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coriandre
09-19-2011, 07:46 AM
I searched the forum but could not find a discussion regarding this subject.

In your opinion, is a slotted headstock a cosmetic issue or does it have an effect on the sound ?

DeVineGuitars
09-19-2011, 07:53 AM
It is purely cosmetic.

Skitzic
09-19-2011, 07:57 AM
It is purely cosmetic.

What they said.

mr moonlight
09-19-2011, 08:21 AM
It is purely cosmetic.
Not purely cosmetic. Sound-wise there's no difference, but having a slotted headstock gives you more comfortable access to your tuners. It makes it a little easier if you have to adjust your tuning quickly mid playing or just for tuning in general.

mds725
09-19-2011, 08:31 AM
Someone asked Gordon Mayer of Mya-Moe Ukuleles about this at his "Caring for your ukulele" presentation at the Wine Country Ukulele Festival, and I asked Char Mayer about it later when we were discussing the Mya-Moe I was about to order. As I remember, both said that some players think it improves intonation a little bit by increasing the angle at which the string bends when it crosses the nut, while many players who come from guitar prefer it for no articulable reason.

strumsilly
09-19-2011, 09:15 AM
Someone asked Gordon Mayer of Mya-Moe Ukuleles about this at his "Caring for your ukulele" presentation at the Wine Country Ukulele Festival, and I asked Char Mayer about it later when we were discussing the Mya-Moe I was about to order. As I remember, both said that some players think it improves intonation a little bit by increasing the angle at which the string bends when it crosses the nut, while many players who come from guitar prefer it for no articulable reason.

jUST MY 2 CENTS, and I'm no expert, but I've found the angle the strings bend at the bridge has much more effect on the sound. my KoAloha has a string-through-the body bridge which really lets the strings break sharply across the saddle. I don't know why more builders don't do this? I don't think even Koaloha still does. Anyway, the slotted headstocks definitely look cool.

Derry
09-19-2011, 09:45 AM
been a classical guitarist for many years and all my guitars have slotted heads,, when I started looking for a uke I wanted something different and liked the geared pegs,, certainly a different feel and have a lessor gear ratio so any fine tuning just takes less of a turn,,

I have never heard of any improvement on the break of the string beyond the nut regarding the angle or how it wraps to wind,, do agree on the saddle though,,

Derry

Nuprin
09-19-2011, 01:41 PM
I haven't noticed a big difference between my slotted-heads and my non-slotted-heads. I did read an article from Bob Taylor (of Taylor guitars) awhile ago where he said that, due to the increased angle from a slotted-headstock, it slightly decreases sustain. Again, I haven't noticed it but I'd like to think that Bob knows what he's talking about!

mr moonlight
09-19-2011, 01:55 PM
I haven't noticed a big difference between my slotted-heads and my non-slotted-heads. I did read an article from Bob Taylor (of Taylor guitars) awhile ago where he said that, due to the increased angle from a slotted-headstock, it slightly decreases sustain. Again, I haven't noticed it but I'd like to think that Bob knows what he's talking about!

it would probably be the opposite in that an increased breaking angle would increase sustain but I've never seen any data. You can also increase the breaking angle of the strings at the headstock by just increasing the angle of the headstock so it's not really a feature exclusive to a slotted headstock.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
09-19-2011, 02:44 PM
A slotted headstock can often be a bit heavier than a traditional one. If this is the case, some will argue that the added weight can add to sustain. Also, many of us will decrease the break angle of slotted headstock to maintain a 15 degree string angle over the nut. This is to allow string clearance of the ramps. (Strings hitting the ramps of a slotted headstock are frowned upon!!!) Personally, I can't detect a sonic difference between the two styles.

bdukes
09-19-2011, 03:44 PM
It's been an age old debate in the guitar world with some pretty comical theories. Anything from slotted headstocks have less drag to they provide better cooling for hot licks. Obviously some of them are totally tongue-in-cheek, but the many different rationales abound. I've also seen a video of Bob Taylor talking about choosing a slotted headstock for it's tone and aesthetics. I think some of it's marketing but he's answered the question more directly here on his blog.
http://taylorguitarsblog.com/ask-bob-why-do-nylon-string-guitars-come-with-a-slotted-headstock-and-the-long-narrow-bridge/
Pretty much calling it convention for nylon string / classical guitars. As far as tone differences, these old ears couldn't hear it anyway. Besides, when it comes to ukes, I'm going with the builders, Chuck and Eric, on this one.

In any case, I just love the looks of a slotted-head and in general, and I tend to play the ukes I find most attractive. Call me shallow. :)

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
09-19-2011, 04:53 PM
In any case, I just love the looks of a slotted-head and in general, and I tend to play the ukes I find most attractive. Call me shallow. :)

The Shallow Knows!

There's no doubt that a slotted headstock rates pretty high on the cool meter and may very well take 10 years off your age. But I've also been getting some reports lately from some of my older customers that it's helping them grow hair.
Sadly, it seems to also have the same effect on women......:(

Bao
09-19-2011, 09:15 PM
The only difference that my slotted headstock ukulele has compared to a normal headstock is the difficulty to change the strings. Trust me, it's a real pain to do.

bdukes
09-20-2011, 12:49 AM
The Shallow Knows!

There's no doubt that a slotted headstock rates pretty high on the cool meter and may very well take 10 years off your age. But I've also been getting some reports lately from some of my older customers that it's helping them grow hair.
Sadly, it seems to also have the same effect on women......:(

You had me at grows hair. I'm placing an order for ten, please!

I'll take my chances with the women. :D

Bao
09-20-2011, 03:05 AM
I don't agree. You put them through, get them around (back up and down, under the string) so they 'lock' themselves and you start winding!

I guess it's all about preference eh? Maybe i'm just not changing the strings properly

scottie
09-20-2011, 06:00 AM
If anyone can tell the difference between a slotted and paddle headstock sonically, my hats off to 'em.

That said, I prefer slotted headstock guitars, I have 2 12 fret slothead steel string guitars and one classical. I prefer them because, I think, changing strings is easier. You can just leave a few extra inches and tune. Also, they look 'different' than most peoples' guitars - there's a cool factor. A 12 fret steel string guitar definately sounds different than a 14 fret, but NOT because of the headstock. It's becaue the 12th fret neck/body join necessitates different bridge placement.

My uke is a paddle headstock because slotted wasn't available. I'm sure Bill Collings would make me one if I asked. . . maybe I'd have to beg 'cause he'd have to program his CNC machines. . . yet again. . .

Derry
09-20-2011, 09:43 AM
hold the fort a minute,, I am bald and soon to be 71 and have played slotted classical guitars since the early 60s,, they have not helped my body appearance or do anything for me except spend more $$$$ on guitars,, :)

slotted or peg are the same for me,, some folks just hate to change stings regardless,, when I was serious on my guitars 30 hours of playing and the strings were pulled,, when your practicing four or more hours a day that happens fast,, guess I am different as I love the crisper tones new strings offer and a change is just part of ownership,,

Derry

mr moonlight
09-20-2011, 02:08 PM
hold the fort a minute,, I am bald and soon to be 71 and have played slotted classical guitars since the early 60s,, they have not helped my body appearance or do anything for me except spend more $$$$ on guitars,, :)

slotted or peg are the same for me,, some folks just hate to change stings regardless,, when I was serious on my guitars 30 hours of playing and the strings were pulled,, when your practicing four or more hours a day that happens fast,, guess I am different as I love the crisper tones new strings offer and a change is just part of ownership,,

Derry

It only works with Uke's my friend, Uke's. Slot heads on classical guitars aren't proven to have any effect on hair growth or loss.

I look at it this way, if the difference is so slight that no one can really tell, then who really cares. I know the philosophy about how if you can improve an number of things by a small percentage it adds up to a noticeable amount. Let's say you improve your intonation, sustain, bass, highs and volume all by 3%, and you end up with a 15% better sounding instrument. Would you really be able to hear a difference? Now take that same instrument and just improve the sustain by 10%. That would be a noticeable difference and wouldn't it ultimately sound better than the "15%" better sounding instrument?

Personally I prefer the slot headstock for ergonomic reasons and looks are just an added plus, although in the end you can't underestimate the value of aesthetics and the effect it has on your ears.