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J_Wong92
01-08-2012, 11:25 PM
Title pretty much says it, I've seen some guitarists wrap a handkerchief around the headstock of their guitars. I've heard some people say that it actually does do improve something on the guitar but I wasn't sure. Anyone mind helping me out? I've looked around the net quite a lot and it I find nothing :X Thanks

~Justin

Judson
01-08-2012, 11:29 PM
Maybe they want to keep one handy to wipe sweaty hands or brow with? Other than that, I can't imagine what it would be for. Personally never seen an example of a handkerschief covering a headstock.

JoeCharter
01-08-2012, 11:36 PM
I know Antoine Dufour does it and I think there's some damping theory behind it. I find it quirky at best.

Judson
01-08-2012, 11:50 PM
I know Antoine Dufour does it and I think there's some damping theory behind it. I find it quirky at best.

I guess this is what we're talking about. I'd never seen it before ... weird!

http://macnichol.com/sites/default/files/forum-images/Antoine%20Dufour.jpg

BF1618
01-08-2012, 11:59 PM
I believe that it's supposed to cancel out any weird sounds that may resonate the strings above the nut.

Wade Hampton
01-09-2012, 12:02 AM
For a brief period in my callow youth I would tie a red bandanna on the end of my guitar peghead, which I would swirl around for dramatic effect during my (deeply heartfelt) performances.

After a while, I decided that it looked dorky rather than dramatic, and stopped doing it. I did continue to keep a bandanna handy when I played, to wipe either my forehead or the strings, as needed. But I no longer felt the need to tie one on. (And, yes, I mean that in every sense of the term...)

As for a scarf or piece of cloth having any sort of tonal effect on the instrument when tied onto it, I have trouble seeing where it could . The only way I can see it as possible would be if the player leaves the string ends unclipped at the tuner posts, leaving them to rattle and buzz against each other as the guitar is played. I suppose tying a piece of cloth over them would eliminate some of the rattles (probably not all, though,) but it would be much simpler all the way around to simply cut off the excess string ends.

So I suspect anyone who ties a cloth of any sort to their guitar headstock is doing it mostly for visual reasons, whatever the circular reasoning about "improving the tone" that they might claim.

Hope this helps.


Wade Hampton Miller

Wade Hampton
01-09-2012, 12:11 AM
I believe that it's supposed to cancel out any weird sounds that may resonate the strings above the nut.

Ah, okay, now that makes sense, in a limited way.

Limited, because as anyone can see, there's far more cloth there than is strictly needed to eliminate excess string vibrations:

http://macnichol.com/sites/default/files/forum-images/Antoine%20Dufour.jpg

So he's taking a cure for a basic, easily solved problem, and expanding it to use as an excuse for a dramatic visual flourish.

More power to him. It doesn't appear as though he's doing scissors kicks while he plays, or spitting blood onstage like this guy:

http://images.contactmusic.com/newsimages/gene_simmons_1235735.jpg

so if hanging a little drapery from his guitar works for him, I don't have a problem with it.

But you can get the same overtone canceling effect from strips of leather or felt woven in between the strings, without calling attention to it. It just depends how you want to address the problem, I guess.


whm

cmds
01-09-2012, 02:33 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-o2XKFfTMH0&list=UUExs4fpYZTEJe3LaAOsOXrA&index=10&feature=plcp

He covers this and gives you a very good example @ 8:39.

Actually quite interesting.

GibbyPrague
01-09-2012, 02:54 AM
Probably about as appealing as a tuner on the headstock ...

Sticky_fingers
01-09-2012, 04:41 AM
Ive been using this on electric guitars when recording solos in the studio. I tied it loosely over the first fret, to eliminate noise that might occur on the open strings. I did this after seeing this guy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHTOgUFfmHQ and it helped out alot to kill unforseen "buzzing".

Eric_M
01-09-2012, 04:56 AM
But you can get the same overtone canceling effect from strips of leather or felt woven in between the strings, without calling attention to it. It just depends how you want to address the problem, I guess.

True. I've also seen players use a hair scrunchie; particularly electric players who do a lot of fretboard tapping and need to dampen strings after the nut. I imagine a scrunchie might do the trick, too, for the application being discussed here, depending on where on the headstock one needs the dampening? But like you said, nothing wrong with a little dramatic flourish, though ...

Probably about as appealing as a tuner on the headstock ...

:D Now the important question: cotton or silk?

murrmac123
01-09-2012, 05:37 AM
Now the important question: cotton or silk?

For blues, cotton gives the most authentic tone.

Silk for classical, without a doubt.

But for the authentic Celtic sound, you need wool, ideally a piece of an old kilt, in the tartan of your choice ...

JosephE
01-09-2012, 05:45 AM
Yeah, whenever you strike the strings pretty hard and then mute it quickly, you hear this faint ringing for a second. I think it's just the strings vibrating a little behind the nut. And once you do notice it, it gets kind of annoying. So tying the scarf on it cuts out the ringing.

steveyam
01-09-2012, 05:59 AM
Yeah, whenever you strike the strings pretty hard and then mute it quickly, you hear this faint ringing for a second. I think it's just the strings vibrating a little behind the nut. And once you do notice it, it gets kind of annoying. So tying the scarf on it cuts out the ringing.

I agree with the theory, and partly, the solution. But you don't need two feet of trailing cotton to do the job. A neat wedge of sponge or something would do the same thing. I suspect that it is either (alternatively) being used for him to wipe his hands on, or a combination of both ie damping and to wipe hands on. Nonetheless looks cool though!

murrmac123
01-09-2012, 06:03 AM
Yeah, whenever you strike the strings pretty hard and then mute it quickly, you hear this faint ringing for a second. I think it's just the strings vibrating a little behind the nut. And once you do notice it, it gets kind of annoying. So tying the scarf on it cuts out the ringing.

If that were in fact the case, you would think that Monsieur Dufour would also have an additional piece of cloth wrapped on the neck behind the capo, just in case he was getting any annoying vibrations in that area as well ...

http://macnichol.com/sites/default/files/forum-images/Antoine%20Dufour.jpg

HHP
01-09-2012, 06:05 AM
I would only suggest if you are going to adopt silly affectations, at least color coordinate with the rest of your ensemble.

Acousticado
01-09-2012, 06:17 AM
I think it makes about as much sense as tying a bandana around the neck of your dog.

brad4d8
01-09-2012, 08:00 AM
I tied it loosely over the first fret, to eliminate noise that might occur on the open strings.
Herb Ellis has a device that fastens behind the nut and swings over to dampen the strings behind the first fret. I think it has some sort of rubber on its surface. It's used primarily because many jazz guitarists don't play all six strings in chords and this eliminates the open string sound.
Brad

unimogbert
01-09-2012, 08:48 AM
It's a caution flag - "Busker at Work" or "Please don't step on the Busker."

Jim_G
01-09-2012, 08:55 AM
Yeah, whenever you strike the strings pretty hard and then mute it quickly, you hear this faint ringing for a second. I think it's just the strings vibrating a little behind the nut. And once you do notice it, it gets kind of annoying. So tying the scarf on it cuts out the ringing.

I saw Antoine just last week (he opened for a show also featuring Stephen Bennett and Andy McKay) and after the show during the meet-and-greet someone next to me had asked him about the bandanna, and Antoine said this is precisely why he uses it. Me, I was more interested in Andy's Fan Guitar at that point ...

Mr Fixit eh
01-09-2012, 09:07 AM
I have a guitar that is very 'shimmery' - annoyingly so. I cut a thin piece of felt an put it under the strings right behind the nut. I find that it helps to cut out the shimmery effect.

Steve

Acousticado
01-09-2012, 09:48 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by JosephE
Yeah, whenever you strike the strings pretty hard and then mute it quickly, you hear this faint ringing for a second. I think it's just the strings vibrating a little behind the nut. And once you do notice it, it gets kind of annoying. So tying the scarf on it cuts out the ringing.

I saw Antoine just last week (he opened for a show also featuring Stephen Bennett and Andy McKay) and after the show during the meet-and-greet someone next to me had asked him about the bandanna, and Antoine said this is precisely why he uses it. Me, I was more interested in Andy's Fan Guitar at that point ...Sure, but hanging a curtain is a bit extreme. Therefore, it's more of a fashion statement/attention getter if you ask me.

Wade Hampton
01-09-2012, 02:16 PM
I would only suggest if you are going to adopt silly affectations, at least color coordinate with the rest of your ensemble.

Too cruel, but too true! I had the exact same thought looking at that photo.

I spend almost as much time playing mandolin family instruments as I do guitar family instruments, and the expanse of strings between the bridge and the tailpiece is a particularly annoying contributor of unwanted high end harmonics on mandolins. I deal with it with strips of leather or felt.

When I owned a Weber mandocello, it had the same problem at both ends, so I wove a strip of black felt between the strings between the nut and the tuner posts, as well. It worked just fine.


whm

Bluepoet
01-09-2012, 02:38 PM
While watching the video, I got the feeling that it was like the "Emporer's New Clothes"...I did not "hear" the annoying sound he kept trying to demonstrate...of course, it also left me with doubts about my aural acumen...nice job, sport! :p

I'd rather hang a feather, on a piece of buckskin string, off my guitar, myself...if I were so-inclined...

Maybe I should get my guitars a tattoo...:rolleyes:

Ha, just kidding...whatever!

StringFive
01-09-2012, 03:03 PM
Oh please. ...cancel sympathetic vibrations behind the nut? You've got to be kidding me. Quirky is right.

http://macnichol.com/sites/default/files/forum-images/Antoine%20Dufour.jpg[/QUOTE]

HHP
01-09-2012, 05:32 PM
Too cruel, but too true! I had the exact same thought looking at that photo.

I spend almost as much time playing mandolin family instruments as I do guitar family instruments, and the expanse of strings between the bridge and the tailpiece is a particularly annoying contributor of unwanted high end harmonics on mandolins. I deal with it with strips of leather or felt.

When I owned a Weber mandocello, it had the same problem at both ends, so I wove a strip of black felt between the strings between the nut and the tuner posts, as well. It worked just fine.


whm

To be fair, this guy obviously missed the fashion train anyway but the scarf just makes it worse. Maybe he plays a lot outdoors and needs a windage gauge? Wouldn't give my audiences wind dope but that's just me.

000-18GE
01-09-2012, 06:39 PM
perhaps "Guitar Garanimals" would help the ensemble?

http://www.garanimals.com/images/Products/boys_clothes/Gar_Toddler_BoysE_r5_c3.jpg

Fngrstyl
01-09-2012, 07:17 PM
Leo Kottke doesn't like the "ring" either, after you stop the strings suddenly. He uses a piece of foam behind the nut!

http://www.wvpubcast.org/uploadedImages/Mountain_Stage/Live/LeoKottke-Live2009.jpg

HHP
01-09-2012, 07:22 PM
Leo Kottke doesn't like the "ring" either, after you stop the strings suddenly. He uses a piece of foam behind the nut!

http://www.wvpubcast.org/uploadedImages/Mountain_Stage/Live/LeoKottke-Live2009.jpg

He's just so out of step. He needs one of those 5 foot long flourescent foam pool toys to do his damping.

mc1
01-09-2012, 07:32 PM
He's just so out of step. He needs one of those 5 foot long flourescent foam pool toys to do his damping.

a long flowing wedding dress would be classy, but only for formal gigs.

anyway, this thread reminded me of the van eps string damper, which was to dampen open strings (gasp!) and a quick search turned up this page. it must be a little out of date as the towel hasn't yet appeared, but could be modified to work.
http://www.batten.com/String-Damper-Evolution.html
.