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2+3 vs. 3+2 headstock

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by TheGeneral, Oct 9, 2003.


  1. Hey everybody,
    I'm going to have a 5 string bass built for me and wonder if the 2+3 headstock on a 5 really makes a difference on the B string or if it is just psychological. What are your experiences?
     
  2. metron

    metron Fluffy does not agree

    Sep 12, 2003
    Lakewood Colorado
    Not on the B string. The difference would be on the D and G strings that are on the other side of the headstock. There is less tension but its negligible. :bassist:

    I like the look better if anything.
     
  3. ldiezman

    ldiezman

    Jul 11, 2001
    Nashville
    My Elrick is designed with the 2+3 headstock... It works fine.. I doubt I would really care much if it were the other way around.. I really don't think it would change much either way
     
  4. knight

    knight

    Nov 3, 2002
    If you can hear the difference you're not human. It may be possible to feel such a small change in tension, but I doubt it.

    Cheers,

    knight
     
  5. metron

    metron Fluffy does not agree

    Sep 12, 2003
    Lakewood Colorado
    I notice a slight difference in the tension of the g string on my precision vs my stingray. I think it would make more of a difference on a 5 string but its small. Definitely no difference in sound.
     
  6. I don't think there'd be any difference in sound, but 3 over 2 looks better to me.

    Mike
     
  7. SlavaF

    SlavaF

    Jul 31, 2002
    Edmonton AB
    I love my BTB405's 2+3 headstock... looks very nice!:bassist:
     
  8. Joe Turski

    Joe Turski

    Jul 29, 2003
    Connecticut
    m
    I've got the 2+3 thing going on and I like it!

    I don't know if it makes a diffrence in tone, but it just look's cooler!
     
  9. arose11

    arose11

    Sep 30, 2002
    Kalamazoo, MI
    this all sounds very nitpicky to me...
     
  10. There is no less tension, or not more tension based on the location of the tuners behind the nut. The tension needed to produce a note is only dependent on the string guage (mass density) and the scale length. The distance beyond the nut, or beyond the saddle makes no difference.

    Geoff
     
  11. Finally, someone who knows what they are talking about!

    [​IMG]
    Treena
     
  12. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    Thank you, Geoff!

    A couple issues ago, BassPlayer magazine reviewed a Warrior 5 string that had through-body stringing on the B and E strings. Amazingly, the reviewer claimed that this put more tension on those strings. It's getting harder and harder to defend BP these days.


    Anyway: make your 3+2/2+3 choice based on looks or ergonomics... there ain't gonna be no difference in tone or playability.
     
  13. Aristotle

    Aristotle

    May 12, 2002
    Easton, MD
    It's all mumbo jumbo, just get the one that appeals to you aesthetically.
     
  14. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    "There is no less tension, or not more tension based on the location of the tuners behind the nut. The tension needed to produce a note is only dependent on the string guage (mass density) and the scale length. The distance beyond the nut, or beyond the saddle makes no difference."

    Hi guys, sorry I'm coming in late in the discussion here, just wanted to add my 2c worth on the original issue, about the 2+3 vs 3+2.

    Before I do that though, I'll note that the quote above applies to "linear tension", along the string axis. The above statement would be false for other types of tension, and for those other types the location of the tuner as well as the straightness of the string can make a significant difference.

    Okay, so I recently purchased an F bass with the "reversed headstock", which means the B and E on the left and the A D and G on the right. It's my fourth 5-string F bass, and the other three all have the "regular" headstock which has the B E and A on the left and the D and G on the right.

    The difference this makes in an otherwise identical bass is astounding. You can A/B them side by side and instantly hear what the longer B string is doing, in two different ways. First, it affects the tone of the string itself (with a longer B string you get a much rounder tone, it makes the low registers come to life). Second, it dramatically improves the overall string balance (and since I like to move seamlessly between slap and fingerstyle, that particular characteristic of a bass is very important to me and I tend to pay attention when I find an instrument that works well in that regard).

    I wanna emphasize these are two identical basses, same swamp ash body, same maple neck, even the same finish, except for the reversed headstock. I've tried this test in the store too, with a pair of basses that were otherwise identical except for the reversed headstock, with the same results. My experience has been consistent so far (and that doesn't mean it means anything, just wanted to share :) )
     
  15. Jontom

    Jontom

    Mar 11, 2002
    New York
    2+2 or 4 in line.:)
     
  16. What other types of tension are you referring to?

    I agree that the tuner position can make a difference to the bass, however, it doesn't change the tension of the string. It could affect how the tension varies as the string vibrates, if the string can slip over the nut. Meaning that as the string reaches a peak displacement (considering only the fundamental) the increase in tension would be reduced when the nut to tuner length is greater.

    Geoff
     
  17. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Okay, this is kinda getting into philosophy a little, but this is how I've learned to look at it. One of the most variable things about basses are the witness points, where the string contacts the bridge saddle and the nut. No witness point is ever "perfect", some may come close but that's largely a theoretical concept that's usually removed from reality. In practice, the variations in the witness points are a big part of what gives individual basses their character (in addition to the woods that affect the resonances and so on, the behavior of the witness points affects the similarities and differences in the sound from one string to the next, and the dynamics of the strings, especially when you're plucking them or playing them hard). The lateral and torsional stresses are important because they affect the behavior of the witness points. What I've been told by various luthiers is that one is "more likely" to achieve consistency and good string balance by paying careful attention to the witness points, and of course that may or may not be the desired effect depending on your playing style and etc etc.
     
  18. BruceWane

    BruceWane

    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Seems like you'd get the most consistent witness point at the nut by having adequate downward pressure, which you'd get from a tilted headstock, properly placed tuners, or string retainers. It seems to me that placing the B string tuner far away from the nut on a Fender-style headstock is inviting the need for a string retainer just like the D and G strings.

    I can see maintaining a little more distance than an E string, because the thickness and inherent stiffness of a .125 or larger string makes it hard for it to break at a sharp angle. Probably makes the first position more comfortable if the B tuner isn't right up on top of the nut.

    Comparisons are all fine and good, but bear in mind that you're still talking about things made of wood, which is a hugely variable material. You really can't say the only difference between two basses is the tuner arrangement. If all maple neck/ash body basses are basically equal, why not save the money you'd spend on a Sadowsky and buy a Washburn? It isn't just the fit and finish....
     
  19. BruceWane

    BruceWane

    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    For what its worth, I play a 36" scale headless 5 string, so maybe I should stay out of this discussion anyway....:D
     
  20. metron

    metron Fluffy does not agree

    Sep 12, 2003
    Lakewood Colorado
    This is true.
    This is also true. And this is where the difference comes in. Its kind of silly to talk about a strings tension at reat because nonone plays their bass without plucking the string! :D When the string is in motion the tension varies. Like nonsqtr sait no witness point is perfect and this is especially true on a Fender! :rolleyes: The string length on the other side of the nut will come in to play with a string in motion like Geoff said the increase in tension is less when the length from nut to tuner is smaller. Correct: string length from nut to tuner makes (little) difference for a sstring at rest. Correct: it does make a difference with a string in motion but isnt that what we are talking about? :D

    Finally someone who knows what they are talking about. ;)