Staggered Locking Tuners and String Tree

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by jojo169, Apr 15, 2015.

  1. jojo169

    jojo169 Member

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    I see Suhr and James Tyler guitars never use any string tree, of course they use staggered tuners. But the modern fender, use staggered locking tuners and still use string tree.

    What do you guys think about it? If fender think that the angle is still not enough then why Suhr and James Tyler don't use it and they still sound great.
     
  2. Eagle1

    Eagle1 Member

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    It is about how well cut the nut is. With no string trees the down pressure is not great so the "E"~"B" slots need to be perfectly angled and much deeper to prevent these strings from jumping out during playing.
     
  3. AdmiralB

    AdmiralB Silver Supporting Member

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    What Fenders use staggered tuners and a tree?

    The only 'off the rack' Fenders I can think of with them are the American Deluxe and the Jeff Beck, and those don't have trees.

    The Vintage Hot Rods had locking tuners (and trees), but they weren't staggered.
     
  4. Eagle1

    Eagle1 Member

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    Yes the ones with LSR nuts don't have string trees.
     
  5. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Member

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  6. Astronaut FX

    Astronaut FX Member

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    American Standards have staggered and a string tree.
     
  7. AdmiralB

    AdmiralB Silver Supporting Member

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    Didn't know that, must have been in one of the relatively recent updates.

    I assumed that 'staggered' also meant 'locking', I don't think I've ever seen a staggered tuner that wasn't also a locker. But obviously, they exist!
     
  8. Mit

    Mit Member

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    I've been wondering about what is the right slot angle for strat nuts.
    Is it that you observe the angle the string makes towards the tuner and make the slot angle slightly steeper?
     
  9. dradlin

    dradlin Member

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    My 2006 American Standard had staggered tuners a single tree. Now it has Gotoh SD91 locking and staggered tuners and an LSR nut... I'll never go back.
     
  10. Explorer87

    Explorer87 Member

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    [quote name="Eagle1" post=19833037]the "E"~"B" slots need to be perfectly angled.[/QUOTE]
    I've been wondering about what is the right slot angle for strat nuts.
    Is it that you observe the angle the string makes towards the tuner and make the slot angle slightly steeper?

    I thought I had an answer to this, but all I know is what I've seen in videos and success I've had on my own. Ideally you would want the string to contact the bottom of the slot from front to back. If you cut the slot deeper, you eliminate the need for a string tree, if you use staggered tuners. All string trees do with staggered tuners is hold the string in the slot.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2015
  11. AdmiralB

    AdmiralB Silver Supporting Member

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    That's not all they do. Actually that's not even their primary purpose.

    As you note, if the slots are sufficiently deep (really, if the sidewalls are sufficiently high), the strings won't pop out.

    The trees ensure sufficient downward pressure on the nut so the string doesn't 'sitar', which is a really common problem on the high E on Fender-style guitars without trees, even with staggered tuners. The nut has to be just about perfect, and using a tree allows a lot more 'slop' in the nut.

    Like I said earlier, I didn't know Fender was using staggered tuners AND trees on anything; I don't really 'get' why they're doing it, beyond 'perception of value', since the tree kinda defeats the purpose. But thinking about it, I'm not surprised that the tree is necessary.

    G&L still puts trees on guitars with staggered tuners too (although the tuners are optional, not standard). And in my experience, the nut will buzz if you bypass the tree.
     
  12. SamBooka

    SamBooka Member

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    So what would be an ideal downangle? ~14deg works on gibsons ok.

    I dont have staggered tuners but string tree is a butterfly clip that is cranked to the headstock (no spacer). I dont know if this is overkill or if the tree is smooth and lubed properly it doesnt make a difference (I dont whammy)
     
  13. Eagle1

    Eagle1 Member

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    You need enough angle to seat the string firmly on the fingerboard side on the nut slot even though there is very little down pressure. Get it wrong and you get a poor open note .
     
  14. AdmiralB

    AdmiralB Silver Supporting Member

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    I'm not experienced enough to have data like that. I just know, 'by guitar', when it works!

    IME the high E on a Fender headstock is 'iffy' without a tree, even with a staggered tuner. But if the nut is cut perfectly for the string gauge used, it will work OK. I've noticed that some of the CS Strats with staggered tuners/no tree have a slightly thicker headstock, which has the effect of 'shortening' the string posts - probably for this very reason.

    I've never had a problem with LSR nuts, FWIW. A reverse headstock is really a good solution to this, and IME they hold tuning better too, but the look isn't right for everyone.
     
  15. swiveltung

    swiveltung Member

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    In a perfect world the nut slot would contact the string only at the (fret side) on a narrow edge. Maybe .030. The slot toward the tuners would be funnel/cone shaped.
     
  16. AdmiralB

    AdmiralB Silver Supporting Member

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    Yep. Unfortunately that perfect world requires an indestructible nut material, so we gotta do what we gotta do - and that means a larger bearing surface usually. You can get away with that on brass probably better than anything else, but not many folks like brass much.
     
  17. JPenn

    JPenn Member

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    i've thought about putting a tree on my guitars with staggered tuners. i really don't have a good tech within an hour's drive from me, so i may just have to buck up and drill a hole
     
  18. TheFlyingBear

    TheFlyingBear Member

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    I bit the bullet and added one to my parts tele despite the staggered tuners. Even with a reputable shop doing the nut slots I was getting a lot of ringing above the nut and i thought the open high strings sounded a little weak.

    I added a tree to the high E and B, put my tallest of the staggered tuners there, moved the shortest pair to the D and G, and the mid-height pair on the Low E and A. This created better break angles all around without having to add extra string wraps, and it almost completely got rid of the ringing above the nut.
     
  19. Andyjr1515

    Andyjr1515 Member

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    ^ This. The best reason in my book for the string trees is to stop the harp-like ringing. It completely changes the tone.

    There is an alternative - I actually don't like string trees because of the tuning stability issues, so I just pop a velcro cable tie weaved through the stings to stop the ringing...

    [​IMG]

    Not elegant but, then again, nor is my playing :rolleyes:
     
  20. cugel

    cugel Member

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    my experience as well
     

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