Sunday, February 7, 2010

Guitar Pron 11: Steinberger XP Bass

Up for your consideration today is a relatively rare Setinberger instrument from 1985, a P-series 4-string bass with passive, low-impedance EMG pickups (unlike most Steinberger pickup systems, these don't require a battery). They are the best-sounding bass pickups I've ever played, hands-down, usable over the whole tone range. I've been looking for one of these for a while. They are not as collectible as the all-synthetic L-series instruments -- this model has a small V-shaped wooden body -- but they definitely have that Steinberger tone and mojo. Steinberger made these with various styles of pickguards; one of the most common was a "pebbled" pickguard with a rough, textured finish and a white stripe around it. I actually like this all-black version best, although my camera always has trouble with reflective black instruments.

Unfortunately, Joshua pulled this bass off the bed only a week after I acquired it, and it fell on the floor. The only real damage was to the leg rest, which snapped off. These are fortunately replaceable, although original parts are getting harder to find; Music Yo and Gibson no longer sell parts for vintage Steinbergers.

I'm keeping my eye out for a matching P-series 6-string guitar. I'd love to have one of those. These instruments even had a brief film cameo; they are the guitars that Rufus (George Carlin) gives to Bill and Ted at the end of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.

I'll definitely be recording this bass as soon as I need a fretted bass part for a song!

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