View Full Version : $350.00 Tailpiece!

May-10-2006, 10:06am
HERE (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=7411463416&rd=1&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWA%3AIT&rd=1) is the link to a completed auction for what seems to be the typical teens/twenties Gibson tailpiece. Final price - $350.00. So, with $200.00 pickguards and $200.00 cases, and $200.00 tuners (or whatever), the wooden part is worth what? I'm impressed. . . . . .


Eric F.
May-10-2006, 10:54am
I followed that thing. Made me consider cannibalizing my refinshed A's hardware.

May-10-2006, 11:01am
didnt you see the $5K LL tail "peace" that ended a few weeks ago.

Darryl Wolfe
May-10-2006, 11:48am
A while back, probably last summer, The Elderly site listed an A2 that needed significant seam repairs and general set-up. One of those "as-is" deals. The price was $350. I clicked "buy" the same day it was listed, but it was sold in hours. It was complete with original case, pickguard, bridge, tailpiece and tuners.

I bet that never happens again. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Darryl Wolfe
May-10-2006, 11:56am
Actually it was $400 and a straight A with top and back binding, I found the link

steal gone by (http://www.elderly.com/vintage/items/90U-4200.htm)

May-10-2006, 12:43pm
It does harken to the corporate raiders that buy up companies and then divest the subsidiaries as separate companies to make big money. Lord knows what state of affairs leads to an orphen tailpiece, case, pickguard, etc. But hopefully it's not to just let the wood rest in "heap" for the money.

When I bought my A3 (20 years ago), I knew that the end game was to repair the seams, refret, etc. to make it a player again. In today's market, there seems to be too great of an opportunity to sell off the parts.

Isn't life interesting?


Dan Adams
May-10-2006, 5:54pm
Hey! I have a couple of those tail pieces, they're still attached to th mandolins though. #$350 for a tailpiece, $200 for the bridge, $300 for tuners, $250 for the pickguard, couple bucks a fret, $50 nut, etc.. #Total instrument, $1,150 to $1,350 after I add it all up. Sounds familiar? Oh wait, why not just sell the mandolin as a mandolin. #Still looking to trade my 16 A-Model! #Shameless plug! #Dan

Darryl Wolfe
May-10-2006, 10:58pm
The whole deal is shameless/shamefull. #I buy parts all the time to set back for use later as required for restoration or to sell later for a profit. #Current "economy" forces "investment" thinking with respect to junker guitars and mandolins w/ respect to parts. #In many respects, It's a dog eat dog world. #"Oh wait",!!! if dog eats dog there is only one dog left. #But this is not true with instruments. #Something or somebody loses out in the end.

But take the $5k Tailpiece, money will eventually force the thing back to an instrument, completing the cycle.

I sincerely hope that the cycle affect started in the last few years comes to an end

jim simpson
May-11-2006, 7:26pm
I like the dog eat dog cycle.

I remember a co-worker laughing at me as I picked an old guitar out of the garbage as it was set out for collection. I tried to explain the value of salvaged tuners, etc. He still laughed. I also remember being laughed at while being the only bidder ($15.00) for a National style O resonater guitar. It was missing it's tuners and it needed a new cone, otherwise it was in great shape. It was the best "junk" I ever bid/bought.

Jun-15-2006, 1:31pm
i just bought this exact tailpiece from bob jones today for 150 for my 24 snakehead. and he's taking the old one off and putting this one on...

Darryl Wolfe
Jun-15-2006, 2:13pm
My apologies in advance if this is one of our members, but check out this poor lost soul, and then check his completed items for the whole mandolin that did not bring his reserve.

This really gets under my skin

This makes me pretty darn mad (http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQsassZyankeecowboyfishQQhtZ-1)

Jun-15-2006, 2:46pm
Unfortunately, those of us who've followed electric geetar stuff (or Gibson banjo market) for awhile have seen the same cannibalism on ebay. #It's amazing to see the number of instruments that have been stripped so someone could make more than the sell of the instrument itself. #This has happened some in the Strat market, but it seems to be much more common in what used to be in the less desirable guitars--such as the Jazzmaster, Duo-Sonics, etc. #I don't know the number of times I checked out auctions say for a Jazzmaster and have to sift through the numerous auctions where some one butchered a perfectly fine collectable instrument due to trying to squeeze out every dollar possible.

Then of course there are the guys who buy a vintage instrument, but can't entirely swing the cost. #So they then go and start piece-mealing out parts of their instrument to defray costs. #See this in the Gibson conversion market, where someone will buy something like a 20's TB3, get a conversion neck made for it, and then sell the two-tab grover tuners, the Presto, or archtop ring (butchery of all butcheries! cut the rim and sell the vintage ring--that instrument is no longer identifable other than the dental records) to help defray some cost of making the neck or conversion ring. #

Now one of the markets where I'm all for scrapping the item is in the computer market. #I think any PowerBook I ever bought eventually ended up as a parts source on ebay, because that is the only way I could ever recoup money invested in the machine. #But a Powerbook is by no means even comparable to the intrinsic beauty (and collectability) in a great vintage instrument.


Jun-15-2006, 3:33pm
hey jim - i saw that exact thing a few weeks ago with a late 50s ES-5 that originally came with THREE PAF pickups. a friend had bought the guitar and was wanting me to look at it. the first thing i noticed was that someone had scalped the PAFs and every late 50's part that was of use on other models - (and junk replacement parts) basiclly leaving a skeleton. this just made me sick, but what treasures do you think have gone to the scrap pile over the years? i remember seeing a photo my dad had of him and a friend in a junk yard in the early 60's - you could see old "woody" wagons just stacked up ready to be crushed.

i just picked up a cool old '55 Les Paul Jr that has been victim of the same scalping, but in this case, it was just a dumb kid, with no profit motive.

Jun-15-2006, 4:02pm
I've thought of the "scrapyard" notion myself. A lot of things have disappeared because they were perceived to be "junk" (such as the person pulling the old guitar out of the trash).

In the case of somthing badly beaten or that has already been butchered, I really don't mind (and sometimes encourage) that the thing be stripped/parted so someone else could make use out of the quality components. I bought a 73 Strat off of ebay a couple years ago for around $70. The owners didn't realize that it was a Strat (and I didn't really until I had it in hand) because it had been so brutalized. Someone did a terrible job routing it to accept a Floyd Rose tremelo. It was horribly stripped. The headstock, believe it or not, had been reshaped to more a Kramer type headstock. But, it had two of its original grey bottom single coil pickups, actually had an early 60's set of two band Kluson tuners. I ended up being unable to salvage the thing, so I parted it out on ebay (and of course, made about $700 between the pickups and the Klusons, and the body/neck went for some change).

I'm not against making profit, but I'd never take a truly vintage instrument (or even one that's still playable, but more of a mongrel guitar) and rip it apart. The above example is of an instrument beyond playability.

It bothers me to see stuff like that torn apart. You mention an ES5. Jim Mills new album has him playing some Travis style electric guitar. He mentions that the guitar is an ES5 (if I remember correctly) that has original early 50's P90's on it he took from an ES125. I sure hope that wasn't a good guitar before the pickup was taken. It's amazing how that stuff bothers me. Or like the guy I met at Bean Blossom a couple days ago who has a perfectly acceptable 40 hole archtop 31 TB4 banjo conversion. It's a wonderful banjo and doesn't have some of the typical archtop honk to it. This guy can't play, but he's already talking about how this banjo doesn't sound "right" to him (did I mention the guy can't play--seriously, he can't play), because it's not a "flathead." He's ready to cut the rim and put in a new flathead ring. Both myself and Butch Robins kept trying to convince the man that he shouldn't butcher an acceptable vintage instrument (especially when you have so many great boutique instruments to choose from proclaiming the pre-war sound--just like in the mandolin market), but I don't think we got through to him.


Ken Waltham
Jun-15-2006, 5:46pm
I'm always trying to buy old parts for restoration of vintage Gibson mandolins. It annoys me to no end that people strip off parts. I sincerely believe that accounts for.. and I've hinted at this.. some of the outlyers on the mando archive. Folks, no snakeheads ever came with notched end tuners, no snakeheads ever had the serial numbers written in pencil on the bottom of the bridge... these are parts that have either been changed,, ( steal the more desireable arrow end tuners) or someone had to buy those to replace missing ones that folks stole off the instrument.
The only good thing here is that we can find parts for honest, ethical restoration.
But, there are many who buy good, useable vintage instruments, and butcher them without conscience.:angry:

Jun-15-2006, 7:16pm
Hey Ken, I have an all original early 1923 A2-z with the notched end tuners, and they are original. I have closely examined the head stock for scars of old imprints that a different plate would have left, on the other hand I have a 24 A1 that lost its arrow end tuners for some cheesy late 20's tuners. Stripping harware seems to be common practice in many areas. Old doors are often stripped for there fancy knobs and hinges. Then you buy an old door and have to buy the hardware, double wammy.

Jun-15-2006, 7:23pm
I'm presently in posession of two vintage instreuments. Tho' I paid for the priviledge of using and caring for them,
I feel more like a custodian than an owner. They are specimens of a distinct, specialized, aspect of human endeavor; and as such, are worthy of our care and appreciation.
We are saddened to see them being "parted out", but it seems that so many more are finding their way into the hands of
skilled musicians and beginners; bringing delight to the ears and the eyes of family, friends and strangers. Some are national treasures, some are regional gems; but each has it's own voice and it behooves us to be good listeners.


Jun-15-2006, 7:26pm
Oh one more thing, it is perfectly acceptable to steal good tuners off of a Gibson banjo-mandolin, is-n-it? http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Darryl Wolfe
Jun-16-2006, 8:38am
Oh one more thing, it is perfectly acceptable to steal good tuners off of a Gibson banjo-mandolin, is-n-it? http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif
Now there is a paradox to this, because actually, I do watch banjo-mandolins for that reason. A snakehead mandolin deserves those arrow end tuners much more. Right?

Jun-16-2006, 9:17am
It ain't no worse than buying "parts" for a '57 Eldorado Brougham. Vintage cars have got the same racket.

Jun-16-2006, 10:41am
I have to admit I'm perplexed by the reaction to this. Parts cars are parts cars, and parts mandos are parts mandos. If a mandolin would cost more to repair than the mandolin would be worth once it is repaired, then the best thing to do with it is free up the valuable parts for mandos that can use them. My Morris Minor pickup is alive and beautiful because at least one Morris Minor Traveller, one Morris Minor four-door sedan and an Austin-Healey Sprite are dead. If people are stripping perfect instruments for parts, that's one thing. If they are stripping cracked mandos in need of a neck reset, that seems perfectly reasonable to me.

Jun-16-2006, 11:22am
To KWW, I would offer the comparison is not quite fair. When a car goes real bad, there's no hope. Rusted body frames render the car beyond repair and the salvage operation is the "best" option. To sell off acoustic instrument parts in lieu of having a neck reset (i.e., a very successful $200 or $300 operation) is throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Nice car by the way.

fatt I'm-not-always-right-however dad

Darryl Wolfe
Jun-16-2006, 11:55am
I can see both KWW's point and ole FattDads point. With the car parts situation you usually see where the part is coming from and where it is going, and the situation makes sense. One car is helped, and a dying one is a donor.

With the particular mando being parted out, yes it has repaired cracks, but it is whole and complete and sounds good. But, the parts are being thrown into the air to land wherever they land simply for $$ and to the detriment of that mandolin. They may wind up in someones drawer waiting for a mando to come along. They may end up in a drawer appreciating until they are sold again. They may end up on a worse off mandolin. And, yes there is some chance that they will end up on a nice minty mandolin with missing original parts. The cracked mandolin is not going anywhere to die off into a pile of dust. It just become another cog in the vicious cycle.

Jun-16-2006, 12:19pm
f5journl: That is pretty much exactly what happens with cars. You get one, take a good look at it, and decide to fix it or take it apart. Once you take it apart, you sell the parts to anyone that wants one. Usually, one goner will help a couple dozen survivors, even if its just for something like that choke handle made out of unobtainium.

Sometimes, you find people taking apart perfectly restorable cars, but not often. It does tend to irritate me when I see someone parting a vehicle that only needed paint and an interior.

At least you guys don't have to deal with hotrodders. There is a Morris in East San Jose that has a Ford 302, Ford 9" rear, Mustang IFS, etc. I don't know why he started with a Morris if he wanted a Ford.

fatt-dad: Glad you like it. Just to make clear, it's a truck. I put stock wheels on it since this picture, but otherwise, it looks like this.

Darryl Wolfe
Jun-16-2006, 12:32pm
There is a Morris in East San Jose that has a Ford 302, Ford 9" rear, Mustang IFS, etc. I don't know why he started with a Morris if he wanted a Ford.
Sounds like one a friend in Fayetteville, NC made years ago. He fabricated the bed though. It went through a 302, 351C and a 429 while he had it. 9.9 sec street rod in 1975 http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Jun-16-2006, 12:37pm
The cracked mandolin is not going anywhere to die off into a pile of dust.

But Darryl - the instrument has sold. #We just don't know to who, yet. #Someone could well get this very serviceable and (as it may be safe to assume) good-sounding Gibson, needing replacement hardware, for ~$400. The only thing that would bother me about it now would be the current higher bidder winning it, and almost certainly flipping it over for resale, rather seeing player and enthusiast getting it. #

$400 for this mandolin, plus another $100 for new modern hardware and bridge, is arguably a pretty good deal for this mandolin, don't you think? #The dismantling is already done; now there's a Gibson sans hardware and needing some minor repair, available for $400. #That's the way I look at it, at least. #It's pretty similar to how I managed to buy my own for $500 (which I certainly regard myself as the Owner of). #How else could someone ever possibly acquire a vintage Gibson for that kind of $$? #I agree it is a shame, but why not buy it, install new tuners and tailpiece, and play it?

Darryl Wolfe
Jun-16-2006, 1:09pm
I guess you have a very good point Jeff. #The mandolin isn't going to dust, and somebody gets one they can play and have fun with at a decent price.

Wanna buy my July 9 Loar for $110K?. #I'll keep the original parts and case. #http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Jun-18-2006, 9:14am
Folks, no snakeheads ever came with notched end tuners, no snakeheads ever had the serial numbers written in pencil on the bottom of the bridge... these are parts that have either been changed,, ( steal the more desireable arrow end tuners) or someone had to buy those to replace missing ones that folks stole off the instrument.
Respectfully Ken, I'm certain you are wrong about this. The wiggle end tuners on the '22 snakeheads match the ones you'd see on F4s and other instruments of the same period, and there are tons of obviously original examples to back that up.

This is the peghead on '22 snakehead #71261 (http://www.mandolinarchive.com/perl/show_mando.pl?2959)


Jun-18-2006, 9:16am
Loar 71059:


Jun-18-2006, 9:16am


Jun-18-2006, 9:17am
71249 was at wintergrass 2 years ago.. same stamp number as 71261, same tuners, same unusual "lips" on the top of the peghead..


Jun-18-2006, 9:18am


Jun-18-2006, 9:18am
It goes on and on.. surf this link and look at tuner photos!

photos in the 70xxx-72xxx range (http://www.mandolinarchive.com/perl/list_mandolins.pl?great_pictures:13)

Jun-18-2006, 10:35am
http://admin.mandolinarchive.com/images/71462_back.jpg needs a password to view.

Jun-18-2006, 9:12pm
oops, fixed http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Jun-20-2006, 8:46am
Now, <a href="http://cgi.ebay.com/Gibson-Mandolin-Vintage-Tailpiece_W0QQitemZ7423809954QQihZ016QQcategoryZ10 179QQrdZ1QQcmdZV

iewItem" target="_blank">THIS</a> is sad. #Cannibalized from a vintage instrument and attacked using wadding polish.

fatt save-the-patina dad

<a href="http://cgi.ebay.com/Gibson-Mandolin-Vintage-Tailpiece_W0QQitemZ7423809954QQihZ016QQcategoryZ10 179QQrdZ1QQcmdZV

iewItem" target="_blank">try again</a>

Oh well, I guess eb^y links aren't working. . . . .