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Tail cord length

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by B. Graham, May 6, 2005.


  1. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    Sorry, this is probably a very elementary question.

    The longer the distance between the bridge and tailpiece fret, the lower the tone? Or is it the other way around?

    Right now I've got a sharp 5th, rather than the "here comes the bride" 4th when comparing the open G with the G between brdige and tail.
     
  2. If you are tuning the after length;- that is the part of the string between the bridge and the tailpiece, yes, the longer the distance the lower the tone and you would shorten the tailgut somewhat by trial and mostly error to achieve the desired harmonic relation. Unfortunately, just getting it the way you want it on one string doesn't mean that it will be the same relation across all the strings. In order to do that you will need a Mike Pecanic type adjustable tailpiece which would allow you to adjust each string individually without adjusting the tailgut length. I'm not sure that there is a great deal of performance enhancement to be gotten by this method. At best it is a small tweak and might help control wolf notes.

    One tweak is to tune the resonance of the whole tailpiece assembly and is part of mode matching procedure. That method treats the tailpiece plus the afterlengths as one resonant unit as a whole rather than individually. The mass of the tailpiece, the length of the tailgut are the main factors in tuning the resonance of the whole unit and you can adjust that somewhat with the tailgut length. For this to be useful, you will need to establish to B0 (lowest body resonant frequency), the AO (helmholtz freq. of the corpus), and what is called the W' (wood prime) resonant frequencies. The tailpiece resonance is then matched to the W' freq. or the B0 frequency depending on your tonal preferences.

    If you wish to try any of this, I'd recommend getting Chuck Traeger's book where there is a complete chapter on the method and it's purported effects. Whether or not these methods work or improve the sound of an instrument has been a subject of controversy on this forum.
     
  3. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    Controversy or not, it would be good to get the book. What source has the book?

    Thanks for all of the information.
     
  4. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
  5. I obtained the book from Henry Strobel. Google for Henry Strobel or Strobel publishing. I know there are other bass resources carrying the book also now. The title is The Setup & Repair of the Double Bass for Optimum Sound. It has a great deal of information on setup and general repairs.
     
  6. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    I've got it as short as the tailgut can go, and it's still around a 5th. The bridge is centered on the f-hole notches.

    Don't know if it really matters that much, but there it is.