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tailpiece wire

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by pkr2, Feb 28, 2001.


  1. pkr2

    pkr2

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    I recall having read on the net that a lot of people are replacing the wire tailgut with flexible steel cable. The wire on my Englehardt has some slight bends and kinks that I don't like the looks of and I'm wondering if there would be any advantage to making the mod rather than just repairing (straightening) the original.

    If anyone knows where on the web I might find instructions for this mod, I would appreciate a URL to the site.

    I also have a question on setting the soundpost properly. Should the post be centered under the foot or is the position considered to be an adjustment? I've been given conflicting info on this for years and would value the opinion of the experts.

    I didn't mean for this post to turn into a mini-novel but since I'm on the horn - one more question. Does anyone know of a website that goes into the nuts and bolts of DB setup? I can find a number of such sites for toy bass but ,so far, no luck on DB.

    Thanks in advance, Pkr2.
     
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Reedo or Don will be the most helpful folks for stuff like this, but I can tell you that the soundpost shoult NOT be directly under the foot of the bridge, it should be behind it. As for the tailpiece wire, I had mine changed to the steel cable on my old bass and the new one came with it. I don't know if it makes a big difference in the sound or anything, but it sure looks better. I assume you've already tried Bob Gollihur's links page to try to find the rest of the info?
     
  3. Tim Ludlam

    Tim Ludlam

    Dec 19, 1999
    Carmel, IN
    pkr2:

    Try to get your hands on the most recently published issue of BASS WORLD from ISB. Barrie Kolstein reviews sound post placement. It's pretty interesting.

    If you don't have access to the publication, contact the International Society of Bassists.
     
  4. Tim's right; the ISB article is very helpful.

    The principle advantage to cable rather than the hard, preformed wire on your tail piece is that you can alter the length of the cable at will. This allows you to move the tailpiece toward or away from the bridge. That distance determines the pitch of the section of string between the bridge and the tailpiece. The consensus seems to be that the pitch should be a fifth interval from the pitch of the string above the bridge. Some like a fourth. This has an impact on overall sound quality of the bass. Even if your bass originally had this interval, if the bridge has been replaced, the interval may now be different. If the required adjustment is too great, that's when you go for a new tailpiece. That's expensive, and probably won't pass the cost/benefit test.
     
  5. Another very good reason to avoid a solid wire is that they have been known to snap. I've seen it happen a few times. It can be very dangerous if that happens and it could damage your bass too. The stranded wire can't break all once since the 'rope' structure is very strong.
     
  6. pkr2

    pkr2

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Thanks guys. All good info as usual.

    That's one of those things, Don, that I have never heard of. Without your advice I would have just cut a piece of cable to a length that worked and installed it. One of those gems of wisdom that makes you put your chin in your hand and go hmmmm. :)

    Tnx, Ron. The danger factor made my mind up completely.

    Chris, just to make it clear in my mind, I assume by "behind" the bridge you mean Toward the tailpiece as opposed to toward the neck. Correct?

    And yes I've been to Bobs site but I haven't had time to do much searching there yet. I'll get back on it tonight.

    Tim, I don't have access to the publication that you mention but it sounds worthwhile to try to get my hands on a copy. Tnx.
     
  7. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    Popular opinion seems to say that you should place the soundpost within 2 inches of the bridge foot- closer gives a more focused sound, further away, less. Others have said no further away than half the width of the post.

    Lemur Music sells an aircraft cable kit for a little over $10, the cable with a brass sleeve with with a pair of set screws. I installed one on my Juzek a little while back.

    They were out when I tried to order one a couple weeks ago and instead bought a hunk of cable and a crimping connector, which I'll put on my Kay.

    Don, I have heard the fourth and fifth comments, but more often hear that the distance from bridge to contact with the tailpiece ridge should be 1/6th of the scale length. Have you heard that or any opinions one or the other way??
     
  8. pkr2

    pkr2

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    ====================
     
  9. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
     
  10. pkr2

    pkr2

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Tnx, Bob. Good idea with the shrink wrap. I probably wouldn't have thought of that.

    Did you use the "U" bolt type clamp with nuts?
    I was thinking of using the plastic covered cable that normally is used for steering cable on a boat. It uses a clamp that is made from two flat plates that has one of the plates threaded and one with countersunk thru holes for the two machine machine screws that hold everything together.

    I'll let you know if that type of clamp works. It should look pretty good since they're available with chrome plating.


    Pkr2
     
  11. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    Yes, a pair of very small "U" bolt type clamps with nuts, as you say. I pondered using plastic coated wire but decided on uncoated - for some reason I theorized the plastic coating could interfere -- with what I don't know, just a gut choice.

    I'll have to check out the clamp you mention next time I'm near a boat store. We've plenty of them down here along the shore.
     
  12. I didn't realize until today that I never answered you; sorry.

    I haven't heard the 1/6 ratio, and I can only guess. That's the sort of fact that kpo would have at the ready. My guess is that's a way of expressing pitch mathematically. Strictly a guess. So, since you're home and I'm not, how's about you measuring the string length and then finding what interval is 1/6th of the length? And don't wait as long as I did to report back.
     
  13. dhosek

    dhosek

    May 25, 2000
    Los Angeles, CA
    Well, assuming pythagorean tuning, 1/6th the string length, corresponds to the 6th partial harmonically which is a 19th (2 octaves + fifth) above the fundamental. This can be found over a sharp minor third at the top of the string, and if I remember correctly, just off the end of the fingerboard on the bottom of the string. This is also the first partial which you can sound by extending your hand the width of 1/6 of the string and lightly stopping at n/6 and (n+1)/6 the length of the string.

    -dh (one of these days I've got to finish putting together my notation of the locations of the basic harmonics on the strings)
     
  14. Duh, I knew that.

    Ya right.

    I have a Kolstein adjustable tailpiece that I tune to a fourth above the string plus what ever octave higher that is.

    Mark
     
  15. In the course of a conversation with Mike Shank at the convention, we got on the topic of adjustable tailpieces. I had to cut the conversation short, but what I got was essentially this: one school of thought is tuning the string behind the bridge to 2 octaves + a fifth over the open string; adjust them a little to help eliminate wolf tones; the right adjustments will bring the bass into cosmic alignment.
     
  16. My specialty is bringing my bass into comic alignment.
     
  17. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    You too? I played a session this morning, and listening to playback, it turns out I played some pretty funny sh*t on a couple of tunes. Strange, but I was dead serious while playing.
     
  18. rake

    rake

    May 4, 2004
    Michigan
    This may seem like an obvious question: When using adjustable tailpiece cord, how do you fine tune it? I'm assuming the afterlength is going to be different while detuned for the adjustment, so is it all trial and error?
     
  19. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Yes! :D
     
  20. rake

    rake

    May 4, 2004
    Michigan
    Glad to know that I'll be sharing the frustration with the legions of afterlength tuners that have come before me.
    Since (apparently) an instrument loan is out of the question for me, I'm really trying to polish the sonic turd that is my DB.