Headstock Config and String Tension

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Headstock Config and String Tension

Postby Blues7Ways » Mon May 04, 2009 6:01 pm

I read somewhere that if you have a three on a side headstock, that there will be a difference in tension compared to a six in a line headstock. Can anyone shed any light on this for me. I'm consider building a warmoth neck for my strat, and i'm thinking about getting a three on a side style. But i'm concerned that it will affect the string tension and bendability. I use heavy strings, so more tension will be a problem if that's the case.
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Re: Headstock Config and String Tension

Postby Ed Boyd » Tue May 05, 2009 3:15 pm

What are you looking at in terms of headstock pitch? ( the angle of the headstock vs the fretboard.

They both work fine. FWIW, for some reason I have often had problems keep G strings in tune on 3+3 necks.

I think as far as 3+3 vs 6 inline it it is more of an issue of what you think looks the best.

In terms of tonal issue I think a bigger issue may be pitched headstocks vs use string of retainers.

In term of bendability the main issue is going to be the fretboard, neck radius and how much crown you have on the frets.

But that is just my opinion.
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Re: Headstock Config and String Tension

Postby unquashable » Tue May 05, 2009 4:47 pm

I am no luthier, but I don't see how tuning machine arrangement could change string tension. Headstock angle won't change the tension of the played string but will change the pressure over the nut. String trees also change the pressure on the nut. Tuning machine configuration could also change the pressure on the nut. I believe that the ideal setup is to have the string path as straight as possible from the nut to the pegs, while still providing enough downward force to keep the nut in place (via headstock angle); and enough lateral force to keep the nut centered (via peg configuration).
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Re: Headstock Config and String Tension

Postby Blues7Ways » Tue May 05, 2009 5:17 pm

I found, via some googling, the answer. the tension on either arrangement will be the same. but since there is more string behind the nut(high strings), there is more metal stretch, which makes for easier bends. Also inline tuners usually give a straighter string path, which allows the strings to glide more easily through the nut.

The reason that I began thinking of this is because i switched from my les paul to my strat. I had the LP strung with 10-13-17-30-42-52, and I strung my Strat with 11-14-18-34-44-56; the strat seems just as easy to bend as the LP, and it stays in tune better.
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Re: Headstock Config and String Tension

Postby Ed Boyd » Tue May 05, 2009 6:32 pm

I've owned 3 Gibson Les Pauls, A old Hagstrom Swede, and a couple of copies and the G-string wouldn't stay in tune on any of them. My strats and Tele do string bends easier than any of those.

But I have an older Ibanez ES-335 type guitar that does bends better than all of themb but it is a close battle with my black Telecaster. I think it is due to the geometry and design of the neck.
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Re: Headstock Config and String Tension

Postby rustyslide » Wed May 06, 2009 3:24 pm

Blues7Ways wrote:I found, via some googling, the answer. the tension on either arrangement will be the same. but since there is more string behind the nut(high strings), there is more metal stretch, which makes for easier bends.


You have to bend more though. So it feels easier, but you have to do more.

I have electric guitars with 24.75", 25", and 25.5" scale lengths, all with similar gauge strings (0.011 to whatever, wound third), and the two 24.75" are easier than the 25.5", which is again easier than the 25". Go figure.
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