The headstock is the signature of any guitar. It is the shape that defines both the builder and the guitar itself. We have designed our signature headstock shape to be an instant classic that is radical enough to go on the most extreme metal guitar and classy enough to go on a classic blues guitar.
Pasquale has engineered a design called the Bayonet Headstock. While we can offer any make and shape of headstock on any custom guitar, our signature headstock accompanies all of our Modern Stats and our Metal Series of guitars.
There is a direct correlation between the angle of the headstock and the stability of a guitar. We offer three types of headstock angles. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages so be sure to read carefully and thoroughly when making a decision.
The main advantage to the flat headstock is the tuning stability. This is the most stable headstock type because the wood across the neck, the nut, and the tuners are all one piece. There is no angle cut into the wood to weaken it. Wood will expand and contract with different temperature changes and angles in the wood combined with string tensions can cause problems. But, since the wood across the neck, the nut, and the tuners are one component, the tuning is much more stable.
The main disadvantage to the flat headstock is that it does not allow adequate string tension across the strings meaning string trees have to be used on the higher strings for non locking tremolo guitars. This can cause some tuning issues since strings may snag on the trees. We use Graphtech TUSQ XL string trees to compensate for this.
We use this option as stock on all of our Fixed Bridge and Locking Tremolo guitar models.
7 ½ Degree Angle Headstock
A 7 ½ degree angle allows for adequate and evenly distributed string tension across all strings without the need to use string trees. This slight angle does not cause excessive tension at the nut which results in erosion of the nut eventually leading to tuning issues. This allows for a much smoother response from a tremolo unit and helps assure the proper return to pitch.
We use this option on all of our Non Locking Tremolo guitar models.
11 Degree Angle Headstock
This is the most common headstock angle on the market today. It is the angle utilized by Gibson, Ibanez, and Jackson guitars. We offer it due to its popularity and quite frankly, it looks really cool.
The origin of this angle traces back to the Les Paul. The Les Paul was a solid body version of a Gibson acoustic guitar which had an 11 degree angle on the headstock. This was needed to create string tension across the nut to keep the strings in the nut slots.
The 11 degree angle headstock worked very well with the Les Paul’s fixed bridge. Eventually, the tremolo units were introduced on the early Fender Stratocaster guitars. The 11 degree angle was too steep to use on a tremolo unit because it would cause too much tension across the nut and bring excessive wear which would cause the strings to snag and become out of tune. This is why Fender used flat headstock angles on their guitars.
In the mid 1980’s, Floyd Rose introduced a radical new concept called the “locking nut”. It clamped the strings at the nut and kept them stationary so they wouldn’t snag and lose their tune. This concept alone revolutionized the way guitars were designed. Since the strings clamped at the nut keeping the tension throughout, guitars no longer needed angled headstocks or string trees to create tension.
The 11 degree angle does not enhance advantages over a 7 ½ degree angle but it holds a larger disadvantage. The angle is steeper therefore leaving the neck weaker and more prone to movement during changes in temperature and humidity. Nonetheless this is a commonly requested headstock angle. When I ask a client why they want this angle the answer is typically the same…”because it looks cool!”
Who am I to argue with that?