Reverse headstock question

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by runningman, Jun 7, 2019.

  1. runningman

    runningman Member

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    when you reverse a 6-in-line headstock, you dramatically change the relative string lengths. you've now got much longer low E and A strings, and much shorter high E and B strings. Not to mention that now you've got wound strings under the string tree.

    How does this affect the tone and/or playability of the guitar?
     
  2. Surfreak

    Surfreak Member

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    I own S-style guitars with both a regular and reverse headstock.

    Discarding the obvious, i.e. guitars with a locking nut, I suspect there are measurable differences, but in my experience I cannot hear any difference in tone, nor feel any difference in playability.
     
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  3. Guitarwiz007

    Guitarwiz007 Silver Supporting Member

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    I think it's a matter of string length vs scale length. On a reverse, the higher strings (E, B) will have more tension, ie harder to bend than the lower strings because of the actual length. The lower strings would feel a tad more wobbly. I'm sure there are scientific measurements that can be done but I'm not sure there is that much difference otherwise other than the obvious look. Someone is more than welcome to correct me if I'm wrong in this. Just my experience.

    PS. As stated above, locking nut not withstanding.
     
  4. RayRay

    RayRay Silver Supporting Member

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    I have two Suhrs with reverse headstock and no locking but. I use 9-46 Elixirs on both, tuned standard.

    I don’t notice any difference in playability vs standard headstock. And there’s no string tree on the Suhrs. At first my brain told me I would, but I really can’t tell.

    The low strings certainly aren’t flubby. Hope this helps.

    Reverse headstocks are cool \m/
     
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  5. woof*

    woof* Member

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    In a past lifetime I had an endorsement with Robin Guitars. They made me a few strats with reverse headstocks and honestly in real use the difference was negligible.
     
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  6. ntotoro

    ntotoro Member

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    Hear, not really. Feel... maybe a hair more tension with the A and low-E, but that's it. I guess that can translate tonally, but not a ton.
     
  7. big mike

    big mike Plexi Loving Admin Staff Member

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    Nothing I can hear or feel really. I forget it's reverse until I tune it.
     
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  8. DiAmoroso

    DiAmoroso Member

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    Whatever differences there might be are so subtle they are irrelevant.
     
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  9. pirateflynn

    pirateflynn Supporting Member

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    You might accidentally grab the wrong peg when tuning! but you'll get used to it.

    I agree, the action might feel a little slinkier on the wound strings with a reverse headstock. At first I thought my Kauer Banshee had come strung with 9s (instead of 10-46) because it played so easily.

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. runningman

    runningman Member

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    interesting. so the added length behind the nut would decrease tension according to this theory?

    I remember a thread about trem blocks, and the consensus seemed to be that blocks with shallower bores--in other words, with added string length--created more tension. This would contradict that theory. Or would it?

    I'm trying to imagine an example taken to the logical extreme where the string breaks over the nut at a given angle, but the tuner is 100 yards down the block rather than a few inches away, and how that would affect string tension.
     
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  11. Guitarwiz007

    Guitarwiz007 Silver Supporting Member

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    The easy test is just to play both. Having done that, I perceived that the tension on the lower strings seemed much "wobblier" (is that a word?). I believe it is the scale tension you're referring to vs. the overall length tension, both having an effect on the string. I know I read an article somewhere explaining the physics of it but I of course don't remember where I saw it. But, as I said, I do have both and the feel is such that, even though the scale length is the same, longer strings feel looser. Of course, it could all be in my head!
     
  12. pirateflynn

    pirateflynn Supporting Member

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    Because the string is actually anchored to the tuner in a non-locking design. The string breaks across the nut but slides back and forth through it while playing.
     
  13. RayRay

    RayRay Silver Supporting Member

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    Side note.... that thing is SO EFFING COOL!
     
  14. Big McLargehuge

    Big McLargehuge Member

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    Yeah but the picture of it resting on (or appearing to rest on) wet concrete is stressing me out in a big way.
     
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  15. runningman

    runningman Member

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    yes, scale length is pretty straightforward. with the same string gauge and pitch, tension definitely increases when the distance between nut and saddle increases.

    with overall string length I think it's less clear. the angle over both saddle and nut come into play as well.
     
  16. pirateflynn

    pirateflynn Supporting Member

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    In a big way, or a Big McLargehuge way?

    :D
     
  17. B Money

    B Money Member

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    This is correct. The pitch is determined by the distance between nut and bridge, and the tension on the string.

    The tension of the string is determined by its total length, NOT just the length between the nut and bridge. This assumes the string is free to slide across the nut and saddles.
     
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  18. guitararmy

    guitararmy Member

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    I've owned two stratty guitars with reverse headstocks, and just didn't like the change in tension on the high and low E strings...could be my imagination though.
     
  19. Big McLargehuge

    Big McLargehuge Member

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    Yes
     
  20. sundog964

    sundog964 Supporting Member

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    The tension in the string is the same to get the same frequency, i.e. note. But the added length makes the axial stiffness less, so bending is easier.
     

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