The Ultimate Headless Guitar & Bass Resource

Steinberger Model Definitions

Click HERE to view our extensive vintage Steinberger inventory list

Instrument types

X = Bass

G = Guitar

Steinberger USA: molded graphite series

L = Original molded carbon graphite and fiberglass model; single piece neck-through body construction, with top mounted faceplate housing the electronics. Commonly referred to as the "boat oar", "paddle", or "broom" design. This is the traditionally recognized Steinberger body style. For years, only the original Steinberger bass was offered, which was sold under the models L1 or L2. The XL model name was used after the bass design was revised, which was shortly followed by the GL. (Guitar and Bass)
GR = Integrated Roland MIDI Controller. Not to be confused with GR series guitars, this is a suffix designation. A collaborative effort between Steinberger Sound and Roland Corp which offered a GL and XL Steinberger with in-board, custom designed Roland MIDI electronics. These instruments were intended to be used with the Roland GR-500 synthesizer. Approximately 200 GL-GR's and 100 XL-GR's Steinberger's were produced. (Guitar and Bass)

Steinberger USA: bolt-on neck series

= "Pro Series" model, graphite neck with wood body. Small arrow body shape, commonly referred to as the "Mini-V". Designed with cutting production costs in mind, these models employed the use of pickguards, passive pickups, an S-Trem, and were only offered in solid finishes of black, white, and red. Upgrades to active pickups and a TransTrem were also available. Production was short lived, as it was difficult to offer these models at the intended retail price. (Guitar and Bass)

M = Traditional "Strat-style" model, graphite neck with wood body. Design inspired by Mike Rutherford of Genesis, with the help of English luthier Roger Giffin. Originally, bodies had binding to contrast the finish (black finish w/white binding, white finish w/black binding, red finish w/white binding). These earlier bound M's are referred to as "Version #1" bodies. Binding was later dropped to modernize the line, while options for figured tops and translucent finish upgrades were added. This change was made during the Newburgh era, with the personal approval of Mike Rutherford. These later M's are referred to as "Version #2" bodies. (Guitar and Bass)

GR = "Rock" model, graphite neck with wood body. Often confused with the similar "Strat-style" bodied M Series. Designed to be a true rock guitar, featuring Seymour Duncan high impedance pickups and a two point, knife edged, "dive bombing" R-Trem tremolo. Offered with solid color finishes only. (Guitar only)

XQ = Contemporary full-sized model, graphite neck with wood body. Introduced in 1990, the original version went by the Q4 moniker (Q5 for the "Wide" 5-string). Sold as the XQ with a redesigned body in the mid-90's. Now all versions are referred to as XQ's with either a V1 or V2 designation noting the body variation. (Bass only)

GS = Short Lived "Strat-style" model, graphite neck with wood body. Designed by Ned through the direction of Gibson, this was the first and only Steinberger instrument with a headstock, which also featured Ned's revolutionary Gearless Tuners designed specially for this model. The first bridge offered was the Z-Trem, later the Jam Trem, with the option of a TransTrem upgrade specially modified with a longer tension spring and fine tuners removed. (Guitar only)

GK = Ned Steinberger and Steve Klein collaborative model, graphite neck with wood body. Featured the Klein designed ergonomic body with Steinberger neck and hardware in solid finishes. Although they were featured in catalogs, Steinberger never actually sold Klein guitars; Klein purchased parts from Newburgh, handling his own production and sales though Klein Electric Guitars. It is estimated that only about 100 were ever produced for sale under the Steinberger brand. These Kleins with Steinberger components should not be confused with later Klein electrics built by Lorenzo German, featuring rosewood necks and various wood, finish and electronics options. (Guitar only)

Pickup Configurations

1 = Single humbucker pickup. For bass this was offered on early L's, not the later XL's. (Guitar and Bass)

2 = Two humbucking pickups. (Guitar and Bass)

3 = Indicates 3 single coil pickups on guitar. On bass, indicates P-J pickup configuration. (Guitar and Bass)

4 = Single (Neck) / Single (Middle) / Humbucker (Bridge). (Guitar only)

5 = Single (Neck) / Humbucker (Bridge). Single coil is angled. (Guitar only)

6 = Single (Neck) / Humbucker (Bridge). Single coil not angled. (Guitar only)

7 = Humbucker / Single / Humbucker. (Guitar only)

8 = Three humbuckers. Very rare factory configuration, only seen on a few guitars and one XL bass. (Guitar and Bass)

* Other configurations may exist that are custom, and as such do not have official number designations.


T = TransTrem. Revolutionary transposing tremolo, requires calibrated strings. Three versions exist: Type 1, Type 1 "Modified", and Type 2. (Guitar and Bass)

S = S-Trem. Similar to the TransTrem without the transposing feature. (Guitar only)

R = R-Trem. Knife-edge tremolo. Created in response to the increasing popularity of the Floyd Rose. (Guitar only)

DB or D = DB Tuning Bridge. (Bass only)

12 = 12 string TracTuner. (Guitar only)

F = Fixed Bridge / Hardtail. A couple hundred GL Hardtails were made during early GL production, mostly pre-TransTrem. (Guitar only)

Z = Z-Trem. (GS Guitar only)

J = Jam Trem. (GS Guitar only)

A = Active EQ Circuit produced by HAZ Labs. Their key identifier is that they always have a center detent on the tone knobs. Earlier circuits, referred to as "Version #1", have a single tone control. In the center detent position the EQ is flat; turned clockwise the treble is boosted, while the bass remains flat; turned counter-clockwise the bass is boosted, while the treble remains flat. Later "Version #2" circuits have a stacked concentric tone control, with the treble knob on top and bass knob on the bottom. Both have a center detent for flat EQ, turned clockwise to boost frequency and counter-clockwise to cut. The control layout spacing on both circuit versions is the same, making for easy swaps or upgrades. (Guitar and Bass)

P = Passive EQ instruments, only used as internal ordering/part number code in the Nashville plant. The omission of the "A" in early designations assumes passive EQ. (Guitar and Bass)

H = High Impedance / passive pickups, again only used as internal ordering/part number code in the Nashville plant. Other than GR guitars, most instruments came with active, low impedance EMG's. (Guitar and Bass)

5 = 5-String Bass. XM, XP and XL basses have "narrow" 5-string bridges on 4-string (1.5" at zero-fret) width necks. XQ's have "wide" 5-string bridges on true 5-string (1.75" at zero-fret) width necks. (Bass only)

W5 = Wide 5-string XL with true 5-string (1.75" at zero-fret) width necks. This differentiates it from the "narrow" 5-string XL25 described above. (XL Bass only)

LF = Lined Fretless. (Bass only)

UF = Unlined Fretless. (Bass only)

LL = Left handed model, strung left. (Guitar and Bass)

LR = Left handed model, strung right. (Guitar and Bass)

CS = Custom Shop. Any non-standard options (color, configuration, etc.) was given this designation. (Guitar and Bass)