Kay Bass Tailwire question
I've got a 1946 Kay M-1, that I play entirely pizz., mainly used for oldtime and bluegrass styles. It's setup with Thomastik spirocores, an adjustable bridge and a gage realist pickup.
I recently switched my tailpiece wire from the standard Kay bent coat hanger to a flexible stainless steel 1/8" cable with a brass ferrule. Unlike most of the posts that I have seen, I feel that I really haven't gotten a noticeable increase in volume or difference in tone. If anything I feel that the overall sound of quality has decreased slightly. I took my bass back in to my luthier, who originally installed the tail wire, to see if an adjustment on the cable and sound post would change that. Even after an afternoon of tweaking, I still feel that the sound is not what is was pre switch.
My question is: Is there any one else out there that has experienced the same thing? Is there any benefit to switching back to the bent steel hanger on an old plywood bass?
Not on an old plywood, but I made the switch on an old German carved flatback I dragged home over the summer -- I have that bass string with gut, and it lost some of the deep WHUMP when I installed a braided steel tailgut. It bothered me for a day or so before I got used to it and/or the bass settled in.
Look at it this way -- The laws of physics state that sooner or later, everything breaks. If the filaments of a braided steel cable start to go, you have plenty of time to replace it before it fails, the 200+ pounds of tension the strings are under releases and the tailpiece flies up at your face. With a monofilament, not so much.
I've never heard a bass sound worse with a flexible tailwire than with the rigid hanger. They've always sounded bigger and stronger afterwards.
Did you tune the after-lengths to 2 octaves and a fourth above their respective notes? That's the one thing the solid hangers do well - position the tailpiece correctly.
While I didn't tune the after-lengths to 2 octaves and a fourth above their respective notes, my luthier and I did set the length so that the distance was exactly the same as the old hanger. I'll try messin with it and tuning it some and see if that helps.
There are no hard fast rules. If after some trial and error, you don't get good results, I'd try the old one again.
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