Headless Guitar Parts Resources

Headless guitar designs are particularly suited to ergonomic guitars. By eliminating the weight of the headstock and centralizing the weight of the tuners close to the player’s body, headless stringed instruments can end up with significantly better balance. Bass guitars particularly benefit from moving those heavy tuners off the end of a long scale neck. But its also clear from all the guitars that neck dive that there are benefits to be gained from going headless.

But unlike building instruments with conventional headstocks, resources for headless instruments are a little harder to come by. Fortunately, there are a number of resources and approaches. The first portion below focuses on a number of vendors delivering quality headless parts. If you’re willing to take an unconventional approach there are examples of headless instruments using conventional parts. And finally, there’s even the opportunity to make your own.

Let’s take a look at what’s out there.

Musicyo.com

Once one of the main providers of headless Steinberger parts, Musicyo.com closed down January 1, 2009. The Steinberger line that was once carried will be available through a retail network but it’s as yet unclear whether the bridge parts will also be available. A quick check of several of the listed retailers did not show any parts availability at this time.

However, if the lower cost models remain available, an alternative is to purchase one and strip it of its bridge, neck and headpiece. If you are fine with a wood neck, the least expensive model in the lineup is the Steinberger Spirit GU-Deluxe seen below:

Steinberger Headless Electric Guitar

It was the tactic I took with my Klein style guitar project. I’m aware of at least one guitar builder, Francis Lannie, who has resorted to this method. If you prefer a composite neck, models are available but they are significantly more expensive.

As with the standard Steinberger parts, Synapse parts are no longer available through Musicyo.com. It remains to be seen if these will become available through retail channels.

ABM

ABM makes a fixed bridge for headless designs; however, it is incompatible with Steinberger necks. This bridge is compatible with Strat type necks which can be modified to accept the headpiece ABM manufactures.

For examples of ABM guitar parts in use, see the following:

1. Mats Erikson’s Klein Electric Guitar replica uses ABM single bridges.
2. Chris Forshage’s ergonomic hollowbody electric guitar uses the more typical ABM bridge.

Bondy Guitar Bridge

Jon Bondy makes a fixed bridge drop in replacement for the Trans-Trem, S-Trem and R-Trem Steinberger bridges. See the article Jon Bondy Headless Guitar Bridge.

ETS Hardware

German guitar parts manufacturer, ETS also makes headless guitar bridges ranging from 4 string to 7 string solutions. They’re also open to custom solutions. For more, see ETS Headless Guitar Bridge.

Floyd Rose Speedloader

Floyd Rose Speedloader Guitar

The Floyd Rose Speedloader Bridge is another potential option. As seen to the left, the Speedloader based guitars are essentially headless guitars. The “headstock” exists merely for aesthetic value – it serves no functional purpose.

According to Tech Support at GuitarPartsDepot.com, the Floyd Rose Speedloader Bridge will work on a Strat guitar. Thus, a headless guitar using the Speedloader can take advantage of the many Strat compatible necks that exist on the market.

One caveat with the Speedloader bridge is that it uses specialized strings which are neither compatible with Steinberger double ball end strings nor conventional strings. Long term availability could be a concern.

Moses Graphite

If you manage to obtain just the bridge and headpiece, Moses Graphite makes a composite neck which is essentially the neck they make for Musicyo.com. They also make a Strat compatible composite neck for use in headless instruments.

Strandberg Guitar Works

Strandberg’s Floyd Rose Replacement Tremolo – Ola Strandberg has designed his very own Floyd Rose drop in replacement tremolo which will work with headless or conventional headstock design. No special strings are required.

Make Your Own Headless Tuners

Several articles have covered various approaches to making your own headless tuners.

Reader Jeff Turpin shows us three approaches he’s taken to making your own headless guitar tuners.

Marcin Marynowski shows us another approach to headless guitar tuning keys

Eric Olds’ Klein style guitar includes a tuning tailpiece. Included in the article is a detailed PDF illustrating how to build one.

Using Conventional Parts

With a little outside-the-box thinking, conventional tuners can be used in a headless design. Here are a few notable examples:

Romano Zambon Electric Guitar Plan uses Steinberger tuners in the body.

Henry Olsen’s MaSh Acoustic Guitar also uses Steinberger tuners in the body but lines them across rather than “stack” them like Romano’s design.

Garncarz Fanned Fret Bass moves the headstock to the back of the bass.

Guitar Building Books and Headless Guitars

If you’re looking for a book on building guitars with headless guitar coverage, look no further than Building Electric Guitars by Martin Koch – also available as an ebook in PDF format.

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122 Responses to “Headless Guitar Parts Resources”

  1. I’m trying to find more information for the ABM hardware, and have come up short. Specifically, I was wondering if the headpiece was available separately. One could possibly use the headpiece in conjunction with the MusicYo R-trem bridge to get the job done.

    I’m more interested in aftermarket Speedloaders, but I can’t seem to find any. One supplier mentioned them being around $190 US, but they might not have understood that I was talking about the actual Speedloader and not just a “no-snip” style Floyd Rose.

    Which brings me back to another option… using a typical Floyd Rose setup and a “surrogate headstock” for tuning. Once the guitar was tuned and strings stretched, you would snip and take the headstock out of the way.

    It’s amazing to me how difficult it is to find headless parts! I’ve tried evilBay with no success, either.

    Thanks for the update! I’ve gone from wanting to make a Klein-alike or L-type to wanting a hybrid of the Legg and the Klein. 😉 Ahhh.. the dream.. so much easier than the execution.

    1. The headpiece does seem to be rather hard to get. MusicYo doesn’t have it. ABM sells it as part of their bridge system but I haven’t seen it sold separately. ETS, another headless bridge manufacturer, doesn’t seem to make one as far as I can tell. I inquired a while back about the headpiece and price but their reply only addressed price – I was asked whether I was a luthier or a private individual before they could provide pricing.

      Talk to Mammoth Guitars about the ABM headpiece or a Speedloader. They are an Allparts dealer as well as particpants on the Project Guitar Forum. I’ve dealt with them before – great outfit. I know Allparts carries a variety of Floyd Rose bridges but I haven’t seen the Speedloader. Allparts also carries the ABM bridge system although I don’t know if they sell the headpiece by itself.

      I really like the Legg as well. As I mentioned before, the guitar doesn’t appear to quite high enough BUT it certainly suggests an interesting alternative to a headless guitar. I’m already thinking about Project #2.

      I actually have another option that might work for you now that I have a clearer idea of what you’re trying to accomplish. Let me put something together…

  2. I contacted mammoth, and while they can get the Speedloader in for me, they recommended checking guitarpartsdepot.com, and lo and behold, there it was. Cheaper than Ed Roman, too.

    So there ya go.

    $200 for trem, $300 for custom neck-through blank and extra wood, $300 for EMGs + related hardware, $XX for finish.

    $800 (not counting unexpected other costs) for the guitar and then XX for the finish. Not bad for a custom headless with one’s exact specs. Synapse by Steinberger = $800… however, I don’t think there’s a Synapse with trem.

    Ahhh… definitely not a project to even think about tackling with budget in mind. 😉

    I should set up a blog parallel to yours, so that I don’t keep spamming yours with comments.

    1. That’s excellent, GregP! And, what did I say about Mammoth Guitars? They’re a good bunch. Sounds like you have a project on your hands!

      Don’t forget that the Speedloader uses its own strings. I’ve heard people complain about trying to get Steinberger double ball end strings locally but I buy them on the web and have never had issues obtaining them. Keep in mind that you will likely have a similar complaint – your small local music shop is unlikely to carry these unless they happen to carry the Speedloader based models from Floyd Rose.

      As far as comments, comment away!

  3. Just to add some of my recent research to this thread.

    The ETS headless parts can be ordered through GHServices/BassLabs. I got a rough quote of 300 Euros + shipping + import duties for seven of ETS’s single tuning fork bridges and a seven string headless tuner. If I wanted the head piece, it would be an extra 25 Euros. I’m planning a multi-scale, aka compound scaled, aka Fanned-Fret (TM) seven string, so if you’re looking at a regular six-string, the parts can likely be had for less.

    ABM also makes “3801 – Single-Tuner-Bridge for guitar”. Go to ABM Headless Units and click on the second part picture from the right at the bottom. AllParts says they can special order them, but it’s been over two weeks and I’ve not been able to get a price quote for seven of these bridges.

  4. I had the opportunity to see the Klein Harp Guitar that was for Michael Hedges last Wednesday. Interesting to say the least. I worked with him briefly when I was at Taylor and he was designing the acoustic bass.

    The link below has a picture of the Klein, along with a few other Harp Guitars that were on display

    eric-has-issues.blogspot.com

  5. Finally got a quote from AllParts for the ABM “Single Bridges for Guitar with Tuners” — $63.00 a piece. Special order in six to eight weeks.

    1. Ouch! That’s steep. Did you go directly to Allparts or did you check with a dealer?

  6. Blah. I never got around to building my guitar, but as it turns out there’s something else in the works for a headless. To that end, I started hunting around a bit for parts.

    The R-Trem is no longer available through MusicYo separately.

    The ABM headpiece should be available separately but I haven’t priced it out.

    The Speedloader hasn’t caught on– the proprietary Floyd guitars are being dropped by retailers for lack of interest, and GuitarPartsDepot didn’t seem to have any Speedloaders left in stock. That doesn’t bode well for the prospect of getting strings, even if I tracked down the bridge.

    It’s impossible to find a trem system for a headless. Impossible, I say! Looks like I’ll have to “settle” for fixed bridge. I actually prefer fixed bridge, but to me a headless screams “hot-rod!” and all the hot-rod trimmings, including dive-bomb whammy wackiness, would have been fun.

    Greg

  7. Greg –

    The Speedloader system is great – I’ve got several of the guitars, in both fixed bridge and trem versions.

    The nice thing is that you can snag them now on eBay pretty reasonably. I got a trem model for $175 not long ago. The necks are pretty good, too – so for that price you’re getting the trem/fixed bridge and a usable neck.

    Strings may be a bit of a concern, but I’ve noticed that strings last quite a bit longer with the Speedloader system. It’s funny that one of the selling points is the quick string changes, when a side effect of the simplified string path is that strings don’t need to be changed as often. I don’t recall actually breaking one.

    Anyway, it’s also not uncommon to find bundle packs of the strings on eBay as well – usually for around $7 a pack. Not cheap by any stretch, but not bad. I’ve stocked up a couple of times, buying 12 sets at a time, and I figure I should have enough to last me for years.

  8. I can’t believe I forgot to mention this –

    Keep in mind that MusicYo is now selling parts for the new Synapse line of Steinbergers – headpieces, bridges – including a bridge with piezo pickup. These are fixed-bridge units. And better yet, MusicYo actually appears to have some inventory of these things.

    The nice thing about the new Synapse headpiece as opposed to the older R-Trem setup is that it is a combo unit – allowing the use of either double ball strings, or regular single-ball strings. The downside is that the headpiece is ridiculously overpriced – it alone would account for 40% of the cost of a bridge/headpiece combo!

    They have a separate section for the Synapse parts, different from the listings of their other parts – which are generally almost never in stock.

  9. Thanks for that, Paul. I’m worried more that they won’t last a LIFETIME! The guitar that’s in the works is going to be a keeper, and I’m still not comfortable taking a risk on technology that seems like it’s fading away fast.

    However– for $175 for a whole guitar, I might have to build something as a “secondary” guitar, just for my own kicks. I’ll set up an evilBay notification when that time comes. 😉

  10. You should check out following resource for headpieces for headless too :

    http://www.langleyguitars.com/DHead.htm

    I bought a Moses neck and headpieces from him. Great to work with. He makes Drop d-tuning headpieces, for both bass and guitars, all headless.

    1. Good addition to the list Mats! I’ll update the post to reflect it. Thanks!

  11. Hi Robert, I just stumbled into your site and like what you have presented here so far.
    I can add another domestic source for the ABM parts:
    DGuitarParts.com their pricing is in line with wholesale pricing from Allparts. I’m not sure what the connection is between the two but they obviously share photos and part numbers and they are both located in Texas.

    I also make headless hardware for my basses including vibrato bridges. I don’t offer any of it for sale unless it’s something that’s unavailable anywhere else. All I can say is that’s it’s unbelievably time consuming to make and I charge accordingly but if you need something out of the ordinary, I’m willing to take a look at it.

    I’ve also come across a new source for custom graphite necks. Jerry Dorsch of Graphite guitar systems in Oakville, Wa.

    Keep up the good work.

    1. David – Thanks for the kind words as well as the resources. I’ll have to do some follow up on those!

  12. Has anoyne considered the Schaller 456 fine tuning bridge instead of tuners in a headless design?

    According to a post at projectguitar.com, they can be used if the strings are mounted in the nut with sufficient tension.

    I emailed Schaller asking what the range of the fine-tuning bridge is, but they haven’t replied.

    Schaller also makes a fine-tuning tailpiece, btw.

    /Alex

    Links:
    http://projectguitar.ibforums.com/index.php?showtopic=15145 (post no 7)
    http://www.schaller-guitarparts.de/1216.htm

    1. Here’s the Guitar of the Month thread that shows the use of a fine tuning bridge on a headless guitar. It’s an interesting idea but read the description. It sounds a bit cumbersome to have to bring strings up to near pitch with a pair of pliers and then fine tune them. Nonetheless, its an ingenious use of a bridge that wasn’t intended for use in a headless guitar.

  13. Is the bridge-end ball of the speedloader string the same as that of a conventional string? If it is, a speedloader could be used with a locking nut and conventional stings?

    Another option will be to recess mount conventional tuners on the back of guitar body itself – like traveler guitars does. This may require some kind of simple roller tailpiece, with a conventional tune-o-matic bridge.

    There’s a korean guy selling some headless necks and strings on ebay recently.

    1. The Speed Loader strings are actually quite different in a couple of respects. First, the ends of the strings are actually more like bullets than balls.

      Second, and more importantly, they are designed to a precise length so that they lock into place and permit the use of fine tuners to bring the string up to final pitch. In other words, I don’t think you gain anything in using the Speed Loader bridge without the specialized strings.

  14. Regarding the fine-tuning capability of the Schaller 456 bridge: I asked the guy who used the bridge about the range of the fine-tuners, and he replied, that it was “way, way less than an octave” (AFAIR… the site is down at the moment, so I can’t check).

    So yes, it might be somewhat cumbersome to rough-tune sufficiently precise with a pair of pliers, but still… Perhaps in combination with the surrogate headstock as GregP suggested or with sufficient routine with the pliers, it might well be a viable (not to mention cheap and clean-looking) solution.

    The thread at project guitar (you probably can’t see it until June 1st when Project Guitar has got its bandwidth back):
    In Progress: Travel Guitar, no headstock, no tuning keys…

    Here, BTW, you can also see that he originally used a very interesting tuning system on the guitar: tuners mounted on the back, below the bridge. He abandoned it due to too high string tension, but with shallower angles on the string bends plus more slippery saddles (e.g. GraphTech), it might work.

    I made a model in Sketchup showing my thoughts on it:
    String Through Top
    String Through Exploded View
    String-Through Bottom with Comments
    String Through Back with Comments

    One could even use Steinberger gearless tuners mounted upside down for easy access to tuning and a clean look.

    1. Great information, Alex and I appreciate the sketches you’ve provided. Good stuff! I’ve been thinking about a similar solution using the Steinberger gearless tuners. For a good example, check out this previous article on a headless design by TK Instruments.

  15. Thanks. I saw the TK as well as the Scott French guitar, and they both look really good with the Steinberger gearless tuners. I believe that having the tuning knobs on the front of the guitar will not only look better, but also make tuning way easier than having them on the back as TK and Scott French.

    The design (which I hope to build during the summer) on the pictures uses an alumin(i)um T-beam as a neck-through, and it lends itself beautifully to the concept of having the strings go through the top flange of the beam (which I expect to be 5 to 10 mm thick and stronger than most wood of the same thickness). But having the strings dive through the top and connect to the Steinberger tuners from the bottom should be doable with a traditional wooden body as well.

    Still, due to my lack of metal- and woodworking skills, I think the first version of my T-beam guitar will use the Schaller bridge, with no fancy strings-through-body as it will mean way less drilling and routing.

    1. Sounds very exciting as well as unique. One of the things missing among guitar makers is the desire to explore new forms and concepts. The result is a terrible “sameness” to just about everything on the market. Thus, I’m really looking forward to progress updates on your project. As far as lacking in certain skills, its amazing how far focus, determination and preparation will take you. Best of luck and let me know when you get started!

  16. Robert I think the blame has to be spread beyond just the guitar builders. Guitar players seem especially resistant to change. The fact that Classic rock is still the prevailing format in almost every radio market tells me that the whole American psyche is stuck in the “sucking” seventies. We are as incapable of innovating in our transportation systems as we are in accepting the inevitable changes to our environment that our current lifestyle is causing. The terrible sameness you see is ubiquitous to most aspects of our lives. We’ve become a nation of unimaginative, self-defeating fear mongers. Personally I’d blame the TV but I’m sure we all had a part in it.
    Guitar makers as a rule are clinging to the bottom rung of the socio-economic ladder and can’t afford to make bold statements that no one will pay for. Take the example of the Parker fly guitar, it sold 30,000 units and lost money every step of the way. The break even point was 100,000.

    1. I agree with you David. There is a deeply rooted cultural aspect at work here and I don’t fault guitar makers for responding to market pressures. However, the first step has to be taken and that first step is in presenting alternatives. A major piece of this, in my mind, is the marketing aspect. “Building a better mouse trap” as a marketing strategy has long gone by the way side in the rest of the economy. Meanwhile, it seems that many guitar builders still adhere to this marketing philosophy of waiting for the world to discover their ideas…

    2. Uhhh… sorry for dropping in the middle of this thread more than a year after it was created but I just discovered this fantastic blog and I have been sucking in everything I can all day long.

      Among the many comments (and praises) I have I just wanted to say how much I agree with and second this comment. The US in particular is so culturally conservative it is impossible for any creative luthier to survive by proposing alternatives. I have have a friend at Fender’s custom shop whom I showed a pretty innovative guitar I had built and all he could say was “I wish I could spend my days building creative stuff like this but all we are asked to do here more damn strats and teles all day long.”

      Anyway, excellent comments and probably the most exciting blog I have seen in a long time.

      Bo

      1. Bo, Welcome to BTEG and thank you for the kind comment on the blog!

        Unfortunately, I’m not surprised to hear of your friend’s frustrations. All you have to do is walk into the local guitar shop to appreciate the terrible “sameness” of what passes for variety and innovation.

        Fortunately, as you will find as you dig through the site, there are guitar builders who are out there exploring innovative approaches in guitar design. They may not be selling millions but they’re certainly making strides.

      2. Thank you Robert. This is indeed a spectacular repository of great ideas and great discussion. Congratulations to you for starting it and evidently keeping it very much alive on a daily basis.

        Bo

  17. This is a great post for those who struggle to find the hardware that they need to complete thier custom project. Thanks for doing the work for us!

    1. I’m happy to help! I know how hard it is to research tackling not only a headless guitar but an ergonomic one at that. I’m glad that folks find this article useful which just happens to be one of the most visited articles month after month.

  18. ABM vs the rest, as well as licensed Steinberger systems. Here comes some CAVEAT EMPTOR on non-ABM systems, actually, which I’ve noticed.

    One peculiar thing I’ve noticed, that Steinberger bridges, and licensed seems more prone to mechanical wear than ABM. If you watch the e-bay, Music Yo sites, and Steinbergerworld forums, it seems that peope are asking and looking for spare parts all of the time, especially jaws, for Steinberger bridges. Compare this to spare parts to ordinary headed designs, and ABM.

    Is this due to that they’re made in Asia, from inferior core material? Or is it inherent in it’s design?

    I think ABM will outlast any Steinberger bridge for some reason. In mechanical wear and spare parts change at least. I think its core material are superior to Steinberger, and Hohner and licensed products.

    But lets not go into whammy bar bridges, they wear out as well on other systems like Floyd Rose et al. People are losing screws, cracking jaws or whatever when they tighten their screws too snugly. I mean bass bridges only. It seems like the Steinberger design WEARS a lot faster and people are always asking for spare jaws, clutches, screws or whatever. Compare that to how much you really have to TURN on the tuners when re-stringing compared to ordinary headed tuners. On double ball end strings, you just have to do a few turns, then you’re up to pitch and then hardly ever have to adjust it. Yet they fall apart, sooner or later, and more often than on ordinary headed systems, and ABM.

    Anyone else noticed this?

    It hasn’t to do with spare parts demand/supply but they really seem to wear out faster. Small parts in the bridge. I wondered if this is inherent in it’s design, or is it just that the core material is of inferior quality.

  19. BTW David King, are you THE David King? Who makes headless basses for reggae acts and other artists? Feautured in GAL magazine a while back, studied in Denmark for a while, ages ago?

  20. Hilsen Mats, I’m one of several thousand David Kings but I do happen to be that one you have in mind.
    The ABM is pretty bullet and idiot proof but I’d say the Steinberger systems outnumber the ABM systems by several orders of magnitude so it’s difficult to draw conclusions about relative reliability using anecdotal evidence.

    1. Good to see you stop in, David and thanks for the feedback!

  21. Thank you David. I mean, even I had probems with ABM screws but that was due to the angle I had to choose of the individual bridge bits (on bass). I had to keep the action quite high, and the screws that keeps the “inserts” down started to bend slightly. But that was a small tiny design error on my part since I didn’t let the neck slant slightly, it is straight according to the body plane. If I tilt the neck now, I would have to do it all over again. Everything else becomes misaligned. And do the laqcuer all over again…

    BTW, love your basses, or at least, from what I have seen! Great to read the GAL article on your shop a while back. Tillykke with your work! :-)

  22. Thanks to you all for this great thread. I have been working to build a compact, maybe headless, lap steel guitar. Your observations and suggestions have been most helpful.

    Here’s a very interesting site with some great headless tuners (developed for a travel-sized banjo) and explicit drawings for those interested in making or redesigning and making them:

    Chaney Productions – Banjo

    These tuners are made on a small metal lathe.

    Cheers for ergonomicguitar!

    1. Michael – Fantastic link and Chaney’s headless tuners are very interesting! Thanks for sharing it.

  23. These are indeed great looking tuners – especially the version with the staggered knurled nuts seen at the bottom of the page. The principle with a lever and screw seems really sane and robust.

    Do you know how well they work? (Do they keep in tune, are they easy to use, etc).

    1. I don’t know how well they work, but they are well designed. I think that their creator, Mr. Chaney, can be contacted from his site.

      I am planning on building some of these tuners and have been collecting parts; I am also going to use the cat food can. I have heard a cat can lap steel, and it sounded great, surprisingly like a larger resonator.

      Another tuner design I have been thinking about is to take some viola or cello fine tuners and mount them in a block. I don’t know if they will pull enough string.

      1. Please let us know how your project goes. I’m sure many of us are interested in how your use of these tuners goes.

  24. Fine tuners… Something like this? – Violin String Adjuster
    I’ve thought about that as well – and I bought a violin fine tuner to see if it would work. It was way too small (which I couldn’t see from the pictures on the websites, I looked at). A cello or viola fine tuner might work.

    On the other hand, the principle of the fine tuners is pretty simple (and similar to the Chaney tuners), so if you’re good at metal working (which I’m not), you might as well make them yourself.

  25. Yes, those are the fine tuners I was referring to. I will check with a friend who has a cello and see if cello fine tuners pull enough string.

    I recently modified my inexpensive square neck resonator guitar by adding 12 sympathetic strings running under the top 6 that you slide on. The strings run over a jawari or “buzz” bridge mounted to the resonator spider at the bridge. The sypathetic strings are all .010 guage.

    I experimented with mounting zither pins (twistable with a small wrench) in the headstock, and violin fine tuners on a tailpiece. This was a nice combination for tuning, but the fine tuners were not really necessary, the zither pins do a great job by themselves.

    A headless guitar design might benefit from zither pins on one end with violin fine tuners on the other.

    I know these ideas suggest a certain lo-tek thrift, but that’s sort of what I can do. I am not good at metal working, but I try, and I figure that it usually takes me a couple of tries with cheap available materials before I’m ready to buy more expensive materials.

    I mentioned earlier that Mr. Chaney used a small metal lathe. I believe that I was wrong on that. I think he used a saw, a drill press, maybe a dremel tool as well, probably some files. I don’t think his design requires any milling.

  26. Here’s a link to a picture of some violin fine tuners used with zither pins on an amazing instrument:

    Violin Fine Tuners with zither pins

    This page inspired my application of pins and fine tuners.

  27. That sure is a fascinating instrument. Although a bit confusing to play the first couple of times, I’d think.

    The zither pins are interesting. I plan on building a headless guitar using a Schaller 456 fine-tuning bridge.

    The bridge uses a fine-tuning system essentially identical with the violin fine tuners. But I’ve been thinking a lot about how to fix and rough-tune the strings at the head end of the guitar, and the zither pins seem to be an option I have to explore. Thanks for the tip.

    1. “The Flying Dream” really is an amazing piece; the site is packed with mind-boggling instruments. It is all very humbling. I wouldn’t exactly call the Flying Dream ergonomic.

      The Schaller bridge looks great. It probably would work very well with zither pins. I’m glad the pin idea may be helpful to you.

      If you didn’t already know, there is some cool information at Free Patents Online.

      You can create a free account and search for stuff like Steinberger gearless tuners; if you don’t have hands-on access to this type of great gear, I find that the patent diagrams are very helpful for understanding how the stuff works, getting ideas, etc. There are a lot of tuning systems there, many for headless designs.

      1. I’ve been looking at a number of patents as well and digging up the Steinberger tuner patent for reference purposes is a great idea, btw.

      2. I just signed up at Free Patents online. There’s a lot of interesting guitar tuners there. But I must admit that, at first glance, the description of the Steinberger gearless tuners didn’t bring me any closer to understanding how they really work. I guess I’ll have to look closer at the patent …and perhaps read the written description 😉

  28. I’ve built 4 headless instruments, and each time making the tuners with 35mm long M3 screws, with wood or brass head added. Then from brass stock cut blocks, hand drilled and taped an M3 thread to get the 11mm of movement required to bring the string to pitch. this holds the ball end and a M4 allen key grub screw clamps the other. none of this requires special machines. the screws are from electrical supply shops. a thin shim of plastic does the job of ball bearing races. (portuguese guitars have a similar system, well worth ckecking out).

    1. I was thinking about the “friction” issue last night. One thing that popped into my head was to use Cocobolo or some other typically oily wood for the “axel” and maybe even cut some washers from the same wood.

  29. Yes! The Portuguese style tuning machines look very simple and elegant. I just did a quick search and I found some good examples on eBay.

    The tuners you make sound very effective. I did not know that 11mm is the minimum movement required to pull a string to pitch. Thanks.

  30. Here’s a good page for pics of the Guitarra Portuguesa:

    Atlas of Plucked Instruments – Europe.

    I think this is the sort of tuner design I want to try to develop for my compact lap steel.

  31. yes, they are beautiful instruments, solid tops even the cheapest ones! how do i send you a photo of these tuners i’ve made? probably save a lot of writing.

    1. Jeff – I’d love to see pictures of the tuners as I’m sure readers will as well! I’ll send you an email and you can attach them in a reply. I’ll then post them in the thread.

      1. I’ll second the request for pictures!

      2. 1

      3. Stop in tomorrow (Thursday, Nov 8th) for the article and pictures of Jeff’s diy headless tuners. 😀

  32. I’ve thought up a DIY headless tuner system using the principle of bicycle brake cable tensioners. If you’d like to have a look, I’ve described it here:
    More beating around the bush

    I hope the description makes reasonable sense. If you’d like to comment on the idea, please do it here rather than on my blog, which isn’t updated very often… It’s best to have the discussion in one place.

  33. hi alex
    i like your design and carefully considered process, it’s made me research about the gittler guitar. Now these tuners have a wide/coarse thread spacing so they will require more torque to turn and be more difficult to bring exactly to tension. So, do build a simple test rig on the bench and test before committing further.
    cheers jeff

  34. Hi Jeff

    Thanks. I think you’re right on the issue of torque, and if/when I make the tuner system some day, I will make a test rig first. The guitar I am about to start building uses a different system (a fine-tuning bridge), so I won’t experiment with the brake adjuster principle in the near future.

    Does the Gittler use a similar principle for tuning? I haven’t been able to find any detailed description of its tuners. …or did you just research it out of general interest?

    /Alex

    1. yes alex
      gittler is in the smithsonian not steinberger, so i think alan adapted this design for guitar from the english cittern, i have a portuguese guitar now and it is functionally the same, but the screws are in compression rather than tension! i want to build more stuff.
      jeff

    2. Alex, you do not need to wonder anymore. Where the Steinberger or Gittler tuner comes from.
      One noteworthy part of an interview in Vintage Guitar magazine with Alan Gittler is the following:

      “Right or wrong, a lot of people became aware of your instrument due to an
      early ’80s – video by the Police, on which Andy Summers played a Gittler. What
      was your reaction to seeing it in a rock video? In my reclusive manner, we had just come
      to Israel quietly, without fanfare, without money. Three small cartons, three small
      kids, and no phone. I had no idea the video was running, and that a hundred people
      were trying to reach me; a short while before, I had cut off all communication
      with my machinist in New York, due to Ned Steinberger mysteriously finding his way
      to him and getting an intimate look at my tuner.

      I was amused to hear that he brought Washburn Guitars to court for infringing
      on what he was already considering to be his tuner design. Washburn’s attorney
      introduced a copy of the Gittler patent, the judge threw the case out.”

      Source: Vintage Guitar

      Period! So there!

      /Mats

      1. Mats and Jeff, thanks for the explanation. Still, I don’t fully understand how the tuners for the Gittler work. If it is similar to the Steinberger, it AFAIK uses a knurled screw that pulls a clamp that holds the string. The system I propose uses a knurled nut pulling a threaded rod which holds the string. They look similar, but are different, especially concerning how they keep the string from twisting.

  35. Here are a couple of links someone sent me for what are called thumb screws and their female equivalent, thumb nuts. It might be a more practical approach than the bike brake adjusters. Ideally you need fine threads and larger diameters which are hard to come by. I use 5/8 dia knurled with 4-40 threads and 1/2″ dia with metric M3-0.5 threads. That works really well with typical 40-50 lb string tension.

    Unicorp Metric Thumb Screws Plain Type M3000 Series

    MBC Fasteners Metric Thumb Screw

  36. Here are some thumb nuts that would work with guitar and bass, the M3x.5 are 12 mm (about 1/2″) in diameter -good for guitar.
    the next size up M4x.7 are about 5/8″ dia and would work well for a bass:
    thumb nuts

    1. Thanks for the links. The thumb nut look really useful. I’m a bit concerned that an M3 threaded rod will be too thin to allow for a hole for the string to go through plus a flat area on the threaded part to keep it from turning. I’ll have to do some math on this.

      It seems that most M4 knurled nuts are too wide for using on a guitar, even if you mount them staggered. The solution might be adopting existing M3 nuts with a new M4 thread. Then you could even use a finer thread and make the tuners easier to turn.

  37. Alex,
    I’m trying to tool up to make 1/4″ dia. tubing with a 3/16″ hole through that will be threaded 40 tpi so that I can pass a bass string through the tuner. Your right that there’s no way to drill through an M3 and even an M4 would be tricky W/O a very good lathe which none of us owns.

    Just to further muddy the waters you might look at the Atlansia parts page and click on any of the photos on the right hand side for closeups of his headless parts. I can’t see how they work but I’m sure they are easy for him to manufacture. He has them listed on his patents page so you might be able to look up a patent drawing.

    1. I had a look at the Atlansia site. Nice tuners, but I can’t figure out how they work either. A search at freepatentsonline.com only gave hits for guitar body designs.

      The tuner you mention with the strings going through it, is that the one shown on the features page on your site? Either way, if you’ve got some pictures of the tuners disassembled, it’d be interesting to see.

    2. Having seen Ola’s tuners and having re-looked at the Atlansia site, I can see, that those tuners are quite similar to what I propose. They also use a hollow threaded piece, which can only move in a linear fashion, and with which the string moves. Well spotted 😉

  38. hi alex
    allan gittler’s design from the patent description and photos shows-
    a carriage that runs in a slot in the pick-up/ tuner body –tube. The string is threaded through a hole in the carriage and the ball end stops, it slides inside the 9.19 OD, 6.35 ID tube. Presumably the carriage is higher than the slot to stop rotation??? the 3.18 Dia hole is for an M3 (like) thread, or similar which is confusingly described as 40:1 tuning ratio or 40 turns per 25.4mm (1″). The knurled nut bears against the end of the 9.19 OD tube. The far end of the string is hitch knotted to a 6.35 Dia rod past the nut.
    how’s that? jeff

    1. That’s excellent. Thanks a lot.

  39. I think you guys are making it harder than it has to be. Look at the Steinberger fixed bridge over at SteinbergerWorld.com

    Run your thumbscrew into a piece of 1/4″ rod threaded m3-0.5 and make a housing with 1/4″ channels cut in it for them to slide in. The thumbscrew pulls the 1/4″ square rod back to tune the string.

    Check out Jon Bondy’s pics of his homemade bridge.

    A local machine shop guy sad it would be less than $100 American to cut six 1/4″ channels in a block of metal.

    I can tap holes in the square stock by hand.

    That’s the same thread as Ned’s design uses.

    1. Thanks for the information. It’s useful to know what actually works – especially the thread size. That’s a nice bridge – I found the pictures at the steinberger yahoo group – photos.

      Still, I like the alternative principles we’ve discussed here, even though the Bondy/Steinberger bridge is a proven method. To me, it’s not just a matter of getting a functioning bridge, but also discussing (and perhaps some day making)fun and innovative alternatives.

      BTW, I found more of Jon Bondy’s work here: Jon Bondy Creations. Amazing stuff.

    2. Thanks for the input! Its greatly appreciated. As to whether things are being made “complicated” that’s subject to opinion.

      Besides, one of the major BTEG themes is alternative approaches to guitar building so all ideas are welcome. The more ideas we toss around the more alternatives we generate. Since no one solution will be perfect in every given situation this gives us flexibility in approaches.

  40. I’ve been pondering the problem of making parallel square slots in a chunk of metal and it occurred to me that one could simply take a rectangular base plate (1/8″ x 1″ x 3 1/4″ brass or aluminum) and superglue 7 hardwood or metal 1/4″ x 1/4″ x 1″ square sticks across it’s width with six 1/4″ x 1/4″x 1/2″ spacers in between. A similar top plate could then be glued on the tops of the 7 fixed sticks and small holes (3/32″) could be drilled through the sandwich at each end of each stick and those holes threaded 4-40 or M3-.5. The top and bottom plate’s holes could then be countersunk with a 82º countersink drill and small machine screws could hold the whole thing together permanently. A couple of larger holes could be drilled through the middle of the plates and through the middle of the 2nd and 6th stick to mount the sandwich to the guitar.
    Then the shorter 1/4 x 1/4″ string holders (spacers) could be drilled through top to bottom near one end to hold the string ball while the other end could be drilled and tapped for the threaded rod that pulls the string to pitch. A small slot or hole into the string ball pocket, from the other end needs to be made for the string to pass through. The above referenced knurled thumb nuts would do the tensioning.

    With careful layout via a scriber and center punch all of this could easily be assembled on a drillpress or even with a hand drill -no milling machine needed. The superglue merely holds the parts in alignment until the screw holes are drilled.

  41. Just to clarify the above rant, it would be for a guitar tuner with 1/2″ string-to-string spacing -which is a bit on the wide side. However the bridge could be narrower and if a reasonable space is left between the tuners and the bridge everything should work out fine.

    For a bass use 3/8″ square stock to achieve 3/4″ string-to-string spacing.

  42. I am making some progress on my work, including a bridge/tuner prototype that is similar to the Atlansia design and simpler than the Steinberger. It will work well as either fixed or tremolo. Take a look and feel free to comment.
    Link to my blog

    1. Unfortunately, the page in the link above is restricted. Many folks won’t want to get an MSN ID just to view the page. Also, I have a MSN ID, but I can’t access the page either.

      Ray

      1. Same here, Ray. I pinged Ola the day he posted but haven’t heard back as of yet.

  43. Hi guys,
    I had no idea that an MSN id was required to view my space… (Having said that, I was refused to see some other links above because a yahoo id was required 😉

    I will come up with an alternate solution!

    Cheers,
    Ola

  44. Please try again now and let me know how it went. I have changed the permissions required, so hopefully it will work now.

    /Ola

    1. Looks good Ola! Thanks for the update and your approach to headless tuners.

    2. I can see the blog without logging in, but I still have to log in to comment. Not a big deal to me, since I already have a Microsoft Live ID, but it might keep others from commenting.

      That is a beautiful prototype tuner, you made. I look forward to seeing your progress.

  45. I’ve developed some fixed (hard tail) bridges that are drop-in replacements for Steinberger Trans-Trem, S-Trem, and R-Trem bridges. I’m also working on a 12-string bridge system to be used in new custom guitars.

    Check it out at Bondy Bridge

    :)

    Jon

    1. Awesome looking bridge, Jon! I’d love to hear more. I dropped you an email earlier today with some questions.

      Thanks!

  46. I would definitely check out Jon Bondy`s Hard Tail Bridges. I know I will be using them on a few of my designs and will definitely be on the top pictured guitar in the Canton Custom Guitars section in this blog. Jon has a great 2 week, no questions asked, trial time frame to see if it`s the bridge for you or not. There are guitarists with his bridge design that enjoy the tonal effects the bridge has with their Klein guitars and their Steinberger guitars. Within the next few weeks we will be testing out a 12 string prototype bridge of his. It is good working with Jon and his experience “in the shop” is quite apparent when talking with him.
    Regards,
    Rick

    1. Great to hear, Rick! I’ve contacted Jon for additional details.

  47. There’s some imported headless bass hardware showing up on ebay these days.
    Search for item 200190330850 . I have no idea who the seller is and no comment on the quality having never seen it in person.

    1. I have a fretless bass with that bridge/headepiece in black.

      It’s actually quite well made hardware. All parts are solid and tight with no slack or play in the mechanism. The whole lot only cost me 90-odd Euros and the hardware is probably the best part of the instrument.

      It takes normal not double ball end strings. The ball end goes in the headpiece and the free end of the string goes into the back of the mechanism and winds round a brass ‘pulley’.

      They’re basically machine head style mechanisms squeezed into a bridge and worked by knurled winders rather than regular heads. As opposed to the Steinberger straight pull style headless bridge.

      Big plus point is the fact that you can use any string in it. Minus point is that it gets very hard to turn the knurled knob as the string gets closer to pitch.

      One nice touch over a ‘berger bridge is the fact that the knobs can be pulled out so that the one you’re working on is proud of the others, allowing you to get a better grip and preventing knocking the tuning out in adjacent strings.

      If you can get guitar versions of this they’d be a winner.

      1. Thanks for the feedback.

        Did your bass come with the bridge or was it built for use with the bridge? Do you know if its compatible with Steinberger designs? Any idea who the manufacturer is?

      2. Look at item #200189478724 from the same seller. That’s the bass I have though mine is a plain dark blue.

        Definitely cheap and cheerful Chinese manufacture. At the price I thought I could get it and use the hardware and neck for another project. But at the price I had assumed the neck was a bolt on and it’s glued in. But having said that the body, though ‘solid wood’, is crappy quality, and being a small Steinberger rip off you could just saw off the sides to leave the neck free. The neck is pretty good too, but needed the nasty finish to be removed and an oil finish applied. The supplied strings were beyond awful, but the pickups were quite nice units, not a bad sound and good output.

        The hardware is in no way a Steinberger drop in replacement, for an original or a licensed design like a Hohner for instance. Way different dimensions. I’ll try to get some photos of it over the weekend disassembled from the bass and alongside my Hohner Jack Bass for comparison to a ‘berger licensed bridge.

        It have to say it looks like a pretty reasonable price for a nice bit of kit for somebody experimenting with making a headless bass. And again I’d love to see a guitar version.

      3. Looking forward to the comparison! Drop me a note when you’re ready.

        And thanks for the idea of using one as a basis for a build.

  48. Way too scant information on that one. Looks too wide, and similar specs to ABM. No info on what KIND of metal it is. If it’s a direct replacement or not. It has spaces in between each string, which a Steinberger hasn’t, but ABM. There should be info about string spacing and whatever. According to the sellers other items, with double neck guitars and five necks, it looks very chinese to me.

    Thanks for the link anyway.

  49. Does anyone know if any of the ABM bridges for headless guitar would take the graph tech ghost system for midi?

    Ultimately I think I would like a Klein guitar style, headless neck, with graph tech piezo midi bridge, a sustainiac Stealth PLUS and some choice pickups in the mid and bridge position…

    Anyone else thinking this way?

    Graphtech Ghost
    Sustainiac

    ABM’s website is still alive…
    ABM-Mueller

    1. That would certainly make for a sonically diverse guitar!

      I don’t know the answer to the ABM/Ghost pickup question but an inquiry to Graphtech may take care of that question for you.

      As far as ABM, word is still that they’re defunct. I’ve tried contacting them several times with no response and I know of several other folks who have as well. One person was told by an ABM rep that they had already sold off all their manufacturing equipment!

      Have you heard otherwise? Did you speak to someone there?

      The fact the site is still running doesn’t mean they’re still around. As long as the bills are paid and the domain name remains registered, the lights will stay on. My site, for example, will run for the next several years whether or not I’m here. But I’m sticking around for a while. 😉

      Let’s not forget Klein Electric Guitars which ran for several years without any significant presence behind the scenes.

      Even now, the site name is still registered and the hosting fees have been paid although there’s no content on the site.

      1. Unfortunately no, I don’t have any more information on ABM… and you’re quite right the website may likely be a red herring. Too bad.

        I have seen some of the headless units ‘in stock’ in some websites that supply parts so I guess there may be some to be found while the stock lasts.

        It seems the more I look around the best approach may be to purchase a MusicYo Steinberger and use it as a parts source, or grab parts from them (as soon as they get stock) as I see some have all ready done.

        I have received an email back from Graph Tech and although they don’t offer direct replacements saddles for the Steinberger bridge to include the Ghost system.

        Here’s their email…
        We don’t currently make a saddle to fit the Steinberger bass. I had a luthier contact me last week about this, and he chose to get our PN-8800 saddles (for Schaller bridges) and modify them to fit into custom saddles he would make to fit the Steinberger bridge.

        Th PN-8800 is suitable for modification because it is fairly large, and has straight sides, and it is easy to see where the pickup is located so that you don’t cut into it. You will likely have to cut off the bottom of the saddle where it tapers and is drilled and tapped to fit the intonation screws of the Schaller bridge.

        Attached is a photo of the PS-8800 saddle, which is dimensionally identical to the Ghost-loaded PN-8800.

        Morgan
        Ghost Technical Support
        Graph Tech Guitar Labs
        604-940-5353 x26
        PS-8800 Saddle

  50. ABM’s out, but try Status. They have individual tuners for both bass and guitar still for sale. I think, it’s a fully equipped Klein that you’re after! With Sustainiac AND Hex Ghost piezo pickups. They crave such amount of internal routing and cavities that your guitar may end up chambered, although that was not the intention from the beginning! :-) You must have at least a place for 2 9v batteries if you’re not going to have external wires to power. Sustainiac recommends batteries.

    I do not recommend 3 instances of pickups on a Klein body, if you should have any space for BOTH the Sustainiac, and two others. Right now, I think it’s quite a bit crowdy to make room for 3 pickups (ordinary ones) HSH style in there. Sometime – more often than not – they get in the way for the picking. The 24 fret neck, makes it even narrower. Sustainiac demands a certain amount of space between neighboring pickups in order to avoid “direct coupling” and squeaky feedback to its nearest pickup. When active.

    If you go with Sustainiac I would definitely search for a TransTrem in very good condition. The amount of chord bends and pedal steel impersonations you can do with a TransTrem and Sustainiac together are endless and a hell lot of fun. I would drop that piezo bit, then. But hey, each one to their own.

    The guitar MIDI thing, or guitar synth is something I’ve never caught on. I find them way too slow and sluggish. I play keyboards as well, and I have never ever heard anyone playing a MIDI guitar or guitar synth playing something that I can’t top ten times over with a keyboard. But if you’re not a keyboard player, it’s all your game.

    /mats

    1. I just got a reply email from ABM:

      Dear sirs,

      as a result of the death of Dr. Klaus Müller, owner of the company ABM / Müller & Sohn KG, the continuation of the company has now to be negotiated.

      Thank you
      ABM / Müller & Sohn KG

      So I think it’s on hold for sure.

      Right you are /mats – I don’t need a middle pickup and I’d rather sacrifice that then the Sustainiac, so out goes that pup. :)

      I have a nice Ibanez X-ING IMG2010 and a Roland GR300 that tracks very fast, the Godin’s and a good converter are are pretty fast too, not quite the GR300 but not bad. I’m a hack at both keys and guitar to be honest so either way I’m just looking for control of synths and each has it’s positives and negatives. But I have to agree with you, the keyboards generally are nicer and faster for controlling synths. It’s like listening to bass players play Bach on a bass… interesting, technically impressive, but not really as nice as other instruments playing the same music.

      I’ll keep my eyes open for a trans trem… or loose this whole idea and just buy a Godin LGX-SA and slap a Sustainiac in that.

      1. Thank you Steven,I just thought that cramming all that stuff into a Klein body, 3 pickups, where one of them are the Sustainiac – WITH eletronics assembly and battery – and on top of that the Piezo thing, which granted, pickupwise doesn’t take up space since it’s built in into the bridge, and string “seats”, but you bet that the wires and electronics underneath, plus another battery, will leave your guitar very crowded even if you carved up significant amount of cavities.

        I would even choose a single coil at the neck position, with the stealth plus built in.

  51. I’m designing my own ergo guitar, I’m using a Trem King trem which obliges me to have a headstock.

    But I think the design (largely based on Klein’s) would look better headless.

    Which got me to thinking…there ought to be a way to retrofit the trem block to become a tuning block as well.

    Maybe someone has already thought of this?

    Seems to me there should be a way to attach (smaller) tuners to the bottom of the trem block…

    1. It’s a matter of taste, but I think a head on a Klein can look quite good. Have you seen the Kleincaster?

      …and as people point out in the comments, a compact 3+3 or 4+2 headstock with small tuners (e.g. Grover Mini Rotomatics) might make it look even better.

      /Alex

  52. I bought one of those ebay headless bridges from Fastsale123 on ebay (200215461264 as an example auction). The bridge I received looks pretty good in terms of build quality (although the one I received is brushed aluminum, not chrome). The knob for the spring tension adjuster pops right off–I’m assuming the set screw isn’t tightened down, I haven’t tried yet. — No mounting screws were included, and no instructions. Which leads to my question…

    Can anyone tell me what that longish narrow rectangular piece w/hinge is for? Maybe it’s something obvious and I’m just missing it?

    Here’s a link to the photo: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v333/idch/headlessbridge1d59_1.jpg

    1. It appears to be a fold down leg rest similar to what’s used on the original Steinberger “broom” shape.

  53. Special “ergonomic” pot knobs!

    I don’t know under which chapter I will ask this but I put it out here anyway…

    Do anyone of you know of some kind of pot knob that you’re NOT able to accidentally whack out during playing?

    Say, when I strum very vividly I tend to knock out the volume knob undeliberately, lowering the volume by too much. Especially on strats and on my Klein. You see, I want the knob to be placed so I can do volume swells. Then, it’s a bit too close to be out of the strumming way too. So I wonder if theres a knob or pot that allows you just to be able to turn it with your PINKY from UNDERNEATH the knob. My picking hand tends to knock the knob from the top only, it should be very unergonomic picking if I was able to knock the colume knob out of position from underneath!:-)

    What I am asking for is a – sort of – half open knob (!?) that is only adjustable from “underneath” the knob with the pinky. If you whack it from above accidentally, nothing will happen. Of course, I only need one for the volume, the others are way out of reach for even the most violent strumming. It can’t be that hard it’s just a larger “shield” surrounding an ordinary knob with an open space underneath it. It should be easy to build, but I wonder if there’s any out there already.

    /Mats

    1. Interesting idea, Mats. Hmm. I haven’t come across something quite like that but I’m also thinking a low knob with a depression in the top could work in this scenario. It would be less likely to be knocked about and you could use the tip of your pinky to rotate the knob for volume swells. Looking at the Teuffel Tesla made me think of this.

      And I appreciate you trying to find an appropriate place to post questions like these and I realize we don’t have a…ahem… “forum” for this. :) But something is in the works so stay tuned.

    2. You might try one of the Danelectro concentric knobs –they’re similar to what you’re describing. You can set one or the other to be ‘live’, the other left as a buffer.

      1. Great idea, Mickey!

      2. Yeah, that’s the closest one I had in mind too, but alas, om my Klein I have to use push pull pots, and it’s not really the pot that has to be changed, just the actual knob. I mean there’s litterally ten thousands different shapes out there, for metal heads, vintage, and all the sizes, colors, and materials from here to the moon and back but no one like this.

        I think using a concentric limits you to use the “inner” one which leaves too little grip on the pinky for volume swells. Also, I like narrow and of a lesser diameter, since it’s easier to turn it up from zero to full volume. Doing volume swells are harder on a larger diameter knob, because the actual travel before it reaches its level are becoming longer.

        Also I would like the full travel, going from absolute zero to 11 to be of less travel. That you don’t have to turn the pot a full turn. But that requires changing out the pot nevertheless, as well.

        Also, the protection needs to cover the actual TOP of the knob. It’s there I hit it the most of the times. It can be see through plastic so you can see the marks on the knob anyway. No fancy stuff. It needs to be just connected to a ring that is fastened together with the washer, however, it should move up and down with the pot as you do you pull push things.

        I mean, I’ve encountered this with pots that are high end. Those who have plastic or ceramic conductive shafts as well as everything else and they are smooth as butter to turn and hardly ever needs spraying. They turn too easily, and thus, the consequence is, they’re much easier to knock out of position. And I don’t want to go back to pots, that are so hard to turn that you’ll grow small biceps on your pinky, just to get rid of the accidental knocks. Those aren’t ergonomic anyway, so they wont fit in here anyway. :-)

        I mean, ALL knobs today are made like that you have to acutally use your right hand thumb and index to turn them. Just like you used to dial in a radio in the past, from a front panel. But on guitars, right hand thumb and index are always occupied to hold the pick and I haven’t even seen bass players – who plays without any pick – who change their tone and volume knobs with any finger BUT the pinky. Go figure.

  54. I am probably going to regret this as I can’t afford them right now, but GuitarFetish http://store.guitarfetish.com/flroflotrsy.html has the Floyd Rose Speedloader/Fastloader assemblies. It looks like they will take ball end strings and the double end strings from the pictures. There appear to be a choice of colors also. I hope there are still some available when I start my ergo guitar build in a few months.

    Ron

    1. Ron – The Floyd Rose Speedloader bridges are designed to work specifically with Speedloader strings. The strings are precision made to specific lengths so that the fine tuners can bring them up to correct pitch. They are not meant for use with Steinberger style double ball end strings.

      1. Robert,

        Thanks, I’ll watch out for that and make sure I choose the correct scale length (I am assuming 25 1/2 inches) and positioning. I guess I better check if the string sets are still available also. Keep up the great work!

        Ron

      2. Thanks, Ron. Keep me posted on the guitar.

  55. Synsonics headless locking nut and vibrato tuning bridge…. Anyone have a clue about replacement pieces?

    1. Dave,
      I did a quick web search and it looks like at one time Synsonics had 20 NOS guitars still sitting in a storage unit that they were selling off for $80 ea.
      I’d try ebay and that fails after a couple of months you may have to find a machinist willing to make up some replacements for the parts that are missing or broken.

      I guess there’s a good chance that the hardware was used on other brands of guitars. Musicyo might even have what you need.

  56. anybody got any idea where i might be able to get a string retainer from? now musicyo has gone, i can’t find one anywhere…!

    sim

    1. Check out this Korean company doing business on eBay as CUSTOM HEADLESS (http://stores.shop.ebay.com/CUSTOM-HEADLESS__W0QQ_armrsZ1) I bought a string lock from them about a year ago and the purchase worked out really well. Quick, affordable shipping and good quality.

      Cheers,
      Ola

      1. superb, thanks Ola!

  57. Got much influence from eLuthier for my builds…

    This site has some great ideas, some of which is used or considered. I have started making headless guitars myself, trying to move from the seemingly ubiquitous tremolo to fixed bridges for both the cost and the simplicity (who needs a trem anyway?) I feel childish with one personally. Like using the steinberger tuners, that’s my suggestion for $100, you can get a Gotoh bridge and 6 tunes, great sustain.

    Here is my website if you wanna check out my work, where I am going with it and give me feedback/critique:
    http://sirenguitar.web.officelive.com

    P.S. I was looking into JCustom headpieces, people seem to have a lot of questions. My understanding is that they are not bad, they are 60% of the price of a steiny as well. And yes they are Korean, with some searching I found their site, but you are better off looking on ebay.

    By the way, I might be able to get a good deal and a bundle of high quality headless necks, custom built, but I dont have to money to keep that many until I use them all… Any one interested / know if they would sell on ebay? Hit me back from my site (above).

    Best of luck with all ya’ll non-headies,
    JTrips

  58. Wow. a forum for the headless folks!
    I’ve been trying to locate a headpiece for my project.
    Of course, not a easy thing.
    I found a S.Korean company that sells the headpieces similar to the one used in new synapse. It does look much more groomed and finished than Moses head piece. worth to chik it out.

    Ebay Store : Seller :headlessresearch at Customheadless

    THE COMBINED HEADPIECE FOR STEINBERGER
    it is specially designed for the truss rodded graphite neck and lets you use both regular single ball and double ball strings.it works with Musicyo steinbergers and Spirit models.international bidders are more than welcome.

  59. Great information here! Was wondering if you could you an origional floyd rose trem for a headless system? Install nut in normal locaion and in normal way, same for bridge….when installing strings dive bomb the trem and insstall rod to keep the trem fixed in that position, place fine tuners to where they are bottomed out, install strings and pull them hand tight, take out rod and let trem come back to floating position, tune up to pitch using only fine tuners? Do you guys think this will work?

    1. Thanks Matthew. You “could” use a Floyd Rose trem but its not really appropriate. You’d have to tension the string by hand – pulling it taut – and then use the fine tuners to get it to pitch. There’s really not enough travel in the fine tuners to make it suitable.

      1. Hi Matthew,
        I agree with Rob – this can be made to work, but is really cumbersome. May I point you to the tremolo that I have developed that has the same post spacing and general dimensions as a Floyd Rose tremolo.

        I would also like to comment on a previous post about jcustom (headlessresearch on eBay) that I have used one of their combined headpieces and have only good things to say. Fast shipping and good quality product.

        Cheers,
        Ola