Headless Guitar advantage

Do headless guitars have better tuning retention and intonate better and hence track better. Any other advantages. Thanks

I wouldn’t think so, as long as usual best practices in terms of tuning are followed. Mainly, always tune up to pitch, eliminate slack around tuning pegs when changing strings.

i have a hohner g3t steinberger clone with a fixed bridge and it stays in tune way better than most of my friend’s guitars.

unfortunately i can’t tell you how it performs with mg2 because it’s stripped down and has been awaiting fretwork and free time.

in terms of other advantages:

  • it is possible that having no string past the nut reduces overtones, however slightly.
  • perhaps neck-through designs do the same. the guitar i’ve used most with mg2 is a neck-through, and although it isn’t headless it provides trouble-free operation.

along these lines, it may also reduce overtones if your guitar has only one magnetic pickup.

this article covers that issue, but from a non-midi perspective. the conclusion seems to support the use of a single pickup only when trying to optimize a guitar for mg2 (higher frequencies muffled/poorer sound = fewer overtones, more fundamental = better for mg2).

The differences between the two sounds are very subtle. Personally, I think the high frequencies are more muffled when the neck pickup is removed. I’ll admit that all I can say on this is speculative, but it could be that when the pickup is inserted, the extra magnetic pull on the strings adds some overtones that you wouldn’t get if the string were vibrating in air without the pickup. This could just be a difference in how he’s playing it during the different takes, however. Again, it’s a very subtle difference if anything.

Interestingly, our physics expert seems to contrast my opinion by thinking the single pickup mode actually loses some of the tonal range creating a slightly poorer sound.

I mainly use a Hohner G3T and a Seinberger Spirit for all-virtual configurations (compact overall equipment) and guitars with heads for configurations with pedals and analogue amps (rock’n’roll attitude).

I haven’t noticed any particular differences in tuning retention because all my guitars with heads are fitted with self-locking tuning machines, but it’s true that headless guitars always stay in tune because the strings are fixed with a ball on each side. Only temperature differences can throw them out of tune, but that’s the case for all instruments.

For the rest, as I don’t play covers, I don’t worry about the technical differences between guitars, I just choose the one I like to play my music.

I’d like to make it clear that I’m not demanding or fussy about the choice or quality of instrument or pickups: as a left-handed player for over 50 years, I’ve learnt to be satisfied with what’s at hand, and if the guitar responds as I want it to, I don’t look any further because my objective has been achieved. :wink:

That’s why I don’t pay much attention to the tracking in MG, because for me it’s just as I expect it to be, i.e. completely correct (of course it took me some time to adapt my playing technique to the constraints of good tracking, and the guitar has to stay in tune).

The disadvantage of headless guitar is tuning, because I find that the screws aren’t as pleasant to handle as keys on standard guitars.

As for the other advantages of the headless guitar, I’d say it’s very pleasant to play because it’s so light and easy to handle.

Thank you all for the replies. It’s very helpful. Clearly there are advantages to headless guitars. The tuning, intonation and lesser overtones etc. also given the advancing age, a lighter guitar with easier balance makes even more sense.

The choices available are Spirit at $400 and the Strandbergs at $1800 plus. Also there are some Chinese brands and a brand called Spade from a company called Bootlegers at $700

Any suggestions? Thanks

Hey @Shyamus

If you are looking to buy a new (headless) guitar to get better tracking, DON’T! It is probably not a great investment. The actual difference between instruments that track well, and those that track less well, is more on an instrument-specific level. You can go for a Strandberg because you like the way the neck is shaped or the way it looks or feels. But just don’t expect any guitar brand, make, type, or shape in and of itself to be the solution. It is the way you gel with the instrument PLAYING the software that is the deciding factor in the end. That is what matters. So if you have guitars already, that you really like, just wait a little. The next generation of this software is not that far away, and THAT makes a difference. I promise you.

1 Like

Hi LoFileIF

Thanks. I have a Pacifica with DeMarzio Pups. Plays well. Also have a Fender Jazzmaster acoustosonic. Guess I will use that and wait. For the most part I get the tracking. Except it seems to miss some hammer ons or pull offs which are important for the articulation. Any way that can be fixed. Thanks

I am sure you have a decent enough guitar. If you don’t have any fret buzz anywhere and the pickups are alright, and most important: you like playing it, you should be fine. Stuff like hammer-ons/pull-offs misfirings is probably not a software problem. If the software misses hammer-ons you probably are using noise gate (too much). The software itself is really sensitive to even the softest dynamics, once you’ve dialed it in correctly. But if you are trying to use noise gate to filter out mistakes, you are also losing everything intended but with softer dynamics. So start practicing with no noise gate to get feel for the full dynamic capabilities perhaps?

1 Like

LeIf. Based on What I saw in your videos before I got the MG2, the Noise gate is at Zero. Since I am not playing live but only recording for my own pleasure, I can always edit the bum notes and the automation. Playing live when I am just noodling, the small notes here and there are not noticeable. In fact some of the notes triggered an octave lower or higher actually sound musical. You are so right it’s about practice and having fun with the new capabilities that are available now to me with MG2.

Since I am old school and not much into EDM, or any modern stuff, acoustic instruments are the way for me and MG2 opens up the possibilities to realize the tunes in the head.

Thanks again for your relentless support. God bless.

1 Like

I think the strings are of more importance to the guitar tuning.

Hans. Agreed. Got New strings. Actually went down to 8s and intonated the tuning again. Adjusted the tone setting in MG2 to hi frequency louder. There is definite difference in tracking. The thinner strings make bending and sliding easier. So more expressive. Hope it makes sense.

Interesting concept, but I don’t think it would be simply the lack of the head that would improve tracking. Maybe the uni-body construction. My best tracking guitar is a Traveler Ultra Light. I credit the one piece neck and body, along with a very good piezo under the saddle. It just happens to be my only headless.

If you play live then maybe because you can not tune your guitar on stage that easily.
If you have a person of tuning off stage and two similar guitars maybe no one will notice.

The main advantage for my playing is the ergonomics of headless guitars, they are not neck heavy and the Strandberg body shape is excellent for playing whilst seated.

Tuning is very accurate using high quality fine tuners.

Downside is the string clamping system and the fiddly bridge saddle height setup.

This is me.

1 Like

This makes a lot of sense. The Strandbergs are pretty expensive. There are cheaper guitars with good review in Amazon. Anybody any recommendations.

I play sitting down and pick up the and put the guitar down several times. A lighter guitar with good ergonomics is essential at my age. Thanks

1 Like

the electric version of the guitar @MahoBayRay mentioned weighs less than 3lb.

the main difference is the ‘traveler extra light acoustic’ has a piezo pickup, while the electric version has a single humbucker.

i believe i’ve read on this forum that magnetic is preferable to piezo for mg2. but i do have a piezo electric which works fine.

in any case, either version ticks most of my boxes, they’re lightweight, headless, neck through, single pickup only.

if you wanted to play it with the neck more vertical like @GuyBoden i bet the metal outrigger thing could be adapted for that purpose.

Thanks Kimyo. I am leaning towards a Spirit, because it also has some sort of floating Trem.

I also have. Hohner GT-3. I’ve looked everywhere… but the lightest gauge string I’ve found in double-ball is .009’s.
Anyone ever seen .008’s?

For headless guitars I only know 9-42 and 10-46.
For a long time I played with 11-54 on standard guitars, but as I got older I switched to 10-52 and on headless guitars I use 10-46 because 10-52 unfortunately doesn’t exist. I can’t be precise with lighter strings.

Guess you have to do the mod of adding the locking block to the head. That way you can use the single ball regular strings. There is one type which involves removing the head thing and replacing it with the new one and other one is pretty much a simple block which locks the strings and goes on top of the current string hold and locks the strings so you don’t need the double ball.

Perhaps you already know this.

1 Like