Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 74

Thread: James or Allen tailpieces-anyone use these?

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Big Stone Gap, VA
    Posts
    2,086

    Question James or Allen tailpieces-anyone use these?

    The Pava has a snap top tailpiece that i'm afraid is an accident waiting to happen-its a lower end piece-to keep the price down on this as an entry level model for this maker. It works, but i want something a little more user friendly, and less likely for me to slip and drive the top into the topwood of the mandolin when reinstalling.

    Looking at the James:
    http://www.themandolinstore.com/scri...idproduct=9634

    the Allen:
    http://www.themandolinstore.com/scri...idproduct=8535

    i kinda like the Allen more-its simple, i like the idea of the heft-although the James may be as heavy as well. the price is good on the Allen as well.

    i like this weber also:
    http://elderly.com/accessories/names...MT1-NICKEL.htm

    looking for user/owner reviews

  2. #2
    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Almeria, Spain
    Posts
    5,441
    Blog Entries
    3

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

    I have mandolins with both.

    The James wins hands down every time for me.

    The Allen looks nice, but, it is much, much slower for string changes, and you often have to pre-bend the string a bit and also slide a protective card under to prevent gouging the top... also, hooking the string loops over is much more difficult (especially if the loops are wider than normal). In terms of "user friendly" the James is the best tailpiece I've ever used. Have them on my Northfield and on my Ellis. It has everything. Built in string dampers...easy threading... beautifully made. Looks great.
    Gibson F5 'Harvey' Fern, Gibson F5 'Derrington' Fern
    Distressed Silverangel F 'Esmerelda' aka 'Maxx'
    Northfield Big Mon #127
    Ellis F5 Special #288
    '39 & '45 D-18's, 1950 D-28.

  3. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to almeriastrings For This Useful Post:


  4. #3
    Registered User Markelberry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    714

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

    I have only ever owned stamped tailpieces and they have always been fine. I would choose that style over an Allen everytime due to the fact that string change is cumbersome! I find I have a better chance at scratching the mandolin hookin up the strings,likely just me bein a klutz! My Northfield came with the James tail piece and I love it! I dont have to fight sliding the cover off and it has the trad look I like. James all the way!!
    2013 Northfield Big Mon #223
    2004 Gibson A9
    1981 #1132 Flatiron 1N
    2013 Gibson F9

    Dreaming of a Pomeroy F5 Blonde w Engelmann ?

  5. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Markelberry For This Useful Post:


  6. #4

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

    the James is the Formula One of tailpieces

  7. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Ron McMillan For This Useful Post:


  8. #5
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Manchester - Lancashire - NW England
    Posts
    14,187

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

    The Allen & James tailpieces are the finest of their types - cast & 'trad.' Personally i like the unfussyness of the cast t/pieces. Unlike Almeria above,who's opinions i value in almost all things,i don't find cast tailpieces 'slow' to string up - except the Weber one on my Fern. It's very fiddly trying to get the string loops over the tiny 'teeth' with such a small gap to manipulate them through. With a cast item,there's nothing to shake,rattle,or work loose etc.,so in that respect they win hands down (IMHO),as for the rest of their individual attributes,that's down to personal taste. If i had a mandolin with either on,i'd be well pleased,i do have to say however,that the James t/piece is a splendid piece of work & only the fact that i'd have to do a 'plug & re-drill' job on my Lebeda,prevents me from having one of those on it,as the James is more of a 'trad.' style t/piece,
    Ivan
    Weber F-5 'Fern'.
    Lebeda F-5 "Special".
    Stelling Bellflower BANJO
    Tokai - 'Tele-alike'.
    Ellis DeLuxe "A" style.

  9. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Ivan Kelsall For This Useful Post:


  10. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    High Peak - UK
    Posts
    2,615

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

    No contest - James - its neoprene washers hold the string whilst tuning it up to pitch and negate the need to use the dreaded grommets + they're something of an engineering marvel.

  11. The following members say thank you to Ray(T) for this post:


  12. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Big Stone Gap, VA
    Posts
    2,086

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

    thanks folks. heard everything I needed to hear.
    we have two webers with the company cast tailpiece, and they can be a pain to get the loops on and stay on while tuning up-I've figured out a trick to do that with them.

    the James definitely has the look and function. looks like I need to try one.

    d

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


  14. #8
    Middle-Aged Old-Timer Tobin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Kerrville, TX
    Posts
    4,004

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

    The Pava mandolins have been made with a variety of tailpieces. Their current offerings (according to the website) use either an Allen or James tailpiece on the "player" and "pro" models, while the "satin" model comes with a traditional Gibson-style stamped tailpiece like yours. It's weird, because I've seen lots of Pavas that don't fit within the model descriptions listed on the website. Mine, for instance, is a blackface with a stamped Gibson-style tailpiece like yours, but it's not a "satin" model. I guess Pava was experimenting with different options.

    At any rate, I'm sure she used these stamped tailpieces because they're traditional, but I'm not a fan of them either. As almeriastrings mentioned, I have a James tailpiece on my Ellis and it is a piece of engineering perfection. I can't imagine there being a better or more user-friendly tailpiece. I've been seriously considering upgrading the Pava to a James tailpiece.

  15. The following members say thank you to Tobin for this post:


  16. #9
    Scroll Lock Austin Bob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Austin, Tx - some call it heaven
    Posts
    1,058

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

    I put a James tailpiece on my Gibson F5 and love it. I like the ease of changing strings, plus the fact that the cover will never rattle or fall off. I only wish it had the Gibson logo.
    A quarter tone flat and a half a beat behind.

  17. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Austin Bob For This Useful Post:


  18. #10
    Registered User jimbob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Grand Lake of the Cherokees, Oklahoma
    Posts
    684

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

    James....no doubt the best for me. Easy string changes. High quality product for sure.

  19. The following members say thank you to jimbob for this post:


  20. #11

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

    my Pava was ordered with a James. I put Waverlys that i had lying around on it too. it came with some really awful chinese tuners, not Gotohs, not even Golden Age. It's a shame because bad hardware just ruins a good mandolin.
    Good Advice: Play before you pay, and know your product and your market.

  21. The following members say thank you to Mandobar for this post:


  22. #12
    Middle-Aged Old-Timer Tobin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Kerrville, TX
    Posts
    4,004

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobar View Post
    my Pava was ordered with a James. I put Waverlys that i had lying around on it too. it came with some really awful chinese tuners, not Gotohs, not even Golden Age. It's a shame because bad hardware just ruins a good mandolin.
    Sorry if this is a diversion from the topic, but I thought Gotoh tuners were standard on all the Pava models? That may be a recent change, though.

    The tuners on my Pava are not nearly as smooth as my Ellis, that's for sure. But I don't know what type they are. How do I identify the make/brand?

  23. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    High Peak - UK
    Posts
    2,615

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobin View Post
    The tuners on my Pava are not nearly as smooth as my Ellis, that's for sure. But I don't know what type they are. How do I identify the make/brand?
    You could start with a photo on here.

  24. #14
    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 Tobin View Post
    Sorry if this is a diversion from the topic, but I thought Gotoh tuners were standard on all the Pava models? That may be a recent change, though.

    The tuners on my Pava are not nearly as smooth as my Ellis, that's for sure. But I don't know what type they are. How do I identify the make/brand?
    no diversion at all and its actually a welcome addition. I plan to do a photo/review in a week or so of the Pava. the instrument is wonderful in itself. there are a few minor things i'll bring up-the tailpiece and tuners being the two culprits. the tailpiece I do want to change out soon. it works and does an appropriate job-I'm just thinking I will for sure slip while reinstalling that top piece one day and gouge the topwood really bad.

    the tuners listed on the Ellis site for the Pava are nickel gotoh MA40 for all three models. mine is the satin base model. the tuners work and hold tune well, they adjust and do the job, they do appear quite "stiff/snug". I've had tuners on different instruments in the past that are "gritty and tight". these are smooth, just really firm and tight. I plan to do a thorough check of them when I change strings soon and see if I can lubricate or do some drill high speed turning to work them in. in the end, I may replace them one day-not a rush on that. I don't see any markings that tell the brand-for some gut reason they do not seem to look or feel like Gotohs to me though. I have gotoh open gears on a couple Ukes and guitars, they all work flawless.
    http://www.ellismandolins.com/the-pava.html

    at the end of the day I realize Pava has made choices to build a grand instrument and offer it at bottom dollar entry prices-to do that one has to give up a little in things like the hardware-that is easy to upgrade by the owner at some point. the instrument itself is just a jewel.

    d

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


  26. #15
    Middle-Aged Old-Timer Tobin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Kerrville, TX
    Posts
    4,004

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

    Quote Originally Posted by darylcrisp View Post
    no diversion at all and its actually a welcome addition. I plan to do a photo/review in a week or so of the Pava. the instrument is wonderful in itself. there are a few minor things i'll bring up-the tailpiece and tuners being the two culprits.
    My sentiments exactly! I love the Pava's tone and playability, and there's nothing "wrong" with the tuners or tailpiece. But they could be improved upon. Going to a James tailpiece is my first thought as well. I do wonder, though, if it will affect the wonderful tone and responsiveness. The light weight of the stamped tailpiece could possibly contribute to the volume and drive I get from it. I mean, I know that some Pavas come with a James tailpiece, so it's not going to completely change the sound. It'll still sound like a Pava. But even on my Ellis, I notice a slight change in the sound when I play with my tailpiece cover open or closed. So despite the fact that some people claim a tailpiece has no effect on sound, I am convinced it does. And I'm hesitant to start messing with the variables, considering how much I like the way the Pava sounds right now.

    the tuners work and hold tune well, they adjust and do the job, they do appear quite "stiff/snug". I've had tuners on different instruments in the past that are "gritty and tight". these are smooth, just really firm and tight.
    And that's my experience as well. They hold great and they're not gritty or anything. But they do feel a little snug or stiff. I can't get the super-fine adjustments like I can with the smoother Waverly tuners on my Ellis. They may just need some oil, I dunno. I had planned to do that on my next string change to see how it works out.

    at the end of the day I realize Pava has made choices to build a grand instrument and offer it at bottom dollar entry prices-to do that one has to give up a little in things like the hardware-that is easy to upgrade by the owner at some point. the instrument itself is just a jewel.
    Absolutely agree! I'm even thinking of getting a second Pava to have as a back-up to my Ellis, since "technically" the Pava I currently have is my wife's.

    The only other upgrade I'm considering is retrofitting a pick guard to the side of the fretboard extension. But the thought of drilling holes gives makes me shudder. I'd either have Pava do it herself, or let somebody like Doug Edwards do it.

  27. #16
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Columbus, GA
    Posts
    1,131

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

    My Breedlove Quartz FF has a unique tailpiece that requires a special technique. I change strings about once a month and I've got it down to a science. I use a round pencil to put a curve in the loop. After running the string under the tailpiece, I use a small screwdriver to insert into the loop. With a little tension on the loop with the screwdriver, I pull it up to catch loop holder. After many string changes, I developed an assembly line technique that streamlines the process.

    That being said, I'd still rather be set on fire for 15 minutes than change the strings.

    Attachment 113375

  28. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to DHopkins For This Useful Post:


  29. #17
    Registered User ellisppi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    325

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

    not to continue the diversion, but I want to confirm that all Pava's (except those w/ Waverly's) have Gotoh MA 40 shaft over tuners that are made in Japan. These tuners are not available in the US that I know of. The Gotoh's from LMI are shaft under and are made in Taiwan. I have tried many sets of all the brands and these Japanese Gotoh's are quite decent though sometimes a little tight. I think the Gibson style tailpiece sounds the best.
    Tom H. Ellis
    Ellis Mandolins
    Austin, TX
    http://www.ellismandolins.com

  30. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to ellisppi For This Useful Post:


  31. #18
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    san diego
    Posts
    1,267

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

    I installed a James on my Weber Fern a few years ago and it makes changing strings a snap. Fantastic. Just do a search and you will see all the high end mandolin makers that use them. I really do not know why all high end maker do not use them. They are the Porsche 911 of tailpieces!
    ntriesch

  32. The following members say thank you to Nick Triesch for this post:


  33. #19
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Big Stone Gap, VA
    Posts
    2,086

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

    Hey folks

    Tom contacted me and told me the tailpiece top that i've been "snapping on and off" is actually a slide. Well, that changes everything-so...............my bad!

    I'll check into that aspect tonight-if thats the case then its a fine and dandy with me.
    Plus, that will save me $150 and start my fund for a possible Pava F(i have an idea i plan to send to her).

    thanks for the replies, and thank you Mr Ellis for offering up needed info
    d

    **I have the Pava with me at work(she's been a steady companion since arrival), i tried sliding the top piece and it moves like its on ball bearings yet is a nice snug fit. welp, that takes care of that small issue and i'm $150 wealthier. I'm not one that goes looking to change things just for change-so this makes me very happy.

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


  35. #20
    Middle-Aged Old-Timer Tobin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Kerrville, TX
    Posts
    4,004

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

    I guess that answers the question of how to identify the tuners on a Pava. Ask Tom!

    Thanks, Tom!

    So back to tailpieces, I find it interesting that you (Tom) think the stamped Gibson-style tailpieces sound the best. That was kind of my suspicion, as I alluded to earlier in the thread. That's really what has held me off from changing it to a James tailpiece. Dang, now you've got me full of doubt on which way to go.

  36. #21
    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Almeria, Spain
    Posts
    5,441
    Blog Entries
    3

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

    I would have thought the James is a "Gibson Style" tailpiece. Same type of cover (but hinged, not sliding), same general type of string fixing principle, same overall pattern - but considerably improved over the originals.

    Very different from the various 'cast' styles, where string fixing involves threading through holes, no cover, and very different shapes/weights, e.g., Allen or Orrico (shown below), another contender in that style. Those too suffer from the same drawbacks as the rest, being rather tricky to thread (especially in poor light).

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	sa1.jpg 
Views:	390 
Size:	147.4 KB 
ID:	113401
    Gibson F5 'Harvey' Fern, Gibson F5 'Derrington' Fern
    Distressed Silverangel F 'Esmerelda' aka 'Maxx'
    Northfield Big Mon #127
    Ellis F5 Special #288
    '39 & '45 D-18's, 1950 D-28.

  37. The following members say thank you to almeriastrings for this post:


  38. #22
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Manchester - Lancashire - NW England
    Posts
    14,187

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

    From Daryl - "..I've figured out a trick to do that with them.". When the string loop is actually on the string pin, (they look more like 'teeth'),i put a pice of Blue-Tak over it to keep it on.That frees up both hands,but the Weber t/piece is too fiddly for comfort.
    Nick - It would be nice if builders were to offer the James as an 'option' even,something that Weber didn't seem willing to do.There was a thread maybe 3 years ago,in which quite a few Weber owners said that they also,weren't too keen on the Weber t/piece.Weber at one point, did say that they were considering a re-design,but eventually didn't. Things would have been made much easier if Weber had opted for a 'standard' (Gibson style) hole pattern for their end pin & attachment holes.For me,a plug & re-drill scenario isn't on,not because of the cost of doing it,but somehow 'to me',the mandolin wouldn't be 'as it should be',with plugged holes etc.,
    Ivan
    Weber F-5 'Fern'.
    Lebeda F-5 "Special".
    Stelling Bellflower BANJO
    Tokai - 'Tele-alike'.
    Ellis DeLuxe "A" style.

  39. #23

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

    Weber must think that their tailpieces constitute a unique selling point. So far as I am concerned, they are the deal breaker that prevents me even considering owning a Weber - and I suspect I am not alone.

  40. #24
    Registered User mandrian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Scotland
    Posts
    347

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron McMillan View Post
    Weber must think that their tailpieces constitute a unique selling point. So far as I am concerned, they are the deal breaker that prevents me even considering owning a Weber - and I suspect I am not alone.
    Ron,

    I agree with you completely. I just hate the look of the tailpiece.

    Regards

  41. #25
    Middle-Aged Old-Timer Tobin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Kerrville, TX
    Posts
    4,004

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

    Quote Originally Posted by almeriastrings View Post
    I would have thought the James is a "Gibson Style" tailpiece. Same type of cover (but hinged, not sliding), same general type of string fixing principle, same overall pattern - but considerably improved over the originals.
    Well, I suppose it's the same style in terms of visual style and spacing, but of course the design is different. When I think of a Gibson-style tailpiece, it's the thin stamped metal with hooks that are just punched out from the back, and those silly sideways hooks which are a vestigial remnant of an era when string loop winding was rather crude. The James tailpiece does an excellent job of providing the same external appearance, but with well-designed machined hooks, the hinged cover, and the O-rings. Much different performance. I probably should have said "Gibson-type" instead of "Gibson-style".

Posting Permissions

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