Mudcat Café message #801944 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #52395   Message #801944
Posted By: Murray MacLeod
12-Oct-02 - 06:59 PM
Thread Name: Guitar Headstock Design
Subject: Guitar Headstock Design
I was prompted to create this thread by clicking on one of the random Mudcat links (nice feature of the new Mudcat btw), namely www.michaeldunnguitars.com/

Now, I have no doubt that Michael Dunn builds beautiful guitars that sound great, but from an aesthetic point of view his headstocks are plain ugly. They are ugly in the same way that Ovation headstocks are ugly, but it is not only the mass producers like Ovation who cannot get it right. Stefan Sobell makes amazing guitars, but his headstocks look weak. Doc Watson's favorite guitar, made by Gallagher of Wartrace Tennessee has a really crappy-looking headstock, and I could quote plenty of others. Lowden and Taylor spring to mind ....

Now, I know that many will say that it is all subjective, and that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder", but I would contend that
the elegance of headstock design can be likened to elegance in architecture. The ancient Greeks nailed the concept of column design over 2000 years ago, and nobody has come up with anything more elegant in the intervening couple of millennia.

IMHO there are only three guitar manufacturers at present who make guitars with elegant headstocks. Firstly there is C F Martin, who got it right first time and produced a timeless elegant design that has stood the test of time. Secondly there is Collings, whose design varies ever so slightly from Martin's but still looks oh-so-
right. And thirdly there is Fender, whose Stratocaster headstock is a masterpiece. (The Telecaster headstock, however, is clumsy by comparison)

When will guitar manufacturers and wannabe luthiers realise that it has all been done before and that they would be better of sticking to the tried and tested instead of coming up with outlandish designs which only make the true aesthete wince?

Murray