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Newbie tailpiece question

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by ric426, Dec 26, 2003.

  1. ric426

    ric426 In my defense, I was left unsupervised. Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    I just noticed that the "fret" (is that the right term?) on my tailpiece has grooves crushed into it all the way down to the surface of the tailpiece where each string crosses over it. It's a plywood bass (though from what I played and heard it's a fairly nice one), and the tailpiece looks like some cheaper wood dyed to look like ebony.
    Is this something that should be taken care of, or is it no big deal? Would it really benefit the bass to go with a better quality tailpiece? What's the deal with the Wittner synthetic tailpiece? Is that an option worth considering?
    I'm mainly playing (learning) jazz pizz, with some arco playing for my lessons.

  2. I wouldn't think the crushed fret should hurt much, although it can't help your sound any. A better tailpiece would probably make the bass sound better though; Lemur music has some ranging from 80 to 120 bucks. I'd reccomend stepping up to one of those with a good quality tailpiece cable.
  3. Replacing the tailpiece is something you might want to consider after you've talked to a bass luthier and determined that (1) your fingerboard is in optimum condition for playing (2) your bridge is correctly fitted (3) your soundpost is fitted well and properly located. And (4) your strings are the best for the type of music you are playing (i.e. pizz or arco). Only then should a new tailpiece be considered. I doubt if the condition of the tailpiece fret is of any consequence at this time as far as the sound of your bass is concerned. Replacing the cable holding your tailpiece with a flexible steel wire cable might be worth considering if it currently has a solid non-flexible "coat hanger wire". Again, your local luthier can tell you what should be done now and what might be needed in the future.
  4. ric426

    ric426 In my defense, I was left unsupervised. Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    Thank you both for your replies. I kind of suspected (and hoped) that the fret wasn't enought of a problem to warrant tailpiece replacement for now. I'm fairly happy with the current sound of the bass, and couldn't see spending the money until my playing improves enough to deserve it.

    Bob, points 1, 2 and 3, as well as the flexible steel wire cable, were taken care of by the luthier I purchased the bass from last April, before he'd even let me take it home. He would have been the first person I'd ask about the fret issue, except that he spends each winter fishing in Florida, and won't be back 'til spring. I think point 4 is resolved, now that I've found the strings I'm happiest with.

    Thanks to you both for your help.

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