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What Is A Good Headstock Length?


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Guys,

I am in the middle of designing a guitar, and have no idea what I am going to do with the headstock at present. I am away from my house, and have to VPN in to get to the internet (don't ask, I can't answer), so where I am is rather... out of the way so to speak.

I know that one of my guitars has a headstock, measuring from the rear of the locking nut to the longest tip, of around 7" at about a 13° angle. Another of my guitars has a headstock length of approximately 6" from the nut (not locking) at approximately an 11° angle. These were measured by my son who has no real clue what he is doing when looking at a tape measure and relayed to me over the phone. I have decided to stick with the PG "standard" of 13° angle but I have no idea what I am going to shape the headstock to look like.

So... My real question is, what would be a good "average" length of headstock to design in to ensure that I can do whatever comes to mind during build time? 7"? Should I leave extra "just in case"? I am going to have a friend laminate the wood (maple and purpleheart... I loved the look of whoever did that a couple of years ago) and pre-cut it from my plans when I email them to him so that when I get home I can start to fly on it. I will be unemployed when I get home, so I figure I could take a bit to build something that I will enjoy for a while before I start getting serious about working my life away again.

Opinions please.

Oh, and "Mr. Calvert", I will be back in Florida very soon. Can't tell you where I am presently, but it isn't close. I remember you saying something about coming to the east coast and meeting up a couple of years ago. :D If it's still an option, I would love to.

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About 6 or 7....oh, guitar headstock, right.

Well, tuner position and string angle are the only things that really matter with the length of the headstock. My strat is about 7.25", that gives you more than enough room for 6-in-a-line, so that's the most you'd ever need because any other configuration(excluding more than 6 strings) can only take up less space. Well, unless you do some crazy thing where the string pull is all funky and off-center.

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I would have a plan and work from that before I start putting wood together. A headstock only needs to be big enough to hold the tuners in the places where you want them, but it seems like Murphy's law dictates if you make preparations for a 7 inch headstock, when you decide on a shape you really like, it will need a 7 1/2" headstock. I just find it more helpful in the end to have a pretty much fully worked out design before I start building. That said, your situation sounds a little bit different with folks helping you out and such - I'd leave a little extra if you can - the uncut headstock neck blanks I've seen for a 3x3 headstock have been around 8 3/8" inches long. You can make a headstock any length that will hold your tuners, though. I have a build with a headstock that's just over 5 inches long.

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I usually go with ~8" to be safe. This is longer than necessary, but leaves you extra. Also I always keep the neck blank longer than needed on the other end. I've found that in cutting and laminating a scarf joint, you lose a lot more length than you expected (about 1/4" I think?). It's easier for me to mark out the length of the neck blank and the length of the headstock from the start of the head angle, after it's been laminated.

I agree with J though, you should be working from a plan before you start cutting wood... unless you're leaving your headstock shape up to your artistic whim when you go to cut it. There's nothing wrong with that as long as you know what you're doing and have your tuner positions plotted out.

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I usually go with ~8" to be safe. This is longer than necessary, but leaves you extra. Also I always keep the neck blank longer than needed on the other end. I've found that in cutting and laminating a scarf joint, you lose a lot more length than you expected (about 1/4" I think?). It's easier for me to mark out the length of the neck blank and the length of the headstock from the start of the head angle, after it's been laminated.

I agree with J though, you should be working from a plan before you start cutting wood... unless you're leaving your headstock shape up to your artistic whim when you go to cut it. There's nothing wrong with that as long as you know what you're doing and have your tuner positions plotted out.

I have been trying to work out what I want to do with it, but like music, nothing I "invent" has not been done before. The problem with my design is just that. I thought I had a fairly unique body variation of a strat, and lo and behold there is one exactly like what I was doing already on this site, no less. Hadn't seen it before I got everything drawn up, and figure I am gonna stick with it anyway. I can gut the plan, but why not "do it on the fly" when I am down to the body shaping?

The plans I have drawn are finished, but they are going to be tweaked, which is why I am going to throw extra room in for what ever I decide to do with the headstock. I think I'll throw in that extra 1 1/2" as mentioned before and draw it 8 1/2" to leave plenty of room. Thanks for the replies.

I am well aware of the plan to build and build to plan. Not my very first rodeo, but I couldn't visualize where I am currently what length would be safe.

Hope to be home soon and with pictures to share. (Of the build.)

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