Every acoustic guitar I have ever seen has the tuners located in a straight line up the head. This causes the strings on the middle strings to have to bend more at the nut to the tuner. In build a neck and headstock, I'm thinking it would make sense to angle the head with tuners (narrow at the top) so that all the strings run closer to the same angle off the nut.

Is there any acoustical or structural aspect that would cause this to be a bad idea?


Doug Collins

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If I understand what I think you're saying, then Traugott, and Seagull immediately pop into my head. Both makers have headstocks and tuners that angle in towards the top. I'm sure there are many others. So in my humble opinion, there is nothing wrong with doing that.. and apparently Mr.Traugott's opinion too.

some eye candy-
Thank you Mr. Hobocaster. Jeff Traugott's head is exactly what I had envisioned. Hope he doesn't mind me copying him. Obviously I haven't looked at that many guitars, at least not from a builders eye.


Doug Collins
I don't think so. It just doesn't look traditional. Seagull guitars use a similar headstock. Gibson used such a design on some madolins, it's called a snake head.

I've often thought that if you use individual tuners i.e. not 3 on a plate, you could place them wherever you want so that the strings don't bind on the other tuners. Old banjos (6-string, even 7-string models) used this layout all the time. As long as it works good and looks good I don't see a prob.

Rev George
I have a mid '20's Gibson "Snakehead" mandolin. I've always thought it has one of the cleanest head designs. It doesn't leave a lot of room for inlay or other ornamentation but I think it balances the look of the instrument very nicely. Mr. Ford has some shots of an A4 with a "snakehead" on the site. .

I have been toying with the idea of using some 4-on-a-plate mandolin heads I have on a tenor ukulele. I'm not using them for anything else but I haven't come up with a design that doesn't make the head look to heavy on such a small instrument.

My first instrument build used one of these 4-plate tuners from a mandolin too, I decided to go with a Fender style head on the 8-track uke. Now I kinda wish I used something else instead since I could otherwise have done something else with the mando neck.

Fender made an acoustic with a strat head on it.

looked a little unusual, but with 6 on a side you got straight string pull.

I've made an electric with an asymetric headstock so that the strings all pull straight, but folks like tyhe traditional more with acoustics. Electrics you can play around with more!!
Hi Doug -- sounds like that flat top that you are making is coming rite along-- triditional or modern -- that is the question-- well the head stock on a martin d-18 or alike is about as
apealing to me as a bowl of 3 day old mashed potatoes, where as on the other hand the hand stock on a seagull -- now theres "style" -- just an openion - and that and a buck and a half ya can get a cup of java at a local qik stop store.. beast to you Doug and keep up the building and lets see it when you get done ok???
Yes Donald, I am progressing quite well, although I am trying to move slow and carefully, bugging guys like you for information as much as I can.

I kinda thought the Martin style head was a bit boring too, but I do prefer it over 3 day old mashed potatoes. I'm looking to do something a little different just to make it my own and the idea of having a straight pull from tuner to nut makes sense to me. I was just wondering if there was some technical reason why I shouldn't. For instance (as I think about it) perhaps fanning the strings out after the nut stabilizes the nut better, like guy wires? - probably not.

Anyway, thank again for all the comments from you and everyone else. You'll be happy to know that I am documenting this whole process with photos, so you be able to see every step and stumble along the way when I finally publish it.


Doug Collins
hey Doug --geks thats gr8 that you are docca mentin the progress.
Im in antapssion (spell check please) and not only that I cant wait to see the new toy when ya get it done. best to ya Doug--- Donald


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