The cover would normally slide up and off the tailpiece but it looks like they peened the bottom over to put the screw in.
Is there a way that I can get that out/off to gain access to the strings?
Is there any lateral motion? Looks like it might slide open from the side. It's kind of hard to tell for sure from the picture.
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The same kind of lip is on each side. I tried to upload more, but the uploader started freezing my computer.
That is a standard cloud tailpiece cover... It appears that the tailpiece unit iself has been built specifically for the banjo mandolin .. But the tailpiece cover itself should slide up when nudged with a screw driver or a coin for prying the cover up and off. Not away from the tailpiece itself. It should slide up.... To make it easier squirt some household oil in the joint between the cover and the tailpiece itself. then use a screw driver to nudge (slide) the tailpiece cover up and off the tailpiece unit. sometimes they are sticky but it will come. Work it off slowly from one side and then the other. the oil should help. This is not an unusual problem but is easy to deal with once you've done it once. Above all don't switch the tailpiece to a more modern one.... Those "cloud tailpieces" are starting to get valuable. I have seen some which are too loose, and too tight is better than too loose.
Thank you so much!
Your tailpiece is not attached the same way as most older banjo mandolins. The long threaded rod allows attachment to a dowel stick screw which is at the same level as the shoes... Not higher, as on yours. The long threaded rod as on paulineots tailpiece allows attachment to the lower dowel stick knob with a hole in it.. It think most early 20th C. banjos mandolins attach similarly to hers. Yours certainly mounts differently than mine, which date from around the 1920s.
If your tailpiece continues to give you trouble what I do is rub some candle wax or soap where the tailpiece cover slides on the tailpiece... That will usually lubricate that tight fit and since it is not oil it will nnt dirty your fingers when you futz with the tailpiece cover.
What The ....
Now I understand... your tailpiece is totally different than mine ... Your seems to be attached to the tension hoop... so there is no threaded rod required to connect the tailpiece with the dowel stick thingie below. Your tailpiece is much more sophisticted than mine or paulineots.