"Hidden" Tailpiece Cable

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by B. Graham, Jun 10, 2003.

  1. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    How does one install a tailpiece where the wire is anchored in a little alcove on the backside of the tailpiece? Picture is attached.

    I've got a tuned cable on there now that wraps over the front of the tailpiece. If long enough, can I use the same cable and snake it through this new piece?

    Thanks very much!
  2. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    That's exactly how I installed mine on the Engelhardt.

    I used high-strength cable from home depot and covered it with the black electrical heat shrink.

    My tailpiece is the stock Engelhardt Ebony one. It has holes drilled from the bottom into the recess as well as holes in the front where the "coathanger" went through.

    I laid the bass flat and loosened the strings enough to completely removed the tailpiece.
    I used a tailor's tape to measure coathanger and then adjusted my new cable so that the tail piece would sit in the same place.

    I slipped each end into those bottom holes so that they exited into the recess with plenty of extra cable, marked the position of where the cables should enter and exit the tailpiece then pushed it way through to have room to work.

    I used one of those figure eight type crimp connectors to secure it. It is plenty small enough to fit in that recess. They are designed to make a loop in cable. The kit also came with two round pieces that are designed to crimp on a single cable. I had fears from reading here at TB that the crimp wouldn't hold. So, after securing the figure eight, I slipped the round fasteners down snug behind it and crimped them down as well. It hasn't budged in well over a year.

    Also, I subtracted 3/4" to allow for the cable to stretch. It ended up stretching about an inch. (I recently got the difference back with the new endpin, which has a larger collar)

    Anyway, I don't know if it is appropriate, but it worked perfectly for me.

    And no, the metal doesn't buzz against the tail piece. I guess there is too much tension on it.

  3. moped10


    Apr 9, 2003
    Wilmington, NC
    Chas, I have an Engelhardt myself- How much effect did this operation have on the tone of your bass? Also, did the tension lessen any on the strings? I'm thinking of getting rid of the "coat-hanger", but am also a firm believer of "if it ain't broke...", and like the tone I'm getting now- BUT, if it makes a big difference, I'm up for a little project like this...
  4. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    moped-I'd ditch the coathanger. They don't last very long in any case, and break at the worst time possible (don't ask...) I replaced a coathanger with the Sacconi adjustable tailpiece cable on an old Engelhardt I have laying around. Much better in all respects. The aircraft cable ones are even better IMHO.
  5. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Your tailpiece cable is tuned, 30Hz?
  6. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    Yeah, it was tuned to about a 4th. Now it's at a 5th. I'm still playing around with the length of the cable. I'm not sure if one pitch is better than another; imagine it depends on the other variables specific to the instrument. Suggestion on pitch?
  7. moped10


    Apr 9, 2003
    Wilmington, NC
    Thanks for the advice, I definitely don't need my coat hanger popping on a gig! I'm going to take this project on TODAY!:)
  8. moped10


    Apr 9, 2003
    Wilmington, NC
    I'm quoting myself=nerd alert- (this forum stuff must be getting to me)

    What a simple/cheap upgrade project! It cost me about 7 bucks and took under an hour to take off the hanger, measure my cable from Lowe's, put it on, double crimp it, and tighten my strings back up- I even had time left over to start rebreaking in my Obligatos! And yes, the change DOES make a difference- Either the volume's louder on the A and E, or there's more clarity- Either way, it sounds better and the strings feel a little more responsive- Not a HUGE difference, but definitely enough to make the project worthwhile- Thanks for the tip fellow forum nerds!