String trees

Guy Incognito

Senior Stratmaster
May 14, 2019
4,624
Here and now
Can regular tuners,non staggered be used on a Stratocaster without string trees, and what would happen if you did?
If you properly wrap the tuner post to the bottom it's basically the same as a staggered tuner angle and you could ditch the string trees.

However, you likely wouldn't want to do heavy tremolo work like that.
 
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StratUp

Most Honored Senior Member
Sep 5, 2020
8,094
Altered States
If you properly wrap the past tuner post to the bottom it's basically the same as a staggered tuner angle and you could ditch the string trees.

However, you likely wouldn't want to do heavy tremolo work like that.

Wouldn't you actually be better off without the string trees if you do a lot of tremolo work? It would eliminate a binding point.
 

Scott Baxendale

Most Honored Senior Member
Gold Supporting Member
May 20, 2020
5,567
Sante Fe, NM
Can regular tuners,non staggered be used on a Stratocaster without string trees, and what would happen if you did?
There won’t be enough down pull on the high E and B which means the Notes won’t be clear and will sound dead or muffled, and when you bend the string will pop out of the nut slot.
 

Guy Incognito

Senior Stratmaster
May 14, 2019
4,624
Here and now
But even with the non-staggered, wouldn't removing the trees allow for more consistent string reset when using the tremolo?
The String Retainer provides more than one service in one action.

It creates the proper angle to get a clean un-fretted note. It provides down pressure to keep the strings from popping out of the slots when bending, using the trem or heavy strumming. It kills ringing of the string above the nut and makes the string run from the retainer to the post at roughly the same height the string exits the post under normal circumstances (not critical but not nothing).

There's another thread asking what locking tuners are for, Tuning Stability or Quick String Changes?

Locking tuners are for tuning stability (though it's debatable how effective they are at that) and quick changes are a by-product.

The idea is to minimize the number of wraps on the post to minimize the possibly of the wraps moving when the trem is used (and string tension is relaxed).

So if you're adding wraps on the post to increase the break angle you're also increasing the probability that the wraps will move during trem use. In a traditional design all the parts work together trying to balance the advantages and disadvantages.

On this Partscaster I have no string tree and standard tuners wrapped all the way down the post just to see how it'll work. This is a new Fender neck and I haven't shaved the top of the nut to reduce slot depth yet. The current break angle with taller slot walls is just good enough to play the guitar but as @Scott Baxendale says the E & B strings don't ring quite clear, and the strings ring a bit on the other side of the nut.
IMG_20220313_183005642.jpg
 
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dirocyn

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 20, 2018
6,798
Murfreesboro, TN
It's about the angles involved, which are kind of dependent on the thickness of the fretboard, the height of the nut, the distance between nut & tuner, the height of the tuners, and the angle of the headstock (if any). On my Strat the one with the lowest angle is the G string (no retainer on it), it looks like about 4 degrees. Which is enough to keep the string in the slot and to keep the nut from buzzing. If that same angle followed all the way out to the high e tuner, it would hit the very bottom of the tuning post.

Really string trees are a kludge. A work-around, so that Fender wouldn't have to use a scarf joint at the headstock. It is by no means the only solution imaginable--they could have placed the tuners closer to the nut (3 on a side or even 4/2) or used a thicker fretboard, or used shorter tuning posts.
 


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