string, then this guitar is for you.
Bottom Line: It’s a really well made 8 string guitar, with lots of extra features compared to other 8 string guitars out there and if you like the headless look, then I’m sure you’ll be happy with this purchase.
7. Legator Ghost Performance 7 (Best 7 String Headless)
Estimated Price: $1000
Pickup Configuration: HH, Passive Neck + Bridge: Alnico.
Bridge: Legator Headless Monorail Bridge with a Legator Single Saddle Monorail
Scale Length: Multi-scale 25.5–27 in.
Body Material: Double cutaway Solid Ash Body, with Polyutherane finish
Neck: 1-piece Maple with a Modern D shape and Satin Poly Finish
Fret Count: 24 Fanned Frets, Medium Jumbo
Country of Origin: South Korea
My Review: This Legator Ghost Performance 7 Multi-Scale Electric Guitar White Ash is the perfect 7 String Headless Guitar option for Trash Metal players. While it has received a lot of critiques, I find it useful for Trash Metal particularly because of the cons. The frets are not as leveled or polished and the pickups sound quite messy, but again, the messy sound is characteristic for Trash Metal riffs.
Key Specs and Features: Legator Ghost Performance 7 Multi-Scale Electric Guitar White Ash features an Alnico HH, Passive Neck + Bridge configuration, with a Legator Headless Monorail Bridge, that has a Legator Single Saddle Monorail. The body is a Double cutaway Solid Ash Body, with Polyutherane finish and the neck is made out of a 1-piece Maple with a Modern D shape and Satin Poly Finish. Manufactured in South Korea, it has a multi-scale 25.5–27 in scale length, with 24 Fanned Frets, Medium Jumbo, and a Purpleheart Fretboard.
Target Customer: Due to its overall aggressive and muddy tone, it’s most appropriate for Trash Metal players.
Bottom Line: I would definitely recommend this guitar for aggressive and noisy metal sounds. It may be good for other styles too, but in that case, the pickups, leveled and polished frets, as well as other minor details, which eventually add up, would need to be improved.
8. JAMMY MIDI Guitar (Best MIDI Headless Guitar)
Estimated Price: $500
Pickup Configuration: MIDI
Scale Length: N/A
Supported Software: Garage Band, Ableton, Logic Pro, Reaper, Cubase, and other major DAWs
Fret Count: 15
Country of Origin: China
My Review: I find the concept of this guitar really interesting and certainly useful, especially if you’re a guitarist looking to compose music via MIDI. It comes with a really cool app, where you can change tunings, select capo, sounds, etc. You can connect your guitar to your main DAW. It’s nice that is wireless, as that makes things more comfortable, however, it doesn’t feel anywhere near a good real guitar neck. But that’s fine, it’s not meant to be for performance. It’s also portable, so that’s a huge advantage if you’re traveling.
Key Specs and Features: The JAMMY MIDI Guitar App-Enabled Digital Guitar, MIDI Controller has a MIDI pickup configuration and it’s supported on all major DAWs, including Garage Band, Ableton, Logic Pro, Reaper, Cubase, etc. It comes in Black, it’s manufactured in China and has a total of 15 frets.
Target Customer: It’s targeted towards Audio/Music producers and Composers, with a background in guitar performance.
Bottom Line: If you’re an audio/music producer and composer, who doesn’t like using MIDI keyboards, then this may work very well for you. Being a keyboard player myself, as well as a guitarist, I’ve also noticed how coming up with ideas using JAMMY puts me in a different creative mindset. The guitar is the closest instrument to my heart and being able to orchestrate synths, strings, or even drums, by playing the guitar, not only makes things easier but also pushes me to generate ideas differently compared to using a MIDI keyboard.
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9. ZA6 Kiesel Zeus (Best Headless Acoustic Electric Guitar)
Estimated Price: $1550
Pickup Configuration: LR Baggs Element Acoustic
Bridge: Hipshot hardtail
Scale Length: 25.5’’
Body Material: Mahogany with spruce top
Neck: Tung-oiled mahogany with 2-way adjustable truss rod and dual carbon-fiber rods for additional strength & stability
Fret Count: 24 stainless steel medium-jumbo, .103 wide X .048 tall
Fretboard Radius: ebony, 14″
Country of Origin: USA
My Review: I have to say, this guitar sounds a good bit different then most electric-acoustic guitars out there, but in a good way. Its a dream to have an acoustic headless guitar that is easy to hold and flexible to play, especially when soloing. The aesthetics are incredible, although I would’ve preferred if the Kiesel logo was more subtle like the Strandberg logo is, this is just my subjective opinion. It is ideal for singers/songwriters and due to its small body, it feels exactly like an electric guitar, but with an acoustic tone. I personally really like the differences in sound it has and the fact that you can play fast, easily reaching the 24th fret, which is not something so simple to do on most acoustic electric guitars
Key Specs and Features: This American ZA6 Kiesel Zeus Headless has beautiful specs, where the body is made out of Mahogany with a spruce top. There are a total of 24 stainless steel medium-jumbo, with a scale length of 25.5’’. The pickup configuration consists of LR Baggs Element Acoustic, with a Hipshot hardtail bridge. The neck is made of Tung-oiled mahogany with 2-way adjustable truss rod and dual carbon-fiber rods.
Target Customer: If you like the idea of having a headless acoustic guitar in your collection, then this guitar is for you.
Bottom Line: This instrument is really good if you’re interested in having a versatile headless electro acoustic. It’s really advantageous to be able to play it with such commodity and there aren’t many brands out there offering this level of comfort and sound, for an acoustic electric guitar.
10. Strandberg Boden Classic 6 Trem
Estimated Price: $1495
Pickup Configuration: Strandberg Signature Humbucker Bridge and Two Vintage-Flavored Single-Coil
Bridge: Strandberg Signature EGD Series 5 Tremolo Bridge and String Locks
Scale Length: Long Scale 25.5’’ and Short Scale 25”
Body Material: Solid Alder
Neck: Roasted Maple with Carbon Fibre Reinforcement
Fret Count: 24 Maple or Pau Ferro
Fretboard Radius: 20’’
Country of Origin: Indonesia
My Review: Strandberg is one of the most innovative brands of electric guitars, making their products some of the best for the modern guitar player. While this particular model is a stock version, part of the classic series, it is the best value in terms of money and quality. Due to its headless design, it’s much lighter than your average electric guitar and its overall dark tone makes it perfect for guitarists who like to be expressive in their playing. The original EndurNeck design just makes it so much more ergonomic, while also promoting a more correct playing position. Unlike most guitars, the tuning actually takes place at the guitar’s body, rather than at the end of the neck, which I’ve found to be a much more reliable and flexible system.
Key Specs and Features: The Boded Classic 6 Trem is the most affordable version Strandberg has and it is available with a solid alder body. The neck is made of roasted maple with carbon fiber reinforcement and 25 frets on the maple or pau Ferro fretboard. Because of its triangular shape, with a diagonal line for the thumb design, plus its overall lightness (approximately 2,4 kg), the guitar is highly ergonomic and easy to play.
It has a satin finish which gives it a very luxurious feel and a Strandberg designed humbucker bridge pickup with two vintage-flavored single-coil pickups. The exact pick-up configuration is H-S-S where the neck and middle both have a custom OEM Strandberg single coil, while the bridge has a custom OEM Strandberg humbucker. Master Volume and Mastertone are also built-in, with a 5-way pickup selector consisted of Bridge, Middle and Bridge, Middle, Neck and Middle, and Neck. The original hardware is plated with chrome with original luminary green side dots and inlays and a Strandberg EGS series 5 tremolo bridge & string locks.
Target Customer: If you’re a fan of guitar players such as Plini, David Maxim Micic, Jakub Zytecki, Tosin Abasi, or Aaron Marshall, or just want a great value headless, then this guitar is for you. They’ve all used it at some point, due to its versatility in sound, looks, and overall playability.
Bottom Line: While it’s the cheapest guitar Strandberg has on the market, being a stock model, this instrument is flawlessly designed and may very well be a lifetime investment. It is not particularly cheap, but it’s still the best headless guitar for the money in my opinion.
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11. Boss V-BDN VG-Strandberg
Estimated Price: $5190
Pickup Configuration: Mode selector; 5-way switch, modeled humbucking and single-coil pickups.
Bridge: EGS pro 4 tremolo bridge & string locks
Scale Length: 25.5″ – 25″
Body Material: Baswood
Neck: Roasted maple EndurNeck
Fret Count: 24, stainless steel
Fretboard Radius: ebony, multiscale, 20″
My Review: This amazing guitar comes with the same benefits and features a Strandberg guitar has, only this time it has been merged with specific guitar modeling techniques developed by Boss. It features switches that allow you to change the tuning, without having to traditionally do it.
Key Specs and Features: Boss V-BDN VG-Strandberg is the result of a fruitful partnership between Strandberg Guitars and Boss. The body is made of Baswood, featuring the ergonomic roasted maple EndurNeck, patented by Strandberg. It has 24 frets, stainless steel with an ebony, 20’’ multiscale fretboard radius. The bridge is an EGS pro 4 tremolo with strings lock and, despite all the electronics, it weighs only just above 5 pounds. The unique pick-up configuration has a mode selector and 5-way switch, to provide access to the onboard standard pickups, modeled humbucking and single-coil pickups, bass, sitar, acoustic guitars, and synth tones.
Target Customer: I’d say this guitar is mainly targeted towards musicians who play experimental music, but it’s not limited to this. It can be very well used in pop, especially if that entails live music or just generally to create orchestrations and productions of various sounds. With this beauty, the sky is the limit.
Bottom Line: In many ways, I feel like this is the future of guitars, and coming from a music technology background, I surely hope these initiatives keep on progressing. The ability to generate different instrument sounds, while being expressive, not only shifts the role of a guitarist in a band but also allows for the musician within to explore creative and compositional ideas, using the familiar approach of performing on an instrument. Surely, one can make the case that that would be easily achieved on a MIDI keyboard, but the difference is in the little details. I’ve personally found it much easier, flexible, and efficient to use instruments that support the performance element more, rather than post-production programming, regardless of the advanced expertise I have in that, as a qualified Audio Specialist.
12. Steinberger (GM) GM4T w/TransTrem (Best Rock/Fusion)
Estimated Price: $2000
Pickup Configuration: 2 single coil pickups and 1 humbucker pickup
Bridge: Steinberger S-Trem, Steinberger TransTrem, Steinberger vibrato
Scale Length: 25.5 inches scale-length
Body Material: alder body, maple body
Neck: Carbon Fiber
Fret Count: 24
My Review: This guitar is a pure work of art and it’s no wonder. Ned Steinberger is the man who widly gets credit in terms of the whole headless guitar industry inception. Released in 1988, it still is the best of the best when it comes to rock/fusion, as it’s the full embodiment of the 80’s guitar tones. However, due to its solid body, it doesn’t quite offer the same weight benefits as many of the other headless guitars discussed, as it’s pretty much just as heavy as a normal headstock electric guitar.
Key Specs and Features: The Steinberger (GM) GM4T w/TransTrem is an ideal guitar for rock/fusion players. It features 2 single coil pickups and 1 humbucker pickup with a bridge that has Steinberger S-Trem, Steinberger TransTrem, Steinberger vibrato. The body Is alder body, maple body with a carbon fiber neck. There are a total of 24 frets, with a sale length of 25.5 inches.
Target Customer: If you want the absolute ultimate sound in terms of the 80’s guitar scene while having the headless look, then this guitar is ideal.
Bottom Line: While Steinberger guitars haven’t been used a lot after the ’80s, with a few exceptions, they still remain and in particular this model, some of the most beautiful guitars ever built.
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13. HH2 Allan Holdsworth
Estimated Price: $1550
Pickup Configuration: Kiesel Holdsworth Passive humbuckers
Bridge: Hipshot; optional Hipshot/Kiesel Tremolo System
Scale Length: 25.5’’
Body Material: Alder body with Kiesel logo; optional chambering
Neck: set-in Eastern hardrock maple with 2-way adjustable truss rod and dual carbon-fiber rods for additional strength & stability
Fret Count: 24 stainless steel jumbo, .108 wide X .055 tall
Fretboard Radius: 20’’
Country of Origin: USA
My Review: Allan Holdsworth was truly one of the most innovative guitarists and musicians ever and this guitar is really a ‘’beautiful machine’’, to quote the master himself. The chambered body along with the vintage-ish pickups make it very dynamic and full of color. It’s extremely fluid and easy to play and for these reasons, I would mostly recommend it for soloing or intervallic chordal playing.
Key Specs and Features: Allan has worked with Calvin Guitars (now Kiesel) for many years in realizing the HH2 Allan Holdsworth guitar. Originally from the USA, the instrument features an alder body and optional chambering (highly recommended). The eastern hardrock maple neck is strong and stable, while fro the neck you have the option of choosing between the Hipshot or Kiesel tremolo systems. There are a total of 24 stainless steel jumbo frets and the pickup configuration features the original Kiesel Holdsworth passive humbuckers.
Target Customer: Here’s a tough one. The main target customer, in this case, would be someone who’s a fan of Allan, but because his music is so unique, there isn’t really a wider category in which to fit the customer target, other than this. Having said that, If you love Allan’s music, then owning this beautifully designed guitar is going to help, but it shouldn’t be purchased to sound like him, but rather to be used as a complementary tool in finding your own voice.
Bottom Line: The overall value in relation to price is exceptional for this guitar and I couldn’t recommend it more. While initially designed for a very niche type of music, the final result translates well for most genres.
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14. Steinberger Spirit GT-Pro Deluxe
Estimated Price: $400
Pickup Configuration: Pickup Bridge: Steinberger Guitar Humbucker, Pickup Middle: Steinberger Guitar Single-Coil, Pickup Neck: Steinberger Guitar Humbucker
Bridge: 40: 1 Direct Drive R-Trem Tremolo
Scale Length: 25 – 1/2″
Body Material: Maple
Neck: Hard Maple
Fret Count: 24
Fretboard Radius: 14”
My Review: The genius Ned Steinberger designed this guitar to be a useful headless travel guitar and in honor of that, it just has to be the best travel headless guitar out there. I have to say, I like this guitar a lot. Great playability, it is comfortable and the pickups are good quality. It’s a travel instrument, but it doesn’t really compromise on sound and could definitely be used on stage or even in professional recordings. There is a slight disadvantage in that you can’t use regular strings with it, but apart from that, this guitar is great.
Key Specs and Features: The Steinberger Spirit GT-Pro Deluxe Electric Guitar comes with a Maple Body and Hard Maple Neck. The pickup configuration consists of a Steinberger Guitar Humbucker Bridge, Steinberger Guitar Single-Coil Middle Pickup, and a Steinberger Guitar Humbucker Pickup Neck. It has a Scale Length of 25 – 1/2” and 24 frets, with a 14” Fretboard Radius.
Target Customer: Musicians who are traveling or who want a good value Headless Guitar. If you want a great sounding portable headless guitar, then this is for you.
Bottom Line: If you’re on a tight budget this is the best cheap headless guitar that’s still pretty good quality so I definitely recommend it.
Popular Related Article: Top 17 Electric Guitars For Metal
15. Ibanez EHB1505MS 5-String Headless Bass
Estimated Price: $1700
Pickup Configuration: Nordstrand Custom Big Split pickups
Bridge: MR5HS bridge (18mm string spacing)
Body Material: Poplar Burl top/Selected lightweight African Mahogany body
Neck: EHB5 9-piece Panga Panga/Walnut neck with Graphite reinforcement rods
Fretboard: Highly durable stainless steel frets
My Review: The Ibanez EHB1505MS 5-String Multi-Scale Ergonomic Headless Bass Pacific Blue Burst Flat has the same features as the Ibanez EHB1506MS 6-String Multi-Scale Ergonomic Headless Bass Black Ice Flat mentioned earlier, except with 5 instead of 6 strings.
Key Specs and Features: The Ibanez EHB1506MS 5-String Multi-Scale Ergonomic Headless Bass Pacific Blue Burst Flat features a Poplar Burl top/Selected lightweight African Mahogany body, with a 9-piece Panga Panga/Walnut neck. It has Highly durable stainless steel frets and Bound Panga Panga fretboard with Abalone off-set dot. It has an MR5HS bridge (18mm string spacing), with a Nordstrand Custom Big Split pickup configuration.
Target Customer: Modern progressive metal, metal, and jazz players.
Bottom Line: Overall this bass offers great tones, combined with a lovely and comfortable playability, as well as superb looks. This is an excellent choice for a 5 string Headless Bass Guitar.
16. Marconi Lab Ego Thunder 2k17
Estimated Price: $3200
Pickup Configuration: Neck pickup: A Little Thunder Black + Bridge pickup: Lace alumitone Deathbucker Black
Bridge: Tremolo-6 strings- chrome
Body Material: Alder
Neck: Maple black finish with AVS (Asymmetric Variable Shape)
Frets: 6105 type
Fretboard Radius: Compound Radius 10″-16″
Country of Origin: Italy
My Review: Not usually a fan of passive pick-ups but this guitar really challenges that! Sounds really unique in its own way and the Little Thunder pick-up has a nice feature where you can use it to switch for lower tones. The tremolo bar is really on point and easy to maneuver, while the design is modern and smartly build to reach higher notes effortlessly. The guitar is extremely fluid and easy to play.
Key Specs and Features: This incredible machine features a pickup configuration designed as a Neck pickup: A Little Thunder® Black + Bridge pickup: Lace alumitone Deathbucker Black, an Alder body with a Maple black finish with AVS (Asymmetric Variable Shape). The type of the frets are 6105 and fretboard radius is compound, 10’’ to 16’’. Made in Italy, it features a Tremolo-6 strings- chrome bridge.
Target Customer: If you’re looking for a uniquely looking headless guitar with a hybrid set of details in the build, then this guitar is for you.
Bottom Line: A really good take on a headless guitar from the Marconi Lab – Highly recommended.
17. Rick Toone USM-PRO
Estimated Price: $11000
Pickup Configuration: OEM Custom DiMarzio Pickups
Bridge: Patented Intonation Cantilever Bridge
Scale Length: Multiscale / N/A
Body Material: Carbon Fiber and Laminated Birch
Neck: Single Billet Machined Aircraft Aluminium
Fret Count: 24, Stainless Steel
Country of Origin: USA
My Review: This guitar is truly a monster, in the best sense. The overall build and feel are truly unique, while the sound is crisp and beautifully articulate. Rick Toone is really and inventor in the guitar world and always comes up with ways to push the boundaries of what an instrument can be.
Key Specs and Features: The Rick Toone USM-PRO electric guitar, features a pickup configuration of OEM Custom DiMarzio Pickups, with a Patented Intonation Cantilever Bridge. It has a Multiscale scale length, with 24 Stainless Steel frets. The body material is Carbon Fiber and Laminated Birch with a Single Billet Machined Aircraft Aluminium neck, made in the USA.
Target Customer: Just like the Teuffel Guitars Nickel BirdFish, this guitar is aimed at people with a higher budget that seek to invest a cutting edge instrument, in the guitar sector.
Bottom Line: If you are an advanced player and wish to find that special guitar to express a full range of techniques and sounds, then this is easily one of the best headless guitars out there. It does ultimately come down to your playing in order to achieve that, but having a cutting edge guitar certainly is an important factor.
Choosing a Headless Guitar (Buying Guide)
So, if you are interested in going headless, there are a few crucial aspects to consider, so as to make an informed decision if this is the best idea or not for your needs. While buying a headless guitar may sound like an edgy thing to do, thus making the decision itself more subjective, there a few objective and technical aspects to look for:
So, if you are interested in going headless, there are a few crucial aspects to consider, so as to make an informed decision if this is the best idea or not for your needs.
While buying a headless guitar may sound like an edgy thing to do, thus making the decision itself more subjective. Let’s talk about what features to look for in a headless guitar.
Technical Aspects to Look for in a Headless Guitar
- They are much lighter than the average electric guitars. If you take any other headstock electric guitar, it will weigh an average of 3.6Kg, while a headless guitar will only weight around 2.5Kg. This makes them more kind to your body over time and considerably easier to hold.
- They are significantly more ergonomic, especially if we are to take into account the EndurNeck design from Strandberg.
- They stay longer in tune. While there are multiple factors that determine if the guitar’s tuning is stable or not, generally, the tuning systems available on headless guitars are much more reliable and durable.
- It is much faster to change the strings on a headless guitar.
- On average, headless guitars have a much better sustain.
- They are very portable!
- There are generally no noise issues.
- As a bonus, having a smaller body also implies less wood, making them more environmentally friendly.
Now the aspect, being mostly a subjective factor, can’t really be analyzed. It simply comes down to whether or not you like the looks of a headless guitar or not and I don’t want you to take this lightly! If a new instrument, as innovative as it may be, doesn’t make you feel good by the way It looks, it is almost irrelevant if the technology itself is better.
Once you’ve decided whether or not a headless guitar is for you, there are of course many other important elements to look at, such as understanding the specs of each guitar. I will briefly go through each of them.
In many ways, the bridge determines the action of the strings, thus also influencing the playability. It is an important part of the hardware that has the main purpose of holding the strings to the body of the guitar. It contributes greatly to the overall vibration and amplification of the strings.
My personal favorite bridges for headless guitars are the patented Intonation Cantilever Bridge by Rick Toone, the Tremolo-6 strings- chrome on the Marconi Lab Ego Thunder 2k17, the custom bridge designed for the Teuffel Guitars Nickel BirdFish and finally the Strandberg EGS series 5 fixed bridge & string lock.
There are two main types of electric guitar bodies and those are solid and chambered. The chambered body is around 25% lighter than the solid one, so look for chambered, if you’re aiming at a really light headless guitar. Another thing to consider is the difference in sound they add to the guitar. I much more prefer the chambered body, just because it sounds more full, resonant, and articulate in my opinion, but the differences are really subtle.
Now, the most common types of wood used for Bodies are Mahogany, Swamp Ash, Maple, and Alder. In terms of weight, they weigh pretty much the same, but the sounds differ considerably. Mahogany tends to bring out the low mids more, which does make sense why it’s present on guitars which are intended to sound heavy and be more metal riffs oriented. Swamp Ash tends to be richer in high and also quite full in the low end. This to me is the perfect combination since in my playing I love to incorporate intervallic chordal playing, which sounds immersive and somewhat dark, but at the same time have the ability to really attack during solos. For this reason, my guitar has a chambered, swamp ash body with a maple top, which is the same build the Strandberg Boden Plini Edition has. Because maple is more toward middle frequencies, adding that top to the recipe is exactly the last ingredient in realizing a perfect balanced guitar, like my 8 string Strandberg. Alder bodies tend to soften attacks and be more towards upper mids. There are many great guitars with alder bodies in our list, such as Strandberg Boden Classic 6 Trem, HH2 Allan Holdsworth, Steinberger (GM) GM4T w/TransTrem, Teuffel Guitars Nickel BirdFish, and Marconi Lab Ego Thunder 2k17.
Aim for the body that works with your needs, as it’s best to get the best result acoustically. However, if say you find a guitar you love overall, but you can’t change the body to the desired specification, don’t be put off by it. After all, you can always use EQ to compensate.
The main types of frets are stainless steel and nickel frets. I’ve always found stainless steel to feel much better to touch and also bend considerably well, compared to nickel. They last much longer than nickel too, however, nickel does tend to sound brighter, so it all comes down to what you’re after.
The Fretboard Radius
the compound Radius 10”-16″ is by far the cleanest, which is one of the main reasons why Marconi Lab Ego Thunder 2k17 excels on this level.
The two main types of pickups you want to look for when choosing the ideal Headless Guitar are humbucker and single coil.
The Humbucker pickup got its name due to its ability to remove hum, while playing distorted sounds, hence why it is usually preferred by metal or rock players. Single Coil sound brighter and are generally used for cleaner sounds, in styles such as funk, jazz, bluet, etc. In some cases, however, they are used for rock or even metal. It all depends on the other features of the guitar if using single coil for metal, for example, is a good idea or not.
The Single Coil or Humbucker pickups can be passive or active. The main difference between them is the ‘flavor’. Because they don’t use a preamp, passive pickups tend to render a slightly different, more interesting tone. However, they often have the downside of generating a lot of noise, due to their high sensitivity. On the other hand, active pickups are the exact opposite. They render a high degree of control over hum reduction, but in doing so, they reduce the dynamics.
I’ve personally seen guitarists using active or passive pickups in all genres, regardless of the genre they’re playing, so when you’re deciding upon which pickup to choose, you should consider the overall build of the guitar and what you like most, in terms of sound.
Type of Strings
There are two main types of strings most commonly used on electric guitars: Nickel and Steel. Nickel is generally best If you want to play warmer, smooth melodies. They are much richer in tone whereas steel is brighter, resulting in an overall higher presence.
Finally, if by the end of this article you have not decided which headless guitar to purchase, put everything on paper and devise a balance of pros and cons that work for you specifically, based on the information provided and further research. Test the guitars yourself, as there’s no better way of telling which one’s the best for your needs.
When talking about headless guitars, there’s a huge list of what can be classified as best and this article covers only some, but it should hopefully be enough to help you in finding the Best Headless Guitar that fits your own particular requirements as a Musician.
My name is Chris and I’ve had a passion for music and guitars for as long as I can remember. I started this website with some of my friends who are musicians, music teachers, gear heads, and music enthusiasts so we could provide high-quality guitar and music-related content.
I’ve been playing guitar since I was 13 years old and am an avid collector. Amps, pedals, guitars, bass, drums, microphones, studio, and recording gear, I love it all.
I was born and raised in Western Pennsylvania. My background is in Electrical Engineering, earning a Bachelor’s degree from Youngstown State University. With my engineering experience, I’ve developed as a designer of guitar amplifiers and effects. A true passion of mine, I’ve designed, built, and repaired a wide range of guitar amps and electronics. Here at the Guitar Lobby, our aim is to share our passion for Music and gear with the rest of the music community.