Music Industry How To is supported by readers. When you buy via a link on our site, we’ll possibly earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.
If you’ve kept your eyes open, chances are, you’ve seen a headless guitar out in the wild. While they sound like the next cheesy Halloween monster, these guitars are not to be feared!
Are you currently shopping around for a headless guitar? You’re in luck, as new models seem to be released every month.
The following headless guitars serve as excellent choices, with models included for all budgets.
Strandberg Boden Metal NX 6 – Best Overall
By now, you’ve probably seen that Strandberg makes models for seemingly every type of genre. You might be wondering whether they have anything tailored toward the metal guitarist.
For starters, the Boden Metal NX 6 has a chambered body made of Basswood, with a Maple top. This gives the guitar a lighter weight and provides an extra bit of resonance to the guitar’s performance.
Maple is also used for the neck, which is reinforced with carbon fiber to handle any grueling alternate tunings. It’s also primed for being resistant to any drastic changes in the weather.
Strandberg has opted for a Richlite fretboard on this model, giving it a 20” radius. Like many other Strandberg models, this has 24 slanted frets to accommodate its 25”-25.5” multi-scale length.
You can play this guitar in the deepest, darkest caverns and still find your way around the neck. Its luminescent fret markers make this easily possible.
For pickups, this guitar is stocked with a pair of Suhr Aldrich humbuckers to pack a mean tone. These are incredibly devastating in the best way possible.
Knobs for volume and tone, as well as a 5-way switch, are included for any tonal adjustment needs.
Unfortunately, this model doesn’t have a tremolo system. It does, however, have a high-quality EGS Rev 7 fixed bridge.
A gig bag comes included with the Boden Metal NX 6.
You can also get this guitar with 7 or 8 string varieties if that is what your heart desires. It goes to show that Strandberg has paid attention to the requests and desires of guitarists of every musical genre.
Strandberg Boden Fusion NX 6 – Best Premium
The Boden Fusion NX 6 is essentially the latest iteration of Strandberg’s vast offering of headless guitars. Because of that, it has appointments you typically won’t find on too many other guitars.
This guitar features an Alder body with a beautiful flamed Maple top. The top is exquisitely showcased in an amber yellow color or bonfire red and finished with satin polyurethane.
For the neck, Strandberg has chosen to use Maple and has reinforced it with carbon fiber. This should prove to be incredibly resistant to dramatic weather changes and demanding tunings.
The Rosewood fretboard has a very flat radius of 20”, giving it a sense of smoothness. There are 24 frets here, which are angled to suit the multi-scale length of 25”-25.5”.
Where this guitar really starts to shine brightly is in its pickup offerings, which feature pickups made by Suhr. These include:
- SSV humbucker (neck)
- V60LP single-coil (middle)
- SSV+ humbucker (bridge)
Strandberg has provided a 5-way switch and knobs for volume and tone adjustment.
Furthermore, the Boden Fusion NX 6 comes equipped with an EGS Rev 7 tremolo system. This means you won’t have to sacrifice your whammy bar needs by choosing to purchase a headless guitar!
Lastly, Strandberg has also included a gig bag to ensure your precious guitar stays protected in transit.
What’s So Great About The Strandberg Boden Fusion NX 6?
If the price of this guitar was attached to any other guitar, it’d easily stop you dead in your tracks. However, once you know what this guitar has to offer, its exorbitant price actually starts to make reasonable sense.
To put it simply, the Boden Fusion NX 6 is a true work of art in the name of craftsmanship. With this guitar, it’s clear that Strandberg went the extra mile to include everything one would ever need.
For instance, the idea of having a tremolo system on a headless guitar is quite innovative. Most manufacturers would shy away from this because of the inherent difficulty to pull it off.
Strandberg’s unique body shape already provides a great amount of comfort for any playing stance. The appointments of this model expand the expectations of what was initially thought possible with such a design.
Having Suhr pickups in this guitar already guarantees a certain amount of high-quality tones. Typically, Suhr guitars are usually renowned for their exquisite build, usually consisting of these same pickups.
You’ll find that the Boden Fusion NX 6 can handle any style of music you could throw in its direction. There won’t be a worry about whether the guitar can perform as well as it’s needed or expected to.
The guitar is so smooth and easy to play, you won’t really think of such matters in the first place.
What’s even better is that Strandberg has paid attention to the small details in the build. Carbon fiber reinforcement and luminescent fret markers only add to the overall value of this guitar.
Maybe the only thing you could raise an argument about is the fact that it comes with a gig bag. Nobody would feel secure putting this guitar in a gig bag for a long-term storage solution.
Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light – Best Budget
Compared to other guitars on this list, the Ultra-Light costs considerably less money. However, it isn’t exactly the same caliber of guitar that others on this list might be.
With that being said, the Ultra-Light features an all-Eastern American Hard Maple construction. This includes both the body and the neck, which are conjoined with a neck-through design.
The fretboard is made of Black Walnut and has a 15.75” radius. There are 22 frets here, which are outlined by traditional white dot inlays.
As far as the scale length goes, the Ultra-Light has a measurement of 24.75”.
For pickups, the Ultra-Light features a single dual-rail humbucker. There are no controls offered here, just plug it in and play!
The tuners on this guitar are located in 2 separate cavities within the guitar’s body. These are located in a 3×3 formation on either side of the strings.
Because of this design, the strings actually sit on top of a fixed bridge similar to a Tune-o-Matic. The strings then wrap around the body to feed into the chrome closed-gear tuners.
Traveler Guitar offers the Ultra-Light model in a number of classic color options, including:
- Torino red
- Matte black
- Gloss black
- Natural maple
You can even get this same model in both acoustic and nylon string varieties.
Traveler Guitar also offers a padded gig bag with the purchase of an Ultra-Light guitar.
What’s So Great About The Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light?
Sure, the Ultra-Light might not exactly be the guitar you would choose to play on stage. However, it does serve its purpose quite well for those who have a need for such a guitar.
Sometimes, there are moments in life where it’d be incredibly handy to have an electric guitar. Depending on the circumstance, bringing a full-size guitar might not always be a practical choice.
That is exactly where the Ultra-Light shines. You could easily take this guitar on a hike, or stow it away on a plane for air travel.
By having this in your possession, you won’t have any excuses for missing a day of practice. And, despite its design, it doesn’t play or feel all that much different from any other standard guitar.
You might initially be concerned by the body’s lack of detailed contouring. However, its rail system is perfectly designed to be played in the sitting position with the guitar on your lap.
Even the neck is quite comfortable and familiar. You’ll find this to feel reminiscent of the playing experience of Gibson-style guitars.
Of course, the pickup certainly won’t make the guitar sound like a Les Paul. Its lack of controls essentially means that you’re stuck with whatever tone the pickup decides to provide.
Again, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially for casual settings or occasions where tone doesn’t matter.
For the price, the Ultra-Light makes for the perfect travel companion. Because it weighs around 3 pounds, you won’t think twice about hauling this guitar around.
Heck, the inclusion of a gig bag practically begs for you to take the guitar anywhere you might go. Do be forewarned that it is a bit roomy as it is a gig bag built for a standard guitar.
Strandberg Boden Prog NX 6
Are you somebody that demands a specific humbucker tone on a guitar filled with technical components? Something like the Strandberg Boden Prog NX 6 (see price on Sweetwater, Guitar Center) can be a great solution.
This particular model of the Boden was designed to handle anything from metal to prog, and everything in between. It features a Swamp Ash body with a flamed Maple top and comes in the attractive colors of:
- Earth green
- Charcoal gray
You can even choose to get this model with 7 strings, which comes with the additional color of twilight purple.
Maple is also used for the Boden Prog NX 6’s neck, which has been reinforced with carbon fiber. Its neck contour is incredibly comfortable while providing accessibility for the most extreme of techniques.
Richlite is used for the fretboard, which adds another degree of durability to the guitar’s build. This has a very flat radius of 20”, and offers 24 frets for a 2-octave range of playability.
The Boden Prog NX 6 is a multi-scale guitar, ranging from 25” to 25.5”. Because of this, the frets are angled slightly across the entire neck.
You won’t have any issues seeing in the dark, as the guitar has luminescent fret markers.
For pickups, the Boden Prog NX 6 features a pair of Suhr humbuckers, including:
- SSV (neck position)
- SSH+ (bridge position)
To make the most of these pickups are knobs for volume and tone, as well as a 5-way switch.
This guitar was truly built for any type of player, including the most extreme. It features an EGS Rev 7 tremolo system for all of your dive-bomb needs.
Strandberg has also included a padded gig bag with the Boden Prog NX 6. This is appropriately sized for the unique shape of this guitar.
Ibanez Ichika Signature ICHI10
Aside from its obvious design differences, this guitar seems to have its roots in the Stratocaster design. Because of this, you’ll find the transition to this type of guitar to be a breeze to get used to.
For starters, the ICHI10 features a double-cutaway body design, with a body made of Nyatoh. The guitar is given a satin finish and comes in an attractive vintage white color.
Its neck is comprised of a sandwich of Bubinga between 2 pieces of Roasted Maple. This neck has a fairly modern C-shape contour design, which should feel quite comfortable.
Roasted Birdseye Maple is used for the ICHI10’s fretboard, which offers a 2-octave range with its 24 frets. The fretboard has a radius of 12”, which is just perfect for most types of players.
Despite being a headless guitar, the ICHI10 has a scale length of 25.5”. It looks deceptively smaller because of its design.
The ICHI10 is equipped with a trio of R-1 single-coil pickups, along with knobs for master volume and tone. This guitar has an impressive range of tones as it’s equipped with both a 5-way switch and an alter switch.
For tuners, the ICHI10 is equipped with a Mono Tune bridge. This provides a tuner for each saddle, set up in a staggered fashion.
Should you decide to purchase this guitar, you’ll be pleased to know that it comes with an included gig bag.
Aesthetically, the ICHI10 seems to be a great mix of traditional design applied to a futuristic headless design. It has a reminiscent quality to it, despite appearing so futuristic.
What’s So Great About The Ibanez Ichika Signature ICHI10?
For those that don’t know, Ichika Nito is one of the many guitarists pushing the boundaries of the guitar today. The guitarist has made a name for himself by uploading dazzling short videos onto his YouTube channel.
Yes, that’s right. We've now entered the era where YouTube guitar stars now have their own signature instruments.
However, owning this guitar will not make you feel cheesy or corny in any fashion. Rather, it shows that you might have a tendency towards the innovative side of guitar playing.
That doesn’t mean that the guitar is only suitable for extreme technical wizards. Any common guitarist will have no issues getting used to playing this guitar.
For the most part, the ICHI10 is a Stratocaster at its most basic level. It has some of the hallmark Stratocaster features, including:
- 25.5” scale length
- Modern C-shape profile
- 3 single-coil pickups
However, the ICHI10 is quite unique in the fact that it has an incredibly expanded tonal palate. The 5-way switch offers many of the classic single-coil spank that you know and love.
Once you engage the alter switch, the pickups run in series, affecting the 1st, 3rd, and 5th positions. These will give you tones that have a bit more of the beefiness associated with humbucker pickups.
You’ll find that the ICHI10 is an incredibly luxurious guitar to play, especially for the price. Its satin neck is an absolute dream to have in your hand.
The proof is really in the details here, as Ibanez has also included luminescent fretboard markets. You won’t have any issues seeing what position you’re in while playing in the dark.
Plus, the gig bag offered by Ibanez appears to be of excellent quality and provides quite a bit of padding.
Strandberg Boden Classic NX 6
This guitar even has the aesthetic look of a Stratocaster, largely due to its distinct pickguard style. It comes in the very alluring colors of:
- Viridian green
- Malta blue
The Boden Classic NX 6 features an Alder body, which, again, shares similarities with the Stratocaster.
Both the neck and the fretboard have been crafted out of Maple. The neck itself is reinforced with carbon fiber and contoured for precision and comfort.
If you’re somebody that employs difficult techniques, you’ll find the 20” radius to feel like home. Its 25”-25.5” multi-scale length and angled frets provide even further comfort for the most demanding players.
Another thing to note here is that the Boden Classic NX 6 features luminescent fret markers. You won’t have any issue identifying its 24 frets while playing in the dark.
For pickups, you’ll have a pair of Suhr V60LP single-coils placed at the neck and middle positions. A Suhr Thornbacker Plus humbucker can be found at the bridge.
When combined with the 5-way switch and volume/tone knobs, you’ll have no problems getting that Stratocaster sound.
Of course, it couldn’t be a true Stratocaster replica without having a tremolo system of some kind. This model does come equipped with an EGS Rev 7 tremolo.
Adding a little extra value to the overall price is the fact that a gig bag comes included with the guitar. Again, it would have been great if Strandberg offered their guitars with an actual case.
For the price of these guitars, it’s almost an insult to provide a gig bag for protecting this kind of investment.
Strandberg Sälen Jazz
You might not have thought it would be possible, but the Sälen Jazz is a semi-hollowbody guitar. It even has an f-shape sound hole to complete the look and sound characteristics of such an attribute.
The Sälen Jazz’s body is crafted out of Maple and features a veneer made of Mahogany. This is then given a natural finish in satin polyurethane for a distinct and classic aesthetic.
The neck of this guitar is also made of Mahogany and has been reinforced with carbon fiber. It is joined to the body in a bolt-on configuration, and the heel joint is barely noticeable.
A luxurious Indian Rosewood neck is also featured here, which has a 20” radius. Its 24 frets (outlined by luminescent fret markers) are angled to suit the guitar’s 25”-25.5” multi-scale length.
For pickups, the Sälen Jazz is stocked with a pair of Classic humbuckers designed by Strandberg. Knobs for volume and tone, along with a 5-way switch, are provided for tone adjustments.
As you might guess from the name, the Sälen Jazz is a prime guitar for jazz music stylings. Its humbuckers, combined with its Mahogany elements, give it a rich, warm tone.
In fact, you’d probably be quite surprised at just how luxurious this guitar sounds. Anybody could be fooled into thinking that it’s a traditional jazz box guitar.
Like most of Strandberg’s offerings, the Sälen Jazz comes equipped with a gig bag.
The Q52 features a double-cutaway design with 2 large horns that somewhat resemble the Stratocaster. It has a Nyatoh body and comes in the head-turning colors of:
- Laser blue matte
- Flat black
A sandwich made of a slab of Bubinga with 2 pieces of Roasted Maple is used for the neck. This features Ibanez’s famed Wizard C-shape contour, which is on the thinner side for fast performance.
Roasted Birdseye Maple is featured on the fretboard, which provides 24 frets with ornate Mother-of-Pearl inlays.
One thing to note here is that the Q52 is not a multi-scale guitar. Because of this, its frets are not angled and plays like a traditional guitar.
The Q52 features a pair of Q58 humbuckers, providing a massive range of different tones thanks to its dyna-MIX10 system.
A standard 5-way switch, an alter switch, and knobs for volume and tone knob are provided. By engaging the alter switch, you’ll have 5 more usable tones than you would have had without.
With the addition of a gig bag, the Q52 makes for an excellent guitar for anyone looking for value. This guitar definitely speaks volumes with regard to the great reputation Ibanez has for innovation.
Overall, you’ll find this to be more aligned with the playing experience of a traditional electric guitar. You’ll find this body to have a much more balanced weight distribution.
This guitar features the iconic double-cutaway design found with other models found in the Ibanez Quest lineup. The difference here is that a pickguard is added, which gives the guitar an added aesthetic layer.
Nyatoh is used for the Q54’s body, joined to a 3-piece neck made of Roasted Maple and Bubinga. Despite being a bolt-on design, the playing experience is incredibly intuitive and ergonomic.
Part of that has to be because of the Wizard C-shape contour, along with the fretboard’s 12” radius. The fretboard itself is made of Roasted Birdseye Maple, providing a vintage look and response.
You’ll be able to tackle just about any song thanks to its 24 fret, 2-octave range. The 25.5” scale length makes this guitar feel very familiar to that of a guitar with a headstock.
The shining attributes of this guitar have to be its pickups. These include a pair of R1 single-coils and a Q58 humbucker.
Ibanez has provided the standard 5-way switch and knobs for volume and tone adjustments. An alter switch is also installed to switch the polarity of the pickups for expanded tone combinations.
Plus, this guitar comes in the colors of seafoam green and flat black. Both of these give the guitar a sharp and dressy look.
Ibanez has also included a gig bag with the purchase of the Q54.
What To Look For When Buying A Headless Guitar
Headless guitars are certainly quite unique, and usually not just because of their missing headstock. Because of this, you’ll want to be aware of some things that you might not have initially considered.
For the most part, though, these instruments are guitars at heart. As such, you’ll find that much of the basic guitar information can be applied to these types of guitars.
If you’ve never bought a guitar or you own several, it’s in your best interest to absorb the following information. Afterward, you should have a basic grasp of noteworthy things about individual headless guitar models.
Before you let your mind wander with the various number of fantasies about headless guitars, think of your budget. Sure, this isn’t exactly the most alluring aspect of buying a guitar, but it is extremely important.
Most headless guitars of excellent quality tend to be priced quite expensively for the average person. Having a good idea of what your budget is will give you realistic expectations when shopping for these guitars.
That’s not to say that some headless guitars can’t be found at an affordable price. Quite the contrary is true, but it’s usually what comes with the guitar itself that is affected by the price.
To put it simply, in this realm, price often helps make the distinction between a novelty and a musical tool. Headless guitars that are of a higher price will generally have everything that a regular guitar has, minus the headstock.
What you need to do is give yourself an honest assessment by answering the following questions:
- How much money can you spend without putting yourself in the poor house?
- How long have you been playing and what is your honest skill level?
- What kind of goals do you have that a headless guitar would be able to help with?
- Are you going to be using the headless guitar to make money?
Guitars in general are sold in different price ranges, with each being appropriate for a certain level of player. As you might expect, the quality and level of craftsmanship change with each price level.
These ranges are as follows:
- $250 and below (beginner)
- $300 to $750 (intermediate)
- $750 to $1500 (advanced)
- $1500+ (professional)
The used market is another place to consider checking. However, there might not be as many available due to the overall number made compared to standard designs.
Once you have taken the time to work out a realistic budget, it’s time to choose a guitar style. You’ll find a massive range of different body designs available on the market.
Some of these designs will be quite reminiscent of traditional guitars of vintage inspiration. Others will deviate from the norm altogether, offering a unique body design that can’t be found on any other guitar.
You’ll want to use your budget as a guideline to determine what guitars are actually available to you. If you have a lower budget, your options might be quite limited across the board.
For the most part, headless guitars are designed to provide a comfortable and ergonomic playing experience. These tend to fit quite well against one’s body, whether standing or sitting.
Because of that, you’ll want to be sure to spend a little bit of time with each guitar. Take the time to run them through their paces to get to know the guitar’s character.
Much of what you choose in the design category is really going to come down to personal taste. Do you appreciate tradition, or are you one that leans into futuristic designs that can be a bit ugly?
You can always find something that blends both tradition and modernity. Heck, you can even find a semi-hollowbody if that’s what your style of music calls for!
Always choose something that calls out to you, rather than considering what others might think about it. After all, it’s you that is going to be playing the guitar!
Depending on the price and style of the model, you’ll need to consider the headless guitar’s pickups. Most professional models will have offerings that include either single-coil or humbucker pickups, or both in combination.
As you probably know from playing standard electric guitars, pickups play an important role in the guitar’s sound. So, this is definitely not an area to gloss over when doing your research.
For a brief primer, single-coil pickups will tend to be quite bright, with a round, fat, and almost tubular sound. These will typically provide that distinct spanky tone that you’ve undoubtedly heard from Stratocasters and Telecasters.
Humbuckers, when compared to single-coils, tend to be much warmer and present in the mid-range. These typically produce a thicker sound overall, with more volume.
Most of the pickups you’ll find in guitars will be of the “passive” variety. There are some pickups that do require a power source and are known as “active” pickups.
Active pickups are generally the go-to choice for anyone needing hot pickups and even more volume. You’ll typically find these in guitars crafted with the metal guitarist in mind.
Again, take the time to try each guitar out to get a proper taste of what its pickups can deliver. You might just find that a combination of different pickup types in specific positions serves your music the best.
Don’t make the mistake of purchasing the guitar to find that its tones don’t fit your music’s sound.
Guitars inherently need to have tuning machines to tighten the strings to the proper tension for specific pitches. Eliminating the headstock on a headless guitar does not remove the need for tuning machines.
Because of this design, manufacturers will place these tuning machines in a number of different areas. The most common location tends to be the actual bridge and saddle itself.
With these types of guitars, each individual string saddle will have its own adjustment screw. These are usually quite discreet and often play into the headless guitar’s overall aesthetic.
Perhaps the biggest caveat to these types of tuning machines is that you can’t tune the string upon attack. You’ll have to get used to plucking the string with your fretting hand if you want to do this.
If you’re not a fan of these types of tuning machines, there are some that resemble the traditional varieties. These will typically be located on either side of the string set, usually in an accessible area.
If we’re to be honest, most of the higher-quality headless guitars will tend to have saddle tuners. That doesn’t necessarily make one variety better than the other, however.
Believe it or not, you’ll want to take the time to get acquainted with how each guitar tunes before purchasing. If it’s a labor to tune, you won’t be very inspired to pick it up and play.
Overall Build Quality
It goes without saying that you’ll want to find a guitar with the best quality available in your defined budget. Nobody wants to be playing on a guitar that is hard to play and unsightly on the eyes!
Pictures and videos can really only do so much for you in regard to conveying a guitar’s overall quality. You will want to see the guitar with your own eyes and feel it with your own hands.
By doing so, you can visually inspect every area of the guitar for possible defects or areas of concern. Some things are only discernible by using your hands to feel for the overall quality.
One of the first things you should be paying attention to is the detail that went into crafting the neck. This area of the guitar is what determines how difficult a particular model may be to play with.
Take the time to run your fingers along the edges of the fretboard. Do any fret ends stick out or feel sharp?
Also, take note of the guitar’s playing action. This generally refers to how much pressure is required to press the strings into the frets.
Some guitars might show issues, but can be easily fixed with a proper setup. Most low-grade instruments tend to need a bit of doctoring to play like a very worthwhile instrument.
All of these things need to be accounted for as they could add to the overall cost of the guitar.
There are a number of other things that you’ll need to consider outside of the aforementioned areas. These will be designated as “extra features” but these range over different categories.
For starters, you’ll need to consider whether you want a traditional scale or multi-scale neck. Multi-scale necks tend to have fanned frets at the end(s) of the neck to accommodate technical players.
Another thing to consider is the number of controls the guitar provides to you for tone. Some of the more basic guitars offer no controls at all, while professional models offer no difference from traditional options.
Headless guitars also come in models offering different amounts of strings. Along with the traditional 6 string design, you can find headless guitars with:
- 7 strings
- 8 strings
Like the standard guitars, headless guitars come in both steel and nylon string varieties.
Lastly, you’ll want to pay attention to whether the headless guitar comes equipped with a gig bag or case. These guitars tend to have unique designs, so it’s a plus if it comes with a method for safe transportation.
If it lacks a case or gig bag, you might need to opt to have something custom-made for the guitar. This could easily put your purchase beyond the designated budget you had outlined for yourself.
Best Brands For Headless Guitars
Entering a guitar store without having an idea of the reputable brands can be a mistake. Not to mention, it seems every style and type of guitar has its own few reputable brands of its own.
The headless guitar is no different, and you’ll find the following companies to be some of the best. Seek these guitars out when you start researching to find the perfect guitar for you.
Ibanez is a well-known Japanese company that has been around since the 1930s. The company was originally an importer of guitars before branching off to craft its own instruments.
Today, Ibanez guitars are highly sought after for their innovative designs and high-quality craftsmanship. These instruments tend to be best suited for the technical guitar wizards who possess terrifying technique.
Strandberg is a Swedish company that has origins dating back to the early 1980s. The company has made a reputation for creating guitars that serve as solutions to longstanding problems.
Out of any headless guitar manufacturer in the space today, Strandberg is the most respected and well-known. They create headless solutions for every type of guitar playing style you could think of.
Top Headless Guitars, Final Thoughts
The headless guitar is such a unique design that will forever look like something from the distant future. Some people either love them or hate them, but one thing that’s for certain is that they’re here to stay.
Vintage designs are timeless, but they often lack the innovative design required for today’s players pushing the envelope of skill. Will you embrace this instrument of the future and adopt its innovation into your own playing?