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Bergonzi_Boy

Yet another tailpiece query

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Hi all,

I am contemplating purchasing a good quality tailpiece for my violin and would just like to ask a few questions. The one I am looking to get is the Bois D'Harmonie French style (without tuners), and I would be putting a Hill style tuner on the E string using a loop end E.

My violin is a small patterned Del Gesu copy (350mm) and it would seem the standard 112mm tailpiece is going to be difficult to fit. In order to get the string afterlength correct (I am basing this on the 1/6th rule, to be fine tuned after the initial fitting), I think I am going to have to get the 108mm model. The current tailpiece is around 112mm, but the afterlength is too short (about 5mm if following the 1/6th rule) and there really isn't much more room left at the saddle end (maybe 1mm - 2mm to play with at best). So based on all that, is my deduction correct that the 108mm model is the best size to purchase?

Secondly, I am thinking of which wood the tailpiece should be made of. I am wondering if the considerations here are not just aesthetic. I read an archived post here that suggested the D'Harmonie boxwood models may have a slight sonic superiority over the ebony model. On the issue of appearance, my feeling is boxwood might look quite appealing on an antiqued Del Gesu copy, where the varnish is a deep amber with a yellow base. That said, my pegs and chinrest are ebony and I have no desire to change them. Do you think such a combination would look odd? Most pictures I see of violins on the net are without the chinrest, so I am having trouble visualising what the combination might look like. I could play safe and just get ebony, but the boxwood is very appealing.

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Hi Bergonzi Boy- I believe that you are right in going with the 108mm tailpiece to get the correct afterlength, perhaps one of the luthiers will confirm this.

Re the tailpiece, for me it would be more an aesthetic choice than a sonic one. I have some violins with all ebony, others with all boxwood., and have not noticed any real difference in sound when they have been changed or switched. I share your liking for boxwood fittings, and have seen many violins with a chinrest that does not match the pegs and tailpiece, but can't recall one with pegs and chinrest the same and a different tailpiece. In any case, it's not a major issue- follow your inner guide!

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Thanks Guta. I just decided to try to do a "mock up", even though I don't possess the proper equipment nor any decent photoshop skills. But this is what it would sort of look like with the Bois D'Harmonie boxwood tailpiece. Personally I think it is quite appealing if some imagination is used.

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Bois D'Harmonie now has tailpieces with a single tuner built in. I haven't tried one yet but think they look quite nice and I would imagine they work better than a Hill tuner. As for any advantages sonically between different woods, I think it comes down to the individual instrument. Boxwood is lighter than ebony but that doesn't necessarily mean it will be better for your violin. I have heard of people choosing ebony over boxwood after comparing. You might also want to check out fittings by fellow maestronetter Eric Meyer.

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I have been told (by someone I would think might have some authority on this) that the most sonic impact comes if you use Pernambucco (perhaps Eric's mountain mahogony falls into this category as well). That the other three common woods (rose, box, ebony) are relatively the same (neutral?) in their impact.

He seemed to think that Pernambucco would brighten an instrument.

I throw this into the mix for what it's worth.

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Thanks everyone for your input. Yes, I had seen the single tuner Bois D'Harmonie fittings at their website. I would probably get the fitting through Johnson, since they appear to be the US distributer. Johnson does not list the single tuner models, but they didn't list the smaller 108mm models either. Since they told me they can get it to order, maybe they can get the single tuner one as well.

I'm not totally convinced about the Bois D'Harmonie tuners though. I have one of their larger 112mm models with the 4 fine tuners, and I'm not really sure whether the string sits firmly enough over the tailpiece saddle so that the true after length (sonically speaking) is the actual distance from the bridge to the saddle. The strings only seem to bend slightly across the saddle. If you remove the tuner though, the string obviously crosses the tailpiece saddle at a good angle with firm contact. Does anyone have any comments about that?

Yes, I had heard about the Pernambucco as well. Can someone point me in the direction of Eric Meyer's fittings please? I'm not in a huge rush yet, so I still have a bit of time to make my mind up. I would like to see them.

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OK, I found Eric's Website. It certainly looks like very high quality stuff. I know you only get what you pay for. The pricing looks perfectly reasonable, but I think those fittings are a little bit out of my price range. They are about 50% more than the Bois D'Harmonie it looks like.

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