How To Tune A Headless Guitar

Table of Contents

Where do you even begin?


Hey guitarists! Remember when headless guitars first came around? Both the fascination and criticism they got were out of this world! Some said they’re a needless fad, while others praised the ingenuity and advantages of their design. Regardless of what people might say, the headless guitar is surely an interesting instrument. Obviously, the question that everyone has when they see one is, how do you tune it? It has no head. Allow us to quench your thirst for guitar knowledge with this article that will teach you how to tune a headless guitar!

Why do headless guitars exist

Now here’s a common question that pops up in people’s minds when they hear about headless guitars. Why do they even exist and are they just a gimmick? For starters, they’re more than just a cool-looking modification, they actually have a purpose.

Headless guitars get you a cleaner tone when compared to regular ones due to the fact that they have less sympathetic resonance. They’re also a lot more durable because there’s no head to accidentally break off. In addition to that, headless guitars also have more consistent sounding open notes and improved intonation.

If you’re a traveling guitarist, you’d do good with getting a headless guitar. The smaller form factor combined with lesser weight makes them easier to move around with! This means you’ll finally be able to keep your guitar in the overhead storage. Their lightweight body also ensures that your back isn’t tortured while playing gigs all night.

Headless guitars also provide better tuning stability and go out of tune much slower than regular guitars because of how the strings are kept in place at two positions. Fret buzz is almost non-existent on headless guitars thanks to their intelligent design!

Fun Fact: Headless guitars were invented by renowned instrument creator, Ned Steinberger, when he made his bass guitar the first headless instrument!

How do you change the strings on a headless guitar?

Before getting to the tuning part, let’s check out the process of changing the strings on a headless guitar. You might be confused by the lack of no head, but don’t worry, changing the strings on a headless guitar is pretty easy!

Quick Tip: One thing to keep in mind is that even though headless guitars vary in design, the process to change their strings remains the same.

 Step by Step Process

  • First, you have to loosen up the string you want to change by turning the thumbscrew at the bottom of the guitar until it’s either really loose or just comes out.
  • Next, you have to head to the top of the guitar with the Allen key that’s provided with your guitar. Use the Allen key to release the string and take it out.
  • Now add your new string to the headpiece, keeping the ball-end of the string in the slot provided for it. Now tighten the thumbscrew.
  • Make your way back up the guitar and use the Allen key to tighten the string just enough to hold it in place.
  • Finally, use a string cutter to cut off the excess string so that it doesn’t stick out of the guitar and hurt someone.

How to tune a headless guitar

Now that you have your strings in place, we come to actually learning how to tune a headless guitar. It’s done with the thumbscrews you just tightened! Instead of having a separate head where the strings are tightened and tuned, headless guitars are tuned from the bottom, under the bridge where the strings are inserted.

All you have to do is either loosen (counter-clockwise) or tighten (clockwise) the thumbscrews to tune your guitar. While you can’t use a clip-on tuner (for obvious reasons), you can always use an app on your phone to help you tune.

Final Thoughts

All in all, headless guitars are cool and functional instruments that are surely a step forward in the right direction. They provide better stability in tuning and durability and are easier to travel with than regular electric guitars. Not only that but learning how to tune a headless guitar is also pretty easy! We hope you’ve learned something new today. Happy playing!

Jim Henneberry

Jim Henneberry

I love playing my guitar, and my kids got hooked along with me.
This is a family thing now - why don't you join the family fun? :)