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String retainers

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by ChaosGwar, Feb 11, 2002.

  1. Ok, I might just be stupid, but what is the purpose of string retainers? I'm talking about the thing on the headstock that holds down the D and G strings. I took it off, just for S&G, tuned the strings back to D and G, and played. There was no difference in having it on vs taking it off. So...?

    Reason I ask, I have a Fretless neck, building a new bass, don't have a spare retainer, don't feel like spending $1.80 at Warmouth + S&H just to get one a few weeks from now. I'm thinking about just leaving it off, filling the tiny little hole, and not worry about it.

    Is this going to be a big mistake? The only worry I had was the string slipping outta the nut, but it didn't.

    Probably just a slew of stupid questions. I'm starting to sound like a friggin' newbie.
    Well, this is the first bass I've ever built, so in that respect, I guess I am a newbie.
  2. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    The string retainer is used to control the break angle over the nut on a headstock that not angled back. Leaving it off does mess with the sound of the string, which is something you don't want to find out about when you're on a gig.
  3. i think it will slightly alter the sustain and tension of the string, making it slightly more floppy.
  4. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    It will not affect the tension, though it may affect the sustain, if there is a great impact on the break angle over the nut.

  5. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    I respectfully disagree on the tension thing. The breakover angle and the length of the string from witness point to anchor point has a large bearing on on the floppiness or stiffness of the action.

    Try taking the D and G strings from under the string tree and see if the action doesn't feel softer and floppier.
  6. Man not this argument again. The truth of the matter is that if the same string on the same scale is the same tuning it MUST be the same tension. There is no way around this. The tension is directly related to the pitch.

    Sorry, but this argument has seen its day.

  7. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    The real reason for this is that the string can buzz in the nut when there's not enough pressure (due to insufficient break angle). Some Fenders and Fender-style basses even buzz with string trees and/or have weak-sounding D and G strings.
  8. won't leaving the string tree off make it look ugly??? ;)

    i say get the string tree...bass companies don't put them on their basses for nothing.
  9. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    Whether you diagree or not, the tension of the string is based only on the scale length and the pitch to which is it tuned. Break angle, bridge mass, nor any other magical items have any effect on this physical fact.

    Or maybe my waves and vibes course and quantum mechanics have taught me wrong.

  10. Ok, ok I'll get a string retainer.
    Just stop the argueing for the love of GOD!!!


    I need to order some stuff from Wormoth anyway, might as well get one then.

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