How much does the H.S. break angle affect the tone & volume of a sq. neck resonator guitar? My kit build Beard has a 10 degree break angle and my other reso has a 12 degree H.S. angle. That's only a 2 degree difference but viewed another way it is a 20% change.
You hear about the break angle down at the bridge all the time but the headstock hardly ever comes up. I will be very interested in replies as well.
Headstock angle over around 4 degrees has no real effect at all on tone or volume, particularly with a squareneck with the high nut. On a round neck, too much headstock break angle can weaken the neck and lead to breakage when the guitar inevitably falls or gets dropped. Gibsons of a certain era had 17 degree headstocks and were known for the head breaking off. The angle needed over the nut is basically just enough to keep the strings in the slots, no more, but everyone does more because it looks right, it's tradition, and it doesn't really hurt anything. Too much break angle over the nut can make tuning hard as the strings catch over the nut. When I make acoustic guitars I use a 12 degree headstock angle, normally.
As a comparison, the lute has nearly a 90 degree break angle but it looks absolutely wrong or broken.
I've made a couple of compact travel Dobros with no head angle, on the basis that the 10mm high nut provides enough downward pressure, and I don't think it makes much or any difference to the sound. Electric Hawaiian/steel guitars are also flat. I think there's an element of "well acoustic guitars always have a headstock angle so the squareneck Dobro should too" without any fundamental thinking about why. There could be an aethetic aspect to it as well. Also, there is another variable, whether the headstock is slotted or flat. Any idea if that makes a difference? I haven't!
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