View Full Version : Lyon & Healy mandocello tailpiece

Nov-04-2014, 5:44pm
Did the Lyon & Healy mandocello use the same engraved tailpiece as the mandolins and mandolas?

Photo evidence from Frank Ford seems to indicate yes. My luthier pal says he thought the cello tailpiece was larger, but that's not what I see here. But I'd welcome anyone else's informed reply.

This comes up because there is one on the block, if you know where to look. It's had the finish stripped; there's a repaired headstock crack; there's a neck repair that needs to be redone because the neck is bowed; the headplate is a replacement, the label's gone, and it's sporting a trapeze guitar tailpiece instead of the original. I do have a spare L&H tailpiece that could be just what she needs. 'Twould be a project, but on the other hand it's going for about half of the expected price. (It is NOT the one in Frank's photo below.)


Nov-04-2014, 6:19pm
Check out post 11 in this thread:


The tailpiece cover is the same size as that used for mandolins, but the tailpiece itself is an abbreviated version of the mandolin tailpiece. PM me if you want any specific measurements, etc.

Nov-04-2014, 8:17pm
Do you know if that's true for the mandocellos in general, or just the one you photographed?

The abbreviated base is more or less the same as a Waverly cloud base, which is not hard to find.

Nov-04-2014, 9:03pm
I strongly suspect, but of course cannot prove, true for all L&H mandocellos.

The instrument I photographed was a mint, under-the-bed example, so the risk that the tailpiece had been swapped out approaches nil. The other L&H mandocello I have spent time with, unfortunately, no longer has the original tailpiece (although the plugged holes where the original tailpiece was attached match up with the tailpiece on the mint example).

Every picture I have seen of an L&H mandocello (which, admittedly, only total about 4 or 5 examples) shows the standard-sized cover we know and love, including the Frets photograph.

Plus, it just seems hard for me to imagine that L&H, after successfully using the regular-sized cover on many mandocellos, decided one day to switch to something else (and the low serial number of the one I photographed leads me to believe any possible variant would have appeared later, rather than earlier). My sense is that L&H designed their tailpiece with the mandolin in mind, and then modified what they already had in order to make them work for mandolas and mandocellos (as discussed in the thread mentioned above, particularly with respect to the "Frankenstein" mandola tailpiece).

If anything, I think the intricacy of of the tailpieces deceased as time went on (although the covers stayed the same), which doesn't jibe in my mind with the possibility that L&H was tinkering or improving or embiggening the tailpiece covers at a later date.

Who knows? But I think the presumption at this point is that there was only one size tailpiece cover.

Nov-04-2014, 9:09pm
All right, well, that's always been my understanding as well, judging from photos, the Washburn book, and what I recall about the first L&H cello I saw, years ago.

Not that I currently have the $ to buy the cello in question, even at the reduced price ... but if I did, at least I could fix 'er up with an authentic-looking tailpiece.