History Of The “Steinberger GL Guitar”

Introducing a new twist on a legendary guitar. Over 20 years ago, Ned Steinberger revealed the Steinberger GL guitar, the first all graphite composite electric guitar. With its unusual headless design, it was quite a hit for years. The LBG guitar is the next generation of carbon graphite guitar, and at 4.5 pounds it is almost half the weight of the 8 pound Steinberger GL. As with the GL, the LBG’s body and neck is a single slab of carbon graphite, with a cover plate to keep the pickups from falling off.

The LBG guitar has a clear and airy resonance that is even on all notes across the fretboard. The sound of the GL is very “accurate” and “defined”, with lots of control over the vowel effect after the note is picked; the LBG guitar is more resonant, and sounds less “dense”. When holding chords, the notes seem to bloom over time. Put another way, if you blend a GL with a Parker, you will get an LBG, with the Parker adding the “ariness” to the GL sound. The neck profile is like a Moses but a tad wider, not like a Newburgh GL/GM.

The guitar has an ergonomic knee contour that helps angle the neck to a comfortable playing position when sitting. When standing, there is no neck hang: the guitar is very evenly balanced. It has similar edge contours as the GL so you don..t end up with any uncomfortable feeling with your right arm/hand.

Musician Dave Rowe had this to say about them:

When Jon first pulled out the guitars at my studio, I was immediately taken by the resemblance to the GL, but with the modified bottom bout—hey look mom, no leg rest! I’ll never forget the first time I picked up an L series Steinberger and was astonished by the heft of the instrument relative to its diminutive size. This experience was exactly the opposite of that! When Jon first handed the guitar to me, I believe the words out of my mouth were, “Holy-sh*t, what’s this thing made of?” The guitar is incredibly light, at 4.5 lbs. it really doesn’t seem like it could possibly be taken seriously…until you plug it in. From lightweight guitar to heavyweight tone. It can sparkle and growl. With a list of possible pickup configurations longer than my arm, Jon’s guitars will surely be a prized part of any guitar arsenal.

One of the buyers had this to say about the guitar:

Tonal quality of the guitar is excellent. I’m a mid and high person so the lighter low end of this guitar, even with a powerful JB, fits my taste. I once put a P-rail on my wooden-bodied headless but gave up after 30 minutes as it sounded unclear. The graphite body make this pickup sound surprisingly airy with clear contour even in the front. In fact P-90 setting of P-rail sounds so sweet on this guitar!

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The History Of Gibson’s “Flying V”

The Flying V was born on a field of battle that still rages: Gibson verses Fender. In 1957 Gibson’s then-president Ted McCarty wanted some new six-strings to tussle with Leo Fender’s popular Stratocasters. Sure, the Les Paul was already making history, but McCarty wanted more contemporary reinforcements with some eye-candy appeal. After all, the Les Paul had debuted in 1952 during the height of the Korean War. It was a new era.
So Gibson’s design gurus came up with patents for both the Flying V and the Explorer. They were modern looking instruments during a period when Americans were enjoying peace and prosperity, and more leisure time than ever before. And they smacked of the day’s yen for progress. Scientists had elaborated on technology from World War II and Korea to make great leaps in rocketry. Satellites began to circle the Earth. Science fiction novels and movies were the rage.
The aerodynamic charms of both models, but especially the “swept back, forward looking”—as Z.Z. Top’s Billy Gibbons has put it—Flying V made it seem like personal jet packs were just around the corner.
The prototype Flying Vs were mahogany and deemed a bit too heavy and a bit too costly to compete with the Strat. So the first models to leave Gibson’s original factory in Kalamazoo, Michigan, during 1958 were made of the lighter and more readily available korina wood. Their sales didn’t break the sound barrier. According to Larry Meiners’ thoroughly enjoyable Flying “V”: The Illustrated History of This Modernistic Guitar, less than 100 were ordered by dealers in ’58 and ’59.
It would take another decade-and-a-half before the Flying V would have the last amplified laugh, but early sales were so slack that in 1960 the model was struck from Gibson’s catalog. Dave Davies of the Kinks tells a story about buying an original-production V from a Los Angeles guitar shop in 1964 at the fire-sale price of $60. The V’s suggested retail at the time was $247.50. Today a ’58 or ’59 V fetches between $120,000 and $145,000.

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