1991 Steinberger Sceptre electric guitar (532155971)



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Source page: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1991_Steinberger_Sceptre_electric_guitar_(532155971).jpg
Description I bought this in 1999 from Chandler Guitars in Kew (south-west London) along with a Roland VG-8EX V-Guitar System. I was specifically after a guitar which would be "Roland-ready" (i.e. with a Roland hexaphonic pickup to work with their V-Guitar and guitar synth products), so accordingly, I had a Roland GK2 internal hexaphonic pickup (which I needed for the guitar to control the V) installed on the instrument at the same time.

Funnily enough, I really wanted a Steinberger for my "Roland guitar", and was hoping/expecting to find one of the "headless" models (where the tuning heads are at the bridge end of the guitar instead of the end of the neck). I nearly went for one of the all-wood "Spirit by Steinberger" licensed copies, but found this one instead - a real Steinberger for about the price of a copy.

The body is (I seem to recall) poplar, and the neck is actually synthetic - phenolic resin, I think they call it - instead of wood, which suits me as I also play MIDI guitar parts with this instrument, and the neck is very stable. I think it's the neck which makes this just about the heaviest electric guitar I've ever played - it's up there with a Gibson Les Paul in that department - but I've got so used to the guitar and its weight that it feels completely natural by now.

If what I was told is true, this instrument has an interesting history. Chandler's told me when I bought the guitar, that it used to belong to Ray Russell, the British session guitarist who has played on loads of recordings since the 1960s, including the main melody guitar on the theme tune to the 1980s British TV series "Bergerac". Around 2000, I met the session bassist Mo Foster, who has played a lot with Ray, and mentioned the guitar to him. Mo thought Ray wasn't the Steinberger type; however, Ray's own website - www.rayrussell.co.uk - shows him playing a black Steinberger Sceptre, so it may well be that this is the actual guitar in that picture. They're certainly not common, and I've never seen another myself.

I have heard that all S-series Steinbergers date from 1991, and that they were a dismal flop sales-wise, having a vaguely heavy-metal styling when the fashion in electric guitars at that time was vintage Fenders like the Jaguar (1991 being the year of Nirvana and 'grunge'). Couldn't care less - I love my Sceptre! :-)

My nickname for this guitar is "Nigel", after Spinal Tap's lead guitarist - aficionados of "This Is..." will probably understand the reference! (Clue: NT's reaction to the final album cover)
Date 5 June 2007(2007-06-05), 19:51
Source 1991 Steinberger Sceptre electric guitar
Author Tim Walker from United Kingdom


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