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Opinion on "Harp" Style Violin Tailpieces?


Thomas M
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I recently watched a video review of the so-called "harp" style tailpieces for violins, violas and cellos. I never came across those before, but in the video I watched they definitely made a difference on the instrument they were tested with.

They're not available in my country, but I'm interested enough to  give them a try. Have you tried these before on your instruments, and if so, with which result?

Thanks in advance.

Edited by Thomas M
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I've never tried the Harp tailpiece and I'm not against them, but the fact that there is a difference in weight between the standard and the harp is in itself a factor that could change the sound of the violin, and should be taken into account. At least it would be fairer to compare the two different tailpieces but of equal weight between standard and Harp to be able to draw conclusions. It would be interesting at the same time to do a test with the same standard tailpiece by disassembling and reassembling it to hear if there are differences (I bet yes) if you don't wait enough time to let the tensions settle. Making these comparative tests in an objective and scientifically reliable way is quite hard.

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Posted (edited)

I discussed this matter with a local professional musician, and he said that cellists in particular had been trying these tailpieces for years, but that they could never establish themselves as credible alternatives to standard tailpieces. It kind of figures, considering they're not officially available from any seller in my country. I'm just curious because I enjoy trying "new" things that might make a difference.  

Edited by Thomas M
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The angled tailpiece has been around for a long time.  Attached is a photo of a 1742 Welsh crwth made by Richard Evans which is in the National Museum in Wales.  The crwth history goes back about a thousand years and it was eclipsed by the medieval fiddle and the later violin.

The bridge was flat so the strings were played as chords.  Later instruments had curved bridges so that individual strings could be played.  The later instruments also had narrow c bouts to give more bow clearance.

2089702653_ScreenShot2021-05-10at9_04_10PM.png

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Facts:  some differences in afterlengths, tailpiece mass/distrubution will make some difference in sound and playing character.

Opinion:  not a huge difference, and "good" or "bad" depends on both the instrument and the player.  Normal tailpieces are fine for me, but might not look as cool.

And... I avoid lightweight tailpieces, as the reduced mass raises the low-frequency tailpiece modes higher into the playing range, where they can cause more weirdness.  Similar to chinrests... lighter is not necessarily better.

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The afterlength of each string will be different. So is the afterlength important or not? I've read here many times that it is (though I've never detected a consistent difference of sound on my own violins when I change it).

Presumably if the afterlength is significant, one of either a standard or harp tailpiece would give a clearly better sound, and common use would have settled on that type (as it seems to have with standard tailpieces).

Surely nobody would be so devious as to try to get people to buy their product without any factual evidence of it being better than the competition? That would be shocking.

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