Steinberger configuration tables
Over the years, there have been various models and they had changing configurations. With the following tables I like to provide information which stock configurations Steinberger instruments were offered in a given production era. These can be of great help in assessing whether an instrument you own or like to buy has been modified or not. Please also note that Steinberger offered custom configurations on demand (e.g. passive pickups). So, a guitar offered with high impedance pickups is not necessarily modified. For instance, many GM that were shipped to Italy are equipped with passive instead of active pickups.
This information has been compiled to our best knowledge, thus I cannot guarantee it is error free. If you have questions/input to either table, send me an Email.
Steinberger Information Material
Over the years I got hold of different brochures that I would like to share with other fans. There is more to follow.
Magazine Article Series
2012 we got the opportunity to write stories on Steinberger basses and guitars for the German Grand GTRS and Bass quarterly magazines. Thank you Bernd Meissner and Mario Unterköfler for writing these articles together with me! Provided with kind permission of the PNP Verlag, Germany. Visit either www.grandguitars.de or www.bassqarterly.de. Click on the the magazine covers to download the article.
Although not written by myself: Here on the right you find a great article feature on an early Steinberger L2 bass as well as a hardtail GL from the June 2001 issue of Guitarist magazine written by Neville Marten. Used with kind permission of Guitarist magazine/Future Publishing. www.musicradar.com.
EMG Pickup dating
Given the unavailability of the Steinberger production logs, it may often be very hard to assess the year of manufacturing by having the serial number. As EMG used a dating code in the 80s and 90s, this might provide a little help. But beware: Pickups might have been stocked for longer periods or changed.
The code used is a basic 2 or 3 letter code: The first two positions indicate the year, the possible third the month of production:
HHC=883 (March 1988)
IJC=903 (March 1990)
Steinberger buying advice
General advice for buying. Before considering buying a Steinberger, make sure you know enough about the offer and the seller. Here are some recommendations: (Disclaimer: this shall help but does not guarantee that you have problems. In this case I am not to blame)
- Information: Get informed very well before considering buying, collect as many pictures as you can and ask questions. Gather as much information as you can get. We‘re not talking about peanuts here! And do not forget: In most cases you deal with a stranger you do not know. If he‘s a reputable seller, he will send high-resolution pictures on request and answer your questions diligently. I‘ve seen a lot of auctions where I found out, the seller didn‘t even own the instrument and just used a picture from the internet as „actual“ photo of the guitar. Ask for specific pictures that have to be taken on demand. So a seller can only provide them, if he owns the instrument.
- Fraudulent offers: Be aware, that there are many fraudulent offers/auctions which start right after a real auction has ended: They can be recognized easily as they use the same pictures and often even the same description (or an automatically translated one) as their predecessors. So do not hurry! Just watch some auctions for a time carefully before bidding. And don‘t forget to save information from the auction.
- Where to ask? Good places to ask questions are forums.
- Making sure what to buy on which conditions: When buying an instrument, make a little „contract“ that contains all the information on the instrument, what‘s part of the deal (instrument, accessories etc.) as well as the conditions of the deal. Ask the seller to confirm all the things written down. Even if this is not a sales contract, a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush!
- Avoiding problems by using an escrow service: Be aware that in many occasions you deal with someone living in a foreign country. So if you have troubles with the deal, it won‘t be easy but quite costly to successfully allege legal claims. So, an escrow service for the money transfer is highly recommended.
- Modified or not? Check out – in case you‘re searching for an unmodified instrument – if the features of a certain guitar were stock ones (the table of specifications below can be of great help). For instance there have never been stock GL/GM guitars with an R-Trem. There is at least one dealer around that is known for converting one original Steinberger bolt-on guitar to up to three modified ones. A modified guitar is worth less than an unmodified one. For collectors: Think also, if the modification can be changed back or not and how much it could cost.
- Fakes? As one would assume, it‘s much easier to fake a bolt on guitar than the molded one piece graphite version. And I have seen quite a lot of bolt on „Frankenbergers“ offered in various internet auctions, and not few of them sold for a pile of money, leaving the new owner with an inferior guitar and financial loss.
- Molded or not? When buying a molded instrument (L/XL/GL) you have to be sure it‘s actually a molded one and not a wooden guitar, which is hard to tell only by pictures. There are many details you should be paying attention too. Note, there has been the GLB model, which is a wooden body with a bolt on composite neck. See table of specifications below.
- Total costs: Before buying, check for the total costs of the deal. Especially shipping, customs and taxes. This costs can sum up to quite astonishing figures! Even a price you‘d consider a „steal“ can turn out to be very costly. When importing instruments from US to Europe you have to check which custom duties and taxes you have to bear.
- Shipping: Always use insured shipping. AND: Insurance should cover the full amount you have paid! If something arrives broken at least you do not loose your money. Postal services offer full insurance for quite little money (compared to the price of the guitar/bass).