Other Equipment

The String Butler

1

Saw this on eBay. Anyone tried one of these? Opinions?

2

Looks like a solution in search of a problem. Seriously, if there's a problem at the nut,it likely is just a nut problem, easily fixed by a competent technician.

3

I, for one, don't particularly care for how it looks. Plus, if there were some mechanical or tonal advantages to rerouting the strings like that, I would think that manufacturers would have incorporated it into their designs already.

4

Interesting! I'm thinking this would help tuning stability but I would have to test it. It's a novel idea.

5

You'll note that the guitar pictured also has what appears to be a StewMac ZerO-glide nut installed.

So many ways to compensate for a nut that isn't dressed correctly for a Bigsby...

6

My GreTsch 6120FTW has the large headstock like the DSW. There is a very sharp string break angle from the nut to the tuners. This would reduce the string break angle and may improve tuning stability.

7

Boy, I'll bet that's fun to change strings with a bigsby.

8

i'm not convinced in the least that this would make tuning any more stable. it doesn't seem like adding another bend to the strings above the nut would do anything but add more friction.

9

I think the virtues of a straight string pull depend on the strings going directly to the tuners from the nut. Adding six pinball bumpers seems Goldbergian.

However. I can see having the idea, and coming up with a test mule - and giving it up if it didn't prove useful. But you wouldn't think someone would go all the way to production and marketing if the idea were completely without merit.

But you never know. It's possible to become so enamored of one's hobby horse that one goes into production without ever riding the thing.

I guess, assuming it's not too expensive and it's not a permanent mod (it doesn't appear so), it might be worth trying for oneself.

But even if it does something useful, that something would have to be pretty mighty to get past the immediate impression of something unduly complicated and laughably ugly.

(Which makes me wonder what I did that was so useful my wife got past the same liabilities with me.)

10

The Gibson Moderne headstock.

11

Time to fire the butler.

I have had several blue grass players that want their herringbone Martin's E strings wound backwards which is a much straighter line on those narrow headstocks.

12

So that both E strings travel to the outside of the stud to avoid this.

13

Time to fire the butler.

I have had several blue grass players that want their herringbone Martin's E strings wound backwards which is a much straighter line on those narrow headstocks.

– Curt Wilson

That would seem to make a lot of sense, Curt.

EDIT: We must have posted photographs of the headstocks at the same time, Curt!

15

My GreTsch 6120FTW has the large headstock like the DSW. There is a very sharp string break angle from the nut to the tuners. This would reduce the string break angle and may improve tuning stability.

– GreTschocaster

I had significant problems with tuning instability with my Broadkaster Jr that turned out to be caused by a severe string break angle behind the bridge. Given the smaller body size, the front roller bar of the B7 Bigsby was very close to the bridge (resulting in the sharp break angle).

Installing a BricksBiggsFix bar softened the angle and CURED the tuning problems.

https://bricksbiggsfix.com/

Granted, the problem was at the opposite end of the guitar. But from my experience (limited, for sure) string break angle can cause tuning problems.

16

jeez, that thing is PRECISELY what my Wildkat needed.

17

I was going to write a more lengthy response, but it is simply not warranted. Anyone with half a brain can deduce from the picture that it creates additional stress-risers and will not solve a tuning stability issue.

It's effectiveness would appear to be cosmetic only.

Opie got it right.

18

The Gibson Moderne headstock.

– Mr Tubs

I have a Moderne copy, and stringing it up without the trees is impossible. It's not just string break but string angle from headstock.

One of my really talented luthiers warned me about that type of thing when I had an old pre-FMIC Duane Eddy with a brass nut (and a ginormous headstock), but even then we just stuck a graphtech nut on it and it was fine.

20

"But you wouldn't think someone would go all the way to production and marketing if the idea were completely without merit." Proteus

Yeah, like that's never happened before.

21

An ironic note regarding Gretsch's failed concept - JW's actually I believe - the tone twister, is the stamping saying "patent applied for" Who in their right mind would want to copy that POS?

22

The Gibson Moderne headstock.

– Mr Tubs

Wouldn't need those string guides if the headstock wasn't made like a canoe paddle.

23

It's obvious the Gibson needs the posts so the strings clear the other posts. Martin simply made a mess of the headstock on this guitar leaving both E string posts in no-man's-land position-wise.

As for the Gretsch, I wasn't aware Jimmy Webster had been raised from the dead and back at his desk at Gretsch, designing WTF things in the belief 'people are always looking for something new and different.'

For the Gretsch, Opie nailed it: "a solution in search of a problem" It's an overly complicated solution to a minor issue. The worst part of the thinking here is apparently that there exists the belief there isn't now or ever has been, an extremely simple and effective method of getting the string from the tuner to the nut efficiently and visually sublime and putting the break at the front edge of the nut where it belongs. The pic in Bob's post #13 shows that the inboard 4 strings' slots are angled slightly towards their respective tuner which is mechanically, the best design. Forget about the two E strings on this particular guitar, given the wonky headstock that misaligns those two tuners.

On my Super Chet, Gibson Gent, Eko acoustic and Ovation Folklore & Country Artist, I replaced the nut (with bone of course) and in every case only the inboard 4 slots require angling. This standard headstock design lines the E string posts up with the nut in a straight line, obviating the need for any angling. FWIW, by comparison, my '98 (pre-FMIC) 6120 has the oversize headstock and the E string slots do need to be angled. My '41 Synchro has the original nut cut properly and so does Chet's Super Axe.

The Gretsch designer has too much time on his hands.

Edit: I should've said the designer, not the Gretsch designer. Strange cat!

24

PRS solution

A demo by session player Tim Pierce:

25

PRS does a nice job of dealing with the string alignment issue. They have a visually appealing headstock shape while not having to Jimmy Webster the face.


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