1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Tailpiece attachement problem, would like advice...

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Inconnu, Mar 19, 2006.

  1. Hi !

    I have problem with the tailpiece attachement of my newly aquired first double bass.

    At first, when I got it, I didn't play hard enough on the strings (I'm first of all an electric bass player). Then I started hitting them hard enough and realized there was a vibration coming from the metal device attaching the tailpiece to the instrument. I contacted my luthier about it and went to see him to get a repair.

    He replaced the metal device by some sort of plastic coated steel wire... It seemed 2 work but then, when I got home with the bass:
    - I still heard a small vibration coming from this region. It could be attenuated (if not elilminated) by simply attaching a small piece of fabric on the tailpiece's new attachement. I could also stop that vibration by simply applying a small pressure of my fingers on the actual tailpiece.
    - The bass was detuning by itself real fast (I use standard tuning and never tuned too high)... and I heard strange noises.
    - The new attachement broke.

    I will go back to see the luthier who did the work and I have no doubt on his talent and honesty... he will help. BUT, since he's closed for 2 days, I thought I'd ask a few questions here:

    - Am I better off not taking any chances and replacing the tailpiece itself and not only it's attachement, since the new attachement didn't completely solve the vibration ?
    - Should I have the end pin checked for unwanted vibrations or it would be silly ?
    - My tailpiece is one with holes in front of it. Any advantage in other types of tailpieces ?
    - Anything else I should know about this part of my instrument ?

    Thanks !

    Edit : I read the threads about the tailpiece and attachements linked on the sitcky thread. Interesting... But I still wonder about what I wrote here...
  2. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    We call this the 'Tail Wire'. Most use 1/8" steel cable. It will never break if done properly. The holes drilled from front to back on your tailpiece it the normal and best way.

    Recently I had to change a Tailwire and didn't have the Barrel Clamp with set screws and waited until a Luthier friend sent me one. After fixing it I was talking to another Luthier friend and I mentioned all I could find going to several places was the standard 'U' shaped cable clamp and I was told by one source that they can slip. My friend told me it won't if I double the 1/8" wire thru the 1/8" clamp.

    Then I had another Bass that seemed to be slipping down there. The wire was just crimped together similar to my other Bass that snapped. So I went to a Home center store and bought a single clamp. $.49, plus tax!

    I cut the wire to the lenght needed, epoxied the ends to prevent unwraveling and smooth them out, put both ends thru the clamp and then doubled them back. The Clamp now had 4 wires in it as I tightened the screws with a nut driver. Then I put some shrink tube on the ends and was done. No more problem with this Bass. When it was at one of my Luthiers' shops getting a new soundpost recently I asked about my Tailwire method and he replied 'it's fine'!

    Now this is a guy that can say "anything" to me and not hold back. We are friends and I always have an open ear to what he says as well as he does for me. If he says it's fine, then it's fine! The Barrel clamp that are usually custom made where both wires go thru and pass each other and then tightened down with two set screws using an allen key is MUCH easier to use. The 'U' clamp is the next best thing from my experience.

    Tieing the wires or using a Crimp tool has been used for decades. We used to drive without seatbelts too. I think these old 'hard to change' luthiers need to get with the times on this tail thingy.

    When I first showed Arnold my Dodd (200+ year old English master Bass) after getting it delivered from London the first thing he said was, that Tailwire should be changed!

    I listened and thought to myself, "sounds good now, and if it aint broke, dont fix it"..

    One night after rehearsal I came home and layed my Bass down on it's side in the livingroom (to take to my office in the morning) and I heard a POP...... The tailwire that was thick and Crimped end to end in a barrel finally snapped. I opened the Bass and was thankful it didn't snap when I was playing. Could have killed the a Cello or Viola player in front of me depending on which angle it flew if not straight up into my head. Boy was I glad it was in the cover and to much suprise juat a tiny varnish nick from the bridge or tailpiece.

    The next time your luthier makes a suggestion, think long and hard before you answer no!

    Steel cable and a good clamp with the wire doubled over. Save your Bass and yourself.
    gerry grable likes this.
  3. Thanks !

    I wouldn't say no to a suggestion made by my luthier... I was just wondering if there was anything else I should be aware of about that "tail wire" thing before I get back to him.

    It seems the clamp wasn't tight enough...
  4. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Not every Luthier will suggest what's best for your Bass. Most will but not all. My suggestion was to listen and think about it first before answering. Make sure he uses a 1/8th" Braided Steel Cable. If it broke and he put it on, something sounds wrong to me.
    gerry grable likes this.
  5. Sorry, I misread you... Anyways, the point is that the cable he used is what your suggesting here, plus it's plastic coated (pretty common to see a braided steel cable with some sort of rubber-ish transparent coating). The fact is, the cable itself didn't brake but it slipped out of it's clamp, I presume because of the tension of the strings.

    I don't understand what type of clamp you suggested in your previous post... The one that was installed on my double bass is some sort of metal thing shaped like two thick and short "tubes" or "pipes" stuck together, both ends of the cable going through both of the openings.

    Any chance I could see a picture of what would be the best clamp ?

    Thanks for everything.
  6. George Wolfaardt

    George Wolfaardt

    Jul 2, 2014
    I had the annoying sympathetic vibration problem until I replaced the cable with coat hang wire...result....zero vibration and it will last for a hundred years.
  7. Hi.

    Welcome to TalkBass George Wolfaardt.

    From pure engineering standpoint, I'd say that a solid tail-wire will be more likely to cause problems than a flexible one.

    BTW, I thought that KBS's TB posts only lived in the quotes ;).

  8. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Not in 2006 when this was active...
  9. Hi.

    Yeah, but from the few threads I've seen where he was active in, he deleted every single post. Hence the ;).

    Makes for an entertaining read when one has to hope someone quoted his op and all of his replies for example :).

    As for the measly 8 year first day of joining post bump, that won't get even a mention out of me, and that's why I did not mention it.
    10 years is the mark...
    14 gets a star sticker.
    And I still don't get the zombie-thread bumping by the fresh forum members, even created a thread about it when I joined.


Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.