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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
CraigS Martin Guitars again! (82* d) RE: Martin Guitars again! 17 Jan 05

Slotted head was the best way to make tuners work smoothly until someone (Kluson, I think) devised the free-standing post tuner in the 30s, which made it economical to use a solid head. Solid head was traditional (like on flamenco guitars with friction pegs), then came geared tuners needing the bearing surfaces both sides of the slot to stop the shafts from bending over, then some top-line guitars used a solid head with planetary banjo tuners (expensive), then most of the better quality guitars were made with a solid head and the cheapos used the old-style tuners with slots because that was the cheapest solution. Nowadays the cost of making the tuners has dropped, the cost of cutting slots has risen, and the solid head is the cheapest solution! Me, I don't think it affects tone much at all - as far as I can see there's a minimum angle from the nut to the tuner required to prevent buzzing, and once you exceed that angle you get no tonal change.
12 fret neck, as opposed to a 14 fret on the same body design, gives a more balanced sound - not as bass-heavy and a thicker middle. Bridge position is the main factor for the sound difference.
But in the case of the most obvious example - 12 fret slot head Martin 000 guitars (24.9" scale) were not as sought after as Martin OM models (000 size, 25.4" scale, 14 frets), which were (and are) sought after for their tonal difference from the standard 000 models (24.9" scale, 14 frets). The bridge position differs from the standard model by about 0.35" on the OM, and by over an inch on the 12 fret! I do not understand these preferences - if anybody does, please tell!

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