Geoff Banks, guitar and bass technician for Genesis, remembers how it all began: "We had been in rehearsal for the Invisible Touch tour and Mike's [Mike Rutherford, lead guitarist] 5-year old son came in with his 3/4 size Explorer shape guitar. He said, "It looked bigger than Daddy's black guitar," referring to Mike's Steinberger guitar."
Geoff arranged for Steinberger to send a guitar neck, TransTrem hardware, etc., and began experimenting with style and shape. As with any important new idea, the design process had its rough moments. As Geoff recalls: "Mike and I sat down with a piece of cardboard and started drawing shapes. Unfortunately, we ended up with something that looked more like a hamburger than a Steinberger!" At that point, Geoff and Mike wisely enlisted the help of Roger Giffin, the English luthier and designer who has built many custom guitars for top players such as Eric Clapton and Andy Summers.
Roger explains how he developed the design: "I just kept drawing shapes until I got one that looked right. I wanted the curves to work with the rest of the guitar, and for proper balance, a double cutaway was best. I made a plywood cutout and Mike liked it. After some testing, we decided to add half an inch to the width for better access. Geoff suggested the binding, and Mike wanted the curved top. I put it together and we could see right away we had something really special."
Rich Briere, artist representative with Steinberger at the time, first learned of the new guitar during the U.S. leg of the Invisible Touch tour: "Geoff asked me to meet up with the band in Hartford to check out this new guitar. I was totally knocked out as soon as I saw it. It not only looked great, the balance was perfect, and it played like a dream. I called Ned [Steinberger] immediately and he joined us in Hartford the following day. His reaction was identical to mine. This guitar was hot!"
international collaboration of musician, technician, designer,
promoter and manufacturer resulted in the first instrument from
Steinberger created by an outside designer. That's just fine
according to Ned Steinberger: "I think Roger has done a
fabulous job combining...Steinberger technology into a more
traditional package that appeals to guitarists from all areas of
music. My congratulations and thanks to Mike, Roger, Geoff and Rich
for making it all happen."
Reprinted from the Gibson website from an original press release published 9/24/97