First introduced in 1979, Steinbergers are recognized around the world as the foremost headless guitar.
The instruments are practically indestructible, impervious to sudden changes in heat and humidity, and seem to stay in tune no matter how fierce the shredder.
It’s for these reasons—and the guitar’s eccentric, minimalist look—that Steinbergers became highly visible in the Eighties and beyond, becoming favorites of Eddie Van Halen, David Bowie, Mark Knopfler, Sting and more.
This year, Steinberger is reintroducing its Spirit Collection, featuring the “headless” design, all-wood construction and high performance pickups. The Spirit Collection is affordable, ergonomic and highly transportable (hello, airline overhead compartment).
In celebration of this exciting relaunch, we’ve rounded up 10 of some of the greatest Steinberger moments ever.
For more on Steinberger guitars, visit steinberger.com.
The Police (Live in 1982)
In 1982, The Police were at the top of the world and the top of their game. It was also around this time that Sting put down his trusted P-Bass in favor of the futuristic, minimalist look of a Steinberger. Here’s an amazing 30-minute clip of the band on tour in support of their 1981 release, Ghost in the Machine.
Van Halen—“Summer Nights” (Live)
No guitarist made as big an impact on players in the Seventies and Eighties than Eddie Van Halen—so it certainly turned heads when EVH began taking the stage with a headless guitar. Here he is performing "Summer Nights" in 1986 with his custom Steinberger.
Talking Heads—“(Nothing But) Flowers”
The offbeat look of a Steinberger was the perfect choice for bassist Tina Weymouth, who anchored pioneering rockers Talking Heads. Here’s the video for “(Nothing But) Flowers,” from their final album, Naked, where Weymouth can be seen sporting her headless bass.
Genesis—“Tonight, Tonight, Tonight” (Live)
While Genesis’ sound moved further away from guitars and closer to drum machines and synthesizers in the Eighties, Mike Rutherford still had some standout playing during this era, oftentimes with a Steinberger in hand. Here’s the band playing “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight” to a packed stadium in 1987—both Rutherford and bassist Daryl Stuermer are rocking Steinbergers.
David Gilmour & Kate Bush—”Running Up That Hill" (Live)
It’s tricky finding footage of David Gilmour playing a headless guitar with Pink Floyd—but this clip of the guitarist on stage with Kate Bush might be even cooler. Here, Gilmour joins Bush for ”Running Up That Hill,” offering up some wicked whammy licks on his white Steinberger.
David Bowie—“Valentine’s Day”
While a lot of the videos we’ve compiled were shot way back in the Eighties, many great artists continued to rely on Steinberger guitars through the 2000s and beyond. As seen in his beautiful 2013 video for “Valentine’s Day,” Bowie was one of them.
Ziggy Marley—“Hey World” (Live)
While played by countless rock players over the years, Steinberger guitars became popular in many other genres as well, including reggae. Check out this powerful 1986 performance from Ziggy Marley on Late Night with David Letterman.
Lou Reed—"Romeo Had Juliette" (Live)
Here’s a rare clip of the late Lou Reed from 2009, performing his classic 1989 track, "Romeo had Juliette,” for a New York Public Radio event. His guitar of choice? You guessed it—a Steinberger.
Allan Holdsworth (Live)
While only 1:47 long, this clip gets its point across fast: Allan Holdsworth was a jazz fusion master. Holdsworth was known for his fondness of headless guitars, so it’s especially cool to see him perform with a white Steinberger in this 2009 clip.
Mark Knopfler—“Money for Nothing” (Live)
“Nice and gently now, lads!” Mark Knopfler says cheekily before diving into the fingerpicked intro of Dire Straits’ mega hit, “Money for Nothing.” This 1986 clip shows Knopfler sporting his black Steinberger—and who’s that singing guest vocals? Fellow headless guitar fan, Sting.