The Best Headless Guitar on Any Budget

In the guitar world, there are plenty of headless guitars to be purchased. Yet, most guitarists still prefer the traditional guitar, and there are still far more traditional guitars on the market. By that, I mean a guitar with a headstock. But headless guitars are gaining popularity for various reasons.

You may very well already be aware of those benefits if you’re looking up the best headless guitar. But, in case you’re exploring your options, I’ll be going through all the pros and cons too. If you decide a headless guitar is for you, you’ll also have recommendations to aid your guitar shopping.

What is a Headless Guitar?

2 What is a Headless Guitar

Orpheus by Paul Wicks licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

If you’ve seen them, you’ll have seen they have no headstock. It’s impossible to miss. Although some are in some pretty interesting shapes, some look relatively normal (although if you have a sharp eye, you’ll have noticed the tuning heads at the bridge or within the body), until you get to the top of the neck, and there is just… nothing.

Well, not entirely nothing. Just above the top fret, you’ll see the strings are anchored to what essentially looks like an extension of the neck. Headless guitars are strung in reverse. In a traditional guitar, the strings are anchored to the tailpiece or into the body of the guitar. They’re then routed through the bridge and run along the fretboard where they’re routed through the nut and then into the tuning machines which tighten them.

In a headless guitar, this process is reversed. Many don’t even have a nut at the top of the neck. Rather, just a plate or screws that anchor the strings. The bridge is still at the bottom of the body, but behind the bridge, you’ll find the tuners, unless it’s the type with the tuners in the body.

While most headless guitars are electric, there are a few acoustic and semi-acoustic headless guitars out there too.

Why Own A Headless Guitar?

At first glance, most reactions are either love (or intense like) or ugh. In the minority will be those who feel indifferent about the aesthetics. Personally, I don’t really like the look of them.

But, there are some advantages to headless guitars that make them worth it, despite the way they look:

  • They weigh less since less wood is used.
  • They are more balanced, reducing shoulder strain, and if you have a guitar that just drops when you let go of the neck, this sounds really nice doesn’t it?
  • Tuning via fretting the notes becomes much easier.
  • The intonation is better in guitars where there is no nut.
  • They take up less space, which is great for traveling or playing in close quarters.

Are There Disadvantages?

Some of these things just take some getting used to. A few may be a bit petty to some, but for those who find these things matter, it may be a dealbreaker:

  • You may think they’re ugly, and if we’re honest, which guitarist doesn’t want to look at their guitar with love eyes?
  • Headless wiggle. Yip, it’s a thing. Because of the reduced weight, the guitar moves around more when you press the neck between your thumb and fingers. This can take some time to get used to.
  • If you prefer to hang your guitar, finding a guitar hanger is a lot more difficult.

If these disadvantages didn’t put you off, and you like the advantages, let’s get to the recommendations.

The Best Headless Guitar for Your Budget

There’s a decent selection of these headless guitars, and best of all, there’s an option for every budget.

Headless Guitars Under $200

Admittedly, there aren’t too many offerings in this category, except for:

Leo Jaymz Headless Electric Guitar

This full scale guitar (25.5 inches) gives you two humbucker pickups with a 3-way pickup selector, and tone and volume knobs. The bridge is adjustable for better intonation. The body is alder, maple, or ash depending on which guitar you get, the neck is maple or mahogany, and the fretboard is ebony. Choose between brown, emerald green, green burst, or illusory color (which is a dark blue). Recently, they have started selling these guitars with the gig bag included.

Most people feel that this guitar is okay for the price. It’s a matter of preference whether you would need to do upgrades. Many feel that the guitar is great for beginners with the stock hardware. The guitar sounds a lot better and is far more playable after setup, but even high-end guitars need to be set up.

There does seem to be an issue with quality control. There were a few cases of misaligned bridges and the volume or tone pots being loose. A luthier could sort this out along with the general setup. However, the supplier is willing to send replacements for defective guitars. There are also a few people who bought more than one of these guitars, and they found that the finish also differs, even in the same models. Not the end of the world, unless what the guitar looks like bothers you.

I think this guitar is probably best for those who are into upgrading or customizing their guitars.

Headless Guitars Under $500

At this point, you’re going to get a big bump up in quality.

Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light Solid-Body Electric Guitar

If you’ve been looking for a ¾ scale (24.75”) travel electric guitar, here you go. At only 3lb, this is also perfect for those who struggle with heavier guitars. It’s quite basic in that you get a dual humbucker pickup, but no volume or tone knobs. That kind of thing will have to be adjusted via the amp. There are plenty of practice amps that are perfect for traveling or small spaces. Unlike most other headless guitars, the tuning pegs are in the body of the guitar, so no worries about knocking the tuners.

The body and neck are maple. Depending on which color you choose, the fretboard wood types include pau ferro, maple, rosewood, or black walnut. Choose from torino red, gloss black, matte black, maple, vintage white, or slime green. There is also a left-handed option. This guitar comes with a bag and a 3-year warranty.

Most people love how light the guitar is and that it has a decent quality sound. The things that bother some people is the weight distribution, which ties into the lack of anywhere to rest your strumming arm, and some found it tricky to tune given where the tuners are situated.

Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Another offering from Traveler Guitar, this is the semi-acoustic version. It’s also very minimalistic. You get a Piezo pickup with no volume or EQ controls. It’s even lighter than the electric at 2lb and also comes either as a left-handed or right-handed guitar.

Depending on which color you buy, the body and neck consists either entirely of maple or maple and mahogany. Choose from maple, mahogany, vintage red, black gloss or antique brown. The fretboards are either Indian laurel, black walnut, maple or pau ferro. This guitar comes with a gig bag and 3-year warranty.

Most people enjoy how compact this guitar is and say that unplugged, it’s very quiet. Good for hotel rooms. That said, some of these guitars’ input jacks kept loosening and causing a buzzing sound. A fair amount of people found that the guitar is neck heavy, though there were people who didn’t have this problem. There were mentions that this guitar doesn’t work with certain amps, but some people found that the headphone amps (which are optional), sound muddy.

Donner HUSH-I Acoustic-Electric Guitar For Travel

If you want a full scale travel guitar with more controls, here you go. You get a piezo pickup and volume and two-stage EQ (low and high) controls. You also get a phase button to reduce or eliminate feedback for a cleaner sound. The built-in battery powered amp makes this a truly portable guitar. There are removable arm and leg rests to help with weight distribution and comfort.

Choose between black, natural, or sunburst. Depending on the color, you can go with either a maple or mahogany guitar. The fretboard, also determined by the color you choose, is either high pressure laminate (HPL) or mahogany. This guitar comes with a tuner, picks, cloth, earphones, Allen wrench, and a user manual.

Most people are happy with how portable it is and that it’s a full scale guitar. They say it sounds decent through the supplied ear buds as well as through an acoustic amp and has good playability once set up.

Some people found that the aspherical shape of the neck made it hard to wrap their hands around and fret the notes properly. Some also didn’t find the metal frames comfortable.

Traveler Guitar Escape Mark III Acoustic-Electric Guitar

This full-scale guitar has a shape more reminiscent of a single cut-out acoustic guitar. Unlike a regular acoustic guitar, it’s shorter and almost half as thick. Despite its headless design and shorter design, it uses standard acoustic strings. It has a built-in preamp with a headphone jack and a chromatic tuner. It also has a ¼ inch jack and controls for the EQ and volume, as well as a phase button.

Choose from black (okoume body, mahogany neck, walnut fretboard), mahogany (mahogany body and neck, walnut fretboard), or alder (alder body, maple neck, walnut fretboard). You get a gig bag with the guitar. As travel/practice guitars go, this guitar isn’t 100% silent, you’ll hear it just fine without headphones, but others won’t hear it if they’re in a different room. The Escape Mark III comes with a 3-year warranty.

Most people are happy with the size of this guitar and how portable it is. Most feel it sounds pretty good, too. There were a few complaints about the edge of the guitar being sharp and the pickup not working properly.

Over $500

In this category, you will generally find the more high-end guitar brands. As you’ll see, reviews are still subjective to a large extent. It all comes down to preference. But the truth is that higher quality materials are used to make these guitars and quality control is more consistent and stringent.

Traveler Guitar EG-1 Custom Electric Guitar

For those who want a more traditional shaped ¾ scale (24”) headless electric, Traveler Guitars offers the EG-1. The smaller shape and lack of headstock make this guitar half as heavy as a traditional electric. You get a humbucker pickup and volume and tone knobs. In addition to the ¼ inch jack, there’s also a headphone jack. The headphone amp has distortion, overdrive, clean and boost effects. You can also plug in your phone and play along to a track.

The body is alder, the neck mahogany, and the fretboard is black walnut. The frets are jumbo-sized so those with larger hands will find it easier to play. This guitar comes with a 3-year warranty and a gig bag.

Most people enjoy the size of this guitar and the sound once it’s been set up. But there were a few complaints about the tuners and the headphone jacks. Some also described the distortion as harsh and unmusical. These are likely defects.

Traveler Guitar LTD EC-1 Electric Guitar

This is a full scale guitar and looks more like a traditional guitar. That said, it’s still a little smaller than a regular guitar, and not just because it’s missing the headstock. You get a humbucker pickup and a built-in headphone jack which sports overdrive, distortion, clean, and boost. There are also volume and tone knobs. Some other great features include a built-in tuner and locking tuners.

The dark color with the gold outline and hardware makes for a beautiful vintage-looking guitar. The body and neck are mahogany and the fretboard is walnut. This guitar comes with a 3-year warranty and a deluxe gig bag.

Most people enjoy this guitar, the looks, the sound, and the tuners. But a few people found that their guitars didn’t stay in tune, this is most likely a defect.

Ibanez Q54 Quest Series Electric Guita

This is a full-scale guitar, but is still a bit more compact than regular guitars, so it is a bit easier to travel with. In terms of hardware, you get two single coil pickups, and a humbucker pickup with a 5-way pickup selector. Ibanez has incorporated the dyna-MIX9 system, so you can use 9 pickup selections using the Alter switch and pickup selector.

This guitar takes regular electric guitar strings, so you can use your favorite strings. It stays in tune better thanks to the string locks. The body is nyatoh, the 3-piece neck is maple and bubinga, and the fretboard is roasted birds-eye maple. Choose from black flat, blue sphere burst flat, or sea foam green. There is also a 7-string version of this guitar. This guitar comes with a 1-year warranty.

It’s still quite a new guitar at the time of writing. But most people who’ve gotten their hands on this guitar are happy with it. Some people like the stock pickups, others don’t. There were a few complaints about the volume knob being loose. Some people also feel that this won’t stand up to a regular electric guitar, and say that despite it not being quite travel size, it’s better used as a travel guitar or practice guitar. This Wizard C neck is also a bit more chunky than what Ibanez usually offers.

Get it here at Sweetwater.

Strandberg Boden Standard NX 6 Electric Guitar

Strandberg guitars are one of the earliest companies to manufacture headless guitars, albeit not the pioneers, and are a higher-end brand. This is a multiscale 6-string guitar. You get two OEM (original equipment manufacturer) humbucker pickups with a 5-way pickup selector. There are volume and tone knobs too. This guitar stays in tune well thanks to the string lock tuners. The EndurNeck is designed for good playability.

The body is American basswood with a maple top, and the neck and fretboard is quartersawn maple. Choose from natural flame maple, charcoal, trans yellow, or trans green. This guitar comes with a gig bag. Standberg offers a 2-year warranty.

Most people love the sound of this guitar and how comfortable the neck is. It can take some time getting used to the slanted frets, but once you do, it plays well. There were one or two mentions about the bridge pickup sounding a little harsh.

Get it here at Sweetwater.

Ibanez QX527PB 7-string Electric Guitar

If you want a 7-string headless guitar, this is a good option. As 7-string guitars go, this is pretty affordable. Like most 7-string guitars, this guitar is a multiscale guitar with slanting frets. You get two humbucker pickups, a 5-way pickup selector, and an Alter switch. Ibanez incorporated the dyna-MIX10 system. Using the pickup selector and Alter switch, you have 10 pickup combinations. You also get a volume knob and a tone knob.

This guitar stays in tune thanks to the string locks and you can use your favorite strings. No special strings required. The body is nyatoh with a poplar burl top. The 5-piece neck is roasted maple and bubinga. This guitar comes with a gig bag and a 1-year warranty.

Most people enjoy this guitar and find that once it’s set up, and they get used to the slanted frets, that it plays well. Many people feel this guitar handles heavy music very well, but that it’s suited to other more mellow genres too.

Get it here at Sweetwater.

Strandberg Boden Prog NX 7 Electric Guitar

Another one for the fans of 7-string guitars.

Some colors are only available exclusively at Sweetwater at the time of writing. This guitar is one of the few headless guitars on this list that have a tremolo bridge. You also get two Fishman Fluence humbucker (neck- Modern 7 Alnico, bridge- Modern 7 ceramic) pickups with a 3-way pickup switch. The volume and tone controls are push/pull knobs for ease of use.

The body is swamp ash with a maple top and maple veneer. The neck is maple with a Richlite fretboard for maximum durability. The EndurNeck provides a comfortable playing experience. The scale of the neck is a little bigger than the Ibanez at 25.5 to 26.25 inches.

The string locks keep the guitar in tune, so you can thrash those strings to your heart’s content and bend those notes with peace of mind. Same with the whammy bar. Choose from charcoal black, natural quilted maple, natural flame maple, natural walnut burl or twilight purple.

Most people love this guitar from the way it plays, to the way it sounds, to the way it feels. However, there were a few mentions about the whammy bar needing to be tweaked, as it didn’t bend the notes straight off the bat.

Get it here at Sweetwater.

Strandberg Boden Original NX 8 Electric Guitar

If seven strings aren’t enough, check out this 8-string headless guitar. Naturally, you’re looking at an even longer multiscale length at 26.5 to 28 inches. You get a Fishman Fluence Modern 8 Alnico neck pickup and a Fishman Fluence Modern 8 ceramic neck pickup and a 3-way pickup selector. The volume and tone knobs are push-pull knobs like the 7-string.

The body is swamp ash with a maple top. The neck is maple and the fretboard is birds-eye maple. The chambered design makes this guitar lighter than other solid body 8-string guitars. The EndurNeck makes it feel like you’re not playing an 8-string guitar. Choose from charcoal black, earth green, natural flame maple, or natural quilted maple.

No one has bad things to say about this guitar. They love the way it sounds and feels.

Get it here at Sweetwater.


Headless guitars have a lot going for them. Some guitarists even say things like they can’t believe not all guitars are made headless these days once they try them. As you saw, there are those with the interesting bodies, and so if you’re into interesting, weird, and wacky, this will be right up your alley. But, for those of us who prefer a more traditional shape, there are some beautiful options too.

Whether you want a more compact option to travel with or a normal-sized guitar that simply doesn’t have a headstock, there is something for you.

Happy jamming!

1 The Best Headless Guitar on Any Budget

Cynic by Ashley Mitchell licensed under CC BY 2.0 and His guitar broke by JX:ATG licensed under CC BY 2.0