Ah, I finally get to put my Steinberger knowledge to use.
The R series is a "cheaper" version of the M series, and I believe was started in 1988 or 1989, although I can't be fore sure. *The R series is routed for and traditionally comes factory installed with an R - trem and not a Transtrem. *If it really has a Transtrem, then the routing would be different than most R series guitars, and I haven't seen an R series with a factory Transtrem, although it is possible. *While the Transtrem can be a valuable item, my advice is to stay away from it. *Transtrem parts are so hard to come by, you will always end up paying high prices and will most likely be steered to Ed Roman. *I have also played the R - trem, and I like it very much. *It stays in tune, allows a deeper divebomb than the Transtrem, and isn't as high maintenance. *Also, I will add that the Transtrem transposing feature is very difficult to set perfectly, and is only meant for 9-42 gauge double ball-end *calibrated* LaBella strings.
Other than the trem, the only real difference I can think of are the pickups. *The R series uses passive Seymour Duncans as opposed to the active EMG's in the other models. *The EMG's in my GM4T were very hot with little character. *The R series, in my opinion, is the best value by far, because you pay hundreds less and get virtually the same guitar as the ones that sell for $850-$1300. *You can change out the pickups, sell the old ones, and have the sound you are looking for. *However, you still need to play the guitar, because you may not like the Steinbergers. *They have small, narrow carbon/kevlar/fiberglass necks, no headstock, and a small body. *Try it, and if you don't like it, I would LOVE to have it for under $500.
Oh, by the way, they are made in the US..
(Edited by Josh Blagg at 8:21 pm on Aug. 27, 2001)