Why the bigger Strat headstock?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by rhinocaster, Sep 21, 2019.

  1. rhinocaster

    rhinocaster Supporting Member

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    The bigger Strat headstock was an acquired taste for me but I actually enjoy the look as much as the '50s headstock at this point.

    I've heard that it was enlarged to combat warping that was was happening with the original headstock (and I've see that on a couple of vintage Strats) but it just doesn't make sense to me as Fender didn't enlarge the Tele headstock and it seems that making the traditional headstock a bit thicker would have solved any problem in that area.

    So, did CBS Fender go this way to make the "trademark" bigger and more noticeable?

    What do you think?
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019
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  2. Bossanova

    Bossanova Silver Supporting Member

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    Yup. Anyone in the graphic design business is familiar with the “can you make the logo bigger” request...

    I like it too! I’m not old enough to equate it to lower build quality.

     
  3. suparsonic

    suparsonic Member

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    Yeah I read bigger= bigger logo
     
  4. placebo62

    placebo62 Supporting Member

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    I prefer the big cbs version
     
  5. Gevalt

    Gevalt Member

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    The extra mass is underrated for it’s extra sustain
    I like it’s look for it’s peacocking confidence
     
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  6. frankencat

    frankencat Guitarded Supporting Member

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  7. Radspin

    Radspin Member

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    I’ve never believed the claim that it was done to combat neck warping. If so, why did Fender go back to the small headstock or never enlarge (as someone else noted) the Tele or other Fender headstocks? Making room for a bigger logo is a far more likely explanation.
     
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  8. tiktok

    tiktok Supporting Member

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    It was a marketing thing--the headstock shape itself became a brand identifying feature, so why not make it bigger, and the logo too?

    These days I don't mind big Fender headstocks as long as they don't have bullet-truss rods.
     
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  9. Trebor Renkluaf

    Trebor Renkluaf I was hit by a parked car, what's your excuse? Silver Supporting Member

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    I much prefer the smaller headstock myself. To each their own.
     
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  10. gunslinger

    gunslinger Member

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    Maybe CBS did it on a whim. I believe it may add sustain and cut down on dead spots.
     
  11. guitarded_1

    guitarded_1 Supporting Member

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    Love the big headstock look, but the one 70s strat I owned was awful. Heavy as a LP, dipped in a half inch of plastic and a 3 bolt neck mount. I know there were some good ones, but mine wasn’t one of them.
     
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  12. Darby Crash

    Darby Crash Member

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  13. s3gle

    s3gle Member

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    I love my '72 RI Strat with its huge logo headstock, I think despite the factory setbacks the quality may have suffered at the time

    it gave the instruments a sort of alternative expression, even if it doesn't affect the sound. It definitely looks cool when you pull it off

    I have both on my 2 electrics, a '62 Jazzmaster and the Strat & both Fujigen. I don't know of another builder with an option like that coming standard on so many widely available and practical designs
     
  14. Kelly

    Kelly Member

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    Looks better with bellbottoms.
     
  15. bsthetech

    bsthetech Supporting Member

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    It was to fit a larger Fender logo. Nothing more. And yes it’s FUGLY.
     
  16. Plaid Sabbath

    Plaid Sabbath Silver Supporting Member

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    For some reason, I like the big CBS style with maple fretboards. They look sort of dumpy with rosewood.

    Plus...Robin Trower digs them. Therefore, badass by default.
     
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  17. milli vanilli

    milli vanilli Member

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    I think it looks cool. Especially with a brass nut and a scalloped board.
     
  18. Lwilliams

    Lwilliams Supporting Member

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    This is a well documented subject.

    CBS execs ordered this to allow for a larger logo. They felt that it was especially needed with the new presence of guitars on network television.
     
  19. 0018g

    0018g Member

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    When I built my partscaster, I specifically wanted the big head stock. I think it looks cool and it's less common. I even went with the bullet truss rod.
     
  20. John C

    John C Supporting Member

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    Except - Fender went to the large headstock in late 1965/early 1966, 2 years before the larger decal made it to production in 1968. That being said I agree with you that this was one of the reasons.

    I also think it was a production reason - in 1964 Fender had several headstocks:
    1. Telecaster
    2. Stratocaster (also used on Duo-Sonics and MusicMasters)
    3. Jazzmaster
    4. Jaguar (also used on Mustangs)
    By going to the large headstock they go down to 2 headstocks for all their models by 1966:
    1. Telecaster
    2. Large headstock (used on everything else)
     

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