Ever wonder why they designed the headstock for the Stratocaster?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by E5RSY, Oct 19, 2019.

  1. Mike SS

    Mike SS Poster Extraordinaire

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    It was different because it was a different model. The motivation was art, designing a new guitar from one end to the other. I do not believe it had anything to do with tone, production cost, or more room for stickers. It was about an artist making the vision in his mind come to life.
     
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  2. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

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    It mimics the scroll of an old instrument or a treble clef.

    Probably mix of aesthetic and a practical area. If it was a trademark too, be a factor.
     
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  3. Buckocaster51

    Buckocaster51 Super Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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  4. otterhound

    otterhound Poster Extraordinaire

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    Since the neck heel is shaped differently on a Strat , it only makes sense that the opposite end would have it's own identity . Also , more product line to promote and sell . I have no doubt that Leo wanted parts to be interchangeable within an instrument line , but not outside of it .
     
  5. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Bill Carson told Leo the telecaster headstock was ugly.
     
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  6. raderiohead

    raderiohead TDPRI Member

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    I have always thought that’s exactly what it is. A vertical cross section of classical stringed instruments, be it bass, violin, cello.
     
  7. E5RSY

    E5RSY Poster Extraordinaire

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    You may be right about the purely aesthetic angle, but I definitely wouldn't say leaving the old headstock in place would have been unfathomable. Again, I point to Gibson.
     
  8. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Bigsby claimed Leo stole the idea from him. Paul made his guitar with a very similar headstock *before* the Stratocaster.

    Leo always claimed that had nothing to do with it, and that he got the idea from old European violin-family scroll headstocks.

    And of course, he could see how crazy popular Merle Travis was - he who was playing a Martin with a refitted Bigsby neck.... :twisted:


    The Birth of Loud is a decent book that collates and extrapolates a bunch of history from this era... I think the author mentioned that it was only a short time between Leo actually having Bigsby's guitar in the shop for a few days, that the Strat headstock was born. Leo said he didn't recall...

    Keep in mind, Leo had some aesthetic sense - he wanted the letter F in his name to look like 'the curve on a woman's back'.
     
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  9. FenderLover

    FenderLover Friend of Leo's

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    1) Leo was a fan of Paul Bigsby, and it shows in more ways than one, (Moosie beat me to it) 2) a wider one piece headstock requires a wider blank and is more wasteful. It's the very reason Gibson made theirs narrower in '65-ish.
     
  10. E5RSY

    E5RSY Poster Extraordinaire

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    May have to pull Forrest White's book off the shelf. Answer may be in there. But I am thinking t-byrd's statement rings mighty true, though it may not be the reason for the change in its entirety.
     
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  11. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    White's book is good. There's also great info in Smith's "Fender: The Sound Heard 'Round The World". Here's an excerpt on Leo's fussiness over the logo decal. Talking to Perine, the guy who made all the great Fender ads and artwork. I own the book, but pasted this from google...



    Screen Shot 2019-10-19 at 01.58.28 PM.png
     
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  12. warrent

    warrent Friend of Leo's

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    Gibson uses different headstock shapes, the flying V, Explorer, Firebird, Trini lopez standard etc.
     
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  13. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    What's done is done ... Today, if I'm shopping, I can choose either ...
     
  14. David Barnett

    David Barnett Doctor of Teleocity

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    The design, copied from Bigsby, is an abstract representation of the scroll on the headstock of a violin/viola/cello/bass viol.
     
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  15. RifleSlinger

    RifleSlinger Tele-Meister

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    There was an interview with Bill Carson from the 90s released recently. He said that among the list of features he wanted, in addition to the contours and vibrato, was a Bigsby headstock.
     
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  16. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I read it in an article in Guitar Player years back.
     
  17. Jim622

    Jim622 Friend of Leo's

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    I thought maybe it had to do with weight distribution/balance. Though I have nothing to base this on. I’m sure there are more better qualified to say on the site.
     
  18. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

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    +1
    violin-headstock-56122.jpg
    Which may not complement it being a Strato-thing and those swoopy space-age bouts, but Leo was going for a lot of elegance and high-ending engineering finery in this design. So a flattened high-end stringed instrument echo, plus a musical note hint, makes sense.
     
  19. 1300 E Valencia

    1300 E Valencia Friend of Leo's

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    I think it's the other way around. Bigsby did it first.
     
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  20. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    Now there's the question that needs asking... WTF did Leo make the heels different?
     
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