Steinberger Spirit GU-7R (Green)

I just love the look of these instruments.  Even though this is a low-end guitar, I really like them.  If there was a high-end green Steinberger on eBay right now, I would buy it in a second.

And, yes, this is a headless model as nearly all Steinbergers have been since the beginning.

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Pickups: Lace Drop and Gain
Like other Lace pickups, these have silent coils.  That means that they give off no 60 Hz hum even when tapped.  One consequence of this design is that they can be made with mismatched coils.  The Drop Gain models were actually made more for playing heavy music with low-tunings (think KoRn) than blues or classic rock, but I was interested in the fact that they could have different voicings than simply "humbucking" and "tapped."  I rarely use the middle pickup, however, so that was left stock.

Coil taps (more here)
Control: Under the volume control

Function: Since the Drop Gain pickups have mismatched coils, I have this switch wired to tap the heavier coil and leave the lighter one, which is the bridge-most coil in both cases.  (Personally, I think this is a bad design since it makes more sense to have the neck-most coil active in the case of the neck pickup and the opposite in the other, regardless of whether you're trying to cancel hum with opposing coils or not.)


Phase switch (more here)
Control: Under the tone control

Function: These are great for getting new and weird sounds.  I wired this to reverse the phase on the middle pickup.


Unmastered tone control
I just don't like master tone pot.  I adjust the tone knob on my neck pickup, but I hate that it affects my other pickups.  In guitars like this, where there is a master tone knob, I frequently rearrange the wiring so that it only affects the neck pickup and no others.  In fact, I usually like to switch between a crunchy bridge and a creamy neck pickup.  But I like the neck to be clean too sometimes, so I need to have control over it and not just hardwire a capacitor into the circuit.

A final note about the wiring
This is something I've been doing a lot lately: Using a wire nut instead of wasting my time soldering things together. 

That's a lot of crap taken care of with one twist: string ground, coil tap grounds, shield wires, pot grounds, pickup grounds, etc. all connected in about two seconds.


Trem troubles

My only complaint about this particular specimen is that the trem is really tight.  I've had three other guitars with Steinberger R-trems before, and none were this tight.  (I picked this one up for cheap off Craiglist, and the seller noted the tightness of this one right in the ad.)  I've tried reverse-engineering it and even swapping out the spring for the one in my GT, but no real effect.  I am open to any suggestions.

Note, I love Steinberger trems of all kinds, and this is the one exception where I've had a problem.  Even with this one being too tight, it's still a great design that keeps the strings in tune better than any other.


(Future) Non-electronic modification
New neck.  I'm more into maple than rosewood, so I'd like to swap this neck out sometime in the future.  I think maple would look better in this case as well, though I'm primarily thinking about the feel.  One with a locking nut would also act as a string adapter for single-ball strings!  I don't expect much trouble with the conversion, although finding a 24 fret neck in maple that I like is kind of hard.  Most 24 fret necks are meant for metalheads rather than mainstream guys, so I'm stuck with sharkfin rosewoods for the most part unless I order a custom one.


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