View Full Version : Bowlback Tailpiece
My 12 year old daughter decided to get me a bowlback for Christmas. She got it off of eBay. She was very proud that she found a "new" one. The issue with it is that the (Gibson style) tailpiece is about 3/8" off center. I figure the easiest way to correct it would be to replace it with a classical style (no end pin). This way I can simply cover up the end pin hole. Does anyone know of a source? I would have sent it back but when I casually mentioned it to my daughter the look on her face told me that it wasn't a good idea.
stewmac has one that will look more appropriate, but it still has the hole. However, you could cover that with a little triangular plate snipped out of thin metal or even wood, it could be held on by the tailpiece screws.
This one here (http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Bridges,_tailpieces/Mandolin_tailpieces/Scalloped_Mandolin_Tailpiece.html)
And those found for us by our kids are more precious than a bargain basement Loar... My oldest found me a pancake mando originally distributed by the Elias Howe Co....with a fabric case with H/O embossed snaps. The kid really nailed the obsession! I love that, and I love him!
Here are couple of photos. The tailpiece photo is blurry but you can see the tailpiece is off center from the inlay. The mandolin looks to be a Vietnamese inlay job. My goal is to make it playable. I saw the tailpiece at stewmac and might order one of those. There is a violin luthier near by who could plug the hole for me. I also found a source in the UK (see third photo) and I'm going to see of that one is available.
Yes, the Vietnamese makers have moved into bowlbacks -- I'd be interested to hear how they actually sound once set up properly. For a little while, they bought up old Italian bowlbacks and "restored" them by adding lots of glossy varnish and inlays, but they have since moved on to making them from scratch (obviously heavily modelled on Italian ones). This one is rather restrained in the inlays and could almost pass for a vintage design. Yes, I'd also change (or at least move) the tailpiece, although I'm not all that keen on the replacement you've found either. This (http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=130232181199) one would be nicer, I think.
I would also replace the all-bone bridge with a more vintage ebony/bone design. Check out the repro bridges made by Dave Hynds (http://www.mandolinluthier.com/repro-bridges.htm).