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Tailpiece holder. Gut vs plastic.


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IMO every single thing we do differently to a violin changes it a bit;  sometimes it's subtle and can't be heard, and sometimes it is quite noticeable.  But deciding on good better and best is not so easy to determine.

 

Paul Schuback once took four or five different "tail guts" (the most correct term no matter what the material), and installed them on one violin.  The violin had a "Sacconi tail gut" when he started and again at end of the experiment.  In my opinion it was better than the other types;  but there was not unanimous agreement.  Of course there are other factors which probably weren't perfectly controlled.

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"Sacconi tail gut" ... In my opinion it was better than the other types...

 

I have tried kevlar, but prefer the nylon "Sacconi" type.  The kevlar, being relatively thin and braided, does not damp out the tailpiece movements as well.  In general, moving parts (other than the plates) are not desirable, as they tend to make dead spots in the response, and possibly create odd playability characteristics.  Damping the moving parts reduces the severity of the effects.  All my opinions, of course.

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Not having any experience with the Kevlar ones I was wondering about the effect of the difference in thickness. I am guessing that the kevlar might be less prone to the initial stretching of a nylon one? 

 

I was suspicious that something like what Don describes might happen, which would negate any advantage.

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Hello everyone!

 

I'd like to ask about a tailpieece holder material. What material is better for the sound, gut or plastic? Also I saw a sinthetic kevlar tailpiece holder.

 

Thank you!

As usual, the outcome will depend on the particular fiddle, and the taste of the person evaluating the result.

 

Yesterday, I made the brightest bridge I have ever made for a cello. I had reservations about doing it, but the player who requested it is a super-hot player, so I tried to put my reservations aside and go along with it.

Turned out really well. The sound would probably be rejected if I ran it by most orchestra "section" players, but this person has a need to cut through on solo parts.

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I have tried kevlar, but prefer the nylon "Sacconi" type.  The kevlar, being relatively thin and braided, does not damp out the tailpiece movements as well.  In general, moving parts (other than the plates) are not desirable, as they tend to make dead spots in the response, and possibly create odd playability characteristics.  Damping the moving parts reduces the severity of the effects.  All my opinions, of course.

I agree

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As usual, the outcome will depend on the particular fiddle, and the taste of the person evaluating the result.

 

Yesterday, I made the brightest bridge I have ever made for a cello. I had reservations about doing it, but the player who requested it is a super-hot player, so I tried to put my reservations aside and go along with it.

Turned out really well. The sound would probably be rejected if I ran it by most orchestra "section" players, but this person has a need to cut through on solo parts.

OK..but what tail gut type did you use?

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As far as stability goes, both gut and "plastic" are stable if they are installed properly, and the instrument is kept in a stable environment.  I use Gamut for all gut products.  The violin tailcord is fine, and the strad stich is fun to do.  I haven't noticed any stretching of the gut post installation. 

 

Wasn't someone recommending kevlar boot laces at one point?

Many years ago I encountered lots of cheap plastic tailcords failing at the threaded ends. When I do enounter cheap plastic cords, I melt the ends (just like you would with gut) to flare the ends and ensure a solid hold.  Maybe I'm nuts?

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The other day, I serviced a violin for a player and put on a kevlar gut.  The violin sounded very good, except the E string, which, as the player put it 'developed Tourette syndrome' - notes popping out and shouting all over the place. We tried all sorts to settle it down, and eventually I replaced the gut with a nylon one. Problem solved.

 

My favourite tailgut is natural gut. 

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OK..but what tail gut type did you use?

I use the steel cable with threaded ends almost exclusively. On cello, the plastic tail adjusters stretch a great deal over time. Before switching to the steel, I made a jig to put them under tension for a while before they were installed on an actual cello. Even after being under normal tension on the jig for a year, they still changed.

 

Similar problem with the Kevlar. While the material itself may not stretch, the knot compresses, changing the afterlength, and it's a pain to untie and retie accurately. More like impossible, compared to a threaded end. Worse yet, I took the tailpiece off one cello and found that the combination of vibration and a right-angle bend had cut the cord about halfway through.

 

None of them are totally stable though, partly because the ebony on a saddle will compress over time (which can be seen on any older fiddle). On the cables, I put a short length of zip-tie between the saddle and the cable to keep it from cutting in as much. This also allows sliding and repositioning of the cable while under tension, which is close to impossible otherwise.

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The other aspect of tail piece holder materials that doesn’t seem to be mentioned often is that the thickness will alter the angle the string breaks over the bridge….

The violin tailpiece gut I have here is 2.4mm diameter, the Saconni nylon is about 2mm and kevla is under 0.4mm…….So swiching between kevla and real gut will have the same effect as changing the saddle height by 2mm on a violin, which I imagine will probably have a greater effect on the sound than the actual material the holder is made from.

neil

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I use the steel cable with threaded ends almost exclusively. On cello, the plastic tail adjusters stretch a great deal over time. Before switching to the steel, I made a jig to put them under tension for a while before they were installed on an actual cello. Even after being under normal tension on the jig for a year, they still changed.

 

Similar problem with the Kevlar. While the material itself may not stretch, the knot compresses, changing the afterlength, and it's a pain to untie and retie accurately. More like impossible, compared to a threaded end. Worse yet, I took the tailpiece off one cello and found that the combination of vibration and a right-angle bend had cut the cord about halfway through.

 

None of them are totally stable though, partly because the ebony on a saddle will compress over time (which can be seen on any older fiddle). On the cables, I put a short length of zip-tie between the saddle and the cable to keep it from cutting in as much. This also allows sliding and repositioning of the cable while under tension, which is close to impossible otherwise.

 

Hi David,

 

I also use them and was looking for a way to avoid the problems that you mentioned (cutting in and impossibility to slide sideways under tension).

Could you enlighten me on your system?

Not sure I understand what is a "zip-tie"........plastic tube? metal?

Is something that must be replaced or that lasts forever?

Surrounds the cable or is placed between the cable and the saddle, held in place by the tension?

 

Davide

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Hi David,

 

I also use them and was looking for a way to avoid the problems that you mentioned (cutting in and impossibility to slide sideways under tension).

Could you enlighten me on your system?

Not sure I understand what is a "zip-tie"........plastic tube? metal?

Is something that must be replaced or that lasts forever?

Surrounds the cable or is placed between the cable and the saddle, held in place by the tension?

 

Davide

These things. Come in a variety of sizes and colors. I cut off a short piece, and slip it between the cable and the saddle when the strings are at very low tension... just enough tension to hold the plastic pieces in place.

 

61F72PN1AZL.gif

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These things. Come in a variety of sizes and colors. I cut off a short piece, and slip it between the cable and the saddle when the strings are at very low tension... just enough tension to hold the plastic pieces in place.

 

61F72PN1AZL.gif

 

Oh, these, I would have to get there.

Do you have a photograph of the piece installed?

Would be very useful.

 

Thanks

 

Davide

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Anyone here use the threaded steel cable on a violin? Any opinions?

 

I use them regularly on violins, work very well apart from the two "defects" mentioned by David Burgess (cutting in the saddle and not slide sideways under tension).

Acoustically are very similar to those of Kevlar, but with more torsional rigidity of tailpiece, which for me does not hurt.

I noticed that sometimes on some violin can accentuate the harshness of the sound, especially on the E string.

So, when appropriate, I replace it with the "normal" nylon tailgut, but the "zip-tie" idea of David B. could be halfway between the two.

 

Davide

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I've used a few Otto tailpieces (made in Taiwan) on violins. They come with a stranded steel cable with threaded ends. The unusual aspect is that the cable has a molded hard black plastic covering, similar to electrical insulation but harder than most. It is 2.0 mm diameter and so far has shown no signs of cutting into the saddle.

 

I have done no tests to compare the sound with other types of tail gut but they seem to work well. IVC, where I get the tailpieces, has offered the cables separately for $3 each but I don't see them on the web site. The tailpiece with integrated fine tuners and cable is $8. The shape of the tailpiece is a little different but I'm getting used to it.

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I've used a few Otto tailpieces (made in Taiwan) on violins. They come with a stranded steel cable with threaded ends. The unusual aspect is that the cable has a molded hard black plastic covering, similar to electrical insulation but harder than most. It is 2.0 mm diameter and so far has shown no signs of cutting into the saddle.

 

I have done no tests to compare the sound with other types of tail gut but they seem to work well. IVC, where I get the tailpieces, has offered the cables separately for $3 each but I don't see them on the web site. The tailpiece with integrated fine tuners and cable is $8. The shape of the tailpiece is a little different but I'm getting used to it.

 

Thanks for the infos, this is the logical thing that I thought could be done to solve the problems mentioned, I'll see if I find them to give it a try.

Otherwise I might buy the tailpiece, keep the cable and trash the tailpiece : I usually pay more for cable only....... <_<

 

This is what I use :

 

http://www.cremonatools.com/reggicordiere-wittner-stahlflex.html

 

Look at the price.......but Germanic reliability is legendary and maybe worth the price!! :D

 

Davide

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I've used a few Otto tailpieces (made in Taiwan) on violins. They come with a stranded steel cable with threaded ends. The unusual aspect is that the cable has a molded hard black plastic covering, similar to electrical insulation but harder than most. It is 2.0 mm diameter and so far has shown no signs of cutting into the saddle.

 

I have done no tests to compare the sound with other types of tail gut but they seem to work well. IVC, where I get the tailpieces, has offered the cables separately for $3 each but I don't see them on the web site. The tailpiece with integrated fine tuners and cable is $8. The shape of the tailpiece is a little different but I'm getting used to it.

I would like to try the Otto cable, not their tailpiece. I did not see any sold separately. Right?

 

Mike

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