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The string tree debate: staggered tuners better?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by alfbell, Jul 20, 2012.

  1. alfbell

    alfbell Tele-Meister

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    Wondering if staggered tuning posts in the headstock, eliminating the need for a string tree, really makes a difference. Supposedly a string tree inhibits the tone and sustain of the high strings. Any truth to this?
     
  2. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    1) Sustain is over rated;

    2) The lack of the string tree is not established as a way to change the amount of sustain;

    3) Just because you have staggereds does not mean the B-little E tree should go away;

    4) Staggereds are a good idea with some forms of tuning machine, but other staggereds are clumsy or overly expensive or dumb looking next to their conventional brothers (like the Gotoh splits, Allparts # TK 0880) with matched posts.

    The subject is clouded by too many variables. Sorry! :^)
     
  3. KokoTele

    KokoTele Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    With standard tuners, the break angle over the nut doesn't provide enough pressure for the string to ring clearly. The momentum of the string is enough to make it vibrate a little in the slot, and since it doesn't ring cleanly, you lose some sustain.

    Staggered tuners try to increase that break angle, but IMHO don't quite do it enough to make the E and B strings ring true, so the string tree is still needed.
     
    Varmonter likes this.
  4. Scrapperz

    Scrapperz Tele-Meister

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    After working on guitars for 6 yrs. now I have to agree with you here. I left string trees on my Strat copy for this reason after I just put staggered locking tuners on it.
     
  5. OlRedNeckHippy

    OlRedNeckHippy Friend of Leo's

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    Staggered Tuners? Photos, or they're not real.
    What are they?
     
  6. H. Mac

    H. Mac Friend of Leo's

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    [Partial quote for brevity]

    Boris is correct, and his number 4 (quoted) is worthy of comment.

    The vintage style, split-post tuners are the best, most useful, and most important, innovative invention in the universe. Replacing them with hole-through-the-post type tuners is a poor substitute. "Clumsy" and "dumb" are accurate descriptions.

    What makes it worse though is that the inferior substitutes are shortened to about 3/4 normal size in a miguided attempt to increase the string angle over the nut. The result? Restringing your guitar is far more burdensome, and there is no corresponding benefit. None, Nada. Zip. Zero.

    So, the answer to your question, do staggered tuners make a difference, is yes. They not only fail to properly pressure the nut, they make your guitar far more difficult to restring than the split post tuners.
     
  7. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Posts 1 + 2 are one height, 3 and 4 a bit shorter, 5 and 6 shortest of all.

    Like this:

    [​IMG]

    Sometimes there's only 2 heights or different combinations of heights I think.

    +

    Sometimes the very best solution to a misbehaving guitar is to fix the nut; a slot or two may not be optimal. Really nicely cut nut slots can be a fine substitute for staggered posts.

    +

    I think you can see from my image above, that the trajectory of the B and little E strings is modified by the tree, even though the post could not be lower on these Sperzel tuners.

    And thanks to Rob DiStefano for getting me headed in the right direction (in my thinking on the subject in general) about strings trees. I tried really hard for a while not to use them, before the heavy weight of evidence made me change sides.
     
  8. H. Mac

    H. Mac Friend of Leo's

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    Yep. Nice photo, Boris.

    And for guys like me, who have been spoiled by the ease of restringing with split post tuners, trying to restring the B and E strings on the tuners in Boris' pic is like trying to thread a needle in the dark while riding a horse in a rainstorm. Well, not really, bit kinda.
     
  9. OlRedNeckHippy

    OlRedNeckHippy Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks Boris. Excelent discription and picture. Now I know.
     
  10. LocustPlague

    LocustPlague Tele-Holic

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    Wrong. The string tree, if anything, is going to INCREASE sustain because it will increase the amount of downforce on the nut. This prevents any vibration from escaping past the nut.

    This, of course, relies on a properly cut nut.
     
  11. Ed Mo

    Ed Mo TDPRI Member

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    The tuners in the picture are Spertzel tuners. You don't even have to wind them. Stick them through the hole, pull them until they are straight and tighten the thumbwheel underneath. You can then cut the other end of the string right at the peg. C'mon, both split and hole in the middle pegs present problems for the b and e. Sometimes you have to do a special loop-over knot so they do not slip. And they usually have too much winding around the peg.

    Back to subject, I agree that the staggered tuners are not sufficient. And that string trees are harmless. Even the little crappy tin ones on my Teles.

    Ed
     
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