FRETS.COM Illustrated Glossary

A bit confusing -- is it a
Peghead or Headstock?
© Frank Ford, 9/6/98 Photos by FF

The terms "peghead" and "headstock" are generally used interchangeably, referring to the end of the neck that holds the tuning machines or pegs.

For the strict constructionist, however, there is a difference. It goes something like this:

The peghead holds tuning pegs.

The headstock holds tuning machines, or gears.

Here's the classic peghead, with tapered friction pegs:

This is a guitar peghead with tapered friction pegs:

And this is a banjo peghead with tapered friction pegs:

This banjo peghead has adjustable friction pegs, sometimes known as "patent pegs:"

But this one is a bit confusing, it's a peghead with banjo pegs:

These pegs have little gear boxes, so technically they might be considered "machines." The world agrees that they are "pegs" because they're designed to look as much like friction pegs as possible, with the tuning button and tuning post aligned concentrically.

Guitars usually have tuning devices called "tuning machines," "tuners," "gears" or "machine heads." Here's a slotted headstock with tuning machines:

Strictly speaking, this is a headstock, not a peghead.

Suffice it to say, there is no reason not to consider the terms interchangeable, but I think it is interesting to know their derivation.

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