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Tailpiece for Acoustic electric bass guitar?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by phangtonpower, Aug 13, 2013.


  1. phangtonpower

    phangtonpower

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Location:
    Fukui Japan from San Diego
    I recently bought a cheap Aria fretless EAB similar to this one....
    http://www.soundhouse.co.jp/shop/ProductDetail.asp?Item=144^FEBFLF^^

    I want to try to install a tailpiece to see if I could relieve tension on the bridge as well as to see if I can put heavier gauge strings on it without too much worry. I also think it would look good with this bass.

    Has anyone tried this? Any advantages or disadvantages if it can be done?

    Thanks
     
  2. Markpotato

    Markpotato

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2012
    Location:
    Eureka Springs, AR
    Disclosures:
    Luthier, Sorrentino Guitars
    Tailpieces are meant for archtop instruments. That said, plenty of cheap flat top guitars are made with tailpieces, but they are cheap guitars.

    Why do you feel you need to relieve tension on the bridge? Is it going belly up? I would proceed with caution because you're gonna get quite a bit of downward pressure on the top, enough of which might crack it. If tension is making you nervous put lighter strings on, not heavier, and I wouldn't modify it. I don't think a tailpiece is going to safely allow you to put heavier strings on it. Maybe it could but like I said, proceed with caution, and at the worst, expect to ruin the instrument.
     
  3. phangtonpower

    phangtonpower

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Location:
    Fukui Japan from San Diego
    It's only a 200 buck instrument, so kinda cheap project bass. It sounds ok for what it is, so I thought I would have some fun with it by adding things to make it look like a cheap wanna be archtop.

    Not scared about the tension I have now. It has the strings that came with it. Thing is I like flatwounds and they do have a little more tension. I would never use super heavy gauge flats on it, but maybe something like La Bella 760 FL's which have I think a .104 E string.

    But if it's a bad idea then it's a bad idea.
     
  4. phangtonpower

    phangtonpower

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Location:
    Fukui Japan from San Diego
    Anymore thoughts?
    So far one nay.
     
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  6. Markpotato

    Markpotato

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2012
    Location:
    Eureka Springs, AR
    Disclosures:
    Luthier, Sorrentino Guitars
    Try it. Might wanna make it a floating bridge though cause the tension change might necessitate an intonation adjustment.
     
  7. Beej

    Beej

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2007
    Location:
    Canadia
    Cheap like Selmer Maccaferri? :D

    OP, from having done this, you will likely find that the biggest consideration is the breakover angle across the bridge to the tailpiece. Different builders have experimented with angles over the years, but if you check them out, you won't find many with an angle of less than five degrees. My Harmony Stella is an exception, at about 3.5 degrees, but it also is pretty caved in at this point.

    I'd measure the angles first, if you can't get 5 degrees on your particular bass, you'll have to think carefully about adding a tailpiece in the least obstructive manner.

    Another item, from experience, is that a regular strap button will be torn right out by the force of a tailpiece. :D You'll need something stronger...
     
  8. phangtonpower

    phangtonpower

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Location:
    Fukui Japan from San Diego
    I think I may skip the idea. After looking more into it, archtops usually have different bracing under to be able to handle tailpieces and a floating bride. I also thought about the angle, even before posting and Beej confirmed ideas I had, and way too much trouble than it may be worth.

    Thanks for the advice guys :)
     
  9. Beej

    Beej

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2007
    Location:
    Canadia
    Actually that bracing issue is a bit of a myth - the amount of pressure exerted on the top is not enough to cause the braces to fail below. Bracing is more about getting the two sides of the top to move in concert than just strengthening the top per se. Usual x-bracing designs work fine in practice, the bridge breakover angle is the only pain I've come across. The Tinozza build has a good workaround in order to deal with the necessary string angle: http://liutaiomottola.com/instruments/Tinozza.htm
     

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