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Separate knob for tailpiece wire... why?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by ErikvanD, Mar 24, 2014.

  1. On the Michael Glass Bass I am trying out the tailpiece is attached to a separate wooden knob instead of around the endpin. See picture.


    I wonder why that is? I tried finding the answer online and on TBDB but so far found very little. So any ideas on this? Anything more than just that it looks kind of neat?

    It also made me wonder how the endpin plug is fitted. Normally it is taper fitted of course and even when loose it is kept in place by the wire. In this case there is no wire... I know a plain taper fit on flywheels etc. (metal to metal) can be very strong but does the same apply to a wood-wood taper fit?
  2. Mike Goodbar

    Mike Goodbar Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2001
    Charlotte, NC
    The extra knob is also a feature on the old Roth student basses as well.

    I've never heard a rationale for doing it that way, but when I took one to a luthier at one point, she strung the tailpiece onto the regular endpin, rather than onto the auxilliary knob.

    She did a lot of other set up work on it, so I don't know definitively if this had a positive or negative effect on the sound. My Spidey sense tells me, though, that if the vibrations are being transferred directly from strings to tailpiece to tailgut to endpin to floor, this can only be a good thing. Don't know why you'd want to break that chain.
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  4. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    I think its a great idea. There's plenty of sideways pressure on the endpin socket just from the endpin, let alone asking the spruce end block to also resist 250 lbs. of sideways pull.

    A well-fitted taper will hold the endpin socket tight.

    The vibrations of the tailpiece are being transferred into the top via the bridge and the saddle - nothing's coming around that 90* corner to the endpin socket, which is a null point anyhow.

    I want to add a tail wire knob to one of my basses just to see/hear if there's a difference - when time allows...
  5. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I've seen that before too, but never known why. Good candidate for a Laborie endpin, I'd say.
  6. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Except the hole has to be drilled at an angle, maybe 3 holes would weaken the block too much.
  7. MikeCanada


    Aug 30, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    This "knob" is common on Violone/Viol/Gamba type instruments-those that use a tailgut-and is occasionally seen as one of those hold-overs from that lineage of the instrument. I have heard a few different reasons for it. One of them being that the tailgut/wire is shorter, and therefore there is less of it that could fail. Before we started using the cables that we have now, that used to be a much more common problem. It gives the maker a chance to make a "button" like on a violin or viola, and that can be a part of their "signature" on the instrument as well.

    If you were commissioning an instrument and intending to use a Laborie, it might make a difference to the sound because the button is solid wood instead of having the metal parts of a traditional endpin. If you sit low with the bass on an angle, it could also mean the endpin hole could be drilled farther back than center, which would be helpful if you instrument had really thick ribs. I could see makers hesitating to do that though, as it would make the instrument harder to sell down the line.

    I agree with Jake that there is a lot of strain on the endpin socket anyway, so reducing that could be beneficial to the structural integrity of the instrument as well. I don't know enough to say what it does or does not do structurally, but simply by being there it adds to the art of the instrument, and gets people like us talking and speculating about it.
  8. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Yeah, good point.

    I guess, I was thinking that making a bass with the intention of having a laborie pin, it would be nice to have this button INSTEAD of the std end pin hole. An additional hole is, as you said, not better.
  9. 360guy


    Apr 28, 2006
    Lansing, MI USA
    I just had such a configuration come into the shop today. One benefit to having the tailpiece wire around the endpin collar is it tends to keep the endpin tight---even on a sloppy fitted one. In fact, it's only after removing the tension from the tailpiece wire that one can tell how well the endpin is fit.
  10. riimodar


    Aug 5, 2006
    What appeals to me is the possibility to check soundpost position through the endpin hole without having to loosen the strings. And if you adjust the soundpost with some string tension on, you can still monitor the whole process. This reminds me of my older thread (http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f3/soundpost-positioning-strings-under-light-tension-1057315/) which unfortunately did not receive much attention so I am still curious how many people have strings on when adjusting the sound post...
  11. robobass


    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    Sad but true. It seems like fitting a socket isn't rocket science, but you see so many bad fits that it must be the case. Is it because cheap sockets don't conform to the taper and dimensions they are supposed to? Some repairers haven't invested in a bass reamer and say "Screw it. It's just a bass. I'll use a file."? Probably both.
  12. 360guy


    Apr 28, 2006
    Lansing, MI USA
    Even with a good endpin reamer, since the endpin collar is bottomed out, the choices are limited. The original hole can be plugged with a blank ( I'm fortunate to have bought my old teacher, Ray Doerr's supply) or find a larger endpin. I've seen the tape and sandpaper 'bandaid' fixes too.
  13. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    If you have any woodworking skills, you can:

    (A) enlarge the endpin plug with a spiral bushing and achieve a good fit.

    (B) turn a new one on your lathe

    (C) turn a plug for the hole and start again.

    Masking tape is for hacks and farmers...

    When I fit a new endpin, I leave a little room between the bottom of the plug and the ribs, so that if there's any differential shrinkage over time, I have a way to take up the slack.
  14. Thanks guys for all ideas on the little knob (and endpin fitting). Above all I just think it look nice ;)
  15. Erik,

    i know a guy from markneukirchen, he is a luthier for Rubner factory i think, his name is Michael Glass. Im not sure if its a factory model that you own just named after him or something honestly but a separate button is very usual with Rubner basses. in fact, all of them have it as far as i know. i think im gonna email him asking to comment on that

  16. Hi Korotkov,

    As far as I know Michael Glass (and his people) handbuild the Rubner as well as the Glass basses. The Rubners are the models that were prevously build by the Rubner family but after the last Rubner stopped, Glass took over the workshop.

    The Glass basses are of his own design but he obviously uses the same button! But if he could tell us the why that would be nice!

  17. robobass


    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    Actually, we shouldn't make the luthier the bad guy here. I'm currently working on a socket prototype and trying to shore up the dimensions. I have three sockets on my workbench. All are new or in good condition. One is delrin and two are ebony. All seem to be well made, but the tapers are all over the place. 1.04°, 1.22°, and 1.49°. Can anyone tell me what the taper is supposed to be? With this kind of QC, it's no wonder we see so many bad fits!
  18. riimodar


    Aug 5, 2006
    Recently I did some research of available endpins and the most of the endpins advertised the tapper of 1:17. This is what all (three) buttons I have on my basses have.
  19. Don C

    Don C

    Jan 13, 2007
    Victoria BC
    The seperate button is also standard on many Pollmann Basses.
    Although I'm not familiar with every model, the Pollmanns I've seen all have this.
  20. Pollmann, Rubner, Glass, maybe it is a German thing...
  21. I think it comes from the Viola da Gamba which is hold between the knees and doesn't have an endpin (except maybe for a Violone). But even there different methods exist to fix the tailpiece...

    BTW, my german E.Wilfer bass doesn't have a separate knob for the tailpiece hanger.