Do headless guitars look wrong on stage?

Discussion in 'Live Performance & Stage Sound' started by bzhan1, Jun 18, 2016.

  1. bzhan1

    bzhan1 Banned

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    They're light, unique, really comfy too, but I feel like they just don't look right on stage in a rock/metal setting. They're so little and maybe a bit girly looking, can't imagine head banging with them.

    No offense to headless owners, I'll probably get one myself for bedroom jamming.

    Anyone with experience gigging with them?
     
  2. Alex Kenivel

    Alex Kenivel Psycho, dont engage

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    Different strokes, man. I love me a good headstock.
     
  3. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    I think the opposite. To me, metal is about being different. If I wanted to be like everyone else I'd play country crossover and have a strat. To me, nothing is more metal that hearing incredible music and seeing it come from something and someone that challenges your prejudices and preconceived notions.
     
  4. Humbuck

    Humbuck SS.org Regular

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    It has nothing to do with anything musically but for me...absolutely yes.

    One of the cooler "side" aspects of electric guitars as instruments is that they are highly aesthetically pleasing. Cool looking...to the user and the spectator. To me, headless guitars and some of their associated body shapes are not.

    Not rocking a Steinberger, ever.

    IMHO of course.
     
  5. marcwormjim

    marcwormjim SS.org Regular

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    It's been thirty years, folks. Screw the absence of vestigial headstocks - If you're going to insist on being embarrassed for something onstage, be embarrassed about not being very good.
     
  6. Science_Penguin

    Science_Penguin SS.org Regular

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    Headless isn't out of place as a rule.

    For my money, I think the Kiesel Vader, and Steinberger's M, ZT, and Demon models are just fine. They're headless, but they still have relatively standard body shapes, and thus they gain a sleek and modern aesthetic while still remaining unmistakably identifiable as guitars.

    On the other hand, Steinberger's standard models look like strange abominations of minimalism gone too far, or worse, like toys. Even Eddie Van Halen couldn't make those look right... Not to my eyes, anyway.

    Really, though, as long as you, the player, have confidence and presence while holding the instrument, it shouldn't matter weather you've got a headstock or not.

    Check out some footage from Skinny Puppy's 'Greater Wrong of the Right' tour. The guitarist is playing a doubleneck V guitar/bass combo, no headstocks and apparently even fewer f..ks given by the way he's rocking out.
    Yeah, sure, Skinny Puppy's not Metal, but nonetheless, they're hardcore in their own way.
     
  7. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    Skinny Puppy may not play metal, but there is nothing more metal than Skinny Puppy. I've been a fan of theirs since I can remember (Assimilate era).

    On topic, how about the Claas guitars? Those are pretty aggressive looking, no? I guess if you're going to lump ergo in with headless, then yeah, it's not the most classically metal looking axe around. I mean, I wouldn't show up to a Metallica tryout with a Klein, but simply lopping the head off a guitar doesn't really suck the metalness out of it, looks wise. I'd rock a Toone, Spalt, Claas, etc. based on looks, though.

    (Saving whoever the googling, here's a klein, Toone, Spalt, and Claas, in that order):

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    EDIT: Lulz at the "Post quick reply" button when we post something in a thread. Like we, as a group, post "quick" replies. These rants/picture links/stories take a long ass time to write! The button should say, "Post long ass reply that will be read by less than 20 people, which you chose to do over working, spending time with your family, or actually playing your damn guitar. ....ing loser! But sure, post away on an obscure forum!!"
     
  8. Durero

    Durero prototyping... Contributor

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    "Do headless guitars look wrong on stage?"
    Why would anyone else's like or dislike of headless guitars be of any concern to you at all?

    Presenting yourself on stage to perform music in public requires that you have enough self confidence to make trivial little decisions like what instrument you play, what gear you use, what clothes you wear, etc.

    It also requires enough confidence to make much more important decisions such as what music you've chosen to play, how well you've chosen to prepare that music, how respectfully and professionally you speak and behave towards the audience, sound people, venue staff, and other bands.

    Performing in public is not easy and I can promise you that no one has done so without having to face loads of their own insecurities, both big and small. You may find that some players hide behind a mask of bravado, some numb themselves with intoxicants, but for me the only thing that actually works is to cultivate focus and concentration on the music itself. This implies choosing music that is challenging enough to require strong focus and concentration.


    "Anyone with experience gigging with them?"
    Yes. I've played headless guitars in metal bands on stage, headbanging, but that's my choice and no one else has any say over what guitar I choose to play.

    I encourage you to choose the tool of your choice to express your art with, and focus on that expression, not the tool.
     
  9. bzhan1

    bzhan1 Banned

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    lol how did this get so personal... I play plenty of shows and have no problems playing, I'm just gauging people's opinions here.

    Obvious when there's a ton of people watching one should care about how they look on stage. It's not a confidence issue. You think pros like Vai don't spend hours fixing their outfits and doing their hair before a show? What about Ronaldo? Surely the richest and most famous athlete in the world doesn't try to look good while playing because he's insecure.
     
  10. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    I seriously doubt Vai spends hours fixing his outfit and doing his hair before a show. :lol: That's ridiculous. I would say that Vai probably looks exactly the way he would like to look, and doesn't give a rat's ass about whether other people think he looks good. He has his own style, and it's clear it's his thing, and he's not dressing that way because it's the power metal / 80's shred, etc. thing to do. I don't know who you listen to, but I assure you that the bands I listen to write music and dress (and do their hair, lol) the way they think is cool, not what they think audiences think is cool. If that weren't the case, they would be faaaar more famous and better known than they are. I find it hard to believe that anyone plays metal with the delusion that what the play and how they look is designed to please any significant portion of the population. You've been watching too much Kardashians, man.
     
  11. Durero

    Durero prototyping... Contributor

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    Well I guess my response shows how strongly I interpret your question as a personal choice, because I've already made that choice for myself and it never occurred to me to ask for anyone else's opinion.


    But your example of Vai is excellent and really helps me understand why stage appearance can matter a lot to some players and be something they put thought and energy into. Vai has gone so far as to use elaborate laser-clad costumes in his show with extremely unconventional and unique guitars which correspond with his album cover art.

    The point I'm trying to make is that I like to assume someone like Vai is taking those decisions for himself and not seeking anyone else's input for the artistic aspects of his show. A personal choice.

    You can disagree with my assumption and instead assume that he is concerned with other peoples opinions of his stage appearance and actively seeks their input. A more social, conformal style of thinking. You could be right, I don't know the guy.

    That's just a different way of thinking than I'm used to.


    So if it's examples of headless guitars used in metal and rock that you need here's a few more: Death, Cynic, Scale the Summit, Genesis.


    Edit: sniped by Holloway!
    I guess it's clear that Holloway and I both prefer bands where stage appearance is pretty low on the priority list. Probably says a lot about why I've never had the slightest interest in seeing or hearing bands like KISS. :lol:

    Anyhow each their own.

    Play a headless on stage, or don't. I sincerely wish you well either way.:hbang:
     
  12. Durero

    Durero prototyping... Contributor

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  13. Science_Penguin

    Science_Penguin SS.org Regular

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    See, I come from the camp opposite you two- I highly value musicians who know how to take to the stage with a certain degree of visual style (so long as they use it as a nice enhancement for their shows rather than a gimmick to hide mediocre music... hence why I don't have the slightest interest in KISS) Frankly- and this could be boredom with my own local music scene- but I'm kind of tired of every band coming out on stage wearing their street clothes.

    But that's exactly why I wouldn't mind playing a headless on stage. They've got a striking appearance on top of their functionality and comfort level. Really, headless is kind of a win-win on both sides: If you don't care how you look, then you're just playing whatever's comfortable, and if you do care how you look, well, there's one way to stand out- and, like I said, there's plenty of headless styles to choose from so you can get whatever's optimal for the style you're going for.

    Discovered them backtracking through the history of Industrial music myself. First album was Weapon... If you're familiar with their modern sound, you can imagine how confused I was upon listening to Too Dark Park.
     
  14. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    Yeah, Penguin, I'm the same as you, in that I want to provide a good stage show, and specifically care about how we look on stage live. It's just that I am not doing it to impress the audience. It seems like a subtle difference, but dressing the way I like, and hoping the audience thinks it's cool, is vastly difference from trying to figure out what he audience likes, and dressing that way. Take Ghost, for instance. I love those guys, and I think their costumes are super cool. And I think they probably like that people think they're cool. But, based on the interviews I've read about them, they came up with the concept because they thought it was a cool idea (nameless, faceless), and went with that. They didn't worry about whether people would think they were cool or metal enough or anything like that. Same with Steve Vai. He's got a very unique and identifiable style. But I doubt he's dressing that way because he's focus grouped fans about what they think would be cool for him. It's the difference between nsync, and other bands manufactured specifically to appeal to a group of people, and bands who have their own thing going, and happen to appeal to others. It would be like knowing a certain girl likes guys who wear dress shirts, bow ties, and jeans, and wearing that in order to impress her, as opposed to a guy who happens to like wearing a dress shirt, bow tie, and jeans, and just happens to wear that when he goes out. The second guy is authentic, the first guy is inauthentic, and is only trying to impress the girl. (Which I'm guilty of doing faaaar too many times! :lol:)

    Anyway, it seems like a subtle difference, what I (and you, and durero) are saying, vs what the OP is saying. But it's pretty fundamental to me. I want to put on a good show for an audience, but what that means is that I will do what I think is cool, and hope they like it. As opposed to figure out what they think is cool, and do that, irrespective of whether I personally like it.

    No shade on OP, but I say do what is a reflection of you, because people respond much more to authenticity than pandering.
     
  15. Fretless

    Fretless Knob Fiddler Contributor

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    I think they look funky, and personally they're not for me. I personally love headstock designs (that is seriously the only reason I decided to go with a KM8 over the VM8 from Kiesel that I just ordered).

    However, some people rock them and make em look really cool. Just not me, since I play keys.
     
  16. Science_Penguin

    Science_Penguin SS.org Regular

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    Well, on a functionality level, the more compact design of a headless would make it easier for you to move around your keyboard setup... I assume you play both on stage.

    But, if you like headstocks, yeah, probably not your thing.

    Dammit, I need to get off this thread, I'm starting to GAS for a headless... I've got three ebay tabs of GM bodies open...
     
  17. Fretless

    Fretless Knob Fiddler Contributor

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    I only play keys live, I guess you can say they're all headless haha, but yeah, I just like headstocks.

    On a side note I plan on possibly playing guitar live when I condense my keyboard rig live down from 3 keyboards to one keyboard.
     
  18. StevenC

    StevenC SS.org Regular

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    A light, mobile guitar just to play in your bedroom seems kind of like missing the point to me. The impractical, clumsy guitar I have to be careful with seems the more obvious guitar to keep at home.
     
  19. Alex Kenivel

    Alex Kenivel Psycho, dont engage

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    My next guitar will be my first headless:
    [​IMG]
    And I'm not even joking
     
  20. Señor Voorhees

    Señor Voorhees SS.org Regular

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    Dude from slipknot rocks a headless bass on occasion and it looks sick as fuck.
     

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