How important is the string tree/guide

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by William Speulda, Dec 29, 2014.

  1. William Speulda

    William Speulda Guest

    Oct 29, 2014
    I just finished putting together my Fender Jazz that I made from parts I found. I got a string guide coming in the mail tomorrow but I'm excited to play it tonight. Is there any damage I can cause to the strings, nut or neck if I tighten the strings without the guide installed?
  2. MothBox


    Oct 25, 2010
    The guide, as I understand it, is to cause break over the nut i.e. the string sits in the nut properly, seated into the rut, and breaks over the nut toward the tuners, so that an open string sounds from the nut when played.

    Is the guide for all strings or just 2?

    If there is enough break over the nut to play open strings there shouldn't be any issue. If there is not enough break over the nut you'll find it difficult to tune up and at that point I'd wait for the string guide.

    Loosen the strings again before installing the new guide.
  3. William Speulda

    William Speulda Guest

    Oct 29, 2014
    I'm just getting a string guide to cover the D and G strings. I think it's just a typical Fender string guide. Nothing too fancy or out of the ordinary. I think I'll just play on two strings for the evening. It's a shame they couldn't send me all the parts in one box.
  4. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    It won't hurt anything. Give it a shot.
  5. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    Good chance the strings will rattle in the nut without a tree to provide the hard break over the nut. Just like the A string rattles if you don't wind it low enough on the tuner.

    If you don't use a tree, you want to wind those strings as low on the tuner as you can get them.
  6. JLS


    Sep 12, 2008
    Albuquerque, NM
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
  7. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I've removed the string tree on all my Fender style basses. I just run the string wraps around the tuner post down to the headstock and it works fine for me. It also seems to improve the response of the D and G strings.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2014
  8. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    Installation tip:

    If there is an existing mounting hole for the string tree, good - just mount it there.

    If there is not a screw hole already in the headstock to mount the tree, place the tree loose on the strings at or just below the A string tuner post to be sure the D & G strings remain straight when installed.
    Drill a small guide hole into the headstock directly through the string tree to insure correct placement.

    I've seen guys not place the tree correctly and the strings were not in a straight line between the nut and tuner posts.
  9. spaz21387


    Feb 25, 2008
    Portland oregon
    I knew a guitarist that removed string trees. one day he asked me why his strings were buzzing. I asked him what happened to the string tree.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2014
    Arnel M. and Matthew_84 like this.
  10. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
    String trees are useful for:
    1) Holding the strings down to make the angle over the nut a bit sharper, so they don't rattle,
    2) Creating a defined witness point for stable tuning and intonation,
    3) Deviding the relatively long lengths of string beyond the nut in shorter pieces, so these won't resonate sympathetically in a frequency range that can be incuced in the active length of the strings.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2014
  11. 70'sRockChild

    70'sRockChild Guest

    May 4, 2014
    San Diego, Ca
    I've always wondered why basses don't come with a retainer on the "A" string, but Fender does put this on some of it's basses.
    Stealth Bass String Retainer
    Model #: 0078972049
    Burwabit and Quantized Harmonic like this.
  12. Coolhandjjl


    Oct 13, 2010
    There are "bar" style trees that cover all three strings. Just do a Google images search for bass string trees, and you will see lots of cool pics.
  13. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    You just wind the string down to the deck and you don't need that thingy.


    Yet some reprobates howl in defiance that they shouldn't have to do five wraps instead of 2.5. Poor hard done by souls.
  14. I agree with you, but really, how much extra would it cost to use a bar style that covers three strings?
  15. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    Bar trees are fugly. Five winds and a button tree is pretty.
  16. I have five wraps on my A string and it's rattling/buzzing from the tuning key area. I was thinking about trying one of those stealth guides to see if it solved the rattling issue.
  17. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    The stealth retainer requires "ultralight" style tuners with the threaded through head ferrules. Doesn't work with vintage press in ferrules. So if you have the modern type, you're good to go.

    I would look at the nut slot break angle first to make sure the string is properly seated at the fret edge of the nut.
  18. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Do the wraps go all the way down to the headstock ferrule at the bottom of the string post?

    Is there a good witness point at the nut?

    Is there some fall away at the headstock end of the nut slot?
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2015