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Headstock design - 2x2 vs 4 inline

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Slowgypsy, Oct 1, 2008.


  1. Slowgypsy

    Slowgypsy 4 Fretless Strings

    Dec 12, 2006
    NY & MA
    I'm thinking about building a 4-string for my personal use. I'll make most of it out of off the shelf parts mainly from either Warmoth or USACG.

    My question is this... when comparing a 4-in-a-row style vs a 2x2 style... does either design have a distinct advantage? The only thing I can think of is the angled 2x2 design doesn't require a string retainer, although I'm not sure why that would be an advantage. From a comfort standpoint, either design is good for me. Does it all come down to visual preference or is there something else to consider?

    Anyone care to weigh in on this?
     
  2. A 2x2 moves your center of gravity ever-so-slightly towards the other end, and allows for a smaller headstock.
     
  3. ehque

    ehque

    Jan 8, 2006
    Singapore
    The 2x2 design saves a small chunk of wood.

    The small chunk of wood at the end of a long lever needs a large chunk of wood at the other end to balance.

    Remove both the small chunk and large chunk, and you have a lighter bass.

    Oh yeah, i think not having a string retainer also increases tuning accuracy and improves string life.
     
  4. renniw

    renniw

    Nov 30, 2004
    Lévis (Québec)
    Your bass will be a little bit shorter wich 'may' improve portability (assuming your case is shorter...)
     
  5. absolutelly off-topic:
    8 string octave bass will look cool in 4Bass+4Treble
     
  6. ehque

    ehque

    Jan 8, 2006
    Singapore
    If strung normally (octave strings next to each other), stringing your headstock 4bass+4treble will cause all your strings to bind against each other, making tuning impossible. The stress on your nut will also be one of a kind.
     
  7. Stone Age

    Stone Age

    Apr 13, 2008
    Connecticut

    Really??

    b_8ct2.

    Ctbass&birdsong's image btw.
     
  8. That looks like they are alternating bass treble and i think ehque thought you meant all four bass strings on one side and all 4 treble on the other like so...
    B T
    B T
    B T
    B T
     
  9. Yeah...That's what I thought too. Putting all four bass strings on one side of the headstock and all four treble on the other side. I, too, imagined a horendous knot of strings just beyond the nut.
     
  10. Stone Age

    Stone Age

    Apr 13, 2008
    Connecticut
    Well that would just be silly. They're just talking about the bass side vs treble side of the headstock, which is how L and R tuners are designated...I hope.
     
  11. therex

    therex

    Jun 24, 2007
    lima
    2x2 makes a better angle for the headstock thus eliminating the need of a strin retainer
    but 4 in a row looks better IMO
     
  12. atheos

    atheos

    Sep 28, 2008
    Tampere, Finland
    I prefer 4 in a row but it really has a lot to do with body design too. If you have nearly symmetric body (like SG or double cut LP) it's better to have symmetric design in headstock too. Any 5 string setup also looks a lot better with 3+2 setup instead of 4+1 which looks kind of silly in my opinion.
     
  13. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    Some people are confusing things a bit. They are equating 4-inline with flat headstock and string retainer, and 2+2 with tilt-back headstock. While these generally go together this way, it is not a rule. I've seen many tilt-back (scarfed) 4-inlines. Flat 2+2s I don't recall, but anything's possible.
     
  14. Slowgypsy

    Slowgypsy 4 Fretless Strings

    Dec 12, 2006
    NY & MA
    This is all true, however... I was thinking about putting together a bass using parts from either Warmoth, USACG, etc... and all these places do think of 4-inline with flat headstock and string retainer and 2+2 with a tilt-back headstock. Doesn't have to be this way, but those are without doubt the two different generic designs.

    So after reading the above posts it would seem that the only tangible difference between the two different headstock designs would be that the 2+2 perhaps allows for a bass with slightly less weight.

    I suppose I started this thread because as I also play acoustic guitar, and instrument design and choice of wood is everything for that instrument... and the unquestioned headstock standard is 3+3 (as opposed to the Fender electric 6-inline) I thought I'd ask.

    As best I can tell, the 4-inline for a bass was started because Fender started it that way and it was for a variety of reasons simply easier and less expensive to manufacturer and those considerations were very important to Fender.

    Although I think for my bass I'm strongly leaning towards 2+2 for no other reason than I have more of an emotional attachment towards that layout.
     
  15. asad137

    asad137

    Jan 18, 2007
    Minneapolis
    Physicist
    The older Yamaha BB-series 4-strings had flat 2+2 headstocks. My BBN5-II of that era is a flat 3+2.

    Asad
     
  16. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    Cool. Now all we need is a tilt-forward headstock!
     
  17. lightbulbjim

    lightbulbjim

    Mar 17, 2008
    Australia
    Maybe the whole headstock should pivot. You could push it forward to set all the strings into a drop tuning :ninja:
     
  18. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    FWIW, I find 4 inline slightly easier to tune. You just move your hand up the line, you don't have to switch to the other side.

    And 2+2 looks much better on a semi-hollow - it goes with the whole acoustic guitar vibe.
     
  19. 2x2 (imo) only fits on a Gibson/Epi instrument.
    4 inline makes it look like a Fender.
    Maybe you could do a 3x1? 3 on left, 1 on the right...
    just a thought...
     
  20. asad137

    asad137

    Jan 18, 2007
    Minneapolis
    Physicist
    I disagree -- It doesn't have to be a squarish "traditional" headstock:

    BBN4F.

    Asad
     

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