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"Open" classical guitar style headstocks

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Jim T., Jan 1, 2002.

  1. I wanted to know if there were any negative tonal/resonant effects from bass guitars using this type of headstock design. Is it much harder to do quick broken string changes? Is there much of a reduction in vibration from the missing wood? Is it nothing to be concerned about, period? I like the looks on the new Bollings, Grs, some EUBs, etc. Whaddya think?

    There IS a supposed advantage to the greater string angle from the nut to the tuners but I'm dubious about it's effects "north" of the nut. Are the downward facing tuner knobs any problem in use? Thanks.
  2. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    My old Gibson EB-3 had the design. I didn't see or hear any advantage. In fact, it was more trouble for me.

    Tuning on the fly was more of a chore, (for me anyway), because my hand had to come from "behind' the headstock as opposed to "down on the side" of it.

    Also, one time the strap became detached from the upper horn while playing, (this was years before anyone thought of strap-loks). The headstock hit the stage and the D string tuner bent because it was the first part of the bass to hit the stage.

    If you wiped down the bass, getting into the tuning peg cavities wasn't much fun.

    My guess is just it's that the design is taken from the headstock of the traditional double bass and adds some novelty appeal for some people after decades of basic Kluson/Schaller-style gears.
  3. rickbass,
    Thanks for your valuable imput. Yes, you'd be guessing right. I am looking for something different. I also like traditional/classical styling but had some doubts about some of the "issues". Did you notice any less tone or bass range, etc. when listening to your sound?

    Thanks again! Jim T.

    Anyone else with open headstock design basses/experience out there want to add anything?
  4. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    De nada, Jim. My pleasure. I know not many people have owned the design.

    I didn't notice any effect tonally, BUT you have to remember this was a Gibson EB3L

    That means you have a mahogany body, early Gibson humbuckers, and a 30 1/2" scale. That warm, bassy, wood + the heavy wound pups + floppy strings = tonal mud.

    The 3-way tone selector switch just meant you could get 3 kinds of of mud.

    Plus, at that time, you didn't have the hi-fi amps w/tweeters we're used to now. Acoustic Control amps with an 18" and a SS head were about as "modern sounding" as you could find.

    Sorry, I can't say. It's a different ball game with today's bass technology.
  5. rickbass,
    Yeah, all good points. I wonder if there are any GR bass players or others out there who've had experience with more modern/longer scale basses who'd be able to tell us!
  6. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    I like open headstocks. They provide the downward pressure on the nut that angled headstocks provide, without any of the (potential/alleged) structural weakness of angled headstocks.