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Thomastik tailpiece

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Dave Irwin, Dec 8, 2002.


  1. My new bass came with a thomastik tailpiece with fine tuners:
    http://www.thomastik-infeld.com/joh...SetfamilieSubs&SetType=Bowed&ID_Setfamilie=22

    Anyone have experience with these? I've heard of some players/luthiers tuning the string between the bridge and tailpiece to say, a fifth above the fundemental. The fine tuners could accomodate this tuning but I've never heard of needing "fine tuners" on a bass. If it's because the tuning machines might be crappy, (which these are not), I'd think it would make more sense to replace the machines than invest in a tailpiece with fine tuners.
    So if your familiar with these, should I keep it and use the fine tuners to tune the string bridge to tailpiece or replace with a standard ebony tailpiece?

    Is more length between bridge and tailpiece better or is it better to tune?
    Anyone tune to anything other than a 5th?

    Dave
     
  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    These are to make for easy adjustments for wolftones. I think, anyhow.
     
  3. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Should have looked at the picture first, I though it was teh other variety of tunable tailpieces. Looks pretty nifty, although I don't think that I'd have much use for the tuners...
     
  4. I went ahead and tunes the tailpiece strings to 2 octaves and a 5th above the fundemental on each string. I'm too new to the bass to tell if it did much but it made much difference but it sounds good.

    Decided to tune to the piano this morning.
    Thanks again Ray.

    Dave
     
  5. kip

    kip

    Sep 11, 2002
    Sausalito, Ca
    After following your theads on Romanian basses I,m curious. What is your new bass?. That tailpiece looks real hi-tech but would it work w/ gut strings that have a loop and not a ball on the end?
    Thanks
     
  6. Kip, the new bass is a Samuel Shen 7/8's

    Not Romanian I know but I was able to get a good bit of info on the Shen's prior to trying. they have a great reputation (in an environment not to friendly to Chinese instruments)

    Anyway, I've never used gut strings but I would think it could work. The tailpiece adjusters have "claws" that hold the ball end of the steel string. If the guts can be knotted, it could work that way or I suppose they could be looped around the claw as they would be a traditional tailpiece.

    Dave
     
  7. kip

    kip

    Sep 11, 2002
    Sausalito, Ca
    I had a Chinese 7/8 that sounded great, but was not well made (not the same name as your bass). I thought about keeping and fixing it when I bought the 3/4 Romanian but being new to DB I have enough trouble with intonation and switching back and forth between different mensures seemed like I would hinder my development on either. I did sample that 7/8 before trading it in though.
    Enjoy!
     
  8. I noticed alot of luthiers sell Shen's as their lower line instruments (crazy world where $4000.00 is lower line)
    They all seem to think these are well made.

    The 42" string length is different for sure. They had a 3/4 Shen but it was almost 2x as much so I decided to try to adapt.

    Where'd you get your Romanian?
     
  9. kip

    kip

    Sep 11, 2002
    Sausalito, Ca
    Chinese 7/8: I think it was the luck of the draw and I got the lemon, cuz I had heard, like yourself that these basses are a good value.

    Romanian: Violins Etc, Austin Tx.
    Go to Google, then Gliga, there should be some closer to you.
     
  10. I assume those are out of my price range. They are the fanciest looking instruments I've seen.
    If it sounds nearly as good as it looks it must be fantastic.

    Part of me would be afraid to own such a bass. Much like the gargoyle scroll bass belonging to my college teacher (that he made me play in public since mine sucked)
    I felt to walk on stage with such a bass suggested to the audience I could really play it.

    Although I'm a better player now, I still like to put out a "low expectation" kind of vibe, just in case of an off night.

    As far as cracking goes, I won't sleep well tonight. Just got my hydrometer perscribed in other posts and my house is at 37%. Despite Jeff Bollbach's warnings, I stuck the dampit in. Figured it was the lesser of 2 evils. I'll have a humidifier in tomorrow night.

    Dave
     
  11. kip

    kip

    Sep 11, 2002
    Sausalito, Ca
    I can't go w/ all that relief myself. The one's I've seen around here are clean looking. i've seen 2 Maestro built and 2 professional (Gama) series. None had excessive furfling stuff. I think they are targeting the Poellman market and are less expensive.
     
  12. Bruce Calin

    Bruce Calin

    Oct 15, 2002
    I had a thomastik tailpiece on my main jobbing bass (Juzek-type German factory)for many years.It looked really cool & had a formula in the directions for length of tailpiece wire & other scientific-sounding stuff.Very space-age for the '70's.I recently found the original tailpiece & put it back on just for fun.I had forgotten how heavy the thomastik is(at least 1 to 1-1/2 pounds)& also how much it dampened the sound of the instrument.It is solid metal,after all.After the novelty of the fine-tuners wore off.I never really used them much.
     
  13. I uess I'll have to weigh the ability to tune the tailpiece string vs. having a lighter tailpiece.
    Maybe Thomastik ought to get together with Moses and come up with one that has the fine tuners and doesn't weigh so much.

    Going back to the ebony really enhanced the sound huh?

    Dave
     
  14. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I'm of the understanding, and I'm sure that one of the mechanics here would be happy to enlighten us, that lighter wood tailpieces will get you a bit more brilliance where an ebony tailpiece will darken your tone down toward the fundamental a bit more.

    Now -- even if you prefer a more fundamental tone -- keep in mind that having more high-end in your sound won't necesarily make your sound brighter out front, but can add some clarity. Remember that you have to fill a space, and the high frequencies are the first to disappear with distance.

    I talked to Ben Street about this a bit. He asked me how the bass sounded out front on an acoustic gig that he was playing. It sounded beautiful, of course, but he was bitching that it sounded real tinny where he was standing. Also, he said, that this was a normal situation from him, and he needed a little input here and there that the sound was good out front.

    His sound doesn't have a lot of high-end out front, but is a very clear, rather dark sound. All of the high end he was hearing only came out front as clarity.

    Something you might want to consider.
     
  15. I'm actually trying to digest the whole "soaking up sound" issue re: weight of the tailpiece.
    One of our symphony players even mentioned about the scroll of headstock soaking up sound.

    In the case of the tailpiece, I guess I'll have to try a conventional one and see if there is a difference.

    If I can open up this bass even more than it is, I'll be thrilled.

    Dave
     
  16. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Some conjecture on my part:

    I'm guessing that the lighter (read:less dense) wood for a tailpiece would allow that piece of wood to vibrate more and differently than would a denser piece of wood. All of this is pretty slight, though, I would further guess.

    As far as the scroll. There has been some discussion on this here at TB just recently. The weight of the scroll doesn't mean much according to the 'neck tuning' idea, only the harmonic response of the neck overall. My untested idea is that the weight of the scroll would act like the endpin at the other end of the bass wherein a heavy scroll would act like putting a good endpin in a hardwood floor. I don't get a lot of support for this idea and as I hear more anecdotal evidence about the tuning of the neck the more I'm buying into that idea as well. I'll refer you to Gage's article in Bass Player mag this month where he talks about wolf tones and the replacement of a fingerboard on Rufus Reid's bass.
     
  17. Without getting into the subject of tailpiece tuning (not to be confused with tuning the after length of the string), I find that symphony (arco) players tend to favor a heavy tailpiece because it tunes out some of the overtones and jazz players usually like a lighter tailpiece because it appears to responds quicker and produces more overtones when playing pizz. I offer absolutely no scientific evidence to back this up, just my personal observations over the years.
     
  18. Do you mind getting into tailpiece tuning just enough to id it?
    The tuners on this tailpiece both tune the after string and work as fine tuners.
    They tune the after string by adjusting the string length and the fundemental by adjusting tension.

    Dave
     
  19. Tailpiece tuning involves matching (usually 1/2) the vibrating frequency of the tailpiece to the resonance frequency of the instruments body (A0). You need a sine wave generator with a digital counter to determine the exact frequencies. Anyone who is really interested is learning about this sort of stuff should think about joining the Catgut Acoustical Society.
     
  20. Bruce Calin

    Bruce Calin

    Oct 15, 2002
    I forgot to mention that one thing about the Thomastik tailpiece that is sometimes inconvenient is that you can't use the holes in the tailpiece to attach anything to the bass,like pick-up connectors or quivers or anything.Strings can be a little tricky to install too,depending on the end.