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tailpiece source

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Dave Irwin, Mar 22, 2005.

  1. Can someone recommend a source for a tailpiece?
    Looking for good stable ebony at a reasonable price.

    Saw Bob G. had some and yes I know "Bob don't sell no crap...."
    But has anyone bought one?

    Bob, if your reading, my teacher recommended ebony grown well above sea-level. I have to admit this is unfamiliar territory for me.

  2. Ebony isn't really all that important in a tailpiece....but if you gotta have one, look to your left and check out one of Dr. Mikes.
    also: www.lemurmusic.com
    With the shortage of ebony in the world, you'd be doing us all a favor and choose another hard wood. Your call.
  3. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    There's a banner to your left... Click it. Can't go wrong with one of Dr. Mike's stunning AND functional creations.
  4. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Hmm... I don't know if you are going to get an answer out of any retailer or wholesaler to your sea-level question. I haven't had any troubles with ebony tailpieces doing strange things... why does your teacher make this statement?
  5. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    Perhaps he had a bad experience with ebonized driftwood?
  6. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Brent, you cease to amaze me...
  7. dragonetti11


    Jun 20, 2002
    Don't many older basses actually have painted hardwood tailpieces instead of actual ebony? Does it really matter if an endpin is ebony?
  8. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    You LOVE it, man... Say it with me - "EBONIZED."

    Dragonetti - sure, all kinds of basses - old AND new - use tailpieces other than ebony, usually maple finished black. Now what's this about endpins? I thought this thread was about TPs?
  9. dragonetti11


    Jun 20, 2002
    Sorry, I always mix the two up. I don't know why. I meant tailpiece.
  10. I already said it doesn't matter! Jeeze!
    Oh, I get it...i'm not a luthier.....
    Brent or Nnick....would you tell this guy it doesn't matter??
  11. Nick, I'm guessing he makes the statement cause he's extending his knowledge of fingerboards (He's also a Luthier)
    And because he's just plain picky. (Probably a good trait in a teacher and even better in a luthier)

    In any event, right now I have one of those Thomastik metal tailpieces with the fine tuning adjusters that came with the bass.

    The question of whether or not ebony matters in a tailpiece would come down to resonance I would guess. The idea that you dont want anything absorbing vibrations...
    Isn't that why Andy Stetson eliminates the tailpiece alltogether?

    Thanks for the feedback, serious and otherwise.... I've enjoyed it all... :)

  12. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Well, that's Al Laszlo at Cincinnati Conservatory of Music that is a proponent of removing the tailpiece and having four seperate cables connecting the ball of each string to the endpin. Whatever flips your wig, I guess.

    You might want to experiment with an ebony tailpiece, and then an ebonized one. Leave them on for while; it's hard to determine a difference in a few minutes. Or, just buy an ebony tailpiece and be done with it...
  13. Ah, I must have misheard or misunderstood re: Andy and Al.
    That makes sense since I've seen Al come up with some "interesting" ideas including wrapping several layers of electrical tape to add weight to a bow...

    Thanks for the clarification. Sounds like I'm on my way to one of Bob G's ebony's....

  14. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    My guess on that sea level thing is that he has transferred spruce to ebony. Spruce trees can grow at all kinds of climes and climbs. The difference in the quality of the wood can be dramatic. Ebony trees are a lot more climate specific.
  15. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Inactive Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I have 4 very old Tailpieces, three are still on the Bass and one is in my Showcase in our waiting room. None of them are Ebony. They are Black and not that light in weight either. I think one or two may be maple and the other two is from some other wood as I see a brown spot showing thru where it was warn by a Silver/Pearl inlay on one of them. I believe 3 of them are original to the Basses. They are the Gilkes, Martini and Batchelder. The forth came with my Mystery Bass and it was a 3-string and then 2 other holes drilled thru between 1 and 3 (either side of the center hole) to make it a 4-string 'piece.

    I have been told that Ebony Tailpieces (at least for Bass) is a 20th century thing. My Martini from 1919 has it's original non-Ebony TP from some local Italian wood I assume like the rest of the Bass which was made using Local wood throughout.

    My Morelli is the only Bass that I use that actually has an Ebony Tailpiece and that too is old and probably original and not the best piece of wood either.

    MPM makes Tailpieces out of various exotic hardwoods like those of the modern high end Electric Bass builders use. I think they are just beautiful. Arnold Schnitzer showed me a beautiful one he made from Amazon Leopardwood(lacewood). My old Italian bass that I used for 20 years had a Rosewood Tailpiece that Peter Eibert put on as a final touch after the restoration in 1973. I never thought for one minute that I needed to change it to Ebony. I can't rerember if the Bass came with an Ebony or Ebonized Tailpiece but I do remember it was black. It was not original though as the Bass had about 3 neck Graft scars already and was probably a 3-stringer or a 4 to 3 and back to 4 kinda thing...

    I have a 3/4 sized carved Indian Ebony Tailpiece I bought on Ebay and I am anxious to use it somewhere sometime. I have two Basses in Restoration and one is getting a Compensated Macassar Ebony 5-string Tailpiece from MPM and the other I don't know yet. I will have 2 4s to choose from but that Bass is huge and may need a full sized tailpiece..

    BTW, Does a longer and bigger 7/8th Bass need a bigger tailpiece (14 1/2") or can it use the regular 13" to 13 1/2", 3/4 size 'piece?
  16. Jazzman


    Nov 26, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    That depends on the after-length of your G string. Typically you want 200mm of after-length.
  17. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Inactive Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Is the 200mm measurement the same for both a 3/4 and 7/8 Bass. Does it matter much how far up the bottom of the tail piece is from the saddle? This Bass is a bit on the large size so to keep it close or within an inch or so I think I need a bigger tailpiece.. Here is the Bass in question; http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/MysteryBass/name_that_bass.htm
  18. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    One of the tailpieces that Mike made for me on a 7/8's that i had was definitely longer than a 3/4 tp.
  19. I'm interested in the answer to this one too since mines a 7/8ths.....

  20. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Inactive Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    The difference between a 3/4 and 7/8 tailpiece is about one inch.

    Look at the distance between the tailpiece and the Bridge on this Bass; http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/Mystery2/Mystery2.htm

    The sound is huge on that Bass. It is only a regular 3/4 string length and a regular tailpiece. The extra inch wont make much of a difference. The power portion is longer on this Bass than Usual.

    Now look at this Bass that I have a carved 3/4 tailpiece waiting for it; http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/MysteryBass/name_that_bass.htm

    The upper section of this Bass is the longer part as the String length is about 44".

    So I think the design of the Bass matters as well.
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