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Tailpiece wire/cable length.

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by julioone, Jul 17, 2002.


  1. julioone

    julioone Guest

    Jun 20, 2001
    Suring, WI, USA
    A question to all players and luthiers, what is the proper length for the loop of the tailpiece cable/wire?, I have seen photo's with the end of the tailpiece hanging over the bottom of the bass and I have seen photo's of basses with the tailpiece closer to the bridge with an inch or two of cable exposed at the bottom of the bass over the saddle. The question has bothered me for a long time, I note the picture of Don Higdon's three basses together and the photo looks as if all three have different lengths. I had bought a synthetic gut tailpiece cord for my old flatback and it was so long that it had to be wrapped around the tailpiece in order to adjust the tailpiece to where the old coat hanger wire had it adjusted ( the synthetic gut popped recently sending the tailpiece and bridge flying and dropped the soundpost) I am now going to replace it with a cable. I have replaced the wire on my 1940 Kay with a cable and made the distance the same from the end of the fingerboard to the bridge and the end of the tailpiece to the bridge. This made the bass sound really tight and focused. Is there any standard rule to this measurement?
     
  2. julioone

    julioone Guest

    Jun 20, 2001
    Suring, WI, USA
    I meant to say that the synthetic gut had to be wrapped around the endpin to make it shorter.
     
  3. The key distance is between the top of the tailpiece and the bridge. That distance determines the pitch of the string between the bridge and tailpiece. There is strong opinion that that pitch should relate to the open string above the bridge as a perfect 4th. Or 5th. Or something else, depending on whom you ask.
    What ever it is, the tailpiece wire length allows you to adjust that pitch.
    Or, you can install a different size tailpiece. There are pros and cons regarding tailpiece mass that I won't presume to go into.