Page 3 of 3 FirstFirst 123
Results 51 to 74 of 74

Thread: James or Allen tailpieces-anyone use these?

  1. #51
    Registered User McIrish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    162

    Default Re: James or Allen tailpieces-anyone use these?

    I think the James tailpiece is the best available. Super easy string changes and the strings are damped so I don't need grommets or leather between the strings.
    Gibson 2016 "Harvey" Fern
    Collings MT Mandola
    Petersen Level 2 Irish Bouzouki
    Collings 0002H
    Couple of Banjos
    Lots of other Guitars
    http://www.shadowfields.com

  2. #52
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    Brentwood Md
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: James or Allen tailpieces-anyone use these?

    That is funny dude! I was in a similar boat when it came time to change the strings on my new Gibson F5Gc. I was afraid I was going to destroy the top. YouTube and Mandolincafe to the rescue!

    Lisa

  3. #53

    Default Re: James or Allen tailpieces-anyone use these?

    I have two Allan tailpieces I like very much, but I’m putting a James on my new build. Just need to know.
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  4. #54

    Default Re: James or Allen tailpieces-anyone use these?

    I have a James tailpiece on my 1921 Gibson H2 mandola – it buzzes sometimes, and I've tried (with some success) opening it up a little in my effort to suppress the noises.

  5. #55
    Registered User Doug Brock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    KC MO
    Posts
    407

    Default Re: James or Allen tailpieces-anyone use these?

    I had a James tailpiece installed by the builder on a recent mandolin. After a couple of months of use, I'm not sure I'd upgrade on future instruments. The cover doesn't seem to close tight enough on the treble side. I've still had strings come loose from the tailpiece during string changes and the E and A courses aren't fully damped with cover closed, so still have to use rubber suppressors. I did bend the tailpiece upward a bit from the mandolin top to try to let the cover to close more tightly and that helped a little.

    For what it's worth, I actually prefer the appearance of some of the cast tailpieces, such as the Allen. I think I'd only consider a James tailpiece again if I had a nice enough instrument to justify the cost of some cool engraving.
    Doug Brock
    Eastman MD315, Eastman MDA315, Silverangel Econo A #446
    Pisgah Wonder, Martin HD28, Martin D18GE, CA Guitars Bluegrass Performer

  6. The following members say thank you to Doug Brock for this post:


  7. #56
    Registered User Bob Clark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Beautiful Salem County, NJ
    Posts
    1,572

    Default Re: James or Allen tailpieces-anyone use these?

    I have a James tailpiece on my Mike Black piccolo mandolin. I really like it and would get one again.

    At first, I had some minor doubts, as I wasn't sure the cover was closing tightly enough. That resolved quickly enough. I think the O-rings within the tailpiece just needed to wear in. Now it closes just fine and stays closed securely. It has never rattled.

    As for changing strings, it is the quickest and easiest tailpiece for string changes I have had. Even easier than the inexpensive pressed tailpieces I've had. I really like that aspect of it. That alone is worth the price, to me.

    I also like the look of it. To my eye, it is elegant.

    So, different opinions from differ players. No surprises there. Just as it should be.
    Purr more, hiss less.

  8. #57
    Registered User Doug Brock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    KC MO
    Posts
    407

    Default Re: James or Allen tailpieces-anyone use these?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Clark View Post
    I have a James tailpiece on my Mike Black piccolo mandolin. I really like it and would get one again.

    At first, I had some minor doubts, as I wasn't sure the cover was closing tightly enough. That resolved quickly enough. I think the O-rings within the tailpiece just needed to wear in. Now it closes just fine and stays closed securely.
    Interesting. I hope Time will be similarly helpful for my James tailpiece!
    Doug Brock
    Eastman MD315, Eastman MDA315, Silverangel Econo A #446
    Pisgah Wonder, Martin HD28, Martin D18GE, CA Guitars Bluegrass Performer

  9. #58
    Registered User Bob Clark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Beautiful Salem County, NJ
    Posts
    1,572

    Default Re: James or Allen tailpieces-anyone use these?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Clark View Post
    I have a James tailpiece on my Mike Black piccolo mandolin. I really like it and would get one again.

    At first, I had some minor doubts, as I wasn't sure the cover was closing tightly enough. That resolved quickly enough. I think the O-rings within the tailpiece just needed to wear in. Now it closes just fine and stays closed securely. It has never rattled.

    As for changing strings, it is the quickest and easiest tailpiece for string changes I have had. Even easier than the inexpensive pressed tailpieces I've had. I really like that aspect of it. That alone is worth the price, to me.

    I also like the look of it. To my eye, it is elegant.

    So, different opinions from differ players. No surprises there. Just as it should be.
    After some thought, I realized that there is one tailpiece that I like as much as my James. It is, however, completely different from the James. The tailpiece on my Phoenix Neoclassical is probably pressed from flat stock. It has an ebony overlay. It is a very simple design, great for quick string changes. I have only seen them on Phoenix mandolins, so I have no idea who made them. As Phoenix is no more, perhaps these tailpieces are no more, too.

    On a new build, I'd still go with a James, but as I was singing the praises of the James, I thought I ought to temper it with one other tailpiece that I also am really fond of.
    Purr more, hiss less.

  10. #59
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Statesville, NC
    Posts
    3,161

    Default Re: James or Allen tailpieces-anyone use these?

    James tailpieces need a small dab of Vasoline on the rubber grommets to make them work properly. Instructions are included with a new tailpiece.
    Do it. It works.
    Phil

    “Sharps/Flats” “Accidentals”

  11. #60
    Registered User Doug Brock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    KC MO
    Posts
    407

    Default Re: James or Allen tailpieces-anyone use these?

    Quote Originally Posted by Philphool View Post
    James tailpieces need a small dab of Vasoline on the rubber grommets to make them work properly. Instructions are included with a new tailpiece.
    Do it. It works.
    Interesting. (My James was installed by the builder and I didn’t get any instructions.)
    Doug Brock
    Eastman MD315, Eastman MDA315, Silverangel Econo A #446
    Pisgah Wonder, Martin HD28, Martin D18GE, CA Guitars Bluegrass Performer

  12. #61
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Outer Spiral Arm, of Galaxy, NW Oregon.
    Posts
    15,794

    Default Re: James or Allen tailpieces-anyone use these?

    another data point
    My Mix A 5 shipped with a James TP

    I just use a little spit when I close the cover-lid.
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

  13. #62
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Blue Zone, California
    Posts
    1,206
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: James or Allen tailpieces-anyone use these?

    There are lots of reasons to change a tailpiece... Re-stringing convenience is the most painfully obvious one, but there are others. I had the standard Gibson stamped tailpiece on my 2002 F-9 for years and got along with it fine regarding changing strings. But I recently got to looking carefully at it and discovered it was pretty badly bent toward the bridge, consistent with the locations of the highest tension wound strings. That got me looking more seriously at cast tailpieces...

    I had always admired the James tailpieces with their enhanced functionality and traditional look, so with this new excuse I ordered one directly from Bill James at Axiom. Service and shipping/delivery were of course excellent. The installation was super easy, screw holes and strap pin matched exactly, so there were no new holes, plugs or finish trouch-ups needed, and no height tweaks were needed; I just took the old stamped tailpiece off and put the James tailpiece on. I even was able to use the existing strings, which were still sounding very good, and I was also able to use the original tailpiece's mounting screws (and of course their matching holes).

    My decades of banjo playing (and banjo tinkering) suggested to me that there could also be a tone and/or volume difference with the James tailpiece. It is cast out of bronze, then machined to strict tolerances, and while relatively light for bronze, the James tailpiece is extremely solid. It also visably sits slightly higher (~1mm to ~2mm) above the top on the mandolin, which could also produce sound related differences.

    Human hearing, admittedly including my hearing, can be pretty subjective. This is the reason I was wanting to not change strings (or anything other than the tailpiece) with this installation. As such, I'm pretty convinced that I have achieved more volume as a result of this tailpiece change; I believe the tone has remained relatively unchanged.

    I cannot guarantee this, but that's my impression. Maybe this is the "observer effect"???
    -- Don

    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."

    2002 Gibson F-9
    2016 MK LFSTB
    1975 Suzuki taterbug
    (plus a large assortment of banjos, dobros, guitars, basses and other noisemakers)
    [About how I tune my mandolins]
    [7/29/2019 -- New Arrival!!!]

  14. #63
    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Wheeling, WV
    Posts
    4,933

    Default Re: James or Allen tailpieces-anyone use these?

    I think the most important think to note in regards to the James (I'm a huge fan) is the angle adjustment. I received a very nice higher end mandolin once that had the James and it was not adjusted so the top would not fully close. After making the adjustment, it was fine. The lubricating of the o-rings it also good advice as others have noted. I like the look of the Allen tailpiece, I just found string changes to be to fussy.
    Cabin Fever String Band, Bill Gorby and the Musical Mercenaries

  15. #64

    Default Re: James or Allen tailpieces-anyone use these?

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Brock View Post
    I had a James tailpiece installed by the builder on a recent mandolin. After a couple of months of use, I'm not sure I'd upgrade on future instruments. The cover doesn't seem to close tight enough on the treble side. I've still had strings come loose from the tailpiece during string changes and the E and A courses aren't fully damped with cover closed, so still have to use rubber suppressors. I did bend the tailpiece upward a bit from the mandolin top to try to let the cover to close more tightly and that helped a little.

    For what it's worth, I actually prefer the appearance of some of the cast tailpieces, such as the Allen. I think I'd only consider a James tailpiece again if I had a nice enough instrument to justify the cost of some cool engraving.
    I've used Allen tailpieces on a couple of my builds but find threading the strings in between sets and over the bridge tedious, and you have to watch that the loops stay seated on the hooks while bring the string up to tension. If they pop off, they get squished in the small hole- a real headache.

    My last build got a James and I love it. The lid seats well and totally dampens all strings. When restringing, you can close the lid on the string you're currently installing to keep it from popping off.

    It sounds like the luthier may have installed the bridge with it angled down too low, causing the lid to fight string tension. It should have been shimmed to be brought into proper alignment. I personally would never attempt to bend a James, it's a precision machined piece. The bending adjustment is appropriate for stamped tailpieces, not cast/machined ones IMO. Take it to the builder who installed it to get it right.

  16. #65
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Statesville, NC
    Posts
    3,161

    Default Re: James or Allen tailpieces-anyone use these?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Roy View Post
    ...

    It sounds like the luthier may have installed the bridge with it angled down too low, causing the lid to fight string tension. It should have been shimmed to be brought into proper alignment. I personally would never attempt to bend a James, it's a precision machined piece. The bending adjustment is appropriate for stamped tailpieces, not cast/machined ones IMO. Take it to the builder who installed it to get it right.
    Yeah, it's scary. But the installation instructions that come with the James tailpiece advise that the angle of the tailpiece be BENT to make it point towards the top of the saddle. You have to take it off before doing this so you won't crack the side of the mandolin while pulling up on the tailpiece. Might take a few tries while bending it a little bit, reinstalling, looking at it, and repeating as needed. Not too hard if you're careful.

    Addendum: I've looked, but not found, online installation instructions. I'd contact Bill James if advice is needed. He's helpful.

    Okay, I found my old instructions and have scanned them for posterity:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	James TP install-1.jpeg 
Views:	21 
Size:	555.7 KB 
ID:	180963   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	James TP install-2.jpeg.jpeg 
Views:	21 
Size:	500.0 KB 
ID:	180964  
    Last edited by Philphool; Nov-02-2019 at 9:30am.
    Phil

    “Sharps/Flats” “Accidentals”

  17. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Philphool For This Useful Post:


  18. #66
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Blue Zone, California
    Posts
    1,206
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: James or Allen tailpieces-anyone use these?

    This is true and it is good to be aware of. But, bending may or may not be necessary depending on how the tailpiece is mounted on the mandolin.

    As I mentioned in an earlier post, my James tailpiece did not require any bending to achieve the proper line to the top of the bridge, nor did it require any new holes or screws to mount on the mandolin. My mandolin is a 2002 F-9 and from this experience I suspect that at least most modern Gibson mandolins have a similar fit.

    Depending on how it is installed, the traditional stamped tailpiece can also require bending to clear the strings; I've seen stamped tailpiece lids that had to be bent up to prevent string contact and rattling. Also, at least from my experience, string tension by itself may cause bending.
    -- Don

    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."

    2002 Gibson F-9
    2016 MK LFSTB
    1975 Suzuki taterbug
    (plus a large assortment of banjos, dobros, guitars, basses and other noisemakers)
    [About how I tune my mandolins]
    [7/29/2019 -- New Arrival!!!]

  19. #67
    Registered User Doug Brock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    KC MO
    Posts
    407

    Default Re: James or Allen tailpieces-anyone use these?

    Quote Originally Posted by Philphool View Post
    Yeah, it's scary. But the installation instructions that come with the James tailpiece advise that the angle of the tailpiece be BENT to make it point towards the top of the saddle. You have to take it off before doing this so you won't crack the side of the mandolin while pulling up on the tailpiece. Might take a few tries while bending it a little bit, reinstalling, looking at it, and repeating as needed. Not too hard if you're careful.

    Addendum: I've looked, but not found, online installation instructions. I'd contact Bill James if advice is needed. He's helpful.

    Okay, I found my old instructions and have scanned them for posterity:
    Thanks! My James tailpiece wouldn’t close when I got the mandolin from the builder. He said he forgot to adjust it. I didn’t have the instructions but bent the James up. Sounds like I might need to bend it a tiny bit more. Interesting about the Vaseline. I’ll try that when I get the mandolin back from Mass Street in a couple of weeks.

    I wish the builder had sent me the instructions and the spare rubber gaskets! At least thanks to you I have the instructions now.
    Doug Brock
    Eastman MD315, Eastman MDA315, Silverangel Econo A #446
    Pisgah Wonder, Martin HD28, Martin D18GE, CA Guitars Bluegrass Performer

  20. #68
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Statesville, NC
    Posts
    3,161

    Default Re: James or Allen tailpieces-anyone use these?

    Just to have all info on one thread, it's been reported in a previous thread that the proper O-ring to use with the James TP is this one.
    Phil

    “Sharps/Flats” “Accidentals”

  21. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Philphool For This Useful Post:


  22. #69
    Registered User Bob Clark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Beautiful Salem County, NJ
    Posts
    1,572

    Default Re: James or Allen tailpieces-anyone use these?

    Quote Originally Posted by Philphool View Post
    Just to have all info on one thread, it's been reported in a previous thread that the proper O-ring to use with the James TP is this one.
    Hi Phil,

    That is super helpful. I was planning on taking one of the spares that came with mine to the hardware store to match it up. Now I know just what I need. Thanks!

    Bob
    Purr more, hiss less.

  23. The following members say thank you to Bob Clark for this post:


  24. #70
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Big Stone Gap, VA
    Posts
    2,086

    Default Re: James or Allen tailpieces-anyone use these?

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Brock View Post
    Thanks! My James tailpiece wouldn’t close when I got the mandolin from the builder. He said he forgot to adjust it. I didn’t have the instructions but bent the James up. Sounds like I might need to bend it a tiny bit more. Interesting about the Vaseline. I’ll try that when I get the mandolin back from Mass Street in a couple of weeks.

    I wish the builder had sent me the instructions and the spare rubber gaskets! At least thanks to you I have the instructions now.
    Doug
    I'd say Mass Street will have your tailpiece adjusted if it needs it. Its getting some fret work and such if i remember your other thread. Call'm up and remind them to take a look at it and adjust as necessary since they have it. Should be a part of the setup, new nut and all, but a call wouldn't hurt.
    d

  25. The following members say thank you to darylcrisp for this post:


  26. #71
    Registered User Doug Brock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    KC MO
    Posts
    407

    Default Re: James or Allen tailpieces-anyone use these?

    Quote Originally Posted by darylcrisp View Post
    Doug
    I'd say Mass Street will have your tailpiece adjusted if it needs it. Its getting some fret work and such if i remember your other thread. Call'm up and remind them to take a look at it and adjust as necessary since they have it. Should be a part of the setup, new nut and all, but a call wouldn't hurt.
    d
    Worth trying! Thanks for the suggestion.
    Doug Brock
    Eastman MD315, Eastman MDA315, Silverangel Econo A #446
    Pisgah Wonder, Martin HD28, Martin D18GE, CA Guitars Bluegrass Performer

  27. #72
    Gibson F5L Gibson A5L
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    2,179
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: James or Allen tailpieces-anyone use these?

    James ….
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

  28. #73
    Registered User Doug Edwards's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Kerrville, Texas
    Posts
    1,883

    Default Re: James or Allen tailpieces-anyone use these?

    Both are very good. I’ve used the Allen and currently have a James on my Hill Country Stringworks two point.

  29. #74
    Adrian Minarovic
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Banska Bystrica, Slovakia, Europe
    Posts
    2,518

    Default Re: James or Allen tailpieces-anyone use these?

    I prefer traditional stamped for my builds (tradidtion and I like lighter mandolins) but I think James is really thoughtful piece of engineering and works great.
    Adrian

  30. The following members say thank you to HoGo for this post:


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •