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Velvet tailpiece cord material

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by B. Graham, Apr 30, 2005.


  1. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    I recall mention of this before, but can't find the thread.

    Isn't the Velvet tailpiece cord made of regularly available material? I wouldn't think that the demand would be enough for the stuff if only bassists bought it. Not cost effective.
     
  2. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    I've never laid eyes on a Velvet TP cord, but I did recently purchase a tailgut from the venerable Dr. Mike Pecanic.

    It works great, it's easy to use, and I have no remorse at all about paying the $16 for it. But, I have to say that when I cracked open the package, I thought "hey, this is the same stuff that they use for drawstrings and the like."

    It's sure looks like a nylon shoe string to me. I think I could have pulled one out of my windbreaker.

    Of course, looks can be deceiving. It may in fact be much stronger.
     
  3. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    I bet if you went and bought climbing grade shoestrings or such from an outdoor gear store (like REI), it would be just as good. And then you could get int different colors too.

    I use an MPM tail cord too, but I like the idea of getting a heavy duty, plastic coated cable from a hardware store and one of those screw tension things like Charles Traeger mentions in his book. Trying to adjust a cord to the right lengths is a total pain in the a$$.
     
  4. Tom Hutton

    Tom Hutton

    Nov 22, 2004
    Indiana
    I looked up Mammut accessory cord, and they rate 4mm @ 3.5 kN breaking strength, and 2mm @ 0.85 kN. So these would hold ~350kg and ~85kg respectively (about 780lb and 190lb). Unfortunately I don't know what string tension normally is though so this doesn't help much, but I would think that it's >85kg. Anyone care to set me straight on this?
     
  5. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    Found some utility cord at REI today that's rated at 300 lbs. tensile strength.

    Is this sufficient?
     
  6. mje

    mje

    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    From the daa on this page:

    http://www.urbbob.com/tension.html

    ...we can see that the load on the tailpiece approaches 300 lbs, which means I'd want at least 600lb tes for a 100% safety margin. Then I'd be concerned about elasticity, longevity, etc. Some braided cords have short lives under load.

    I just put a Wittner tailpiece on my bass, along with the synthetic Wittner tailgut. Then I picked up a copy of Double Bassist, looked at a Wittner ad, and see they're pushing their new staiinless steel tailgut.

    You just can't win ;-)
     
  7. Tom Hutton

    Tom Hutton

    Nov 22, 2004
    Indiana
    Wow, (AH) BG's site really does have everything! :D
    Thanks Mike, I hadn't seen that. I think it's pretty clear from those numbers that Pecanic/Velvet/etc. cords are made of sterner stuff than bootlaces (not really surprising). It would be interesting to know exactly what is different between the two. At some stage I may get a Pecanic tp, so I might ask him then...
     
  8. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    OH yeah, I also forgot that climbing rope tends to be made to stretch under load - they don't want climbers to break their necks when they fall and for the rope to absorb some of the snap out of it. Although you wouldn't be using 1/2" thick climbing rope, I wouldn't be surprised if the bootlace stuff have some stretch innit too. So you guys a probably right about getting tension specific stuff.

    But I'm still in favor of a steel cable with an adjuster. Come to think of it, I think I do have a velvet cord myself, but with the steel cable, it seems so much easier to tune the afterlength.
     
  9. Some of the accessory cords that climbers use are Kevlar based and have exceptional load capacity with little or no stretch.


    .
     
  10. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    What kind of adjuster? When I've used the steel cable I've just got a brass barrel with two allen set screws. Is there something that you can use so you can tighten and loosen (tune) the cable under tension?
     
  11. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    My experience is just the opposite. If tied with a Carrick, the cord can be loosened and adjusted very easily without the need for a tool. And, after being brought up to tension once, the cord won't stretch hardly at all the second time. When I adjusted my afterlength on the MPM cord, it took much more time to drop tension and retension the strings than it did to actually shorten the cord. It is about a 30 second procedure.

    Plus, a carrick is stronger than the rope itself. The more tension you have, the stronger it becomes. Those adjustable cable clamps look worrisome to me.
     
  12. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    No, I shouldn't have called it an adjuster but, I'm referring to the clamp you already have. The problem with making a carrick bow for a cords is that the length of the cord isn't fixed. There's slack when you tie a carrick bow and when under tension, the knot slips an unpredictable amount. With the clamp you have, it's relatively fixed. When I installed the MPM TP I have now, I had to make about a dozen attempts before I got the right afterlength. A total PIA. In doing so, my bridge fell a couple times and scratched the top. With the type you already have, I could see that I'd would ge tit right after a couple of tries.

    EDIT: FUnny Chas, we posted at the same time saying opposite things. Maybe I'm just too lame to work the carrick right. :)
     
  13. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    I don't think there is something that will allow adjustment at tension. The only thing I have ever seen used is some variation of this:

    [​IMG]

    I don't trust them.
     
  14. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Chas, what is that thing called? I'm looking for a relevant substitue on the web.
     
  15. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    I think I Googled "steel rope clamp."

    As an aside, when I did steel rope on my Engelbert Humperdinck , I slid a length of black heatstrink over the cable and hit it with a heat gun before I installed it. I'm not sure that it added anything, other than the fact that it looked really nice.

    I used the crimped clamp with that job. It worked pretty well, but adjustment wasn't an option.
     
  16. after searching the web a lot about the mike pecanic tailpiece, i found this company, and a product description that matches the one on the pecanic website almost word-for-word:
    http://www.samsonrope.com/home/general/12strandlisting.cfm

    it's the amsteel 7/64" dia.
    i was able to order a small amount from a local West Marine store here in SF. A google search can find places that will sell larger quantities.

    after researching knots online, i found the carrick bend as well. this website gives a nice tutorial:
    http://www.grogono.com/knot/index.php

    i found that this stuff does take a while to finish stretching once at full tension, but i attributed that mostly to the knot settling in.

    now, as to whether it made a huge difference in my sound after all that, the jury's still out. still, it's more convenient than steel cable, lighter, more flexible, etc.
     
  17. dex68

    dex68 Guest

    May 5, 2005
    Just a general question here: Is there a good reason for me to switch from the steel cable tail piece cord I have now? Is it about lower tension and all that? I'm using velvet strings, which have a lower tension that I like, though I'm not sure I want it lower still.
     
  18. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA

    A cord will not change the tension. It is just lighter and even more flexible than steel wire.
     
  19. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    Something else I'm trying:

    I got some stainless steel sailing halyard cable from a friend today. 1200 lbs. of strength, and very flexible stuff, almost as flexible as cord it seems to me.

    I imagine it's the same stuff as people are already using, but just by another name.
     
  20. pipeman

    pipeman

    Mar 20, 2005
    brooklyn,n.y.
    just to let you know. that metal u shaped clamp a few threads up is called a "crosby" clamp...