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Thread: String trees

  1. #1
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002

    Default String trees

    I had a question from a potential emando buyer about string trees on emando headstocks. Not every maker uses them, but you'll find them on Blue Stars, Schwabs, and most Fenders.

    Potential buyer was concerned that using the string tree introduces a couple of extra angles into what should ideally be a straight line: namely, the string's path from nut to tuner. But if you try to skip the string tree, the string slips out of the nut slot, or worse.

    Has anyone experienced problems with string breakage, intonation, etc., that were traceable to the use of a string tree? I've never regarded or experienced them as troublesome, myself. More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

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  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Central New York

    Default Re: String trees

    Both my electrics, a Bluestar and a Fender, utilize a string tree and I've never had a problem. Unlike a standard acoustic mandolin, the headstock is flat to the fretboard.(though lower by roughly 1/2 inch) instead of angled downward. I believe the greater angle using the string tree is a necessity. That's just my humble layman' opinion.

  3. #3
    Registered User Travis Wilson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    San Antonio, TX

    Default Re: String trees

    I've never had a problem with the strings--no breakage or intonation issues--on my Schwab.

    2006 Weber Gallatin, 1984 Flatiron 2MW, Wendler #194, Schwab #177

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Fairfield County, Connecticut

    Default Re: String trees

    Different opinion here. I've had a Blue Star Mandoblaster four-string for many years that I like a lot, and I've never used the string tree. It always seemed to create an unnecessarily sharp break angle. I've strung it with all kinds of strings (for the past few years, with Thomastik lights), and it plays fine without using it. I've never had problems with strings popping out of the nut slots, or anything else. It may be my imagination, but I seems that it allows for a little more give in the A and E strings, making finger vibrato easier.

  5. #5
    '`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`' Jacob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002

    Default Re: String trees

    Never had a problem with string trees on emandos or eguitars.
    The change in direction they give the string is negligible compared to that of a through body path to the bridge.
    Never had a problem there, either, and it's about a 90 degree change.

  6. #6

    Default Re: String trees

    I had a bugger of a time getting tuning stabalized on my Fender FM60E 5-string. Part of the problem was the string trees - this mando has 2 of them.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Stock trees [more like a disc], as seen above, have 2 contact points for each string, causing double the trouble points.

    I ended up using 2 different types of "roller" string trees. One of these for the E/A strings

    And one of these for the D/G strings

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The first one sits lower to the headstock while the second is taller and is turned so the roller is closer to the nut.

    Stays in tune for days now with no breakage issues. | oKee.ComX

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  7. #7

    Default Re: String trees

    Yes, I have noticed those problems before. The string tree is used when the break angle over the nut isn't severe enough to hold the string in the nut. What I have found is that the string tree isn't all that effective if the nut hasn't been properly slotted. Sometimes, people aren't as diligent in cutting the slot at a steep angle because they know there is a string tree. This means the contact point in the nut will change as the instrument is fretted hence changing the intonation. Hope that makes sense.

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  9. #8
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Outer Spiral Arm, of Galaxy, NW Oregon.

    Default Re: String trees

    the multi planar head stock (pentalin, etc.) is partially at an angle from the nut,
    but uses a string guide for each string..

    There is a steep angle (lute like) down from the nut for the 5th string, round wound strings
    hang up on the original one..
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