Best Headless Guitar in 2022: [Tested & Compared]

The headless guitar has returned and is more popular than ever. It’s remarkable to observe the rise in popularity over three decades after American developer Ned Steinberger conceived and created them in the 1980s.

It’s safe to say that Mr. Steinberger was ahead of his time, given that a younger generation of guitarists, who favor current guitar design, has opened the way for more recent businesses to start making their variations of the headless guitar design.

I’ll begin this article by discussing some of the top headless guitars in the market, and if you want to learn more about them, check out the guide below.

How to Choose the Best Headless Guitar?

The main distinction between a headless guitar and a standard guitar is the headstock, which typically houses the guitar’s tuning mechanism and is missing from the latter.

A guitar can still be tuned even when it doesn’t have a head. The guitar’s bridge usually houses all tuning devices, allowing you to play your headless guitar like a regular one.

Progressive guitarists who favor modern advances over time-honored traditions are the main users of headless guitars. Although many young and experimental musicians use these instruments, they have also been spotted in the hands of great guitarists like Mark Knopfler, Eddie Van Halen, and Sting.

Have you ever tried playing guitar without a head? Here are some key points for trying it out.

Lightness

You will note how light and small a headless guitar feels compared to its conventional electric guitar.

This is ideal for smaller or younger players, and if you have back pain or another medical condition that limits your mobility, this is one of the finest options.

Additionally, well-balanced, headless guitars do not experience the typical nose-diving sensation.

Ease of use

A headless guitar is much easier to string or tune than it appears. It is quicker and easier than restoring a regular guitar. 

This draws a lot of newcomers who consider the headless guitar an ideal entry point into the musical world.

Travel-friendly

Younger players or guitarists with smaller hands can benefit significantly from headless guitars as they are much lighter, substantially smaller, and more compact.

They are especially ideal for traveling; some manufacturers even openly state that their guitars would fit in airplane overhead bins, while others include strong travel cases in their kits.

Sound consistency

Moreover, it is assumed that headless guitars can produce a larger variety of consistently sounding notes and greater intonation. The headless guitar features zero frets, eliminating the typical fret buzz throughout the entire fretboard, just like regular open-note frets. Players now have a wide range of creative alternatives and musical opportunities.

Originality

The headless guitar is something new to attempt for many guitarists; it’s a thrilling experiment that can be quite gratifying and opens up a whole new world of concepts and inspiration.

Purchasing your headless guitar as a kit has benefits. Combining your guitar with various compatible add-ons and accessories, such as bags, hard cases, straps, picks, stands, and numerous handy tools, offers excellent value for your money.

Not all guitar makers provide their instruments in such cost-effective kits. However, you can always build the entire kit by purchasing various appropriate accessories separately if you can’t find the headless guitar kit of your choice.

Comparison of Exclusive Headless Guitar

ImageNameFeaturesPriceRatings
Strandberg Boden Metal NX 7Bonkers metal machine with a sensitive side.Check Price5/5
Ibanez Q54Balanced handling, balanced tone, balanced looks.Check Price5/5
Traveler Guitar Escape Mark IIIStandard tuning machines and uses standard acoustic strings.Check Price4.7/5
Steinberger Guitars GT-Pro DeluxeNed’s original concept makes a spirited return.Check Price4.5/5
Legator Ghost G7FPHeadless apparition with a hauntingly evocative toneCheck Price4/5
Harley Benton Dullahan-FT 24 RoastedBudget friendly with features loaded.Check Price4/5
Strandberg Sälen Jazz NX NATraditional meets modern in this progressive guitar.Check Price4/5
Ibanez QX527PB-ABSTrend-bucking, humbucking players machine.Check Price4.2/5

Best Headless Guitar You Can Buy Right Now

1

Strandberg Boden Metal NX 7

Source

Specifications

  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Maple, bolt-on, carbon reinforced
  • Scale: 25.5″
  • Fingerboard: Richlite
  • Frets: 24
  • Pickups: 2x Fishman Fluence Modern humbuckers, ceramic in bridge and alnico in neck
  • Hardware: Strandberg EGS Rev7 fixed bridge & string locks

Check Price

The guitar is slim, strong, aggressive, and a power pack. The Boden Metal has an active Fishman Fluence Modern pickup system for unrestrained power, a fast Richlite fingerboard, fanned frets, a carbon-reinforced maple neck, seven strings for low-end djent, and a chambered basswood body for tone and handling. 

For those who prefer the low, low E string, there is also an 8-string version available. It comes in several wild, alternate color schemes.

Surprisingly, this is an articulate instrument that can be beautifully expressive when you want it to be hidden beneath that growling exterior. Its incredible alnico Fishman neck pup plays a significant role in shaping the delicate tone. 

Pros
  • Well-balanced, a delight to play.
  • Powerful, yet articulate and expressive.
  • Six and eight-string versions are available.
  • Attractive in looking.
Cons
  • Not cheap, but good value
2

Ibanez Q54

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Specifications

  • Body: Nyatoh
  • Neck: 3pc Roasted Maple/Bubinga neck
  • Scale: 25.5″
  • Fingerboard: Roasted Birdseye Maple
  • Frets: 24
  • Pickups: Ceramic Q58 humbucker in the bridge plus two R1 single coils
  • Hardware: Ibanez Mono-Tune bridge

Check Price

Here is evidence that not all headless guitars are produced to appeal to the market’s more “pointy” end. The boundary-pushing Q54 is designed for the modern, technical player who values a wide variety of tone possibilities. It features flowing S-type curves and delicate belly cuts.

The HSS arrangement combines Ibanez’s Dyna-MIX9is switching system with a ceramic Q58 humbucker in the bridge, and two R1 single coils are as versatile as possible. Even better, the two single coils can be combined to resemble a “bucker.”

The development of headless guitars allows for the specification of individual bridges for each string. The Mono-Tone on the Q54 doesn’t fall short in this regard. Tuning down a step or more is blissfully simple by the large intonation range provided by each of its separate bridges.

This guitar, which is available in Flat Black and Fender-like Sea Foam Green, will make you smile no matter what style of music you try to play on it.

Pros
  • HSS offers tonal possibilities.
  • Good value
  • A roasted maple “board” is exquisite.
Cons
  • None.
3

Traveler Guitar Escape Mark III

Source

Specifications

  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Scale: 25.5″
  • Fingerboard: Black Walnut
  • Frets: 22
  • Pickups: Shadow Nanoflex
  • Hardware: Anodised machine heads, headphone amp, tuner

Check Price

The Escape travel guitar is incredibly the best to start because of its small size. It is an acoustic-electric instrument that primarily produces an acoustic sound but requires a plug to produce any tone. 

Once you get over its peculiar appearance, it’s a lot of fun to play and listen to. In the odd event that you bring your acoustic amp on the bus or the flight, you can start playing right away, no matter where you are.

Escape also has a headphone amp. It has an aux-in and a guitar tuner so that you can play along with your preferred backing tracks.

It’s not a D28, but it’s undoubtedly entertaining enough to keep you occupied when traveling, at the beach, or in the wilderness.

Pros
  • Great sounding headphones for a competitive price
  • Easy to mod with a significant change to soundstage and eq
  • Decent soundstage for on-ear designed headphones
  • Comfortable enough to wear for hours
  • Amazing battery life
Cons
  • Headband cushioning is non-existent
4

Steinberger Guitars GT-Pro Deluxe

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Specifications

  • Body: Basswood
  • Neck: Maple
  • Scale: 25.5″
  • Fingerboard: Engineered Hardwood
  • Frets: 24
  • Pickups: Neck – Steinberger HB-2, Middle – Steinberger SC-1, Bridge – Steinberger HB-1
  • Hardware: Locking R-Trem tremolo system, patented 40:1 ratio direct-pull tuners

Check Price

Ned Steinberger created the headless guitar in the late 1970s. It was a groundbreaking design that became fairly popular in the 1980s before gradually losing popularity. When Gibson stopped producing the original product line in the 1990s, Ned had already sold the brand to Gibson.

The Spirit line, which pays homage to Ned’s groundbreaking original series of headless basses and guitars, is now available.

The GT-Pro Deluxe has very little to it, which is the first thing you’ll notice about it. Even Steinberger advertises this guitar as the best travel guitar. The basswood body is “almost not there,” and a three-piece, climate-resistant hard maple neck is joined together. 

The GT-Pro is a dependable and stable instrument for travel and performance, thanks to the locking term and the two ball-end strings. According to Steinberger, it is “practically indestructible.”

This Steinberger is an example of how little can be purchased for under $300. The GT-Pro Deluxe, on the other hand, provides you with a lot more than many traditional guitars ever would.

It has various unique hues, from basic black to hot yellow.

Pros
  • Gloriously inexpensive.
  • They were designed with input from Ned.
  • All the advantages of the headless concept.
  • Stable travel guitar.
Cons
  • Very little tonewood.
5

Legator Ghost G7FP

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Specifications

  • Body: Ash
  • Neck: Roasted maple
  • Scale: 25.5″
  • Fingerboard: Ebony
  • Frets: 24
  • Pickups: 2 x Hive 2.0 humbuckers
  • Hardware: Legator Ghost Exclusive Locking Nut & Bridge

Check Price

Legator is a small company with headquarters in Los Angeles, so if you’re looking for an unusual guitar, give them a try.

It’s also a good time because it added some nice updates to its headless Ghost range for 2022. A roasted maple neck, ebony fingerboard, and Hive 2.0 humbuckers are now standard on all Ghost models. 

Throughout different frequencies, they remain articulate and clear. This translates into Legator’s seven and eight-string guitars with a sparkling and chiming top end and a clean bottom.

Going headless with guitars with more than six strings makes perfect sense. These call for more tuning machines, bigger headstocks, and more weight, which don’t help with balance. As Legator did with the G7FP, bringing that mass closer to the guitar’s body lowers the center of gravity and improves stability.

Versions with six and eight strings are additionally offered.

Pros
  • Great sounding headphones for a competitive price
  • Easy to mod with a significant change to soundstage and eq
  • Decent soundstage for on-ear designed headphones
  • Comfortable enough to wear for hours
  • Amazing battery life
Cons
  • Headband cushioning is non-existent
6

Harley Benton Dullahan-FT 24 Roasted

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Specifications

  • Body: Alder
  • Neck: Roasted flame maple
  • Scale: 25.5″
  • Fingerboard: Roasted maple
  • Frets: 24
  • Pickups: Roswell HAF-B-BK AlNiCo-5 (bridge) and Roswell HAF-N-BK AlNiCo-5 (neck) humbuckers
  • Hardware: Apollo mono HL-STB02 bridge

Check Price

Harley Benton has covered it all if you don’t have enough money but want a guitar that looks a little flashy. Although entry-level guitars with this kind of price tag are widespread, it’s extremely rare to find one with this high-end level of specification.

In addition to the typical advantages of owning a headless guitar, this model has an ergonomically built S-type alder body, roasted flamed maple neck, maple fingerboard, stainless steel frets, Graph Tech Tusq nut, five-way switchable electronics, two Roswell humbucker pickups, and a gig bag. That is a proper specification, which is uncommon on guitars costing twice as much.

Pros
  • Impressive specifications.
  • It doesn’t cost much.
Cons
  • There are more prestigious brands.
7

Strandberg Sälen Jazz NX NA

Source

Specifications

  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany, bolt-on, carbon reinforced
  • Scale: 25.5″
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Frets: 24
  • Pickups: 2 x Strandberg Classic humbuckers
  • Hardware: Strandberg EGS Series 7 fixed bridge & string locks

If you casually go through Strandberg’s catalog, it is unbelievable that the company’s goal is to create the most powerful guitars currently on the market.

Strandberg’s main concerns are sustainability, tone, and ergonomics. The Sälen Jazz NX is unlike any other jazz instrument we’ve seen, yet it sounds amazing and is a blast to play.

The Sälen Jazz NX can play anything from the purest jazz to the trending blues because of its chambered body and warm, rich tone, with unparalleled comfort and dependability. This might be the guitar you purchase if you only buy one.

Pros
  • Progressive design.
  • Versatile tone.
  • Comfort and reliability.
Cons
  • It will look too ‘modern’ for some.
8

Ibanez QX527PB-ABS

Source

Specifications

  • Body: Nyatoh with Poplar Burl top
  • Neck: 5pc Roasted Maple/Bubinga neck
  • Scale: 25.5″
  • Fingerboard: Roasted Birdseye Maple
  • Frets: 24
  • Pickups: 2 x Ceramic Q58 -7 humbuckers
  • Hardware: Ibanez Mono-Tune bridge

Check Price

Ibanez has fully embraced the rise of headless guitars in recent years, even going so far as to create a new line of ‘Q’ (for Quest) models with the most cutting-edge technology and parts.

The QX527PB-ABS is an HH-configured headless S-type guitar with several striking differences from the previously described Q54 but a similar concept.

Ibanez has observed that today’s guitarists prefer to play high on the fretboard, which frequently causes the four fretting fingers to lean inward. This is made up for by the 8-degree slope, which results in a more pleasant fretting experience.

The two Q58 pups have better tonal definitions across the spectrum and were created specifically for headless guitars with seven or more strings. With Ibanez’s Dyna-MIX10 technology and the five-way switch, they may be tapped in endless different ways.

This one is worth buying if you want a seven-string with the most modern accents.

Pros
  • Humbuckers can be tapped for versatility.
  • Slanted frets for comfy dusty-end doodling.
  • Gorgeous body.
  • Great value.
Cons
  • None really.

FAQs on Exclusive Headless Guitar

1. How do headless guitars work?

On the headstock of a classic guitar are fixed tuning pegs. On the other hand, a headless guitar or bass guitar contains strings that are fixed below the zero fret, defeating the entire point of a guitar head.

A headless guitar’s design has various advantages because it is lighter, smaller, and generates more open tones.

2. How do you tune a headless guitar?

A headless guitar may be tuned more quickly and easily than most normal guitars. Simply lock the bridge before using direct pull-tuners to tune each string to pitch.

Unlock the bridge after that, then verify the tune. If further adjusting is necessary, turn the knob at the base of the guitar. A sharper tone will come from turning clockwise, while the opposite will happen when you turn counterclockwise.

3. Is it worth building your own guitar?

Using a DIY kit to build your guitar is undoubtedly motivating and fulfilling. You can also construct a headless guitar from scratch. However, creating a DIY guitar with genuine musical abilities requires a lot of knowledge, effort, and patience.

Be prepared to spend money on a “serious” kit that can cost nearly as much as a typical guitar if you want the best performance.

Wrapping Up

Which headless guitar kit will work best for you? That depends on many factors. Suppose you’re just starting in music and are hesitant to make a significant major investment. In that case, you should be completely satisfied with one of the less expensive instruments we’ve covered in this article.

We sincerely hope you enjoyed reading this buying guide and that our list contained all the new headless guitar kits.

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Mark Dalio

Mark Dalio

Mark is a tech-obsessed serial entrepreneur who also enjoys reading and writing. He has a strong urge to keep learning and talking about technology, which led him to become an author. Mark has co-founded two successful startups, one of which was acquired in 2018.

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