Headstock Shape – Important er No?

Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by DougWheeler74, Apr 10, 2021.

  1. DougWheeler74

    DougWheeler74 Gretschie

    Jul 10, 2019
    NE Wisconsin, US
    Two questions here:

    1. Is the headstock shape important for anything other than aesthetics?
    2. What is your favorite headstock shape?

    Fun side note:
    For those who follow colloquial idioms, the popular phrase here in NE Wisconsin is actually ‘Important er No.’ vs. ‘Important or Not’ :)
    hcsterg, new6659, T-Bawler and 2 others like this.
  2. speedicut

    speedicut Friend of Fred

    Jun 5, 2012
    I like the skinny Duo Jet headstock because the strings are in a fairly straight line from the nut to the string posts. That keeps them from binding at the nut..
  3. Gregor

    Gregor Synchromatic

    Oct 17, 2018
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Right on! My 5120 has the wider headstock and I ended up installing a Zero Fret for that very reason. All is good now.
  4. Ricochet

    Ricochet I Bleed Orange

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Aesthetics are huge in my book. I can love or hate a guitar based on the aesthetics of the headstock alone.
    And yeah, ideally strings are straight from the bridge saddle to the tuner post.

    Favourite, probably a lefty Strat headstock, cause... Hendrix.
  5. AZBrahma

    AZBrahma Gretschie

    Dec 18, 2020
    Not terribly important to me, so long as it isn't egregiously hideous.

    Favorite? Hmmm, not sure I have one. I'm a fan of 3+3s though. If I had to pick one, probably the Schecter modern 3+3 design. Slightly interesting and entirely inoffensive. Like the PRS headstock design too.
  6. drmilktruck

    drmilktruck I Bleed Orange

    May 17, 2009
    Plymouth, MN
    Mostly it's about aesthetics. There's some theoretical advantage to the reverse Strat style headstock with the longer 6th string design creating a little more string tension for the thicker strings.

    My favorite is the 2/4 60s Corvette design.

  7. Trash Kidd

    Trash Kidd Country Gent

    Dec 14, 2015
    London U.K.
    All about the aesthetics for me ;)

    I love Falcon headstocks they just ooze cool to me..

    I wasn’t keen on the old Electromatic bigger (paddle) type headstocks, much prefer the newer smaller 2016 onwards ones...
  8. drmilktruck

    drmilktruck I Bleed Orange

    May 17, 2009
    Plymouth, MN
    In Minnesota, we say, "Are you going or no?" It drives my wife - a native of SW Wisconsin - crazy. She insists it's "or not." I'll have to tell her NE Wisconsin agrees with us! (Now if the remaining 49 states would just realize it's Duck Duck Gray Duck and we could all live in peace and harmony. :))
    dr. love likes this.
  9. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    Martin and D'Angelico
    GlenP and G5422T like this.
  10. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa Cruz
    Fenders are my favorite because Leo did it right. All the strings stay straight in line to the tuners. Actually Leo ripped off Bigsby’s design..


    As for Gretsch, the small Jet style headstocks are my favorite. I could never own a Falcon of a Penguin, the headstocks are just to garish for me.
  11. stiv

    stiv Country Gent

    Sep 12, 2014
    Florence, Italy
    Absolutely important.
    I do like some bigger headstock but I prefere the small ones. 50s/early 60s are my favorite Gretsch headstock (I have a soft spot for script logos Duo Jet). I don’t like Falcons and Penguins headstock (and that’s the main reason I’ll probably never own one of them, along with the fact that they’re too expensive for my pockets). As for other brands, I prefere big 70s Strat headstock over any other Fender, doesn’t make much difference one Gibson or another (although I really like Firebird’s headstock), I absolutely love Rickenbacker’s (big or small, I love them all). Mosrites too! :)
    G5422T likes this.
  12. Back in Black

    Back in Black Synchromatic

    Jun 22, 2020
    Ontario Canada

    A few of my personal favorites, The Ric 12 design keeps the headstock standard size, as opposed to the large 6/6

    The Rick Turner headstock is actually the best design, as the string pull over the nut is straight, and not hindered by string trees or other direction changing contraptions.

    As far as Gretsch, I prefer the small/narrow Jet headstock, simple/effective/no bling, not quite straight string pull, but close, and the closer to ''straight'', the better.

    Straight string pull from top to bottom, was key in Ned Steinberger's design.


    headstock one.jpg DSCF1321.JPG rick turner headstock.jpg
  13. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    You probably drink water from a bubbler, too. Things are different north of the Cheese Curtain. We had a bit of the "or no" thing in Northern Indiana, but it was more of a Polish thing.

    Shape counts inasmuch as it affects the angle of the strings going to the nut. The less side angle would be preferable. 6 on a side work better for this. As long as the nut's cut right, 3X3 are fine. Lookswise, I like Gretsch headstocks in a lot of their variants.
    Headstocks are a big part of a brand's logo. Fender's copy Bigsby, Martin's is simple.
    G5422T likes this.
  14. Teledriver

    Teledriver Synchromatic

    Feb 12, 2011
    Iowa City, IA
    -that cracks me up!

    I prefer 6 on a side, Fender style. Straight lines and easier on a wrist/knuckles to have them all there in a line and ready to twist. However, looking around the room I have 3 guitars that way, and 5 that are 3-on-3. I do wish my 5120 headstock wasn't a boat paddle, but I'm proud of it and the 'Electromatic' name emblazoned on it.

    Would a headstock prevent me from buying a guitar? Probably not.
    LivingMyDream and G5422T like this.
  15. G5422T

    G5422T Country Gent

    May 24, 2012
    For me, it's aesthetic. I won't own a guitar that has an "ugly" headstock.

    Concerning function, a properly cut nut is a major key for no string binding on any size headstock.

    Can't really say that I have a favorite headstock style. Each one is unique to making the aesthetics of the guitar pleasing, or not to me.

    My headstock herd.

    20200719_120617.jpg 20200107_161140.jpg SAM_0131_zps9yasrzyv.jpg 20200909_155107.jpg 20200709_154653.jpg 20200814_130759.jpg
  16. mbkri

    mbkri Country Gent

    Sep 22, 2012
    ok. You asked. Here’s what I think. Remember, friends, this is a fun thread and we ARE friends, right?
    Don’t like Martin headstocks (there, I said it). They look like they were never really designed at all.
    Small Tele headstock shape is gorgeous AND efficient. A definition of great design.
    large Strat shape isn’t (but neither is the thing at the other end of the neck IM(not very H)O.)
    Rickenbacker headstocks look like something you might use to make butter pats or bring a plane into gate 4B.
    D’Angelico look lovely and I would definitely gig them if I was playing a Bach fugue in the grounds of Versailles and wearing a big curly powdered wig. Not rock and roll enough for me. Nice idea for a vanity mirror.
    Mosrite? Bart Simpson :)
    Steinberger...wait, what?
    Gibson....maybe just about the perfect blend of elegance, seriousness, strength in a 3+3. Perfect, right, but not quite exciting....which brings me to
    Gretsch....the thinner jet headstock is sooooo sweet, probably my favorite, sexy curves on the sides, almost dangerously slender (especially if it has the steerhead logo). If the Gibson headstock is the bank manager I trust with my life’s savings, the narrow Gretsch jet headstock is the cashier who gives me that knowing wink over the counter and together we pull off a spree of bank heists.
    Broad paddle 6120 headstock needs the graphics to work....take off the horseshoe or the steerhead and it’s too lumpy.
    Falcon?....see avatar. That’s entertainment ladies and gentlemen. Las Vegas lounge. Sequin suits. Two shows a night. Try the veal. Works as part of the whole package, especially on large bodied falcons, less so on the penguin. I’ve never gigged my Falcon, but if I do then I’m going to think even MORE than usual about what I’m going to wear (and I already think about that waaaay too much)
  17. GlenP

    GlenP Country Gent

    Jul 23, 2019
    Ernie Ball/Music Man also uses the 4/2 headstock that keeps the strings straight over the nut.
    hcsterg likes this.
  18. mbkri

    mbkri Country Gent

    Sep 22, 2012
    The epitome of great design


    Don’t forget to tip the waitress. . Try the veal.

    She ‘seemed’ such a nice girl, who’d have thought she carried a gun in that purse?

    The bank manager (right) and the cashier with that dangerous twinkle in her eye (left)
  19. Henry

    Henry I Bleed Orange

    Apr 9, 2014
    Appearance and functionality are important to me. I like the narrow jet headstock with minimal string angles. Also like the 4x2 MusicMan headstock, similar to the corvette.

    That's how questions are asked in Chinese as it relies on word order only. Questions are simply "[verb] not [verb]".

    Want to eat? Is "Eat not eat?" In a literal translation.
    Duo Slinger and new6659 like this.
  20. JC higgy

    JC higgy Gretschified

    Jun 6, 2008
    Belfast Norn Iron
    Fav Gretsch heads for me are;

    55 6120

    And vertical logo Falcons.
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