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Kallie

Does these tailpieces really "Enhance" tone?

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Hope someone can tell me why the tailpiece has a longer after string length on the bass string then the treble string. If you have a very shrill E, wouldn't having a long after length soften it?

It increases the flexibility of the bass side, similar to switching the g peg and the c peg on a viola. With the greater flexibility the string is easier to pick up and get moving with the bow and, the sounding point drifts toward the bridge.

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It increases the flexibility of the bass side, similar to switching the g peg and the c peg on a viola. With the greater flexibility the string is easier to pick up and get moving with the bow and, the sounding point drifts toward the bridge.

Jerry

What do you mean increases flexibility? Flexibility of what? The same string at a given length and tension will sound the same note regardless of afterlength, no?

As a separate question can some one please post the formula for wave length to frequency?

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JerryWhat do you mean increases flexibility? Flexibility of what? The same string at a given length and tension will sound the same note regardless of afterlength, no?As a separate question can some one please post the formula for wave length to frequency?

No. Although it is the string length that determines the pitch, the entire string from peg to tailpiece contributes to the flexibility.

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Jerry

What do you mean increases flexibility? Flexibility of what? The same string at a given length and tension will sound the same note regardless of afterlength, no?

 

Perhaps you're both right - the same string at a given length and tension will create the same pitch, but the issue of afterlength behind the bridge is to do with controlling vibration in the bridge. I like Michael Darnton's analogy of a dog on a leash ie. if you want to keep the bridge vibration under control, shorten the leash etc.

However, I don't understand how this would work by increasing the afterlength at the pegbox, since the nut isn't really acting as a bridge (or is it?).

 

Jerry, if you induce more flexibility in a given string, does than mean you're increasing the extent to which it can oscillate away from it's theoretical pitch? That would be an interesting notion ...

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Perhaps you're both right - the same string at a given length and tension will create the same pitch, but the issue of afterlength behind the bridge is to do with controlling vibration in the bridge. I like Michael Darnton's analogy of a dog on a leash ie. if you want to keep the bridge vibration under control, shorten the leash etc.

However, I don't understand how this would work by increasing the afterlength at the pegbox, since the nut isn't really acting as a bridge (or is it?).

Jerry, if you induce more flexibility in a given string, does than mean you're increasing the extent to which it can oscillate away from it's theoretical pitch? That would be an interesting notion ...

Every string has a certain amount of flexibility, if you increase the length of the string you increase the flexibility. Yes it does mean you can cause more pitch drift the longer the string. Try playing a bass e with a c extension using a digital tuner, changing the bow pressure changes the pitch.

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Jerry, I think you're misunderstanding my question. Obviously a string tuned lower oscillates more ...

 

But your proposition is that increasing afterstring (either behind the bridge or the nut) increases flexibility while maintaining pitch. I don't really understand how that is possible unless you are increasing vibration at the bridge (or nut). If that's the explanation (that the string is somehow looser or more free to vibrate at its given pitch) I'm asking if this would also cause an increase in pitch deviation, in the same way that slackening off a string would. 

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Jerry, I think you're misunderstanding my question. Obviously a string tuned lower oscillates more ...

But your proposition is that increasing afterstring (either behind the bridge or the nut) increases flexibility while maintaining pitch. I don't really understand how that is possible unless you are increasing vibration at the bridge (or nut). If that's the explanation (that the string is somehow looser or more free to vibrate at its given pitch) I'm asking if this would also cause an increase in pitch deviation, in the same way that slackening off a string would.

Yes, I understood, thus the c extension example, the extension acting as your longer pegbox length. Think of it this way; if you increase the flexibility of the neck, the neck will flex more while you are playing, thus increasing the flexibility of the system.

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a given string of a given vibrating length (nut to bridge) always requires the same tension to give a given pitch. This is independent of the total string length. 

But the force required to produce a given deflection (by plucking, bowing or stopping the string) depends on the total string length from peg to tailpiece. I assume this is what Jerry means by "flexibility".

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a given string of a given vibrating length (nut to bridge) always requires the same tension to give a given pitch. This is independent of the total string length.

But the force required to produce a given deflection (by plucking, bowing or stopping the string) depends on the total string length from peg to tailpiece. I assume this is what Jerry means by "flexibility".

Yes, thank you, fewer words better explanation.

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OK, I understand that - or at least, as a non-scientist I'm accepting your explanation on trust!

And the result of this greater flexibility in the system caused by neck flex and increased bridge vibration (at a given theoretical pitch) would be at the expense of volume, but might enhance tone?

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OK, I understand that - or at least, as a non-scientist I'm accepting your explanation on trust!

And the result of this greater flexibility in the system caused by neck flex and increased bridge vibration (at a given theoretical pitch) would be at the expense of volume, but might enhance tone?

It seems to move the sounding point closer to the bridge, thus changing the way the instrument feels for the player.

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The ebay description hurts so much.  My brain got tired after less than ten seconds of trying to read that.  The tailpiece itself does not look very high-end to me.  A correct afterlength makes a huge adjustment to the sound and I know you all know this more than I do.  So if this tailpiece is designed to tweak afterlength it sounds useful I guess, for playability and for the actual sound. 

 

But why not get a really good tailpiece and set it up correctly the usual way instead?  :rolleyes:

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What happens to the sound (or the feel to the player) if one uses a REALLY short tailpiece, thus making the afterlength quite long?

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It would be interesting to make up a test rig that would allow you to have variable after length on each string to see if messing around with it can be quantified.  I have a feeling that the viola is more in need of this than the other instruments.  

 

What do you feel that switching the C string of the viola to the upper peg has on c string response.  I have mine set up like violins at the moment.  I seem to remember when I was switching from violin to viola 40 years ago that it was common have the C string on the Back peg as it put a less severe angle on a gut C string and it would not come apart as fast.  I really do not know if there is any truth to it.  I will give it a try next time I switch out my strings.  I hate to mess with something that is working well.

 

In the words of my father "Dwight, leave the damn thing alone! don't fix what isn't broken!" (I seldom listened :-)

 

DLB

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But the force required to produce a given deflection (by plucking, bowing or stopping the string) depends on the total string length from peg to tailpiece. I assume this is what Jerry means by "flexibility".

 

Don Noon

Would you be so kind as to weigh in on this? I sense a certain amount of blind leading blind here.

 

I have been somewhat hesitant to weigh in on this since:  1) it involves instruments for which I have zero experience, and 2) my physics-based opinions are in opposition to those of more experience.

 

However, since I've been asked...

 

The most obvious example of string flexibility is steel vs. non-steel, where the pitch goes sharp on a steel string when it is bowed to high amplitude, or a "wow" factor.  Frankly, I don't see afterlength (bridge to tailpiece) or forelength (peg to nut) as having much effect here.  Certainly the forelength shouldn't matter, as friction over the nut would seem to prevent any small tension effects from getting into the active string length.  Basically, if you can't make the string "wow" by playing, then the string should have so much flexibility that adding more won't be detectable.  As for switching the strings to different pegs to change neck flexibility, I don't see that happening, either.

 

As for effects that I KNOW are real, and have measured:

 

The major one for violins is the tailgut length and vibration at the end of the tailpiece.  With free tailgut in the range of ~5mm or so, the frequency can be down in the 400 - 500 Hz range and be quite noticeable as a dropout in the response and perhaps some odd transients.  

 

Depending on tailpiece weight and several other factors, there is another low-frequency rigid-body mode that can show up around the low G string notes, again as a dropout in response... but since response on the fundamentals is weak there, it might not be obvious.  For violas it is well into the playing range, and more obvious.  Cellos I don't know.

 

Afterlengths also produce response droupouts at their tuned frequencies, which correspond to upper E string positions.  Instrument response is spikey and varies from instrument to instrument, so exactly how these dropouts match up with the instrument's response will vary.  There can not be one solution here.  I don't know where afterlength frequencies fall for violas or cellos, or if it is important.

 

As for the tailpiece which is the subject of this topic, it looks like whiz-bang marketing to me.  The only tailpieces that make any sense from a tuning standpoint are ones with adjustable afterlengths or the one with a sliding mass.  I don't bother with them, though, as tuning gets you into the trap of having to keep adjusting it all the time, depending on weather or changing strings.  I have made one exception to this:  a fiddle with excessive B1+ resonance, where I try to keep the tailpiece matched in frequency to reduce the response there.

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I can not believe that changing the strings on the pegs has any effect on neck flexibility, at least in any practical sense. Also, the pitch drift or "wow" factor, is taking the idea to extremes, hence the bass c extension example. However, John's explanation of how changing the after length or peg box length changes the amount of force needed for a given string deflection seems to be right on and consistent with my observations.

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John's explanation of how changing the after length or peg box length changes the amount of force needed for a given string deflection seems to be right on and consistent with my observations.

 

This implies that whenever you deflect a string, the string slips just a bit at the nut every time you do so ( I could believe that the bridge flexes back and forth just slightly, avoiding slippage).  Although I cannot say for sure that nut slippage doesn't happen, it seems unlikely.  Perhaps the core of the string deflects slightly inside the winding?  Again, you are most likely talking about bass, which is another beast entirely from the violins I'm familiar with.  That's kinda why I didn't want to jump into this.  But, in any case, if forelength has a real effect, then something has to be moving at the nut when you deflect a string.  It would be interesting to know what's moving.

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 But, in any case, if forelength has a real effect, then something has to be moving at the nut when you deflect a string.  It would be interesting to know what's moving.

Guitarists will use locking nuts to keep this slip from happening when using a tremolo, I will try to rig something that will do the same.

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This implies that whenever you deflect a string, the string slips just a bit at the nut every time you do so ( I could believe that the bridge flexes back and forth just slightly, avoiding slippage).  Although I cannot say for sure that nut slippage doesn't happen, it seems unlikely.  Perhaps the core of the string deflects slightly inside the winding?  Again, you are most likely talking about bass, which is another beast entirely from the violins I'm familiar with.  That's kinda why I didn't want to jump into this.  But, in any case, if forelength has a real effect, then something has to be moving at the nut when you deflect a string.  It would be interesting to know what's moving.

I think it all depends on what scope, or what level, you're talking about.

Are you implying that no string 'slippage' occurs, at the nut, even at the 'microscopic' or very small level?

If a string vibrates in syncopation or oscillation with the note being played, and (with regard to the violin specifically) the bow is causing a vibration of that string to occur, then the main flex is going to happen at the midpoint of the free string length, between the nut and the bridge. or at a multiple of nodes on the vibrating string depending on the frequency being played

So far so good. 

Right?

Then the string is being stretched and released in syncopation with the note being played. The length needs to come from somewhere and I would speculate that the string lengthening and shortening back to its original length, happens all over the length of the string - from past the nut to the peg -  - to the bridge - and past the bridge to the tailpiece and endpin.

 

At least that's what I've always considered were the 'mechanics' of the working instrument.

It would surprise me greatly to learn that the entire instrument wasn't involved with the expansion and contraction of the vibrating string(s)...

At some level. But at some important and active level.

I'm just thinking out loud here.

No argument need happen.

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Guitarists will use locking nuts to keep this slip from happening when using a tremolo, I will try to rig something that will do the same.

and also bend the string behind the nut for a tremolo effect. 

the string moves through the nut every time the string is tuned at the peg or is deflected in any way.

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Guitar strings definitely slip at the nut.  I lubricate the nut groves with graphite whenever I change strings to facilitate this.  It makes tuning much more stable.  In the case where the string binds, you tune up and, at some point it suddenly slips and you're out of tune.  You want a smooth slippage to keep the tension on the strings the same above and below the nut.  Don't know if that translates to the violin family.

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OK, so if slippage at the nut occurs - and at a very minute level it must - then this will theoretically allow a longer "afternut" length to modify the properties of the bowed string. 

Does it actually modify these properties, and if so how? I'm not sure I understand the idea of bringing the sounding point nearer to the bridge thus increasing the sense of playability. 

So let's imagine a standard violin string, but with a nut to peg distance of a few metres - how would that affect the properties of the string between the nut and the bridge? I don't think the difference would be critical. Very often we make micro adjustments to the intonation of a string during a performance by pushing it a bit at the pegbox - that tends to last for a good few minutes. So the friction overcomes the possible slippage.

My own observations are more in line with Don's ie. tuning the afterstring (at the bridge end) is good for treating wolfs and semitone-wide issues in the register, but really doesn't seem to do much else ...

 

Wow Daryl, thanks for that - kind of wraps up the issue for me. Now back to that thread about science debunking myths  :lol:

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