String Trees - Yes/No? Why?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Alienjohn, Jul 19, 2021.

  1. Alienjohn

    Alienjohn TDPRI Member

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    Some Teles have none, some just on the E/B- Some have add'l tree on the D/G

    If the strings are not popping out of the nut are they necessary?

    Do they affect tone? Sustain? Play-ability?

    Are different brands/types of trees better or worse?

    Proper location of tree(s) on a Tele?

    Planning a build. Asking the people who know !
    Thanks
     
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  2. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Friend of Leo's

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    The string needs to "break" over the nut sufficiently to establish a witness point that you need for intonation. Because some strings, usually the plains, are further away from the nut the angle is lesser. The string tree can establish a higher angle over the nut. It's not a hard rule because a lot of other factors like headstock shape and height of the posts and the setback or tilt of a headstock would affect it. But in general, headstocks like those on Teles could use a little help on some strings. No hard rule why some have 1 or 2 or none. My baritone Tele has none and it intonates well but I have plucked the high E out of the nut slot, that wouldn't happen if there was a tree. I actually have a vintage Fender round tree but I am too lazy to install it.
     
  3. UPtele

    UPtele Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

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    I dunno I have a few guitars with staggered tuners with no string trees, I got no problems
     
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  4. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I avoid them whenever possible.
    Two of my guitars are tree-less.
    My EJ Strat, and my now busiest guitar, a B bender Cabronita.
    Both of those guitars stay in tune beautifully, BTW.
     
  5. pi

    pi Tele-Meister

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    All my guitars have them only on the B&E strings, except one that has staggered tuners, which has no tree.

    Why? 2 of them came the way they came, and the other 2 were partcasters and I did it that way because that's the way they should be.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2021
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  6. UPtele

    UPtele Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

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    It's an easy thing to change either way tho. If you have one and don't need it. Or need it and don't have it
     
  7. jrblue

    jrblue Friend of Leo's

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    good break angle --> good downward pressure on nut --> better sound and sustain. Most Teles and Strats do not have a good break angle on the first 2, even 3 strings (unless the tuners have staggered posts). Even if the strings don't pop out of the slot, they still have little downward pressure on the nut. The fact that Fender added the trees verifies the necessity, as that company never added parts (and costs) that were not strictly necessary.
     
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  8. Chicago Matt

    Chicago Matt Friend of Leo's

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    This ^^^
    On my Fender vintage style necks with the tree further away from the nut, I'm really liking this aftermarket 3-banger. No ringing behind the nut on the G string, and nice uniform angle over the nut for all the unwound strings. $5 and no need to drill an additional hole. They also come with 3 spacers of varying heights. I'm using the lowest one. I've experienced no tuning problems even after a lot of big bends.
    PXL_20210720_021743337[1].jpg
     
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  9. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    If you get the hang of leaving the right amount of string so you can wind it right to the bottom of the post, you can bypass the string tree.
    I think they stay in tune better like that.
     
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  10. Blue Bill

    Blue Bill Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    I had a couple Teles that had a problem with the e string jumping off the nut, ending up where it's not supposed to be. It's very disconcerting, being on stage and having the e-string just disappear. Now, all my Fenders have trees. Problem solved.
     
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  11. Chicago Matt

    Chicago Matt Friend of Leo's

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    I did the wind to the bottom of the post for a couple of years and still had trouble with the ringing behind the nut on the G string. Then one day I was watching Guthrie Trapp, whom I've been following for awhile. I thought there was something unusual about the string tree on his headstock and looked closer. That's what convinced me to try a triple tree. It's been a real problem solver for me.

     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2021
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  12. fender4life

    fender4life Friend of Leo's

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    They change the break angle at the nut and may slightly affect string tension and more likely affect tone, even if just slightly for 2 reasons. 1-the break angle as i said will sound slightly brighter or more strident with trees. 2-they stop the string behind the nut from ringing out loud enough to cause a loss of clarity by adding a slight dissonance to the sound. This for me is an issue on the G string since all my strat/.teles have only a E/B tree. The wounds generally are not loud enough to cause that issue but the plains can and the G is the only plain w/o a tree. So i fold a small piece of scotch tape over the G behind the nut whenever i restring any fender. I can definately hear a less cluttered sound, and when it's REALLY bad i can hear the G string distinctly adding some dissonant tone thats really bothersome. Been thinking of ditching the tape and getting some of those three-string trees that also tree the G string.
     
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  13. UPtele

    UPtele Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

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    If it's ringing behind the nut that's the issue stuff a pair from those pantry dropping licks in there
     
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  14. Stanford Guitar

    Stanford Guitar Friend of Leo's

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    On guitars that don't have enough headstock break angle, you get the sitar effect without string trees on the treble strings.
     
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  15. fenderchamp

    fenderchamp Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    need to have 1 and only 1. It needs to be a disc. Only one reason for it. Leo put it there!!

    not really.

    Rig up your tele however it works for you. If you are popping strings out of the G/D slots you probably want another retainer or more neck angle or something.

    Telecaster setup is always a series of minor compromises adapted to an individual player on an individual instrument. If it's not, you probably own too many.

    How do I know this?
     
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  16. Blackmore Fan

    Blackmore Fan Tele-Afflicted

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    Well, there's sometimes a difference between what is ideal and what is practical. I think that those of us who know much about Eric Johnson know that's he's a perfectionist. His signature Strats don't have string trees--his design increases the break-angle where his Strats don't require string trees. But its not a crime if a particular model needs one or more of those to make notes ring out. The outcome (the sound) is the important part.
     
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  17. jaxjaxon

    jaxjaxon Tele-Meister

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    They can serve several purpose's. Break angel off the nut, stopping harmonic sympathy notes, adding weight to the head stock to get more sustain.
     
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  18. Tyuk

    Tyuk Tele-Meister

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    My MIM strat always had tuning issues and I couldn’t figure it out until I bypassed the string tree. Never had any tuning issues since; no issues with sustain either. Same with my MIA tele; string tree bypassed and couldn’t be happier with it.
     
  19. lammie200

    lammie200 Friend of Leo's

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    Staggered tuners. No string trees.
     
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  20. highwaycat

    highwaycat Tele-Holic

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    Ya TWO Graphtec string trees set high with staggered tuners.
    You can make a better bone nut if you use the string trees..less material on top of the nut...
     
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