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Extended Peg Head For Low B = better B?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Phil Smith, Feb 26, 2004.


  1. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    I'm not sure if other manufacturers are doing this but Fodera makes their basses with an extended B peg head design i.e. the B string is wound on a tuner thats at the top of the bass headstock as opposed to the position closest to the nut. My question is this: Does it make a difference, in string tension, sound, feel, or anything at all. I know of someone that had their Emperor 5 headstock modified to get this feature. I don't know if I would have paid the money for this mod, but hey, to each his own. What say you Talkbassers???
     
  2. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    This used to be a big topic for discussion back when I joined.

    Anyways, what the conclusion was is that since the extra length it beyond the actual speaking length of the string, it would make no difference in string tension.

    Peace
    Nick
     
  3. this is a design i'm incorparating into the headstock of my new bass. in theory it should add tension.

    the length of string is longer. so there should be more tension. even if the extra length is behind the nut surely that has the same effect on the string as fretting it. so i don't see how it can make a difference.

    i'm no tech head. all i'm basing this on is what seems logical. i could be wrong, but it makes sense to me.

    Tom
     
  4. buzzbass

    buzzbass Shoo Shoo Retarded Flu !

    Apr 23, 2003
    NJ
    OK, I'll go with that. But I would think it would also cause problems due to inadequate break angle of the string over the nut.
     
  5. It will not add tension. It may and probably will affect the feel, and some may attribute that to tension, ie the string may be somewhat more elastic. It may also affect the sound, as the tension on the string may vary differently while the string is coming in and out of tension as it vibrates (due to the differing elasticity). The simple fact is that the speaking length and pitch desired determine what tension is needed, so the nut to saddle position will determine the tension. Otherwise basses would be fretted based on the distance of the tuner from the nut (this is obviously not the way it works).

    Geoff
     
  6. The break angle shouldn't be affected too much by this, unless it is a fender style headstock and not an angled one. On the same token, I imagine that the location of the tuner for the B string will be the same distance that one of the other tuners would have been in anyway, so it probably isn't a big deal.

    Cheers,
    Geoff
     
  7. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    *cringing in mental pain*

    Fodera is pandering to people who hold a misconception. It may or may not affect the feel or tone to some degree - this is debatable - but it does not affect the base tension. It can't.
     
  8. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    Heh! Yep. You could extend the B string tuning post from Hoboken to Poughkeepsie and B string tension will remain the same (all else being equal).

    It bugged me that BP repeated this misconception in last year's review of a Warrior 5-string that was string-thru-body on the B and E strings. STB doesn't increase tension either.
     
  9. that's true. strings-through-body could facilitate better coupling between the strings and the body, however. that is why the B and E strings seemed more defined and lively -- there was more feedback between the resonance of the body and the string.

    robb.
     
  10. temp5897

    temp5897 Guest

    I've tried a few of the Fodera's with the Extended headstock design and I honestly didn't notice that much of a difference. On the other hand, many of their basses I have played already had great low B's with the standard headstock so...I am not sure.

    I don't think I would call it "pandering" however...I am sure they have A/B'd the different designs many times. If people like Oteil are having it done on their bass there must be a reason. Also, it's a free option so it's not like they are ripping people off with false advertising.

    Other than that I have no opinion on the matter. :D
     
  11. Diek

    Diek

    May 25, 2003
    While I don't know all that much about Oteil, I'm willing to bet he doesn't understand the laws of physics better than the average bass player. Incresing the non vibrating part of the string will have no effect on tension. It's the law, no matter what Fodera or Oteil say.

    It might have effect on the feel of the string, but I'd say it may actually make the string feel looser. I haven't seen any experiments done on basses, but I have seen experiments (I believe it was posted in the MIMF archive) where identical archtop guitars were built, except for the length of the non vibrating part of the string. In this experiment, the longer string felt looser, which is the opposite of what most bass players are looking for. There may be other variables on archtops that aren't on electric basses, but that was the only real study I've seen.

    But is there REALLY a difference, or do Oteil and other just think there is? Fodera has a lot of psychological advatanges to make people think they feel a difference even if there really is none. They're a well respected company, why would they try to fool us? They make some of the best basses in the world, which sell for top dollar, there must be something different that makes them better. It's a no cost option, so they're not making any extra money off it. All these things are little psychological traps we all fall into, which make us believe them even if they're wrong. Our brain likes things to make sence and to people who don't understand the physics behind it, it doesn't make sence that an extended headstock would feel the same as a traditional headstock, so our brain tricks us into thinking it's better.
     
  12. temp5897

    temp5897 Guest

    Oteil is also one of the best players in the world, I don't think he would fall trap to stupid marketing gimmicks when it comes to his livelihood.

    If our brain "tricks" us into thinking that an extended headstock is better than a standard headstock then I feel sorry for all bass players as whole because we must be pretty stupid.

    Also, if the extended B idea is completely false why have so many bass makers gone to the 2+3 config over the 3+2? This idea goes way beyond Fodera. And, also, read my original comments on my experience with the extended B. ;)

    I still don't think anyone is "pandering." I make no claim whatsoever if it is better or not, I do not know enough on the matter to make a good judgement.
     
  13. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Being a good instrumentalist doesn't mean you are knowledgeable about the physics of your instruments. It's interesting though that the same argument is used by snakeoil sellers like Monster Cable and Tara Labs.

    The "fact" that one headstock design is preferred over another (3+2 over 2+3 and vice versa), is more a design question than anything else. That it has something to do with a sonic advantage is unlikely IMO and has never been proven.
     
  14. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    I'm not going to make any assumptions about Oteil's thinking. But beyond "I think it sounds better," there are other possibilities - including, "why not, couldn't sound worse," "it's cool and different," and any number of others.
    I think all people, bass players included, tend to fall prey to the self-fulfilling prophecy. One's perceptions are often shaped by one's expectations.
    Have they? Great, because there's one good, valid, provable reason I know of right off the top: fat E-strings take an appreciable distance to taper from full thickness to something that wraps easily on the peg. Reason enough for me.
    I'd love to see someone do a blind test of a Fodera, with the reversed-peg setup and the standard one. It might require swiching out a tuner for a reverse geared one in between.


    The tone might be better, or it might not. Either way, anyone claiming that it produces higher tension is wrong, and therefore either lying or misinformed. Given a particular string length, weight, and tuned pitch, there is only one tension possible.

    Futhermore, anything you do on the headstock is lost once you start fretting- it could have an appreciable affect on open strings, or perhaps the first fret (assuming appreciable slip over the nut, which may or may not occur).
     
  15. Diek

    Diek

    May 25, 2003
    Maybe he feels the difference or thinks he feels the difference, or maybe the guys at Fodera talked him into using the extended B just so they could market it. Who knows? No one is immune to marketing gimmicks. I actually own the Ginsu knife. Do I need a knife that can cut up a shoe? No, but it's cool to have. ;)

    We ALL fall for tricks like that. As pilotjones said, our perceptions are heavily influence by our expectations. JMX's analogy to high end speaker cable is a good one. I was going to mention it in my previous post, but I felt it was getting long enough. There have been tests done comparing the big money cabels to ordinary cord. When the people could see which wire they were listening to, the most expensive, impressive looking wire always sounded better. But double blind tests show there was no difference, it was just all in your head. It's the same phenomenon when people swear they can feel the difference on an extended B headstock.

    Then why are you the only one arguing in favor of them. ;)
     
  16. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    Yes, you are wrong. ;)

    Bass Player actually printed my letter ("Tension Headache"/ Dec. 2003 issue/Rick Watson) when I took Jonathan Herrera to task about making the "increased tension" argument in a bass review he had done a couple issues previous.

    Even Mr. Herrera admited I was correct (in his printed reply), but then started talking about "perceived tension" :rolleyes: , whatever that is. :smug:
     
  17. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    [​IMG] I applaud you, sir! Excellent letter. Mr. Herrera's reply was disappointing (sounded too much like a politician), but at least he did admit that you were correct.
     
  18. sambass

    sambass

    Apr 15, 2003
    MA
     
  19. KenToby

    KenToby

    Aug 15, 2002
    I'm a very visual guy and like to use other things as examples.
    Fact - Moving the anchor points of a string AWAY from each other does increase tension.
    For example if you take two power poles a couple of hundred feet apart from each other and string a .130 B string between them and then took a 6 inch span and string that with the same gage string, which set-up would you have to put the most tension on to get a "B" note? The obvious and logical answer is that the higher tension would have to be applied to the set up with the greater distance between the anchor points.
    The nut and the bridge saddles are non-issues since these are NOT anchor points. We all have to keep in mind what tension is; it is the "pull" on the string. No matter if you're fretting the B stiring or holding it open the tension is always the same.
    Keep my long span and short span examples in mind and it will be very clear that length between anchor points does indeed mean higher tension and greater focus of the B string.
    Hint - I slipped a 1 inch aluminum small diameter barrel over my B and E strings before mounting them on my top load bridge basses and the tone of these two strings are much more focused because they don't flop like they normaly would. I simply moved the anchor points away from each other.
     
  20. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    Sorry, but wrong. The witness points (bridge saddle and nut) and the distance between them are what matter, not where the string is anchored beyond them.

    Since the speaking length of the string (between the witness points) is the only place you have to have a definative tension to make the string sound it's correct open pitch, the length beyond those points becomes irrelevent as long as the tension between the witness points only is correct.

    Your power pole analogy is fatally flawed as the anchor points and the witness points are one in the same in that scenario.

    The witness points are your (virtual) true anchor points when dealing with the string tension needed to sound the correct pitch. Any increase in "tension" (perceived or otherwise) will raise the pitch. Simple physics.