Is there any difference in a slotted headstock...

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by HBob, May 26, 2008.

  1. HBob

    HBob Member

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    ... and a regular headstock regarding the sound or the feel of the tension? I'm thinking about getting a good fingerstyle acoustic and I've seen several with the slotted headstock and I'm wondering if it's something I should look for in a guitar.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Sol

    Sol Member

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    Both my acoustics have slotted headstocks, but by the same token, both are 12 fret's to the body as well, and knowing how much that 12th fret join is contributing to the tone makes it tricky to say what that slotted headstock is contributing to the overall sound.

    Certainly, a slotted headstock provides a greater/steeper string angle over the nut than most conventional acoustics I see.
    Gibson acoustics have an angle of approx 17degrees, which is steeper than most, and 17 to 18 degrees is my guestimation of the slotted headstocks on my guitars.

    Like you I play fingerstyle, my No1 is a Fylde 'Ariel' a small body Cedar and Mahogany 12 fret guitar Ive had for years, Im certain that the slotted headstock, as part of the overall design, all contributes to it being the guitar I like the most, its the most responsive and sensitive small acoustic Ive come across so far.

    Its all anecdotal Im afraid, so how much use this will be to you, I dont know, but all the best in 'The Quest'
     
  3. decay-o-caster

    decay-o-caster Member

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    I can't contribute anything useful on the way the slotted headstock contributes to tone, but one thing to think about is that changing strings with a slotted headstock is much more time-consuming than the regular kind - you can't do the give it a couple of turns around the post and slip the string into the hole thing, nor the locking trick where you wind the string a half-turn backwards thing (sorry for the technical terminology here... :) ). I have a Gypsy jazz style guitar with a slotted headstock and the first time I changed strings I was practically screaming in frustration at having to turn the keys several hundred cranks to get the strings on. I didn't like the sound of the new strings as much (10s instead of 11s), but I haven't changed back to the 11s because I haven't had an afternoon I was willing to invest to go through the exercise again. Just something to think about.
     
  4. Ogre

    Ogre Member

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    In theory, a slotted headstock, by virtue of design, has less mass. So there should be some impact on the sound. The upside is a bit less weight in the neck, so less propensity for neck-heaviness. In my experience these guitars generally have more open & airy sounds. This could be from a variety of factors, such as 12 frets, bridge placement, etc. It does require more effort to change strings, but I find it a very appealing design.
     
  5. fuzz_factor

    fuzz_factor Supporting Member

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    The easiest, quickest method I've found for changing strings on my slothead Martin is the Taylor method. Here's a link to Taylor's PDF:

    http://www.taylorguitars.com/global/pdfs/Steel_Restring.pdf

    A couple things not mentioned in the PDF that are helpful to me:

    1. When inserting the string, allow a little bit of it to poke out the other end of the tuner hole. Not so much that it will snag on anything, just enough to account for a little slippage as you start winding the string.

    2. Pull the string taut and crimp it forward just a bit as you start to wind it. This way, it won't slip out of the hole.

    3. Keep the string taut with your right hand as you're winding it around the post. This way, the windings will tighten up next to each other, preventing slippage.

    HTH,
    - jeff -
     
  6. jpfeiff

    jpfeiff Member

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    I'll have to check out this link, because my experience has also been that changing strings on a sloted headstock is a ROYAL PAIN.
     
  7. decay-o-caster

    decay-o-caster Member

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    Useful advice, and thanks, though it doesn't address any way past the crank-each-tuner-200-times problem, which I believe to be insurmountable. Gotta hire me some roadies...
     
  8. fuzz_factor

    fuzz_factor Supporting Member

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    You have a string winder, right?

    Actually, even with a string winder, you still have to crank like mad! ;)
     

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