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Tailpiece Wire

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by B. Graham, Jun 2, 2003.

  1. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    Solid wire or tuned cable? Which to use?

    I using the '39 Kay I posted around here last week. My hope is to make small improvements as they can be afforded: switching the solid wire for a tuned cable.

    Nut, I thought I should check here first to make sure that's a wise move.

    Thanks all.

    Bill Graham
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
  3. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    Thanks Chris.

    I certainly value the luthiers opinions and work. I need to find a local one however, who's willing to do the install of a fingerboard that I provide. I was surprised today when one of them around here stated he wouldn't install anything by their own (for $450-$750). Unfortunately I can't sink that much more into the bass.

    Thanks again.
  4. I think you will find that your local luthier has a lot of company when it comes to installing fingerboards that you bring in the door. Any luthier worth his salt will guarantee any work done to your instrument. The luthier installs his fingerboards for one simple reason. He knows the quality of the board, how the wood in the fingerboard will work and can accurately predict the amount of time required for the job. Good luthiers do not buy cheap fingerboards because the grain of the wood in cheap boards is seldom straight. Cheap boards mean very unpredictable results when you are planing the boards. Installing a fingerboard (removing the old, gluing and trimming) are only about 25% of the job. What takes the time is planing, scraping, and polishing the board to make it play properly. A cheap board can easily take twice as long to finish and still be not be right because of wild grain in the wood. And... It takes years of experience to know (by sight) when the grain is straight or not straight. The prices you quoted ($450-$750)are certainly not out of reason for quality work. Going cheap on a fingerboard is usually false economy in the long run.
  5. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    I accept your comments, no problem with that. I know the hazzards of buying cheap. However, I would be buying from the same folks as the luthier would be. Simply wish there was a more affordable option. But what's affordable is my problem, not a luthier's.
  6. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    DFW Area, Tejas
    I would talk to him and see what you can work out; most of them are reasonable men. I explained that I wanted the very best I could get, and Rocky looked at the fabulous one I got, and declared it much better than the ones his supplier gave him, and he switched suppliers himself.

    I didn't do it to save money though. Between the new board and the labor, I still spent ~$425.

  7. That is really my whole point to 30Hz. Your luthier probably not in the business of selling fingerboards. He buys a board of known quality and it is just another cost of doing business. Chances are the total price is going to be the same or cheaper if the luthier installs a board of his choosing. While is is possible for the player to buy a good board, it is also likey that you will not get a good one unless you are willing to play a higher price to get it. I don't know about your luthier, but most of my suppliers do not sell to the general public.
  8. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    I met with my luthier today for some strings and tailpiece wire. Ended up needing a soundpost too. I looked at the boards he gets and the tailpieces. Both are German made and very nice. When I have the money, I'll be seeing him to get it done the right way.

  9. Go to Jeff Bollbach's website and read his 'luthier rant'/ horror story on cheap fingerboards. If you're concerned about long-term playability of your bass (who isn't?), it'll make ya wanna leave fingerboard selection to someone who can tell a good one from a bad one by looking at it. Most of us (like me)don't have the experience to do that.

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