Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Tailpiece Wire Rattle

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Roger Harper, Oct 19, 2004.


  1. I have an Englehardt C-1 (1990) and when I play an open A I get a very prominent rattle/buzz. I narrowed it down to the tailpiece wire but I don't know where to go from here. Any suggestions?

    Thanks,
    Roger
     
  2. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    NYC
    Are you saying that the ratle comes from the wire and you need to replace/fix it? or do you mean that the rattle is from the vicinity of the wire?
     
  3. The rattle is coming from the tailpiece wire area anyway. If I pluck the A string as soon as I touch the tailpiece the rattle stops. It sounds like the wire is rattling. Is there a fix or should I just go ahead and replace the tailpiece?

    Thanks,
    Roger
     
  4. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    Are you SURE it's the wire and not the endpin rod or thumbscrew? Engel endpin assemblies are notorious for rattles.

    If it is indeed the wire, and it's stock (rigid wire with two cap nuts on the front of the tailpiece), remove it and promptly discard. Replace with a braided aircraft cable or similar. This will also generally squeeze a little more sound from the bass, and you'll have the peace of mind of knowing the cable won't eventually fatigue and possibly break like the solid "coat hangers" can.

    Hell, if you're going to go to the trouble of changing the wire at all, consider having your luthier fit a wood plug / cork-lined endpin while you're at it.
     
  5. kip

    kip

    Sep 11, 2002
    Sausalito, Ca
    and/or see the ad to the left. Dr. Mike sells a tailpiece cord (and tailpieces) that work well.
     
  6. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    One thing to note: On tailpieces with a mortise where the wire comes up through the bottom of the tailpiece parallel to the top table of the bass, the wire can vibrate inside the holes producing exactly the kind of effect you describe. This is especially true if the wire does not fit snugly inside the holes (i.e. the holes are bigger than than the wire). This happened to me on two separate basses using the Mike Pecanic tailpiece cord and the Schertler tailpiece cord.

    I did not have this problem on another bass that had the Pecanic tailpiece cord but where the cord entered through the back of the tailpiece and loop around the front (no mortise in the tailpiece). I've also never had the problem with the steel cable, hanger wire, or plastic gut cables (all of which I hate).

    To solve the problem in both cases, my luthier jammed tiny slivers of wood into the holes to stop the cord from moving in there.
     
  7. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    If it's a stock Engel TP, it has no mortise; they're the kind where the cable goes in through the back and loops around the front.
     
  8. Well I took my bass to my local luthier today to try and solve the rattle. As I was loading my bass in the car I think I found the problem, the winding from the A string behind the tailpiece was coming unwound and rubbing against the back of the tailpiece. Indeed that eliminated the buzz.

    However, once we started looking at the interior with a ligh and dentist mirror, we found the tone bar was separated from the top beginning just below the bridge and continuing the rest of the length of the bar. It is separated by as much as a 1/2" as it nears the neck. We are going to take the back off next week and re-attach the tone bar.

    While we are at it I paln on replacing the endpin assembly and the tailpiece wire and possibly the tailpiece. Any suggestions on replacement parts/upgrades?

    Thanks,
    Roger
     
  9. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    Sorry to hear about the bass bar - with a good luthier, everything should be good soon.

    As far upgrades, it all depends how much you want to spend. A tailpiece cord (Schertler or Pecanic) is worth it. Gotz is the standard good endpin but there are also many Gotz-clones that sell for a little less. Also there's the Malott endpin from the Cincinatti Bass Cellar. I've been looking recently at the carbon fibre endpin from The Contrabass Shoppe in the UK. Tailpiece, you might want to look at compensated and/or adjustable tailpieces including those made by Mike Pecanic.
     
  10. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    Second that. All of it, really...

    The nice thing about an endpin upgrade is that just about ANY upgrade, even the lower-cost ones, will make a nice improvement over the stock metal assembly. I also heartily recommend Dr. Mike's tailpieces; I've outfitted a number of basses with them, and while there's a chance it's only a psychological thing (not having technical data to back it up), they truly seem to aid in further opening up the bass' sound. They look spectacular to boot.
     
  11. We started the repair today. We pulled the back off with relatively little difficulty. We found the bass bar was pulled away at both ends. Also found a date stamp on the top (Jan 29, 1981). Also found a dead wasp and a substantial ball of lint.

    We removed the old glue from the top and bar then set a compression jig to hold the bar in place for gluing. We appear to have gotten a good fit and the glue is setting overnight tonight. We will glue the back on tomorrow.

    Waiting on my new tailpiece from Dr. Mike. Hopefully it will be in soon and we can have humpty dumpty back together again soon.

    Also removed the endpin assembly and relieved the top of the collar to reduce rattles.

    Roger
     
  12. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    At least you know it wasn't the wasp doing the buzzing.
     
  13. mpm

    mpm

    May 10, 2001
    Los Angeles
    I opened a bass up last week and found a wasp's nest and a 25 year old application for band camp...
     
  14. mister_k

    mister_k

    Jul 27, 2004
    Los Angeles
    I just had the endpin replaced on my ES-9 on Friday and I was floored at what a difference it made. Even my luthier said he was suprised. It really opened up. I can't recommend enough ditching the evil engle tailpin.

    just my .02

    K.
     
  15. What was it replaced with? Did they have to do any special fitting? Was the tailpiece wire replaced?

    Thanks,
    Roger
     
  16. Just got back from installing the MP claro walnut tailpiece and and cord. Bass sounds much louder and no rattles. Action is a little higher though and the bridge is adjusted all teh way down. We may have to trim the feet on the bridge to adjust the action.

    Roger