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pri0531 09-04-2002 03:05 PM

Flo's string retaining bar
Does this retaining bar seem a bit high to u or is it the angle of the photo?

sniperfrommars1 09-04-2002 04:52 PM

not really. You only have to have it low enough to keep the pads from going sharp. Its probably just the angle. If you have these too low, they "SEEM" to add tension to the strings. Whether or not thats true remains to be seen. Vais old jacksons didnt have these at all, which to this day baffles me.

darren wilson 09-04-2002 10:23 PM

I think it's definitely the angle of the photo.

And i think maybe you've been hanging around guitar forums too much. Is this sort of thing really worthy of discussion?



sniperfrommars1 09-05-2002 01:48 AM

Well darren the effect on tension is definitely noted by me, at least to some extent. Try it sometime, take off the string retainer. Its only a very minute amount. i actually prefer to have the string retainer down low, but some dont. Im just as anal about my preference for pickups bolted to the body. Its all about a few things

darren wilson 09-05-2002 07:40 AM

I don't see how the string retainer bar has any effect on the string tension once the nut is locked down.

If you didn't have a locking nut, yes, what happens past the nut can make a big difference to how the strings bend, but with a locking nut, i think any "perceived" difference in tension is psychosomatic.

sniperfrommars1 09-05-2002 04:57 PM

well lets put it like this. The nut is locked down "AFTER THE TENSION HAS BEEN INCREASED" So whatever tension would be created by locking nut would continue to take place, otherwise as the tension decreased so would the length of the string, thereybe causing it to go out of tune? Makes sense to me. 8)

Lonestar 09-06-2002 11:31 AM

This is silly. Pitch is a function of tension, length, and string diameter. In this case the length and diameter are fixed, so if the tension were any different with or without the bar you would be able to hear it in the pitch of the string.

I agree that this does not apply to guitars without a locking nut.

dex 09-06-2002 12:34 PM

As long as the strings are sitting well in the V groves at the exit of the locking nut, it doesn't matter how low down the retaining bar is.

If they are not laying well in the groves, locking the nut will pull the strings sharp.
Shurely everyone knows that. :D

Also guitars with angled headstock not always need retaining bars, because the angle between the neck and the headstosk ensures that the strings are laying well into the groves on both sides of the nut.

Also if you change the tenssion, the pitch will change, so you can't claim that with the retainer bar all the way down and lets say high E at concert pitch will pull more or less than the same high E at concert pitch without the retainer bar in place.

As the guy above said, pitch is a finction of tension, length and diameter.
You want to achieve Concert pitch for the high E at 330Hz, the length is 25.5" and the diameter is .009.
The only variable here is tension. :D

darren wilson 09-06-2002 01:46 PM

Okay, consider this:

With the nut unlocked, raise your string retainer bar so it has minimal effect on the strings behind the nut. Adjust it to apply just enough pressure to keep the strings in the bottom of the channels of the locking nut.

Set your fine tuners to about the middle of their travel and tune the guitar to pitch with the main tuners. Now, keeping the nut unlocked, crank your retainer bar down so it's really putting a lot of pressure on the strings behind the nut. This will raise the pitch of the strings, because of the increased tension over the entire length of the string.

Now, without retuning, lock down the pads on the locking nut and use the fine tuners on the bridge to lower the strings' pitch back to normal tuning. By lowering the pitches back to normal, you have just released any tension you added to the playable length of string by cranking down on the retainer bar.

I'll state this again: If you loosen, tighten, or even remove the strings between the tuners and a locked nut, it will have zero impact on the tension of the playable length of string between the nut and the bridge.

On a guitar with a non-locking nut, the pressure of a retainer bar or string trees can have an effect on the string feel when bending, because the tension and additional bends behind the nut affects how well the slack string can stretch and slide back and forth in the nut slots when you bend strings on the frets.

Again, this does not apply to locking nuts. Any differences you percieve are purely psychological once you've clamped that nut down.

sniperfrommars1 09-06-2002 03:44 PM

Dude listen to your statement. None of us do it like this. The tension is increased by having the retainer bar down, and the nut is locked and fine tuned with a SLIGHT CHANGE In tension, therefore the tension of the neck has STILL been affected by it. You can all go to hell if you think otherwise, Ive clearly noted the feel. Same thing with my tremsetter, If I dont use it, no tension on the string, even though it doesnt pull, and locks down the intertia block, the tension has still been increased by having it there. Of course after the nuts been locked the tension is no longer applied to what happens behind the nut, but if you lock it with the increase there it still exists. You think a js doesnt thave less tension than a jem because of the angle of the headstock? The more you increase the angle the higher the tension is. this is a MAJOR principle of guitar design. Why have any angle at all if this doesnt effect everything else? It would be more cost effective otherwise.

pri0531 09-06-2002 03:53 PM

Easy boys - Moderators are watching.

darren wilson 09-06-2002 06:27 PM

Let's forget about locking nuts for a second.

You're mis-informed if you've been told that tilted headstocks create tension on the string. String tension is a function of string gauge, pitch and scale length, not headstock angle. (Why do you think Les Pauls have a looser feel than a Strat? It's not the headstock angle, because by your argument, a Les Paul should have more tension than a Strat.)

In traditional guitar design, the headstock is tilted to ensure all the strings break over the nut at a consistent angle. The breaking angle is necessary to create the downward pressure that holds the strings in the slots of the nut. Too little of an angle, and they jump out. Too much, and they bind and go out of tune. The angle increases pressure on the nut, not tension on the string.

Fender-style straight headstocks need to use string trees, staggered-height tuners or a retainer bar to hold the strings down in a slotted nut.

Floyd Rose locking nuts have the breaking angle designed into them. It's irrelevant as to whether the headstock is straight or tilted. It works the same because the nut is sloped from the fretboard side towards the tuners.

The Floyd Rose string retainer bar was originally designed for straight Fender-style headstocks, to hold the strings at an angle so the nut pads don't push the strings too sharp when they're locked down. It's not a device to alter the string tension on the playable part of the string... it's there for tuning convenience. On guitars that have sufficient back angle on the headstock such that the strings exit the nut flush with the bottom of the grooves on the tuner side, the retainer bar isn't even necessary.

If want to believe that having the retainer bar cranked down increases the tension on the playable part of the string with a locked nut, that's your perogative... but the mechanics of it don't lie.

Now, with regard to your trem-setter comment, it's like comparing apples to oranges in this situation. It's a totally different mechanical relationship with the strings compared to the retainer bar, because the bridge is a moving part.

A trem-setter does alter the feel of your guitar because it's stopping the bridge from sagging forward when you bend strings, which means that all of your bending force is going against the string, instead of some of it pushing the string and some of it pulling the bridge forward.

And no, i don't think a JS has any less string tension than a JEM with the same gauge of strings installed and tuned to the same pitch.

Go read the back of a pack of strings, where they list the string tension along with the gauge. They don't list separate tension measurements based on the kind of headstock, do they?

darren wilson 09-06-2002 06:31 PM

By the way, in my "Consider this" post, i wasn't suggesting that you go through that routine every time you re-string your guitar.

I was trying to illustrate that any percieved change in the string tension you feel with the retainer bar cranked down low is an illusion.

sniperfrommars1 09-06-2002 06:38 PM

Its not an illusion darren. Ive never said that it was extreme, just the fact that its there. By your statement if tension were absolute to pitch then no matter what gauge of string you used it would steel have the same tension, this is of course not true. And I wasnt implying that you do do the method you described. Alot of your points are good, but I SWEAR to you if you took an angled neck and put it on a strat and tuned to concert pitch A 440 hz, then the tension on the strings would be GREATER than that of a straight headstock. Ive also always understood the principle of headstock angle, my suggestion was a statement of headstock design of makers such as paul reed smith. The tension increased by pushing on the nut causes strings to bind in the nut. Of course with a locking nut this isnt a design flaw really as once the nut is lock no problems occur. but you have your mechanics down pretty good darren. THe last statement I want to make about this is that the increase in tension is so slight that one could barely tell. Try this sometime. take your locking nut pads off. Take your string retainer off. Tune to concert pitch and do some double step bends on different areas of the neck. Now put the string retainer back on tune to concert pitch. the resistance has increased due to the increase in angle over the nut...........Tension along with it :twisted:

darren wilson 09-06-2002 07:02 PM


Originally Posted by sniperfrommars1
By your statement if tension were absolute to pitch then no matter what gauge of string you used it would steel have the same tension


Originally Posted by darren wilson
String tension is a function of string gauge, pitch and scale length, not headstock angle.

What i wrote and what you read are two different things. Every gauge of strings has its own set of tension measurements on the pack. But none of them say "may be different if your headstock is pitched back on a 14-degree angle." (Though i'm curious to know which scale length they use as their reference for their tension measurements, and if all string manufacturers use the same reference point.)


Originally Posted by sniperfrommars1
Tune to concert pitch and do some double step bends on different areas of the neck. Now put the string retainer back on tune to concert pitch. the resistance has increased due to the increase in angle over the nut...........Tension along with it :twisted:

With the nut completely unlocked, the strings are free to slide back and forth in the nut slots. It's the movement of the slack string behind the nut that you're feeling when you bend.

When you put the retainer on, you're adding downforce on the nut. The "resistance" you're feeling isn't increased tension, it's increased friction across the nut. Friction and tension are two entirely different forces that act on the strings in different ways. You're not making the strings more tense, you're restricting their back-and-forth movement.

Either way, once you lock those pads down, the movement stops and the altered "tension" behind the nut is moot.

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