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Countersunk Tuners?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Phil Mastro, Mar 3, 2005.

  1. Phil Mastro

    Phil Mastro

    Nov 18, 2004
    Does anyone do this except Dingwall? Is there an actual scientific purpose to this, like having a thicker headstock results in more sustain or something?

    There's a decent picture of this on this page:
    at bassnw
  2. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    Interesting idea. Worth a try..t
  3. More or less by accident- I made the headstock on my son's minibass too thick & had to dremel out the top layer to clear the nuts.
  4. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    I've seen something like that on a bass before, except instead of being sunk on top, there were channels routed in the back where the tuning machines were bolted on. It was kind of cool becuse this resulted in the back of the headtock having a very clean look.

    Wait, I just had a lightbulb appear over my head. I don't foresee myself actually doing this, but, you could route some cavities in the back of a very thick headstock that were deep enough to totally conceal the tuning machines, then you coud make a matching cover plate the go over the back. The result would be a headstock with a totally clean back. Maybe it would look really silly, or maybe it would look amazing, who knows. Just a though for you guys to ponder...
  5. teej


    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    Hmmm...... the headstock would be too thick for my own tastes. Maybe if some Gotoh or Hipshot or some other tuner manufacture were to make a more low-profile tuner with shorter string posts. In fact, very rarely do my strings wrap completely around the posts when I tune them. I think the posts could easily be shortened without fear of not having enough room.

    If there are any tuning key manufacturers reading this.... LOW-PROFILE TUNING KEYS.
  6. Actually if you go to the Dingwallguitars.com home page you'll see that Sheldon Dingwall does have a purpose behind using the countersunk tuners.
    Essentiall the countersunk tuners are lower into the headstock and provide a greater break angle over the nut, w/o the use of any headstock angle, or string trees. Second, what isn't obvious from that picture is that Sheldon has hipshot make him a special shaped tuner. The tuner head is shaped like the top half of an hourglass and because of the shape it forces the string down towards the bottom of the tuner closer to the wood. So where many luthiers use angled back headstocks, sheldon can get the same effects using a straight headstock.
    To my knowledge the headstock on my Dingwall isn't any thicker than my fender one.
  7. klorence


    Nov 21, 2001
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Another reason (in addition to the break angle) is that angled headstocks require extra wood and a lot of carving, which makes them more costly to produce. Sheldon wanted to provide enough downforce on the nut (break angle) using a flat neck board to eliminate the expense of an angled/carved neck joint, and without resorting to string trees to hold the strings down. It's my understanding he came up with this idea specifically to lower production costs for the Afterburner line.

    As for the "specially shaped tuning posts", other builders/manufacturers have done this before; it certainly coincides and works well with the Afterburner neck design goals. They may also be custom-made to fit within his routed headstock. I'm just saying I've owned basses before that had non-cylindrical tuning posts to keep the strings from riding up on them.

    Speaking of design - I own an ABII and I have to say the overall design of Sheldon's basses (design = elegant, intelligent engineering and aesthetic solutions to reach a goal or solve a problem) is tops.
  8. teej


    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    Hmmm... angled headstocks don't require extra wood or carving. They do require an extra cut and extra gluing, though. In fact, angled necks don't require much more work at all. But the conical (hourglass) shape makes since. having the tuners lower to the headstock would pull the strings lower, yielding more pressure on the nut. Still, I'd like to see this in-headstock tuning key come to life.
  9. klorence


    Nov 21, 2001
    Pittsburgh, PA
    sorry - i should have been more specific -
    "regular" angled headstocks don't necessarily mean more wood, but ones that are reinforced (using a "volute" , i think it's called - extra piece(s) of wood glued in the inside part of the angle & then carved to shape such as on an upright bass) do.

    in any case, it costs more to produce due to the labor than a regular flat-piece neck using string trees (a la fender, et. al). i think what sheldon came up with is an elegant solution to getting the benefits of an angled headstock without the angle and without string trees.