The Ultimate Headless Guitar & Bass Resource

headless Testimonials Page 5

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From the very first moment that I saw a picture of a Steinberger bass as a teenager back in the early 1980's, I absolutely loved the appearence of it and I knew that I wanted to own one. The real problem was that they were very expensive and very few people could afford one at that time, including me.

When I was 17, I got a job in a music shop for awhile, so I was able to borrow a black unlined Steinberger fretless XL2 bass to use on a couple of gigs, and I was blown away by the sound, as was everyone else in the band. But I still couldn't afford one.

In 1986, while I was traveling in California, I traded in a Trace Elliot speaker cabinet that I'd brought with me from England, towards my first Steinberger bass, which was a black "narrow" five string XL25. I wasn't looking for a five string, but I simply had to own a Steinberger bass.

I kept and used this bass until 1989, when I sold it, which was just after I had moved to London. As much as I loved the instrument, I was never 100% happy with the narrow 5-string spacing, especially since I have very large hands.

I then joined Jools Holland's band in 1991, which I am still a member of to this day. It wasn't long after joining Jools that I got seriously interested in collecting basses as well as playing them. However, I was less interested in the "obvious" collectible basses like vintage Fenders. I was drawn to the more unusual, quirky, and exotic examples of bass design that have been produced in the relatively short history of the electric bass.
I knew that I wanted to get another Steinberger bass, and I wanted a four-string this time, but where could I find one? I started to look on ebay, but I was always disappointed by the poor condition that so many of them seemed to be in. Eventually I bought one from a music shop in Texas, a black fretted XL2A. It was in great shape and I was pleased to finally own a playable Steinberger 4-string bass!

As they say, once a collector, always a collector, so even though I had this great bass, I still couldn't resist looking for other examples of these amazing instruments. The only place where I knew to look was still on ebay, and even though there was never really a shortage of Steinberger basses being listed, I was never tempted to buy another, mainly because the condition of the ones listed was never good enough...that was until I made contact with Don Greenwald of HEADLESS USA.

Through our multiple e-mails and telephone calls, Don convinced me that he had an absolutely immaculate and pristine black fretted XL2 bass that "had my name on it". I told him that I felt a little decadent owning two of the same model bass, but that was when Don (being the expert) told me that the one that I already owned had the HAZ active EQ circuit, so there actually was a difference between the two. Most importantly, I was intrigued to see how much better the condition of Don's was to the one that I already owned.

I need to add at this point that all of Don's communications were first class. He answered every single e-mail promptly and every question thoroughly. I just couldn't believe the level of his knowledge and expertise regarding these instruments! It was the best education that I've ever had. I ordered the bass, the transaction went swimmingly, and I waited with eager anticipation.

"Bullet proof" is a description Don uses for his packaging and he's not joking! I've never seen a better packed and protected musical instrument before. It's one of the few occasions that I've felt sorry for the Customs folks at the airport. The thought of them having to open up that box and all the packaging to get to the instrument...forget it!

I need to mention something about myself at this point. I am EXTREMELY & EXCEPTIONALLY fussy when it comes to the condition and authenticity of my musical instruments, so when I took my new bass out of the gig bag, I was ready to go over it inch by inch with a fine tooth comb looking for flaws. I couldn't find any, not a single one...!! This bass looked liked it had come straight from the factory floor. I just couldn't believe my eyes. It was exactly as Don had described it. In fact it was better! It made
the one that I already had (which I had thought was in excellent condition) look very average. I was elated! I was amazed that anyone could be even fussier than me and even more conscientious.

I must also mention here the superlative skill of Jeff Babicz in the setting up and adjustments of this bass. Don had told me that Jeff was the former head of production, fretting, and quality control at the original Steinberger factory in Newburgh, N.Y., and that Jeff does the repairs, restorations, and set ups on the guitars and basses that are sold through HEADLESS USA. Not only did this instill great confidence in me, but it was a real honor knowing that the MAIN MAN who was at the heart of the Steinberger company had set up my bass so beautifully. Both Jeff & Don are totally fastidious when it comes to these guitars. I take my hat off to them both!

After this wonderful experience, I realized there was no way I could let my Steinberger collection remain at only two! I then asked Don what other rare and delightful gems he might have available for sale. He very kindly went to a great deal of trouble (I'm sure) in e-mailing me lots of high quality photos of other basses that he thought that I might be interested in, with informative descriptions. As soon as I saw the incredibly rare white unlined fretless four string XL2, I knew that I had to have it. We agreed on a price and the process began once again. Everything went like clockwork, just as as before, and when I received my new bass, I was again overwhelmed at how perfect it was. I would have no hesitation whatsoever in describing it as "mint" I just don't know how Don manages to find these stunning instruments in such fantastic condition, but he does!

I have been dealing with lots of companies, supplying all sorts of instruments, equipment, and accessories for many years now, and I can honestly say that dealing with Don (and Jeff) at HEADLESS USA has been the most pleasurable, educational, and rewarding of them all! Their quality of service before, during, and after each sale is second to none.

To Don & Jeff, I can't thank you enough for supplying me with these two gorgeous basses. I couldn't possibly be any happier!
Keep up the splendid work, good luck with the new website, and please keep me posted on all of your new arrivals. You know that I won't be able to resist...

All the best,
Dave Swift

England

Dave Swift has played with hundreds of the world’s biggest names in music including Paul McCartney, George Benson, Eric Clapton, BB King, Sting, and hundreds of others.
Growing up in the 80's and watching video's on MTV ...Seeing these cool "Space Age" Looking guitars...always made me curious about Steinbergers, and after seeing and hearing Eddie Van Halen playing a GL, that was it !! That got me totally hooked on buying my own GL someday.

Years ago I would find myself in a "Steinberger" phase where I would try to find one, but I would always hit a dead end with old expired web pages and forums, old phone numbers...and when I did see one on ebay I would never buy it because I didn't know enough about them, the condition looked bad, and I didn't know what a good price for a GL was? When I purchase guitars, I like to see all the models available, all the options, all the specs before I buy anything...More time passed and I found myself in another  Steinberger phase and I just had to buy one this time...I went online and dug deeper then ever before...thats when I found Don at HeadlessUSA.

Don has a Great website that answered all of my general questions...and it got me prepared to ask a few detailed questions to get the ball rolling for my 1st phone call with Don.

During my 1st phone call with him I knew instantly that I would buy a Steinberger from him. He is full of passion about these guitars, and will talk with you in great length about them! All I knew before the call was that I wanted a GL model of some sort, and after a few more phone calls and emails I decided on a GL7TA.

Don answered all of my questions with great detail and length , and he explained all of the little features and subtle differences in all the GL7TA's he had in stock. He sent detailed photos of 4 of them...complete with full specs - differences in features - condition (from Near Mint to Mint) - and prices. That allowed me to make a solid 100% decision on the exact one I wanted to buy.

Before Don ships your guitar, he explains how it will be fully cleaned, polished, and Set-Up by Jeff Babicz...Jeff used to work at the Original Steinberger factory and is a Leading Expert in the world of Steinbergers, he is the one who Set-Up Eddie Van Halen's " 5150 " Steinberger !!

I can't get over the Quality and Playability of these guitars (I never played, or held a Steinberger before I bought mine) ...They Feel Great...Sound Amazing...and are a Sheer Joy to Play!!

I will Most Likely purchase another GL from my Friend Don...

Thanks Don!!

J. Buzz Villas Mantua

New Jersey, USA
Don,

After calling around to many local guitar shops, I realized that my dream of regaining a long lost Steinberger XL2 bass was fading into the obscure. I had resisted placing my faith in the internet or any of the online auction websites, because finding such a rare instrument and one in truly acceptable condition would seem to demand in-hand verification, preferably prior to payment!

Luckily, I had heard about Don Greenwald, a Steinberger collector, who could help folks track down these rare instruments. I sent him an e-mail and the next day I got a return e-mail from Don. He sent me his phone number and when we spoke, I quickly learned that Don was well-steeped in Steinberger history, full of passion for these unique instruments, and extremely knowledgeable about their various incarnations. We had a great talk and my mind was put at ease about dealing with someone halfway across the country about a substantial investment in my happiness.
 
I was looking for a bass, not as a collector of antiquities, but as a guy that just loved to try to play along with his favorite Rush songs in the basement. Based on our conversation, Don picked out three instruments ranging from one in excellent shape, but with some minor cosmetic problems (tiny holes on the face from a previous owner removing a thumb rest), to a near-perfect bass, reserved for the professional musician or collector. Don clearly stated the terms and price for each, and provided numerous pictures of the instruments, along with pictures of them together for comparison. He offered to send additional pictures, but I made my selection without the need for more.

Don explained that once I had made my selection, he would take the bass to his friend, Jeff Babicz, the former head of production at the original Steinberger factory, to do the setup and adjustments prior to shipment. That also surprised me, and added another layer of trust and anticipation. I felt I was dealing with people that had been with the Steinberger movement since its start. I must now admit that beyond what Don had told me, I did not know who Jeff Babicz was or what he had accomplished since his days at Steinberger. So, after a quick internet search, I was amazed that "The Jeff Babicz" would be even in the same zip code as my bass, let alone set it up for me. I viewed his website and read various articles and other blogs about him, and was just floored that he was going to be involved in this process, thanks to Don.

When the bass arrived, I was relieved and elated. The instrument was exactly as Don described, but it sounded so great, and played so well, that I felt I got more than I bargained for. Don had taken so much care and was so invested in the process, that all my expectations had been surpassed. From the very first email, to cutting through layers and layers of "bullet-proof" bubble-wrap packaging, to playing this superb instrument for the first time since losing one in 1994, this whole experience was a testament to those rare folks that, in their own personal devotion to excellence, raise the standards of those with whom they interact. I was looking for a bass that would play well beneath my rusty, thick fingers, and I was given a masterwork that has rekindled my passion for playing music.

Thank you.

With warmest personal regards, 


Craig Larson
USA
Don

"I just got home to find my beautiful steinie XL2A waiting for me. It truly is incredible!

Sounds amazing and plays like a dream.

Thanks so much for all the patience and assistance.

Joe Dileva
USA
I have got to know Don with an inquiry from Japan to his auction of Steinberger, GL2T of which is listed on eBay by Don. We have been contacting so many times, "It will be hundreds of times, exchange of emails" as he said.

I have not playing guitar for long time, but Fukushima nuclear accident occurred in March 2011. I have decided that we could to something for recovery of our living with music. I stared to call my former band members to get gather in studio.

GL2T is the instrument that I was dreamt of. Because my favorite guitarist, Eddie Van Halen was playing in the 1980s. I stared to look for purchasing it, but in 2011 in Japan, lunch box type Steinberger available for quick purchase was the only GL4TA.

I have never known the sound and playability, so I tested with copy model of which body is made of wood. I decide to purchase real Steinberger due to the playability and easy to care, which does not apply to vintage guitar from Fender and Gibson. We are not in museums; we are in daily living with four seasons. I will go to pick nick for someday with them.

I stared to contact Don for GL2T, Don told me a lot of things that I could not get, even Internet because he was music storeowner and his store is one of Steinberger distributors. Don was very kindly tells me the history of productions.
In order to perform a mass production, Zenon, Japanese company was starting machine production for its arm unit instead of the craftsman. The structure of the arm unit of is both same, but Don told me the best model of GL2T is GL2T with Modification (Mod.) #1 of which arm unit is produced by the craftsman.

Listen to the story of the arm unit of Steinberger ‘s; I have noticed the unit is running more smoothly than those of Zenon 's production. Don sent me a photo raised three rare that series. So, I was starting to plan to play with them from Japan to New York.
A year later, fortunately I was transferred to United States, so I have finally seen Don and played the three GL2T with Mod. #1 in 2013. It was hard to select one from them because they are all mint condition even before the restore process of Jeff Babicz. I have chosen the one from the conditions of pickups, frets and body to avoid the model, which has been played frequently.

I have already asked restoration work by Jeff for my GL4TA, I have no wonder that these 30 years old guitars will reborn as a brand new.

GL2T I picked was also perfect one. It can be said to have been called lucky that Don himself had met with Jeff, this work of two people and the world's leading of Steinberger’s guitar.

Then on manufactured bridge GL4TA on hand, compared to the sound of the unit homemade GL2T with Mod. #1 remarkable. Unit structure is almost identical, but the amount of resonance with the body and that the latter behave organic more different. It can be said therefore, resonance made inferior wood and the plastic body, which is also the disadvantage of the latter, but only Steinberger and that makes up for that point than the former.

I heard the trend of recent customers to Don for my curiosity. Mature layer you want bought him of the best "vintage guitar" for their child was the answer.

The first GL2T, Steinberger guitar appears in Japanese market in 1980’s, the prices is around $7,000. It was not the amount of money guitar Kids in high school can be on hand at that time. It is a price that is comparable to the top-end model of Fender and Gibson. Pricing but have been in the United States perhaps some of the wooden guitar at that time, but what this would some integral guitar that is keeping the player's condition. And which vintage guitar will keep their condition for another 10 to 20 years for guitar players. Achievement of Don Son of had a repairman best that Jeff will continue over the eternal in the future.

Japanese are very strict in customer care and quality of goods. Since I have met Don, he is the best dealer who Japanese satisfied with, even after-sales follow-up and speed of correspondence. And he is a player in the world that really love the instrument advanced Steinberger that more than anything, I think to be a technician.

I hope to go and want to expand to attract Steinberger fan in the world to have the passion and professional ism in the future.

There is a guitar policy by Ned Steinberger, "The Sounds will not change anywhere in the world, or any era can have". But we need both Don and Jeff, as long as we play Steinberger for the lifetime.

Koshi Komatsuzaki
New York, USA
My experience dealing with Don Greenwald and HeadlessUSA.com has been outstanding! Don is very attentive, and was quick to answer my many emails and questions via phone. Back in the day, Don owned his own guitar shop, and he was a dealer for virtually all of the "big name" guitar manufacturers. Back then, Don believed that the Steinberger's were the highest quality guitars that he carried, and nowadays he deals solely in Steinberger guitars. Quite a testament to the brand. I had previously owned an imported Steinberger-built guitar called the Synapse. I liked this guitar a lot. It had a stable neck and was very portable, but I quickly realized that I wanted a "real" top of the line USA-built Steinberger. Headless USA is the only real choice if you're interested in a top-quality, original USA-built Steinberger. Calling the used market (eBay, craigslist, etc....) a "crap-shoot" isn't even close to being accurate. All of the used Steinberger's available require lots of restoration to function properly. Sellers on these sites will always state that their guitar "plays great" and that it is "set up to perfection". Unless the guitar has had a full mechanical restoration, this simply can't be true. All Trans-Trems, S-Trems etc. will need their bearings and pins replaced, and many other parts cleaned, re-calibrated and lubricated, at a minimum.

Headless USA has a huge selection of Newburgh-era Steinberger's in stock at all times. I knew that I wanted a GM series guitar, with active electronics and a Trans-Trem vibrato system. I prefer the more traditional guitar body shape, and the GM's seductive lines look great, yet it retains all of the original Steinberger's advanced technology.
I also knew that I wanted a black guitar with white binding, for its classic "black beauty-tuxedo" good looks. Don provided me with tons of high quality pics of 3 guitars that met my specifications. The only real differences in the 3 was their physical condition. The guitar that you decide on will be completely mechanically restored. All of the electronics, neck, frets, etcetera will be made perfect. So, all that you need to do is to choose which guitar to use as a starting point, based on its cosmetic condition. All guitars will be functionally perfect when shipped. I selected the guitar that met my criteria. It was in near mint, unused condition. Turn around time for the restoration process was only about10 days.

This brings me to the master luthier who will be restoring your instrument; Jeff Babicz
. Jeff was a long-time employee at the original Steinberger factory in Newburgh, and he worked in nearly every department at one time. This means that that he was able to learn and master all of the many facets of building and therefore maintaining and restoring Steinberger guitars. I have read extensively about Jeff Babicz talents, but to experience them first-hand is simply amazing. Receiving my guitar was truly like stepping back in time to 1988 and purchasing a brand new Steinberger. I chose to purchase one of Headless USA's form-fitted hardshell cases to protect my investment-quality instrument. Opening the case, I was greeted by a perfect "time capsule" guitar! Don included all of the cool "case candy", including a fretboard protector plate, Headless USA strap, an extra set of strings, tools, and best of all, Jeff Babicz's comprehensive work order! This document details all of the work that was done during the restoration process.

Now, for the best part of all; to finally play this beautiful instrument! My guitar arrived perfectly in tune, of course, and the Trans-Trem was set up to perfection. This guitar sounds great, truly like no other, and instantly moves to the top-tier of my guitar arsenal. The composite neck, double-ball end strings, and the Trans-Trem all contribute to this guitars sound. It rings like a bell, even when unplugged. This is always a sure sign of a guitar that will sound even better when plugged in. The clean tones are so clear and bright. Easily the best tones from any electric guitar I have experienced. The metal tones from the EMG 85 are precisely what I expected, and nailing an 80's crunch or searing lead is just a twist of a knob away.

Which brings me to the active tone controls. I chose the HAZ Labs version #2 active tone circuit, with stacked tone controls, allowing for precise bass and treble boost and/or cut. Having tone knobs that actually make noticeable and useable changes to the sound is a new experience for me. Previously, I have set my tone knobs to 80% and then never touched them again. Not the case with my Steinberger! The master volume is equally precise, providing great and different tones throughout its sweep. Even though my guitar has only a single humbucker (albeit placed in the precise sonic sweet-spot), I find that I can get many, many different sounds, through manipulating the volume and tone controls. The Trans-Trem is truly a magnificent piece of engineering. As a plain functioning tremolo, it works great, easily equaling the feel of a Floyd Rose, yet it stays in tune throughout its range, both up and down! Then it locks in place, and functions as a hard-tail guitar, if you wish. Finally, it transposes into 4 other keys, locking perfectly in tune into each! I can play the guitar as a straight-ahead rocker, or as it was designed as a versatile, do-everything guitar! Last, but not least, the fret-work. The frets were all beautifully micro-polished and set and leveled, expertly. The zero-fret area was precisely notched with the "EVH Mod" which was a set-up specification that Jeff performed on Eddie Van Halen's original Steinberger!

In closing, I can't thank Don Greenwald and Jeff Babicz enough. The buying experience was painless and Don couldn't have been easier to deal with. Then add in Jeff's masterful restoration, of one of the best instruments ever made, and you have the perfect combination. This is surely my first of many Steinbergers to come. Thank you gentlemen, you now have a customer for life!

Jeffrey Clark
New Hampshire, USA
Hi Don,

Who would have thought that my dream of owning a Steinberger L2 bass would one day come to be a reality? After playing Rickenbacker 4001’s for almost thirty years, the invention of the headless bass had me fascinated right from the start. What can this all mean? I must find out for myself.

I remember the moment that I took delivery of the beautifully done package across my doorstep, and then eagerly tearing away the wrapping to reveal a wonderful Steinberger L2! One thing for sure, it was just as you had described; a dream to play, with a sound that is just out of this world!

To anyone thinking of joining the headless community, Don has a brilliant system to offer his customers. In my instance, I was offered a price range featuring three Steinberger L2 bass guitars, the most expensive being the nicest condition of the three.
A few days later, Don sent me a set of good quality photographs of the three bass guitars in question, complete with serial numbers and a short service history of each. This was great, as it allowed me to study their condition and make my choice of which one to buy in my own time.

Once payment was made, Don contacted me on receipt of the funds and gave me full shipping details with a projected delivery date to me here in the United Kingdom.

A quick mention of Don and his correspondence is worthy here. Every time I fired a question at Don by email, he responded quickly without once keeping me waiting. My questions were answered fully and in satisfying detail; leaving me with no uncertainties whatsoever. Don’s punctual responses actually had a type of military feel to them – no wait and no nonsense.

I found Don’s description of the bass to be absolutely precise in all respects. His technical knowledge is also excellent, and he will advise you should you need any help.

I know Don has an amazing collection of guitars as well as basses for sale, so he can cater to both four and six string Steinberger enthusiasts alike.

What’s the Steinberger L2 like to play? A revolution! Feel, sound, playability, amazing design innovation, simplicity, and superb tonal and bass responses are to name but a few of the well known characteristics.I still can’t believe this L2 bass belongs to me, and all possible thanks to Don and his collection of these amazing guitars he’s offering for sale.

Thanks again Don for making my whole year. My sincere thanks to you again, and the very best of luck in the future.

Kind regards,
Jonathan

England
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