What style tailpiece to use?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by CBFinet, Mar 4, 2003.

  1. CBFinet


    Nov 11, 2002
    Phoenix, AZ
    I was just hoping you guys might have some suggestions for a tailpiece. My bass is an old 3/4 German flat-back if that makes a difference. My luthier said it's mostly a personal preference, but explained to me that often, lighter woods actually make the instrument sound more live, but ebony is still the most desireable. Basically, I'm interested in the best sound possible (while still keeping a dark color to match the ebony fingerboard. Whether it's violin style (hidden tailpiece gut) or the wire comes throught the front of the tail piece, french, or hillstyle, what do you guys think works best?
  2. mpm


    May 10, 2001
    Los Angeles
    If you are looking for a dark wood that is light in weight, try Wenge. It's dark brown with fine, light brown veining. Another lightweight, yet dark in color wood is Claro Walnut. Both make fine tailpieces.
  3. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    I would suggest a hidden wire tailpiece, with aircraft cable or similar flexible material. You could also buy and ebonized maple tailpiece. they will be lighter than ebony, less expensive, and black.
  4. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    I had Mike Pecanic (MPM) make me a tailpiece in Claro Walnut. He made it to my spec and it looks gorgeous and I installed it with one of his tailpiece cords and it improved the sound. You can see a pic here: http://www.diadic.com/Adrian/BassTailpiece.jpg.

  5. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    New Albany, MS
    I have one made of Wenge by MPM and it is gorgeous and improved the sound over my old HEAVY 5 string ebony tailpiece.

  6. Monte:

    Do you feel that it is the wood, or is it Pecanic's compensated design?

    I've heard some say the design really works, other say its voodoo.

    I'm looking to upgrade the tailpiece on my bass, and I'm seriously thinking about a Pecanic compensated (not adjustable).
  7. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    New Albany, MS
    Some of both. Actually, I started with the compensated design, and when I put on Eudoxas, they were too short, so Mike kindly made me another one, of more conventional design.

    My luthier, not one to practice "voodoo" said there is some validity to letting the E string have more length.

    The wolf that I had before switching tailpieces is gone, and has not returned, but it could be due to any number of things, like new tailpiece cord, lighter wood, different strings, who knows. I know my bass is better off, but I couldn't point a finger at anything in particular.

    Still, if I had it to do over, I would, if that says anything.

  8. CBFinet


    Nov 11, 2002
    Phoenix, AZ
    I recently got my bass back from my luthier after havin the top off for many repairs of old cracks as well as having a new bridge fit to the bass. I decided to stick with the original tailpiece for now, but I had a saddle added to it because there was none before. The bass sounds incredible, but I've developed a wolf on the Bb on the A string just past the octave and everywhere else on the bass that I can play that note. I've heard of tailpieces helping with these things, but I'm not sure what direction to go; compensated design, ebony, lighter wood, etc. Currently my tail piece is a lighter hardwood that has been ebonized, so if anyone has any suggestions on how to get rid of this wolf via changing the tailpiece it would be appreciated.
  9. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    Try a heavier tailpiece and closer to the bridge to reduce wolfiness. Some guys have specific formulas, and I think some of them work. My experience is that you want to avoid notes in the afterlength that are the same pitch as the wolf.