STEINBERGER
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STEINBERGER
Instruments currently produced in Nashville, TN. Distributed by Gibson Musical Instruments of Nashville, TN (Steinberger is a division of the Gibson Guitar Corporation). Instruments originally manufactured in NY, then NJ. Steinberger was purchased by the Gibson Guitar Corporation in 1987 (after a preliminary 1986 agreement).
Ned Steinberger, like Leo Fender and Nathan Daniels, was an instrument designer who didn´t play any instruments. Steinberger revolutionized the bass guitar from the design point-of-view, and popularized the use of carbon graphite in musical instruments.
Ned Steinberger majored in sculpture at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Steinberger moved to New York in the 1970s after graduating, and started working as a cabinet maker and furniture designer. He soon moved into a space at the Brooklyn Woodworkers Co-operative and met a guitar builder named Stuart Spector. In 1976 Steinberger began suggesting ideas that later became the NS-1 bass ("NS" for Steinberger´s entails, and "1" for the number of pickups). The NS-2, with two pickups, was introduced later. Steinberger´s involvement with the NS design led him to originally consider mounting the tuning machines on the body instead of at the peghead. He produced his first "headless" bass in early 1978, built entirely out of wood. Displeased with the end result due to the conventional "dead spots" on the neck (sympathetic vibrations in the long neck cancel out some fundamentals, also called the "wolf" tone in acoustic guitars), Steinberger took the instrument and covered it in fiberglass. His previous usage of the stiff reinforcing fibers in furniture making and boat building did not prepare him for the improved tone and sustain the covered bass then generated.
In 1978, Steinberger continued to experiment with graphite. Actually, the material is a molded epoxy resin that is strengthened by carbon and glass fibers. This formed material, also popular in boat hulls, is said to have twice the density and ten times the "stiffness"of wood - and to be stronger and lighter than steel! Others who have utilized this material are Geoff Gould of Modulus Graphite, Status (UK), Ovation, and Moses Instruments. Steinberger publicly displayed the instrument at a 1979 U.S. Trade Show, hoping to sell the design to a guitar company. When no offers materialized, he formed the Steinberger Sound Corporation in 1980 with partners P. Robert Young (a plastics engineer) and Hap Kuffner and Stan Jay of Mandolin Brothers.
In 1980, the Steinberger bass was debuted at both the MusicMesse in Frankfurt and the NAMM show in Chicago. One of the hot design trends of the 1980s was the headless, reverse tuning instrument - although many were built of wood. Rather than fight "copycat" lawsuits, Steinberger found it easier to license the body and tuning design to other companies. In 1986 the Gibson Guitar corporation agreed to buy Steinberger Sound, and by 1990 had taken full control of the company. Steinberger continued to serve as a consultant and later developed the Transtrem and DB system detuner bridge
Steinberger is now distributed by online by musicyo.com, which handles several of Gibson´s subsidiaries. Visit their website for current model information and pricing. Look for more current models to be in future editions of the Blue Book of Electric Guitars.

From Blue Book Publications:


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