headless

When headless ruled the world! Eddie Van Halen at Giants Stadium in 1988 with his custom Steinberger GL2T. This guitar, built by Jeff Babicz, first appeared on “Summer Nights,” from 5150.

Photo by Frank White

Guitars without headstocks—and opinions about them—have shifted since their ubiquitous ’80s heyday, and now it seems like they’re here to stay. How did these guitars lose their heads—and why do some players absolutely love them?

Stringed instruments without headstocks, from lutes to nylon-string guitars, have existed for ages. It’s even rumored that Les Paul built a headless guitar of his own. But chances are, when you think of electric guitars sans headstocks, you either picture someone from the 1980s in tight pants and big hair playing an original Steinberger, or you envision a tattooed YouTube shredder with a Strandberg in hand. The two brands share many similarities and dominate one of the most controversial electric guitar designs since Leo Fender slapped a pickup into a plank of solid wood.

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The HUSH-X is available in maple and mahogany and features a compact, neck-through anddetachable body with upgraded screw-free metal hardware, making it comfortable forguitarists of all skill levels to play.

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Jeff Kiesel gives us a guided tour of the company's latest, including signature models for Marc Okubo and Andy James—plus a cameo appearance by James.

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