Will the new headstock design reduce tone?!

skydog

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Sort of tongue-in-cheek question, but I was looking at my 90’s Epiphone headstock vs. a typical Gibson version. Most of the discussions so far have been based mostly on aesthetics. A lot of the extra wood is between the nut and the E and e tuners. Years ago, they even sold this device that clamped on to the headstock to add mass and the resulting sustain. I, personally, have never minded the “clipped ear” design, but then I never minded the Heritage ones that seem to offend a lot of folks either. So will this reduced mass headstock design hurt tone/sustain?
 
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shupe13

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Sort of tongue-in-cheek question, but I was looking at my 90’s Epiphone headstock vs. a typical Gibson version. Most of the discussions so far have been based mostly on aesthetics. A lot of the extra wood is between the nut and the E and e tuners. Years ago, they even sold this device that clamped on to the headstock to add mass and the resulting sustain. I, personally, have never minded the “clipped ear” design, but then I never minded the Heritage ones that seem to offend a lot of folks either. So will this reduced mass headstock design hurt tone/sustain?
I think there is a lot of old snake oil still floating around out there honestly. Headless guitars are becoming very popular in some circles.
 

Brians Evil Twin

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You have a bigger effect when they change the supplier of the springs and screws used to mount the pickups.

I don't know why no one ever talks about those springs. When you raise and lower the pickups, you not only change the string/pickup distance, you also change the tension that the pickup "floats" in the ring.

This "spring float" and "screw harmonics" (and their affect on vibration) is a bigger factor in "tone" than fretboard choice, tuner weight, pickguard on/off, fretwire type, glue choice, tenon length......
StewMac sells authentic aged pickup height adjust and mounting ring springs and that can help to restore the vintage tone that is is so lacking in asian builds these days. They are made of a Molybdenum / Beryllium / Rhodium alloy that is invisible to X-Rays and can burn forever. It's expensive though, roughly $75 per spring or $300 for a dual humbucker setup.

They also sell tone-specific tuner ferrules including "Brown Sound", "Woman Tone", and "Pre-CBS blackface", as well as many other commonly requested tone signatures such as "All Right Now", Tobacco Road", and "Get It While You Can" tones of the same alloys for $100 per ring set.

I've set up several guitars for customers with these magical parts and they are quite something.
 

Brians Evil Twin

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PS, I have one set each of the magic height adjust springs and pickup ring screws that I can sell for $150 and $50 respectively. That's only $200 shipped for an LP build with entirely incredible tone. PM me for details.
 

Fiat Lux

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I think the discussion needs to occur as to the difference between "reduce" tone as opposed to simply "change" tone.

I think there is a very real likelihood that the new head stocks will definitely change the tone, but I am a bit more reserved about whether or not that tone will be considered "reduced" in the ears of individual listeners.

But I agree with BET in relation to pickup height adjust and mounting ring springs. They will have a much bigger effect on tone, and more likely than not reduce tone if the proper springs are not used.

cheers
 
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