Friday, April 10, 2009

Headstock lust

The last interesting poll (or not) conducted here was about headstocks. Specifically what type of headstock is your favorite kind. Out of 25 votes, 3 didn't care about headstock style. Of the remaining 22 votes, the slotted headstock was the run away leader with 11 votes (44%). The telecaster headstock style was dead last with just 1 vote (4%). My personal preference is for slotted headstocks as well, as evident from the couple of William King customs I've ordered. Before last week, I might have also placed the telecaster headstock last on my list, but now that I've gotten a couple of ukes with that type of headstock, I like them at least as much as the traditional type of headstocks. I think those tele headstocks look pretty good and is slightly more convenient to tune than the other types of headstocks. One thing is for certain though, I do not like friction tuners. I know many people think they look traditional and stuff, but I think they are simply a pain in the butt to use compared to geared tuners. Trying to make fine adjustments on a friction tuner is somethings an exercise in frustration. Some people think "stick out ears" geared tuners on ukes look ugly, but I think by that logic wouldn't all guitars pretty much look ugly?

I think it's fun to have ukes with different types of headstocks and different shapes. They make things more interesting. Here's my thoughts on the pros and cons of each type of headstocks:

Traditional with friction tuners:
-Pro: Looks traditional. Usually pretty light.
-Con: Difficult to tune with accuracy.

Traditional with PegHeds:
-Pro: Looks traditional. Easy to tune with geared 4:1 ratio. Lightweight.
-Con: Knob is made out of plastic.

Traditional with geared tuners:
-Pro: Easy to use to make fine adjustments.
-Con: Usually heavier than friction tuners.

-Pro: Nice look. Easy to make fine adjustments. More unique among ukes. Be like Jake Shimabukuro!
-Con: May be heavier (not an issue with tenors). Usually an expensive option.

-Pro: Convenient to tune (all knobs lined up in a row). Stylish (if you like it).
-Con: Very un-traditional. Might make uke too long to fit in some cases.

Maybe I'll take some pictures of all the headstocks when I have time and do a "headstock porn" post or something.

Here are the poll results:

Poll: What's your favorite type of headstock???

-Traditional with friction of PegHeds (NO ears!): 4 votes (16%)
-Traditional with geared tuners: 6 votes (24%)
-Slotted: 11 votes (44%)
-Telecaster style: 1 vote (4%)
-I really couldn't care less about headstock style: 3 votes (12%)


Bertrand said...

"by that logic wouldn't all guitars pretty much look ugly?"
they actually do ! with the notable exception of slotted headstock, that goes without saying.

HaileISela said...

I second that.

You know what I'm wondering about? Why do not use some sort of modified fine tuners, that would allow you to use the traditional friction tuners but gives you the possibility to tune exactly. I know there are some guitars with those fine tuners (like Gibson Little Lucille).

anyway, though I only know one type from my Ukes (the geared tuner version) I would go with slotted or Tele too.

GX9901 said...


There is a tuner that looks like a traditional tuner friction tuner (actually looks like violin tuners) but has 4:1 gearing. They are called PegHeds. I've got them on a couple of ukes and they work really well.

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