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Tailpiece fret

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by bigolbassguy, Oct 7, 2010.


  1. bigolbassguy

    bigolbassguy

    Feb 13, 2010
    Billings, MT
    I need to make a fret for an ebony tailpiece. Never done this before, and was wondering if someone here might have enough patience to walk me through it. I have an old, cracked ebony tailpiece that I was planning to use for the material.
     
  2. 1st Bass

    1st Bass

    May 26, 2005
    Forest Grove, OR
    Any particular reason you want to make the fret of ebony? Just so it matches the tailpiece?

    You could make it of guitar fret wire, and it would never wear out, chip, or anything. You could cut it out of a bone guitar saddle blank, and it would look nice, wear well...but eventually, chip or wear out, or something. You could cut it out of hard brass stock, and it would look great, and oulast the bass...

    Just some ideas.
     
  3. bigolbassguy

    bigolbassguy

    Feb 13, 2010
    Billings, MT
    Those ideas all sound great, but I'd like to keep it traditional. Thanks Chet. btw - your bass turned out nice. Any plans for another?
     
  4. 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 look at tailpieces from the late 18th and early 19th century, you'll see that fretless IS traditional! ;)
     
  5. Cody Sisk

    Cody Sisk

    Jan 26, 2009
    Lilburn, GA
    Ronald Sachs Violins
    If you want to tune the fret (afterlengths), you could start with a thick black zip-tie.
     
  6. 1st Bass

    1st Bass

    May 26, 2005
    Forest Grove, OR
    Yeah, I am planning others...but not this year. Life seems to be what happens while you are waiting to do what you think you want to do.

    I was given a supply of maple (in log form--3' thick) that will most likely last the rest of my life...but it is taking some time to process, right now. Also, I am trying to complete ten smaller instruments for a show in April 2011, so that is higher priority. And, finally, I have yet to build a cello, and I really want to do that--so the basses will have to wait.

    I have wood for two more basses right now...very highly flamed stock. The logs I am cutting up should supply billets for 16-24 more, depending on how good the wood is, after I open it up. I will prioritize basses, so that I get as many of them as I can, then use the rest for celli, violas and violins. If the wood is good enough, my son may want some guitar sets...but he is quite picky, so...:)

    We'll see what happens.
     
  7. bigolbassguy

    bigolbassguy

    Feb 13, 2010
    Billings, MT
    Wow. Have you cut into the base of the log yet?
     
  8. 1st Bass

    1st Bass

    May 26, 2005
    Forest Grove, OR
    Well, yeah. And, the two logs he had pulled out for me to work on had apparently died, or were dying, long before he felled them. Too bad-- lots of spalt, some rot, very little really good wood, and what there is is quite plain...so I guess I inherited a couple of cords of maple firewood. (That's OK...I heat with wood.)

    However, there are two more huge ones about a half mile up in his woods.. he doesn't really want me up there, and isn't ready to haul 'em out for me (busy logger), so they may be ruined as well-- I hope not. What I could see looked good.

    Guess I'm gonna have to get a bigger saw...it is just a 025 Stihl, with an 18" bar, and is absolutely maxed out by these trunks. They are a full 36", and more in some places.
     
  9. bigolbassguy

    bigolbassguy

    Feb 13, 2010
    Billings, MT
    I didn't know that. Thanks Jake.

    I have actually thought about it, but making it look nice might be as much work as making a new fret (this coming from a guy who is working on making his own plywood?) I'm planning on cutting a slice from the broken tailpiece and using a profile gauge/coping saw to rough out the fret.

    Cody - There isn't enough mass above the holes to really compensate it, or I would. + there is a shallow groove where the original fret was that I'd rather not deal with...:bag:
     
  10. bigolbassguy

    bigolbassguy

    Feb 13, 2010
    Billings, MT
    -grunt-

    Maple is to blame for buying a bigger motor for my table saw... that and testosterone.
     
  11. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Feb 26, 2021

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