Tone Report Weekly 196 - Page 24

STEINBERGER TRANSTREM Steinberger became famous in the ‘80s for being “those headless guitars” that look like they’re from the future, but that may be oddly apt because Steinberger was a pioneer in ways most players rarely appreciate today. Rather than wood, the guitars were made out of carbon-fiber and graphite, giving a clean balanced tone some brushed off as “synthetic.” The lack of headstock actually allowed them to make the nut the bridge, which was perfect for their innovations with locking tremolos. The most famous is the TransTrem, which allowed each string to maintain the proper tuning interval across all the strings. This allowed players to raise or lower the pitch on the fly, basically turning the TransTrem into a capo you could use on the fly. The best known player is probably Eddie Van 24 TONE TALK // Halen, a pioneer of locking bridges himself, who played a Steinberger with his famous red and white finish during Van Halen’s days with Sammy Hagar. So why aren’t they bigger? Retuning on the fly is a neat trick, but how many songs are going to make use of that? Most songs are going to be in one key and that’s it, and it’s much cheaper to just re- tune the guitar or use a capo. Nowadays there are so many pitch-shifting effects for a cheaper price (like the Whammy DT, which can change both pitch and key) it’s made the TransTrem obsolete. Not to mention mounting one on a non- Steinberger guitar will set you back $400 in parts alone. 5 Amazing Gear Brands That Never Made It