Why the bigger Strat headstock?

rhinocaster

Supporting Member
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23,060
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?
 
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Bossanova

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,396
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.

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

I've heard that it was enlarged to comboat 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?[/QUOT
 

Radspin

Member
Messages
1,127
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.
 

tiktok

Supporting Member
Messages
22,398
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.
 

guitarded_1

Supporting Member
Messages
1,321
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.
 

s3gle

Member
Messages
350
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
 

John C

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,924
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.
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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