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"Weird" tailpieces

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Jon Stefaniak, May 27, 2013.


  1. Jon Stefaniak

    Jon Stefaniak Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2000
    Tokyo, Japan
    I am starting up a list of unconventional tailpiece designs/makers and I want to get some opinions on whatever is out there. I would love if anyone could share any experiences with the following tailpieces - please share what you can about your bass character (big, small, bright, dark, origin etc. ) condition before (wolfy, muddy, tight etc.) and after installing. Any other suggestions of tailpieces to add would be appreciated.
    Personally, I am interested in trying out the Frirsz on my bass, but would like to get some opinions from anyone who has tried it first.
    If anyone has opinions against these designs, I would love to hear them as well.
    This list will become part of a talkbass wiki page on tailpieces I am planning to get started. Any good info is welcome that would help build a resource for quality tailpieces of all types.


    Adjustable components -
    Kolstein - $195 http://kolstein.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=KMI&Category_Code=tail
    Arbutus - pricing not announced (not yet available) http://arbutusfittings.com/violin_tailpiece_costs.htm

    "Harp" type -
    Frirsz - $299 http://frirszmusic.com/shop/index.php?route=product/category&path=59
    ZMT - €233 https://zmtsound.com/order/double-bass

    Very Unconventional? -
    Marvin wire tailpiece $89.95 ($75.95) http://marvinusa.com
    "Catalin Rotaru" tailpiece (Luciano Golia) - $230 http://item.mobileweb.ebay.com/viewitem?itemId=330860217283
     
  2. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
  3. Jon Stefaniak

    Jon Stefaniak Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2000
    Tokyo, Japan
    Thanks,
    Mike Pecanic really has a lot of wood types to choose from. Lacewood or Purpleheart would be wild looking

    Jake, do you only sell your tailpieces custom made and matched to the Bass? Do you/would you sell over the mail if someone ordered?
     
  4. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    The tailpieces are each custom made to suit the intended DB recipient. We've carved and coloured tailpieces to match basses all over the world. We can't install the tailpiece in Switzerland or California or Ireland (well, we *could*, for a modest service fee! ) but lots of players have their local luthier do the installation. The tailpiece and adjustable tailpiece wire come somewhat assembled with instructions so that any competent luthier can set it up correctly.
     
  5. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    This is gonna be a long list, since almost every person who builds instruments has some variation on the tailpiece design that they make. One of the most unconventional things I can think of is why do most tailpieces have the string holes too small to get the ball end through the top, forcing you to unwind the whole string for removal and then chasing it through the underside????????

    j.
    www.condino.com
     
  6. powerbass

    powerbass

    Nov 2, 2006
    western MA

    Attached Files:

  7. Nuggulux

    Nuggulux

    Oct 24, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    It might be worth pointing out that "compensated" tailpieces have been around for centuries. The concept and execution have been particularly popular with gamba players. That being said, I'm eager to try one out.
     
  8. Does anyone have any insight with Marvin tailpieces eliminating wolf tones? Substantial difference?
     
  9. karl84

    karl84

    Jun 27, 2008
    I installed a Marvin tailpiece 6 months ago on my bass which is set up with gut strings. It has made quite a noticeable difference. The string tension has evened out and is much easier to play now.
    My luthier also installed one on his bass but said he didn't like the difference it made to his instrument. His set up is with steel strings, lowish action and he also previously had a light weight tailpiece.
    For me it has been great. No issue with wolf tones previously so I can't offer anything about that.
     
  10. Jon Stefaniak

    Jon Stefaniak Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2000
    Tokyo, Japan
    If anyone is curious about wolf tones, the Arbutus site link I posted has a link to a pdf download of an article that was printed in The Strad. Their design for a weight adjustable tailpiece was the result (I guess) of collaborations with a university study on tailpieces. They are still working on prototype designs for bass.
     
  11. robobass

    robobass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    This one looks interesting, as it has adjustable nuts so you can fine tune the after-length of each string individually. Personally, I just don't have the energy to experiment with something like this.
     
  12. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    I've had a Marvin on two basses and on both it raised the wolf tone by 1/2 a step.
     
  13. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    I've installed a couple of Marvins for clients and they were both pleased with the outcome. They weren't looking to kill a wolf, though. The sound definitely opened up, broadened, with the Marvin.

    It would be fun to have a university position so I could just experiment all day and get paid for it but... ;)
     
  14. JoeyNaeger

    JoeyNaeger Guest Commercial User

    Jun 24, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Bass Specialist, Lisle Violin Shop
    I've played with the Marvin tailpiece on one of my basses. It did make the sound a little 'broader', but it made the wolf tone unmanageable on that bass. Replacing it with a light, wooden tailpiece resulted in a more focused, louder sound and negated the wolf tone. For that bass, I preferred the wooden tailpiece.
     
  15. neilG

    neilG

    Jun 15, 2003
    Ventura, CA
    There's an app for that:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drill_bit
     
  16. Jon Stefaniak

    Jon Stefaniak Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2000
    Tokyo, Japan
  17. Jon Stefaniak

    Jon Stefaniak Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2000
    Tokyo, Japan
    I think this points to a big problem when talking about setups in general. Musicians have no opportunity to learn about the condition of their instrument's setup until it starts costing money. So, we are forced to form opinions based on little or no direct experience.

    I am not surprised that websites advertising "modern" tailpieces are littered with claims of all sorts about the wonderful improvements their products make. I suspect that if you have a bad wolf on one note, it shouldn't be a surprise that a tailpiece half the weight and asymmetrical might change things a bit. Like a lot of advertising, it depends on the target being ill-informed (and maybe a bit desperate). That same person might get similar stunning results from a tailpiece half or one third the price without the branding and patents applied for.

    Like Jake, I don't have the time, and in my case even more money, to experiment with a variety of tailpieces on my bass.
    As players, we depend quite a lot on the experience of our repair person, and hope they are informed, flexible and honest.

    Hope this isn't too much of a digression. Still waiting for more suggestions to add too the list.
     
  18. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    10 different tailpieces and 10 different basses will give you 10 different results.

    The only way to know what works best on your personal bass is to experiment and try a number of different models and see which works best for you.

    j.
    www.condino.com
    www.kaybassrepair.com
     
  19. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Some of us get to see and hear more variations than others and consequently regard our opinions as being better informed than the average player's. ;)

    I am, at the very least, in a position to have seen and heard a lot of instruments with different setup combinations come through my hands. I have had some cherished preconceptions crushed in this manner and have subsequently learned a lot about how stringed instruments voices can be moulded.

    Its galling sometimes to have a player with experience of only one or two basses propound a course of action that I know will not produce the desired result. That's when its better for me to turn down the work or use the phrase, "I'm sorry, I don't do that kind of work." :D
     
  20. Chris Symer

    Chris Symer

    Dec 13, 2009
    Seattle,Wa.
    Wouldn't it be more like 100 different results?
     
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