Who needs string tees?


Senior member
Hey guys, I've always hesitated on getting a neck with a straight peghead because I don't want to use string tees. I have, however, seen some of your guys' completed straight peghead project without the string tees...

So are they necessary or what? Is it better to use them when you have a straight peghead or not?
Angled pegheads do not need string trees... straight pegheads usually DO.  There are ways to avoid using string trees... like using staggered tuners.  A lot of it is the nut, too.  A perfectly-cut nut slot might prevent problems.

But on an average guitar (even a Warmoth) with a straight peghead, you're going to want string trees.  Unless you really work to avoid it you're going to have shitty tone/sustain on the high strings:  "PINNGGGG" :(
I am asking because I want to try the earvana nut which only works with a straight peghead at this point... and I don't like string tees. I also want to try a straight peghead because of the warmoth pro side truss rod access.

Will a straight peghead with an earvana nut need string tees or staggered tuners?

And if I need them, which staggered tuners are recommended?
I don't know if you can really avoid string trees and still get the right angle on high E and B - I'd like someone to measure the break angle they get on the high E with those staggered height tuners. I'd bet it's not much. Get the little 'barrel' type, they don't bind and are small, and you only need one for the high strings.
I have one set of tuners with a slight stagger.  I have string trees on it anyway.  I use the "roller" type... they don't give me any trouble.
I'm using barrel string trees and they are fine for me.  Just on the upper two strings mind you.

If you just don't like them, get a set of the staggered machines and give that a try.
that is the best part of the sperzels.. Still not worth the hassle of installing them though..
go for planet waves and use one of them roller trees.
I have the LSR nut and it says you don't need them.  I disagree, it sounds like a sitar at times.  This is annoying if you are trying to play the Ramones or whatever.  I put a string tree on it and the problem went away.  No tuning issues either.  I have the Planet Waves tuners as well, and the way those things work far out weights any detraction of a string tree.

I have these on my strat:


I couldn't tell the difference with the string tee or without it, so I'm not using one.
No string trees for me on my candy purple Warmoth strat... tone is excellent throughout, and once the new strings settle (after a few playings) the 6-hole Callaham trem (sans locking tuners) barely makes the guitar go outta tune even with heavy usage (the wound strings might dip a hair in pitch, but that's it).
LSR Roller Nut I don't think requires a string tree, and it's on straight pegheads.  I didn't originally have a tree on my build (it's a bass - shouldn't matter), but the strings in need would buzz at the nut.  I've since added one.
Thanks guys for all the responses, I'll try a rolling t on my next straight peghead guitar if i have too...

Put it to you this way:  If you didn't like the way the lug nuts that hold the wheels on your car looked, would you consider not using them?  I doubt it.

How about this one...... I don't like adjusting truss rods so why don't I start ordering my necks without truss rods at all.  Did you ever think some parts are there for a reason.  I don't particularly like strap buttons, but I wouldn't dream of building a guitar without them.  I also don't like the screws you use to attach a neck on a bolt on guitar, so why not just not use them?  Well I wouldn't have a functional guitar if I decided which parts to omit.  Put it another sarcastic way, Leo Fender was a cheapskate...... He only used what was absolutely necessary.  So if Leo put it on a guitar, you probably should too.  He built guitars to be played, not hung up on the wall of your man cave.  If you are more worried about looks than playability, save yourself the aggravation of building a guitar and go buy what you are looking for and hang it up, but make sure you take the string trees off before you hang it up, they'll just bother you.

Seriously what is wrong with a string tree?  I need to know your logic on hating a perfectly functional piece of hardware that you can't see on the guitar unless you are a foot away from it.  Tell you the truth I really can't see the string trees on any of the guitars I have that they are installed on.  But I'm usually too busy watching my fingers on the fretboard to bother with checking out what my headstock looks like.  Oh well maybe when I get better at playing I'll have time to stop watching the fretboard and take a minute  to make sure my guitar looks right..... This is rediculous if you ask me.  You need them on a straight peghead, if you want your guitar to sound right.  Some people have gotten away with not using them, but they probably should use them for the sake of how their guitar SOUNDS.  Last time I checked, guitars are musical instruments, their tone and playability should outweigh what they look like tenfold........ I have no problem with playing a beat up ugly guitar if it sounds good, but I also don't have a problem with driving an old beat up pickup truck if it runs good.....

Sorry about the rant, I just don't get why you would consider the looks of a guitar over it's function, unless you are making a display piece........

There has to be a balance between form and function.  Part of the function are string trees.  Sorry dude but you are gonna need them.  I mean I could be wrong about this, so why not try this approach:  Order string trees when you are ordering hardware, they are pretty cheap.  String up the guitar and play it a little.  When you decide that every note you play on High E and B sound terrible, go ahead and throw the trees on and stand back while I say I told you so. 
It ain't about the looks, it's about the wierd "ping" tone that I get on the B and the E strings, and about how easy it is to pop a string or go out of tune on a bend or a whammy.

I have seen plenty of your guys' strats and teles with normal headstocks and yet no string tees in the gallery and the blog, so I was just wondering how necessary it really was...

Ok sorry I was such a dick in my last post........

I am guessing what you are looking at are the guys that use the Warmoth angled fender shaped necks.  They make necks with the angled peghead and a fender shape.  That is gonna be what you are gonna need if you have your heart set on this setup.

I would say your weird ping is coming from the nut not the trees.  I couldn't be able to say unless I could actually pick the strings myself.  IDK I never heard of these types of problems with string trees.
I've had trouble trying to not use a string tree, but never a problem with a string tree.... the nut is the be-all and end-all of the issue, most of the people making them follow the "rules" for some reason. I make my slots wider than normal, as long as the back angle is steep enough the string can't rattle - you also want the bottom of the slot to be round, not square, and the sides absolutely parallel. Don't give the string anything to rattle against, and it won't rattle. :icon_scratch: If it's sitting (perfectly) in the bottom of a (perfect) round slot, what can rattle? :icon_scratch:
A 10X jeweler's loupe or an Optivisor is a big help. Especially if you're an old blind coot like me; there's also no reason I can see that the heights of the slots should be 1/2 the string diameter (Rule # 7), then of course your strings would pop out on those violent step-and-a-half bends at the nut - I make my slots cover the whole string.


Trees don't have to be dorky-looking, you can make your own outta... stuff, or just "find" some thing:


The seven-string needed three strings covered so I had to wing; that's not a real pick either, it's... two bigger picks laminated together and winged upon.
Thanks for the tech info stubhead....
Maybe I should have made a technichal inquiry instead, cuz I would've gotten that answer alot faster.

By the way, those pic t's are pretty cool...