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A Fender headstock question...


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DOes anybody know why Fender enlarged the headstocks on most of it's electric guitars after CBS took them over? Was it an attempted design improvement or strictly cosmetic?

Always remember that you are unique. Just like everyone else.





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I'm pretty sure that it was solely to make their brand-identifying headstock-shape even more recognizable, standing out visibly onstage and onscreen.

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?


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I only remember the larger headstocks on the 72 Strat model. They also used Strat necks on the 72 Tele with the larger headstocks. I don't know when they made the change but pre-CBS is 1965 or earlier so it was sometime after that. I think they went back to the normal size as the larger headstocks did not catch on and they wanted to use up the new old stock for awhile...but I'm just taking a wild ass guess at it LOL! Mine have always been in the normal size. I don't remember any increase in the headstock size on any of the other models (i.e. Tele, Jaguar, Jazzmaster, Mustang, Hockey Sticks, etc.). I think it was about Looks maybe? :cool:



ps. The larger headstocks remind me of the original Bigsby design...

Take care, Larryz
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I'd agree it was cosmetic more than an engineered idea.

I don't think that small area would do much really to affect the sound.

There are several ref books & sites that might help w/this (see below)

Good question picker, I do not know the answer but Google is our friend. (Sometimes)

As is wikipedia, to a degree.


Here's a starter list of info sites (the long URLs are all single items...copy/paste)

fender guitar history



specific models



books (yer local libraries are often a terrific source for materials)


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It started with the CBS-era in '65 or so and continued up until CBS sold the company in the early 80s... the Japanese copies of late '50s and early 60s small headstock Strats had made them more popular, sales-wise, and those older Fenders were generally better-regarded and more sought after, so it signaled a return for the company to "what made it great."


Why was it enlarged?


The Stratocasters headstock was enlarged and slightly re-shaped.


The rationale was simple, noted author Richard Smith in Fender: The Sound Heard Round the World. The new design allowed a bigger decal.


A bigger headstock had more room for a bigger Fender-logo decal. With hindsight, its seen by many as the first really notable example of troublesome CBS meddling in Fender instrument design.


Fender.com: How The Strat Came To Have Two Heads

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Interesting thread. I noticed the different head stocks but always assumed it was to identify different shaped necks. I only owned one fender a Coronado II which had a pretty large head stock. I heard about the slim line (I think that was what they called them) necks and saw the smaller headstocks usually on Telecasters but never questioned them. Someday I need to buy a strat just because. Jim
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