Slotted Headstocks: Look Cool, Sound Great

Slotted Headstocks: Look Cool, Sound Great

If you've ever taken a look at the headstock of an acoustic guitar, you'll note that some of them implement sold pieces of wood, while others are slotted, with open holes in the headstock and a different type of tuning mechanism. While slotted headstocks have been a standard for nylon-string/classical guitars for many years, there has been a resurgence in this style of guitar craftsmanship in recent years for steel string guitars as well. Takamine offers slotted headstocks on a number of steel string models, and apart from its retro-cool aesthetic look, there are actual sonic reasons to check out slotted headstock Takamine guitars.

A hundred years ago, the slotted headstock wasn't just a novelty; it was pretty typical in guitar luthiery, which took its early design cues from string instruments like violins and cellos that also feature an open space in the pegbox where the strings are attached (which also explains why this older, traditional design has remained the norm in classical guitars). For steel string guitars, a slotted headstock increases the angle at which the string crosses over the nut, giving open strings more clarity and liveliness to those notes. This is due to the resulting increased downward tension on the nut.

Pro Series P3NY

Limited Edition CP400NYK

Thermal Top Series EF740FS TT

Thermal Top Series CRN-TS1

For smaller body or short-scale guitars that are quieter to begin with, such as Takamine's Pro Series P3NY, the slotted headstock is one design aspect that allows this guitar to offer the beautiful articulation for which it's acclaimed. It also helps make 12-fret models, such as the CP400NYK, EF740FS TT or the new slope-shoulder dreadnought CRN-TS1 retain punchiness while allowing the naturally fortified 12-fret warmth do its thing.

Many fingerstyle players who don't necessarily enact a great deal of volume (compared to plectrum users) appreciate this tonal difference. But let's not ignore that look! Slot headstock guitars offer a traditional vibe that imparts the cool factor of the time-honored troubadour, taking his or her guitar from city to city to perform with style. Sort of like spoke wheels on a Harley, slotted headstocks just add a special something to certain guitars, and Takamine is happy to offer some of the best.

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Pat Nolan

love the thermal top cutaway