Erin Coburn Signature Strandberg Headless Guitar, Are Those Coming Back?

Erin Coburn Signature Strandberg Headless Guitar, Are Those Coming Back?

I remember seeing a picture of Eddie Van Halen playing a tiny version of his iconic red, black, and white Frankenstein guitar live. It looked like a toy. Well, an incredible, great-sounding toy in the hands of the man himself.

Although the ‘90s wiped them out of the musical instrument map, headless guitars are making a huge comeback in the hands of virtuosos around the world.

Is this just another ephemeral trend or are headless guitars here to stay? We are talking about the Erin Coburn signature Strandberg headless guitar and the companies and models you should be looking at to buy yours or go DIY and build one.

Erin Coburn Signature Strandberg Headless Guitar

Erin Coburn is a young guitar player who made a name for herself playing soulful blues on a Stratocaster like any serious blues player should. Well, a lot has happened since those initial steps in the music business, and Erin found her dream guitar hanging at a NAMM show.

At first, blues purists didn’t agree with her change, but she pushed her way through with talent and hard work.

Erin Imagined it, Strandberg Built Her a Dream

Erin Coburn plays two Strandberg guitars live and in the studio. In case you didn’t know, Ola Strandberg used to work for Ned Steinberger, the headless pioneer. It was he and his new company, Strandberg, that played the key role in the headless guitar resurgence to the mainstream.

Erin saw the Strandberg booth at NAMM and was immediately drawn to it. She pitched them saying they didn’t have a blues player on their roster, so she got her first guitar.

The reception to this change was mixed critics, as you might think. Well, Erin Coburn’s age is a number close to 20 but she’s a pro musician with a discerning pair of ears. Indeed, this blues woman with a taste for heavier music knew exactly what she wanted from the get-go and has been playing classic blues in a next-century instrument (and sounding great) for a while now.

So, Erin Coburn’s Strandberg models in use live are two.

Firstly, the Boden Classic NX6 in Malta Blue. This is a guitar with a tremolo and a solid alder body. These features, along with the pickguard, bring the guitar very close to a reduced-in-size Strat.

The maple neck, on the other hand, features a trapezoid back, which departs from the typical V and C-shaped necks you can see on a regular Strat. That said, her Strandberg signature guitar features a bolt-on neck with a maple fretboard, giving the guitar the edge and punch needed to cut through the mix in a blues setting.

Secondly, she plays a Boden Fusion 6 Neck-Thru in Trans Teal. As the name implies, the guitar features a neck-through construction. The innovative aspect is that the wings are made of chambered alder and finished with a solid maple top.

The chambered construction adds to the warmth of the instrument while the roasted birdseye maple neck brings the edge and punch to the guitar’s overall sound. When touring, this is the guitar Erin keeps tuned to C# with a blocked tremolo.

Although Erin’s style is growing along with her, the guitars she chose to let her inspiration reach her fans still are revolutionary and odd-looking for a blues stage.
Hopefully, they can do the heavy lifting allowing other, more daring designs to reach mainstream status too.

Don’t Forget the "Cool" Lace Sensors!

The Strandberg Boden 6 and the Boden Fusion 6 Erin plays are loaded with Lace Sensor pickups. What? Wait! Didn’t that company disappear after working with Fender in the ‘90s? Well, no they didn’t. in fact, they’re working full steam making new pickups.

Erin plays an assortment of silver, gold, red, and blue pickups in each of her guitars, adding some glass-like clarity and punch to her signal.

Well, she’s mixing the blues and the future, so why not bring a retro element in the pickups as well, right?

Who Else is Playing Headless Guitars?

  • Lee McKinney
  • Sarah Longfield
  • Tim Miller
  • Per Nilsson
  • Ichika Nito
  • Plini
  • Allan Holdsworth
  • Tosin Abasi
  • Misha Mansoor
  • Chris Letchford
  • Paul Masvidal
  • Yvette Young

What Brands Should You Be Looking at?

The Strandberg logo isn’t the only one you can spot on a quality headless guitar. On the contrary, there are a plethora of builders making headless quality instruments in the market today.

  • Steinberger – This is the company Ned founded and that started it all in the early ‘80s. He was a furniture maker with an eye for ergonomics working for Spector designing basses when he came up with the idea. The rest is headless history. One I like a lot is the GM4T model.
  • Kiesel – Kiesel is currently one of the biggest names in headless instruments. They even have an acoustic one! Well, every guitar is customizable, and the Vader model is a great one to look at.
  • Ibanez – These Japanese giants have been pushing guitar boundaries since day one. Their Q-Series guitars are good enough for Yvette Young, so they will probably fit our bill too.
  • Mayones – This brand has been handcrafting its instruments in Poland since 1982. For those who like to have a guitar with a body closer to that of a regular instrument (with headstock), their Hydra model is a good choice.

Can You Have One Built or Go DIY?

Checking out a Strandberg guitar price might be intimidating for those without a very bulky budget. Yes, guitars start over the four-digit mark easily.

So, the question comes; can you go DIY with it?

Well, the answer is yes, because part of the resurgence trend is having available spare parts from an assortment of companies around the world. You can buy guitar bridges, tremolo systems, bass bridges, and much more.

The Bottom End

Headless guitars have already survived the test of time once. They faded into oblivion and were kept alive by a cult of avid followers. Nowadays, the design is enjoying a second wave of popularity that seems to be on the rise.

Will we trade our vintage axes for headless technological wonders soon? While that remains to be seen, the fact that players like Erin are spreading the word might mean headless guitars are here to stay.

Happy (headless) playing!


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