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Tailpiece/tuner combo effect on sound?


polkat
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Do the aluminum or plastic tailpieces with tuners built-in effect the sound differently then a traditional wood tailpiece without the tuners? I'm going to perfection pegs on one violin and plan to get rid of the aluminum tailpiece/tuner thing, and I'm wondering how this might effect tone? Thanks!

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After setting up around 50 or 60 violins of the same model with different tailpieces, I find that the tailpiece with the built in fine tuners work best. Generally the wooden ones will dampen the sound more since they are denser. The tailpieces that have fine tuners extending out of them also affect string after length bringing about a whole new tone in some cases, and rather big differences in almost every case.

It's all preference.

That being said, We did not use the cheap plastic fine tuners, we used rather nice ones that we ordered just for setting up new instruments.

Every instrument got the same treatment as well (bridge cut, new strings, new tailpiece, string lenth to ~130-55mm, sound post set) so I think my research for my taste is fairy accurate.

You will also find your own preference im sure.

I'm also not saying the other tailpieces don't have their place. If it is an overly bright instrument a wooden tailpiece might be one of the things we would change. Most of the time though, we also fit them to style. If it is a copy of a strad or some such, we would leave a style matched tailpiece.

If you do a search there is about 5-10 topics on this with about 10 pages apiece. I spent a day reading them all and learned quite a bit from there as well.

Hope this helped.

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Not long ago I replaced a set of boxwood pegs with ebony pegs. The change in the sound was very dramatic. So much so that the owner was not able to play on the instrument. I took a lot of adjustments until we were able to readjust the instrument to it's former quality. You can still keep the old tailpiece even though your replacing the pegs. I don't believe there's a law against that :)

Oded

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Yes that was the only thing I changed, same bridge same soundpost (didn't move it) same tailpiece, same strings-everything the same except the pegs. You may or may not be able to repeat my experience since every instrument has a unique qcoustical fingerprint, it's very possible that in this particular instance the new pegs caused a very noticeable change.

Oded

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sorry to steal the topic a little bit, but, was pegs the only thing you really change? I've never heard of pegs affecting sound/tone as the don't really touch the actual soundbox in any way. I will have to try this out next summer when I return to a full violin shop instead of my dorm room.

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It is possible that something else might have been a factor but I would trust Oded to factor that in. Get some plasticine and small bits of lead and put weight on the scroll....The sound will change.

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In this particular case the tailpiece is plastic with the built in tuners. I thought it was black painted aluminum until I took a closer look. I looked because even though the tuners turned okay, there was little change in the string frequency. I took it off and noticed it was very flexibale. Apparently turning the tuners tweaked this tailpiece as much as it did the strings. Surely, even though the ebony tailpiece (without tuners but with perfection pegs) might absorb some tone/volume, it would work better then this setup. But how much negative tone change (the violin has fairly nice tone) should I expect? I'm thinking it might sound better as it is a little bright.

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Change the tailpiece first and see what it does to the tone.

In the example above changing to the ebony pegs made the instrument brighter sounding especially on the E string, but I would not generalize too much from this. My point is that it's hard to predict what will occur when you change something on a violin.

I would guess that if the new pegs weigh about the same as the old pegs then they should not cause much of a change.

I would encourage you to change one thing at a time otherwise it's difficult to trace back to what actually caused the altered sound.

Oded Kishony

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After setting up around 50 or 60 violins of the same model with different tailpieces, I find that the tailpiece with the built in fine tuners work best. Generally the wooden ones will dampen the sound more since they are denser. The tailpieces that have fine tuners extending out of them also affect string after length bringing about a whole new tone in some cases, and rather big differences in almost every case.

It's all preference.

That being said, We did not use the cheap plastic fine tuners, we used rather nice ones that we ordered just for setting up new instruments.

Every instrument got the same treatment as well (bridge cut, new strings, new tailpiece, string lenth to ~130-55mm, sound post set) so I think my research for my taste is fairy accurate.

You will also find your own preference im sure.

I'm also not saying the other tailpieces don't have their place. If it is an overly bright instrument a wooden tailpiece might be one of the things we would change. Most of the time though, we also fit them to style. If it is a copy of a strad or some such, we would leave a style matched tailpiece.

If you do a search there is about 5-10 topics on this with about 10 pages apiece. I spent a day reading them all and learned quite a bit from there as well.

Hope this helped.

Tailpiece variety certainly does have it's effect on tone, and I have no doubt that what you report above was true for the model with which you were working, but I'm not sure you'd get the same results with all models... and there are other alternatives (if one wants to use 4 fine tuners).

When I worked for "the company", I had the opportunity to see the results literally hundreds of the same model instruments set up in different ways. I'm convinced that, as true in a number of issues concerning setup, there is a optimal working balance between the damping effect and the vibrational freedom of the tailpiece (that may be different depending on the instrument, or model, in question).

What we discovered was that some instruments worked well with the plastic or metal tailpieces (tuners built in), but many seemed to work better using a wooden tailpiece with fine tuners added... despite the extra weight... BUT... we used the next size down tailpiece (3/4 on a full size. 1/2 on a 3/4, etc.) in order to gain the room required to set the after-length correctly.

On better instruments, there are other, more expensive, options like the Bois de Harmonie tailpieces. I haven't had occasion to use them on violins, but I do use them (almost exclusively) on 'celli... and have installed them on a number of violas with very good results.

Cheers,

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On better instruments, there are other, more expensive, options like the Bois de Harmonie tailpieces. I haven't had occasion to use them on violins, but I do use them (almost exclusively) on 'celli... and have installed them on a number of violas with very good results.

I have used the Bois d'Harmonie violin and viola tailpieces and have found them to be very good. Some players and many fiddlers, just don't like using pegs, although Perfection pegs are an exception. The differences in response are not as dramatic as with the Bois d'Harmonie cello tailpieces, but they do add a level of functionality and they are so much better looking than the Wittner or Pusch, both with fine adjusters. Pusch violin tailpieces, although they better looking than the Wittner are a real pain when it comes to installing new strings because of the way the strings have to be threaded up from the bottom into the string holders. Not a strings have the same diameter metal ends and this can be frustrating for players having to make string changes.

I, too, use Bois d'Harmonie tailpieces almost exclusively on cellos or at least whenever the customers' budget can afford it. I have a large and growing collection of old ebony tailpieces with the add-on metal tuners. :)

Terry

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Tailpiece variety certainly does have it's effect on tone, and I have no doubt that what you report above was true for the model with which you were working, but I'm not sure you'd get the same results with all models... and there are other alternatives (if one wants to use 4 fine tuners).

When I worked for "the company", I had the opportunity to see the results literally hundreds of the same model instruments set up in different ways. I'm convinced that, as true in a number of issues concerning setup, there is a optimal working balance between the damping effect and the vibrational freedom of the tailpiece (that may be different depending on the instrument, or model, in question).

What we discovered was that some instruments worked well with the plastic or metal tailpieces (tuners built in), but many seemed to work better using a wooden tailpiece with fine tuners added... despite the extra weight... BUT... we used the next size down tailpiece (3/4 on a full size. 1/2 on a 3/4, etc.) in order to gain the room required to set the after-length correctly.

On better instruments, there are other, more expensive, options like the Bois de Harmonie tailpieces. I haven't had occasion to use them on violins, but I do use them (almost exclusively) on 'celli... and have installed them on a number of violas with very good results.

Cheers,

Sorry if I made it sound like other tailpieces are "bad". We certainly used all kinds for different instruments. As for using a size down on some instruments, we only did that on viola. Never had any problems getting the lengths right with violin ones.

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I was just wondering the other day. I know it's a bad habit. A baroque tailpiece rests right on the tail gut, but a modern one is just kind of suspended. What are the repercussions? Does the baroque one have more damping, since it can transmit it right to the saddle? Or does the modern one add more "stuff" to the sound because there is more flopping around?

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In a sense that was the heart of my original question. Does a sloppy, flexiable tailpiece (soft) tailpiece absorb more sound/tone then a more solid one? I guess the question (aside from effect of afterlength) mixes down to what effect the tailpiece has on muting the bridges ability to viabrate (move)? Or is that a concern in tailpiece design?

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I guess the answer is maybe......though composites, ebony, boxwood, alloy, any material etc. all mute differently....

More a case of mass /weight.

I don't think different tails influence the bridges movement.

How the bridge is tuned will play a fair part...as well as weight, material, afterlength....

Carleen hutchins link worth consideration...(follow the link 'charts further down the page)

http://www.newviolinfamily.org/cmh/cmh-modetuning.html

Its worth noting that a respected forum poster of the past would often refer to checking that the tail gut is well spread on the saddle

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