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Steinberge refers to a series of distinctiveelectric guitars and bass guitars, designed and originally manufactured by Ned Steinberger. The word Steinberger can be used to refer to either the instruments themselves or the company that produced them. Although the name has been applied to a variety of instruments, it is primarily associated with a minimalist "headless" design of electric basses and electric guitars.


The first Steinberger guitar, as opposed to the NS instruments built with luthier Stuart Spector, were produced in 1979 in Brooklyn, New York by Ned Steinberger, essentially alone. A company, Steinberger Sound, was duly set up to manufacture the basses and later the guitars on a larger scale at Newburgh, New York, however demand always outstripped supply and the company was eventually sold to Gibson in 1987. Gibson still retains rights over the "Steinberger" name, precluding Ned Steinberger from calling his new instruments "Steinbergers". This is analogous to the situation Leo Fender found himself in after the sale of his company to CBS in 1964. Ned Steinberger has operated a company called "NS design" since 1990 and produces electric double basses, Cellos and similar instruments, all with a number of interesting innovations in material and design.


With changing musical fashions and the complex manufacturing and inordinately high prices putting off buyers and producer alike, Gibson stopped selling Steinberger guitars in the mid-1990s. Enthusiasm for the instruments has now revived to a sufficient extent that they are again being produced and sold, although the newer versions share few commonalities with the original "Newburgh" designs. The latest Gibson/Steinberger line, known collectively as the Synapse line, comprise two guitar models and one bass guitar model. The new instruments are part wood, and part graphite composite, and are not interchangeable with the original Steinberger guitars.


The two guitar models most resemble the original Steinbergers, with rectangular bodies only slightly larger than the originals. One of the guitar models, the Trans Scale model, features a longer than average scale length  and a built in adjustable capo. By moving the capo closer to the end of the neck, one can play notes lower than standard guitar tuning without having to detune. Detuning loosens the strings, changing the timbre of the notes played. By not forcing guitarists to detune to get lower notes, the Trans Scale allows guitarists to maintain consistent tone while playing lower-than-standard notes.


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