What Is A String Butler? (and do they really work?)
A string butler is a device that attaches to the strings at the tuning screw end of the guitar neck to prevent the harsh angle applied to the strings which can cause tuning issues. On a standard 3×3 string arrangement where 3 strings attach to tuning heads on the left and 3 on the right of the headstock (think Gibson or acoustic guitars) the 4 middle strings are positioned at an extreme angle. This can cause problems with the strings sticking in the nut which can cause the string to go out of tune.
How To Install The String Butler
To install the string butler you have the choice between affixing it to the bottom tuning screws or the middle. Once you’ve decided which tuning screws to affix it to, the process is simple. Just remove the strings from the headstock of the guitar, remove the retaining nuts from the tuning screws (either the middle 2 or the bottom 2) and place the string butler in position. Restring the guitar adjusting the string butler’s position until all 6 strings are running directly (or nearly) straight through the nut.
Then retune the guitar and that’s it, string butler in position and the strings will no longer catch on the nut. There are different string butlers available for different model guitars. Check that you get the correct string butler for your guitar.
It Stops The D & G Strings Going Out Of Tune…
All strings go out of tune over time, but the G and to some extent the D strings are the most likely candidates for detuning most regularly. This is because, well in the case of the G string our hand naturally gravitates towards this string and it’s the string that we bend most. In the case of both these strings however, it’s their position that makes them detune the most.
They are situated in such a way that they are never running straight, they are always at an angle. Which means they’re more likely to snag in the groove of the nut, which means they’re more likely to detune.
How Does The String Butler Work?
The string butler works by taking that angle out of the strings, which means the D and G string and to a lesser degree the A and B strings run straight through the nut. This means there’s no kink on the string to get caught in the nut and cause the string to detune. It’s a simple idea and it actually works pretty well.
Once installed there’s no need to remove the string butler ever again, it can remain in position when changing the strings because it’s held in position by the tuning nuts on the bottom or middle tuners.
Will The String Butler Fit My Guitar?
String butlers are designed for guitars with 3 tuning screws on each side of the headstock like Gibsons. There are a number of different string butler designs available and it’s best to check that your guitar is compatible before purchasing. The string butler is also available in 4 colours-black, silver, gold and transparent to match the headstock of your guitar.
Does The String Butler Actually Work?
In numerous stringent tests, the string butler prevented the G string from going out of tune. Even after some pretty violent string bending, far more than is normal in a real life situation, the G string held its tuning. We would definitely recommend using a string butler if you have a 3×3 headstock and your guitar is compatible with one of the designs of string butler available.
Frequently Asked Questions
The string butler attaches to the headstock and corrects the angle of the strings so that they run straight through the groove in the nut. This prevents any snagging or kinking of the string even after severe string bending. Which means the strings and in particular the G string will remain in tune for longer.
After stringent testing we can confirm that the string butler does really work. The G string stays in tune for far longer when using a string butler than it previously did.
To fit the string butler all you do is remove the retaining nuts on the tuners situated at the bottom of the headstock. Slot the string butler in position and replace the nuts then attach the strings to the butler and it will be securely in place.