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tailgut hijinks

Discussion in 'Bass Humor [DB]' started by mandocaster, Jan 26, 2005.

  1. mandocaster


    Dec 24, 2004
    Houston, TX
    So I was playing a concert at a nice new college auditorium a few years ago. All the sound reinforcement gear was first rate - microphones, board, massive power amps, speaker system. I was just starting a solo when the tailgut broke. The tailpeice flew up at a high speed and whacked the spiffy condenser mic they were using on my bass. The resulting concussion seemed to lift the entire audience out of their seats. This incident has passed into legend. I still have people come up to me occasionally and say "You are the guy with the exploding bass".
  2. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    That would be TERRIFYING! A friend of mine is afraid to tune his violin, lest the strings snap and "take him out." I can't even imagine a tailpiece flying up at me, pulled the kind of tension massive URB strings must have. Jesus...terrifying.

    Short question -- that basically destroyed the mic, right?
  3. mandocaster


    Dec 24, 2004
    Houston, TX
    It was very startling. I don't know whether the mic survived. My participation ended for the evening with the flying tailpiece.

    My band hasn't played there since.
  4. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    The more important question is what kind of tailgut was this? Was this one of those plastic Wittner things or was it hanger wire or aircraft cable or one of the new cords like the Schertler or Pecanic cords?
  5. mandocaster


    Dec 24, 2004
    Houston, TX
    It was hanger wire. I have learned to use better.
  6. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    So the hanger wire actually broke in two? Or the loop wasn't closed properly?
  7. a. meyer

    a. meyer

    Dec 10, 2004
    portland, oregon
    Same situation happened to me, only it was the tailPIECE that broke. That added ebony shrapnel to the mix! Fortunately, it happened during the dress rehearsal, so nobody was sitting in front of me. It was an awe-inspiring thing! All that tension left the bass at once and the whole thing expanded instantly.
  8. mandocaster


    Dec 24, 2004
    Houston, TX
    It did, in fact, break in two. I was pretty well dead in the water at that point.
  9. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    Holy cow - a tailpiece that broke! And an ebony tailpiece? Any idea what lead to that happening?
  10. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    As a woodworker, I've often looked at the top of a tailpiece as an accident waiting to happen. There's not that much wood holding those string ball ends in place. If there was a flaw, a crack or something, the tailpiece twists a little bit... I can see it coming apart.

    I'm guessing it's really something to see all those strings coming up at you. Hopefully I'm not wearing my best underwear that day...
  11. Hm. Those composite tailpieces are looking more attractive all the time.

    Aren't there a few guys who use no tailpiece at all? Just attached the strings to the endpin w. wires? That sounds hazardous!
  12. daofktr

    daofktr irritating, yet surly

    Feb 15, 2005
    aurora, IN
    having seen what a string can do when it snaps at the tuning peg on a slab (shot across the room and WHAAPPPPPPed against the far wall), i shudder to think what happens when a tailpiece fails!
  13. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I forget who said it on here, but someone was telling us about a broken TP wire that caused the TP to fly up, conk the guy on the head, and kill him. And who says playing bass is a safe, relaxing hobby? After reading that and this thread, I'm really paranoid now!
  14. I wonder what the actual pounds of pull is on a tailpiece? It would have to be amazingly high I would think.