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The Ibanez S6570SK has a metal bar on the headstock, right behind the nut.

I have seen guitars that have metal hooks behind the nut (the Fender Telecaster comes to mind), but such guitars usually have an open nut, and a flat headstock, and the metal hooks are used to force a downward angle on the strings to avoid buzzing.

This Ibanez, on the other hand, has a locking nut. Surely this by itself fixes the buzzing hazard. So, what is the point of having that bar behind the nut?

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It's a part of the double locking vibrato system called string retainer, and its purpose is to press the strings against the nut for the entire width of the nut. The nut has three clamps that lock the strings in place by pressing them against the nut. The idea is to first tune the guitar using normal tuners, then clamp the strings at nut so that using the vibrato won't make them slide in their slots. If the strings were just leaving the nut at shallow angle on the tuner side, like they do on guitars without that bar, tightening the clamps would increase string tension and make the tuning sharp.

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  • Surely one would consider that from the start, and position the secondary tuners (I guess they exist) accordingly.
    – Tim
    Nov 14, 2022 at 9:24
  • The bar has been there from the start, because it is needed. The secondary tuners are in the bridge, and not having to use them every time after locking the strings removes one big hassle. If you are willing to read how the entire Floyd Rose setup (Ibanez had license to copy it until the patents expired) works instead of thinking yourself, there are plenty of descriptions online.
    – ojs
    Nov 14, 2022 at 19:43
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The only reason I can think of is to be able to have a consistent downward angle on the headstock side of the locking nut. Even with a tilted headstock it’s possible for the strings to hit the nut at slightly different angles.

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  • This does not really explain why the angle needs to be consistent on this guitar and why Fender and Gibson get away without one.
    – ojs
    Nov 12, 2022 at 3:50
  • @ojs Fender and Gibson guitars do not typically have locking nuts. This Ibanez does. What other reason would there be for having a string tree for all 6 strings? Nov 12, 2022 at 9:17
  • @JohnBelzaguy you wrote something about "consistent string angles" that doesn't sound like it's related to locking nut at all.
    – ojs
    Nov 12, 2022 at 10:17
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Going against the grain here. I don't think there's any particular reason why there has to be a bar at that point. The strings are all trapped before that point - at the nut, and securely, too.

On other guitars - mainly those with 6 in a line tuners, although I have a couple of 3 a side tuner guitars with them - it's to hold down the strings, especially the top one, from popping out of the nut slot, as it's quite shallow.

But with a locking nut, that's never going to happen, as the bar on top clamps the strings to the fretboard underneath.

More a matter of belt and braces, for my money. And to stop new strings from flailing around when changing. Proof of the pudding would be to use an Ibanez for a while without it - or better still, direct the question to Ibanez themselves.

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  • true, if you start your string wind at the top of the bobbin and work it down, but having had an ibanez just like this, if you wind randomly then a string that finishes at the top of the bobbin does not sit flush with the locking nut surface and so can be sent sharp when clamping down. The retainer bar removes this likelihood Nov 14, 2022 at 9:12
  • @bigbadmouse - guess I didn't consider that, as I always wind downwards as a matter of course, whatever the guitar/bass. Just seemed a sensible way.
    – Tim
    Nov 14, 2022 at 9:21
  • experienced people do, beginners do not know it and there's nothing more off-putting for a newbie than unexplained detrimental changes the moment you try and do something yourself, like change the strings. "I broke it" isnt something Ibanez want people saying about their new shiny guitar. My only note of criticism of them is that the string end tends to dig into the headstock paint as you pass it under, I learned to put a little bend on it first. Nov 14, 2022 at 9:24
  • @bigbadmouse - just wonder how many beginners would be using a 2 grand + guitar like this one!
    – Tim
    Nov 14, 2022 at 9:32

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