Headstock angle of a Gibson guitar ...

Discussion in 'Tone Zone' started by DrBGood, Mar 15, 2019.

  1. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Not wanting to highjack another thread to discuss this, let's do it here.

    In the below cited thread, regarding the fragility on the Gibson headtock, cerebral gasket posted this. Debate is open.

    I know I know, it's been debated ad nauseam, but I wasn't there at the time :hmm:

    I was always curious how that could be. Do you think an Epiphone (same woods) with Gibson electronics and upgraded hardware will sound different than a Gibson ? If so, what's the headstock tipping point angle where it gets better ?

    I'm trying to visualise why a tuned E string with a steep angle behind the nut would have a different sound between nut and saddle than a shallower angle behind the nut.

    If that is so and is ascertainable, then the angle behind the saddles shoud have the same impact on tone.

    Hmmm ...
     
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  2. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Well-Known Member

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    I'd imagine the break-angle adds tension to the sounding-length of the string, changing their feel under our fingers.
     
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  3. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    No added tension. The only difference is how hard the string is forced into the nut - a potential cause of premature wear. More break angle = faster wear. But unless the string is actually moving around in the nut of a smaller angled neck, there is no tone change.
     
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  4. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    I would think having a headstock angle eliminates the need for string trees so that there is enough downward string pressure over the nut so that the strings do not pop out of the slots when bending strings.

    If not enough break angle it’s possible that string buzzing or rattling may occur. I don’t know for a fact that it would, but I am guessing that “probably” has something to do with why there is a break angle and how it “probably” affects the sound by eliminating any buzzing or rattling. Who would want to hear that?

    I never stated in the other thread that the headstock angle impacted the tone. Not sure why we needed another thread to clear that up.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019
  5. papagayo

    papagayo Well-Known Member

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    Buy a Fender, 0° and zero fragility.

    :thumb:
     
  6. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    So a shallower angle would have less tension under your fingers ? Why would we want more tension ?
    Wasn't it you that said: ... the break angle probably has a lot to do with why the instrument sounds the way it does ... as quoted in my opening post ?
     
  7. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I wasn't implying tone or sustain.

    I don't understand why you are having issues with my choice of words in the other thread and feel the need to stir the pot trying to instigate a debate. I was simply agreeing with two people in the other thread discussing their different viewpoints on the headstock angle design.

    Why did you not a have an issue with the comment below which is one of them that I agree with?

     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019
  8. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Sorry if it seemed like I wanted to confront you. Far from that.
    Maybe I shouldn't have quoted you. I could have used multiple quotes. My bad.

    Let me start over if I may ?

    I am only trying to understand why an angle behind the nut would be better over another one, in the way a guitar sounds, but the one behind the bridge seem to be irrelevant ?

    If that debate is taboo or if it sits in the same boat as tonewood, I'll drop it right now.
     
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  9. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    No worries.
    My apologies for any misunderstanding.

    I think the string break angle over the nut and the string break angle over bridge saddles serve the same purpose to keep the strings from popping out of the slots. I have no idea what the ideal break angle should be over the nut. But for the bridge, I adjust the height of the tailpiece as low as possible to where the strings do not hit the back edge of the bridge. It usually works out to where the break angle over the bridge is about the same as the one over the nut.

    The one thing that I do notice is that a sharper break angle over the bridge makes the strings feel stiffer when bending and I like that extra bit of resistance.

    I found the explanation about break angles below to be very helpful.

    https://www.frudua.com/guitar_strings_tension.htm
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019
  10. papagayo

    papagayo Well-Known Member

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  11. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the article. Pretty straightforward and it supports that the whole debate about a greater angle producing a tone unique to Gibson, is bull. It just makes the strings harder to bend.

    Then, despite the almost non existant angle at the head of a Fender type guitar, the bends are way harder on it partly because of the longer scale, but mostly because of the almost 45° angle string section behind the saddles.

    But then ... hmmm ... why don't my wraparound string guitars feel stiffer ?


    Unlike you, I like them loose :)

    bridge.jpg
     
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  12. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    Are you using the same string gauge on the guitar with a Wraparound Bridge as on the guitar with TOM Bridge and Tailpiece setup?


    Wraparound Bridge vs TOM Bridge with Tailpiece

    Pictured below, for explanation purposes, the string break angle over the nut, scale length between bridge and nut, and string gauge are the same.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    On the TOM Bridge and Tailpiece setup, there is a longer portion of non-vibrating string behind the bridge.

    On the Wraparound Bridge setup there is no extra portion of non-vibrating string behind the bridge since the bridge and tailpiece are one and the same.

    The explanation below is taken from:

    https://www.frudua.com/guitar_strings_tension.htm

    Two different factors:

    1. The longer the portion of non-vibrating string the more it will participate to extend during bending.

    2. The sharper the angle at the friction points (saddle/nut/string tree) the less the strings will slide over them and so the less the non-vibrating portion of the strings will extend to facilitate bending.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019
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  13. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    I know the difference between TOM and wraparound, hence my questioning. And yes, same string gauge on all my guitars.

    I just checked right now about that, comparing bends on the 12th fret on 2 wraparound and 2 TOM, and I can say I don't feel any difference. My TOM equipped guitars have a very shallow string angle, as you've seen in the above picture, so it should be a big factor.

    It's about 8% of the scale lenght behind the bridge on a TOM. Could we conclude that bending would be 8% easier ? Can I feel 8% of a bend tension ?

    I have to go apply a second coat of paint in my bathroom, talk later ... :)
     
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  14. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    There's no reason for any difference. String pitch is determined by length, mass and tension; nothing else. If the strings are the same and the pitch is the same, the tension is the same. And the amount of force needed to bend to a higher pitch is also the same. Even the change in scale length between Gibson and Fender amounts to much less than the change from .009s to .010s. The scale length changes tension by 3%. String gauge changes it by 11%.
     
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  15. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Well-Known Member

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    Feel, of course. Have you ever tuned your guitar down a full step without changing gauge? A different, and to me unpleasant feel, loose and rubbery. The initial attack of the notes sounds different.

    They're both relevant. The non-sounding length still takes up and releases slack when you bend the strings, and thus how much string is behind the nut or saddles (and how easily it passes over friction-points) affects the way the sounding-length feels.
     
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  16. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    This debate is great cerebral Onanism, but unlikely to change anyone's preconceptions of "good design" or functionality.
     
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  17. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    The length of string behind the saddle is extra weight that you're not having to pull with the wrapover.
     
  18. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    We understand the dynamics of the string tension between the nut and bridge. What is in question is how the string break angle over the nut and bridge affects the feel of the strings when bending.

    Would you not agree that a sharper string break angle over the nut or bridge creates more downward force over said components as well as more friction between the strings and those same components? The strings will feel stiffer when bending because of that.

    Since we cannot adjust the break angle over the nut or a Wraparound Bridge, we can adjust the break angle over a TOM Bridge by adjusting the height of the Tailpiece for a different feel when bending strings.
     
  19. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    1infectedtip.jpg
    trimethoprim with sulfamethoxazole
    topically t.i.d.
    Dr. Biddlin:naughty:
     
  20. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    Sure a greater break angle creates more downward force on the bridge - it is the cause of many a collapsed Les Paul bridge. I have my stop bar high enough to minimise this force. But the amount of string behind the bridge is so miniscule that there is no reason for this to change the feel appreciably. If you are looking to rubbing effects when bending, the nut is the place to go with several inches of string behind it. I have both stop bar and wraparound guitars, and while I can sort of convince myself they are different in feel, if I am honest with myself I know it is my imagination.
     
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