Inspiration | Learning

Do headless guitars sound good?

We often get asked if there is a difference in sound when you compare a traditional electric guitar to a headless guitar (in general), or a .strandberg* guitar. And of course, the answer is yes, there is a difference. But there are differences if you compare traditional electric guitars to other traditional electric guitars too, so it’s not all about the headstock (or lack of it).

In this magazine post, we’ll take a deeper look into what affects the sound of an electric guitar, and also explain a little more about our sound.

This magazine post will cover:

  • Do headless guitars sound different? 
  • Are headless guitars worth it?
  • Are headless guitars easier to play?
  • Who uses headless guitars?

Do headless guitars sound different?

In practicality, many electric guitar models sound different from each other. Not just headless guitars. To better understand the sound of an electric guitar, we’ll go through the different parts and how they affect the sound.

The elements of a guitar that most influence the sound are the appointments that affect the moving part of the strings. Such appointments include construction, building materials, and pickups which can all shape the resulting sound in a radical way. Whatever happens between the two contact points of the strings will have the greatest impact on what the guitar does in terms of sound.

“Amazing tone, very ergonomic, beautiful design.
I’m loving it!”

Clément F. – Boden Standard NX 7 Natural

Now, if those elements are realized to the highest of standards, they will likely increase the production costs and therefore the price of the instrument, which helps answer the often asked question “Why do expensive guitars sound better?”. At the same time, cheaper guitars tend to have a “lesser” sound because of that exact same reason.

So in short: yes, headless guitars might sound different but not solely because they are headless. The main factors behind sound are the construction, building materials, and pickups as well as the overall component and build quality.

The woods in an electric guitar also affect its sound. Often undervalued, the natural acoustic sound from the guitar’s woods, starting with string vibrations, is crucial. Many seasoned players judge an electric guitar’s unplugged sound and resonance before amplifying it, believing that if it sounds good acoustically, it will sound good amplified.

“I absolutely love it! Ever since I got this guitar, I’ve literally never picked up any other electric guitar.”

Aleksandr B. – Boden Standard NX 6 Natural B-Stock

The combination of body and neck/fretboard woods is key, with the latter contributing significantly to the guitar’s overall acoustic tone.

If you are interested in learning more about the different woods and how they affect the tone, you can read our blog post here.

The .strandberg* sound

A .strandberg* guitar offers a distinct and rich sonic character. Our guitars produce a unique, balanced soundscape—warm, yet brilliant; broad, yet focused; loud, yet responsive to gentle touches. Its sound harmonizes lows, mids, and highs, reflecting the natural tone of the woods used in its construction.

If you are interested in learning more about or sound, you can read our blog post here.

You can use the .strandberg* Playground to listen to the tonal differences between the various Boden model, to help you decide which will suit you the best for your personal playing style and taste, But to get a real understanding of our guitars and their sound, it’s always best to try them out in a shop.

This thing is such a joy to play. It’s comfortable, it looks and feels awesome and the sound of the pickups is really what I was looking for.

Markus K. – Boden Metal NX 8 Black Granite

Are headless guitars worth it?

This question also, is quite popular among those who are considering either to make the switch from a traditional electric guitar to a headless guitar. And not one that’s easy to answer, since “worth” can mean different things to different people. First and foremost: if your gut feeling is telling you to go headless, then trust it and try one out. The gut is often right.

You also have to ask yourself how you define value in an instrument. What is important to you? With that in mind, a headless guitar is definitely worth it if you:

  • Want a guitar that looks different
  • Like the look of a headless guitar
  • Are on the hunt for a more portable guitar
  • Put great value in ergonomics
  • Like the way it sounds
  • Want a guitar with a different center of gravity

Are headless guitars easier to play?

Short answer? It depends. Headless guitars, including .strandberg* guitars, are still guitars. The base principle is the same, with or without headstock. If you are looking to buy a headless guitar simply because you believe it’s easier to play, we suggest that you reconsider. However, there are features of .strandberg* guitars that are specifically designed to improve playability:

  • Different center of gravity
  • Patented EndurNeck Profile
  • Lighter weight

Different center of gravity

If you remove the headstock on a guitar, the balances changes. Most headstocks are heavy, and so the center of gravity is a little off. Many guitar players feel that headless guitars have an improved center of gravity, and this might make it easier to play longer than (since you are playing with greater comfort).

“This is an amazing instrument. Excellent build quality, very light and comfortable.”

Michele I.- Boden Standard NX 8 Natural

Patented EndurNeck Profile

Our very own EndurNeck™ is a patented guitar neck design that combines comfort and playability. Its unique flat surfaces offer a more relaxed thumb grip, adapting to both thick and thin neck preferences. This design enhances chord playing at the neck’s far end and improves soloing. Its ergonomic shape promotes a healthier wrist position which many players find beneficial during extended playing sessions.

Lighter weight

While there are traditional electric guitars that also weigh less, they still have a headstock that adds weight. Our own .strandberg* guitars are always designed with ergonomics as design principle, and reducing the weight of the instrument is crucial to that.

Our lightest guitar weighs approximately 1.7 kilograms (3.7 lbs) and our heaviest weighs about 2.8 kilograms (6.1 lbs).

The average weight for our guitars is 2.3 kilograms (5 lbs) for 6-string guitars, 2.5 kilograms (5.5 lbs) for for 7-string guitars, and 2.7 kilograms (5.9) for 8-string guitars.

Considering that the the average weight of an traditional electric guitar is between 3 and 5 kilograms (6 to 12 lbs), our guitars weigh far less than “standard”.

“It feels amazing to play. It almost feels like the guitar plays itself. 100% recommended.”

Keneth P. – Boden Prog NX 6 Charcoal Black Refurb

Who uses headless guitars?

There are many musicians out there who play headless guitars or basses. Jack Casady, Bill Wyman, Allan Holdsworth, Phil Lesh, Eddie Van Halen and Geddy Lee have all been seen using headless guitars.

To add to that list, there are around 40 .strandberg* artists, all with their own, unique style. Plini, Per Nilsson, Alex Machacek, Riko Kohara, Sarah Longfield, Richard Henshall and Jordan Rudess to name a few. Head over to our artist page to read more about our artists.

Headless guitars tend to be used my guitar players who value ergonomics and portability, and who want guitar design that stands out and looks different.

Strandberg Magazine

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