The Heavier Guitar Headstock Myth  -   CleverJoe's Musician's Resource Centre

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Guitar Talk
Written by Greigg Fraser

The Heavier Headstock Myth

I would like to talk about a very important discovery I made a couple of years ago. It deals with how increasing your guitar's headstock mass can increase your sustain. I'd always regarded this theory as a bit of a myth - until I experienced it first hand!

I was ordering some tools and parts out of the Stewart MacDonald catalogue when I came across an interesting item. It was a set of ebony replacement tuner buttons made to replace the standard chrome style ones found on Schaller tuners. I thought they would look great on my Paul Reed Smith Custom and included them in my order.

When they arrived I was eager to put them on and to say the least, they looked wonderful! However, when I played my guitar I noticed a distinct lack of tone and resonance - almost as if the guitar was water logged or something. That singing woody sustain was gone - and then I remembered the Heavier Headstock Myth.

I quickly retrieved my discarded chrome tuner buttons and noticed that just one of them weighed much more than all six of the ebony ones put together. I changed them back right away and presto - my guitar's sound was back!

I recall a product from several years ago called Fat Head which was a sheet of bell brass cut out to fit the shape and style of a guitar's headstock, and when installed was said to greatly increase the sustain of your instrument. I now believe it!

So, if anyone out there is interested in increased sustain, I'd strongly suggest finding some way of adding mass to your headstock - it really works!

Greigg Fraser is a guitarist/songwriter and guitar technician from London, Ontario and has released two instrumental rock CD's. You may have seen Greigg hosting the popular cable television show "Guitar Talk" on Rogers Cable in Canada. Visit Greigg's web site at:

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