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wires instead of tailpiece

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Dr Rod, Jan 14, 2006.

  1. Dr Rod

    Dr Rod

    Aug 19, 2005
    I just wanted to share a setup trick invented by Al Laszlo from Cincinnati.

    NO tailpiece, just 4 wires that extend the strings all the way to the endpin (actually 2 wires looped, 1 wire for 2 strings).

    On most basses this can lead to a great improvement in volume, resonance etc...I highly recommend it.

    The wires don't need to be extremely thick, just normal steel wire from the hardware store, and to secure the strings to the end of the wire you just need to make a knot (check out the internet, tonns of sites that teach you how to make knots).

    I went the extra step, just for looks I stripped a thick electrical wire to get the nice looking copper wire, but it's no fun doing it.

    I am hoping that someone will come up with a finished/ready-to-buy version that will take care of the aesthetics of the knots and wires a bit (copper perhaps, just like my electric wire version).

    I don't have a digital camera otherwise I would attach a pic, sorry.

    Stetson has put wires on many basses too.
  2. There is an paragraph in the Autumn Bassist magazine, in the ISB Products section that mentions this arrangement and shows a picture. Says it's from HIMA. The strings hook into the tailpiece wires.

    On your homemade version, aren't you concerned that the copper wire will continually stretch, or even eventually fail? Copper is a soft and ductle metal, after all.
  3. conte2music

    conte2music Supporting Member

    Jul 11, 2005
    Dobbs Ferry, NY
    have you experienced any change in string tension?
  4. Dr Rod

    Dr Rod

    Aug 19, 2005
    the wire is thick enough, it took it a couple days to settle, just like any string but there is no movement now. I have been using the copper wires for years on different basses, never had a problem. The wire does have to be much thicker than for the steel ones, that's for sure.

    If you're concerned, you can just use the steel wires, I didn't notice a sonic difference.

    Thanks for your warning though.
  5. Dr Rod

    Dr Rod

    Aug 19, 2005
    about the string tension, I didn't feel it on my left hand, but the strings do feel different under the bow. Some people feel that their instruments get looser.

    Somehow I don't think the actual tension changed but I have no proof, I just think the instrument vibrates very differently.

    The wires are much lighter in weight than any tail piece, that may reduce some tension there, but nothing significant.
  6. bpclark


    Apr 30, 2003
    West Central, OH
    Is it possible for the tension to change in this situtation? I always thought that the pitch of the string is based on three variables: tension, length, and mass. Changing the tailpiece doesn't affect the length or mass of the string so the tension should remain the same when the string is tuned up to pitch. If this is wrong, maybe somebody could enlighten me.
  7. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Dunno how it works myself, but Bruno put a longer tailpiece cable on my bass and instantly it felt looser.
  8. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    structurally, nothing has changed... same bridge height, same strings, same angle over the bridge...
  9. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    I discussed the HIMA product with the designer - Kevin Marvin. I was interested in one but could not bring myself to try one after seeing all the crimps it is dependent on. I just couldnt' be confident in those crimps. However Kevin mentioned quite a few big name players that have tried it out and are very happy with it.
  10. I thought remember you advocating Pecanic type fexible cords Ray?

    bpclark might have a point in theory but then the same principal applies all those Pecanic tailpiece users say it feels different.

    Arnold posted about an experiment simmilar I think to what is being sugested here and the results were that piz was improved but arco couldn't be tamed since after all, the tailpiece is a damper.

    I would have thought also, that with independant wires, the points at which you hit a cross resonance on a string - say a g on the 'a' string or d in thumb on the 'a' would be less pronounced and would lessen the ability to unconciously know if you were in tune?
  11. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Wasn't me with the boutique tailpiece wires, although I prefer to have at least a piece of cable rather than a length of coat hanger.
  12. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL

    It's on the first page somewhere.
  13. jmpiwonka

    jmpiwonka Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2002
  14. Dr Rod

    Dr Rod

    Aug 19, 2005
    Well yes, jmpiwonka. That's exactly the wire setup. Thanks for the pic.

    What's that nut at the bottom? is it metal?
  15. My luthier says more or less the same thing when I mention some innovation I've seen here - 500 years of evolution can't be wrong - OK some wag will tell me this is a point of the evolutoinary scale but I find it very very hard to believe that this one hasn't been tried before because it is so easy to make - unlike titanium adjusters and hi-tech tailpeice cords. talking of which, as this cord can be cheapish according to threads here that found alternative sources why use wire or does the mass in wire matter - that it is effectively acting as four independant tailpieces? I note on the pic that it is to a degree compensated like a Pecanic tailpiece.

    Apologies Ray - memory faulty - whoever it was was recommending them for (and I think fitting them for) their students and said it made a big difference for a few bucks.
  16. Dr Rod

    Dr Rod

    Aug 19, 2005
    Hey Mike, the difference in sound is not small, it's very pronounced on many basses.

    I understand your comment but IMHO keeping an open mind is just as wise as respecting 500 years of evolution.
  17. 16fuss


    Apr 25, 2005
    hey rodri i am glad you are back in bussiness!! tell about your new bass(and send some picture)

  18. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    One Luthier recently told me he is in favor 'now' of the coat hanger type wire for the Bass as the greater flexability of the strand wire robs tone from the Bass. He thinks the stiffer wire holds the tailpiece tighter and transfers more tone thru the Top.

    "No Wire Hangers" the woman said in 'Mommy Dearest'.. Well, looks like 'mommy' will turn in her grave.
  19. This is not a new idea. Lou DeLeone, Arnold's mentor, told me he saw it years ago.
  20. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    As shallow as it sounds, I just don't think I could deal with these wires from a purely aesthetic standpoint. Something about this setup takes away from the beauty of the instrument in my eyes.