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Thread: Mandocello parts?

  1. #1
    Gadfly Dr H's Avatar
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    Default Mandocello parts?

    I've got a Portuguese mandocello, nice sound, nice feel, but it came with a cheesy stamped tailpiece. I'd like to replace it with something a little more substantial, but so far I haven't turned up a single source on the web for mandocello tailpieces -- or for any other mandocello parts, for that matter.

    Contacted Randy Allen, of Allen Guitars & Luthier Supplies, and he suggested his TR-3 mandolin tailpiece: https://www.allenguitar.com/tpcs_tr-3.htm

    I really like the looks of that tailpiece, but no dimensions are given, but I assume it's sized for a typical mandolin, which raises some concerns as far as using it on a 'cello:

    * My low C strings are 0.074; on a mandolin they're not usually much more than 0.040. Will these strings even fit through the holes in a mandolin tailpiece?

    * My MC has about a 2+ inch string spread at the tailpiece; mandolins usually have about half that. Seems like this would further crowd the heavy strings.

    * Not sure about the reach of a mandolin tailpiece around the side of the instrument. For sure my strap button won't go through it, since it's about 2" from the top of the instrument (body depth is a hair over 4") Seems like a mando part would be mounted right at the top edge of the 'cello tail-block.

    So . . . two questions:

    1) Anybody successfully used one of these tailpieces on a mandocello (or if not, do you think it would work)?

    2) Are their any other choices/sources for this part?

    TIA.
    Dr H
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    "I have nothing to say, and I am saying it, and that is poetry." -- John Cage

  2. #2
    Registered User Walt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandocello parts?

    Dr H:

    My last mandocello had a custom floating tailpiece on it; however, it is very common for mandocellos to use a standard mandolin tailpiece. With the exception of the K-5, the old Gibson 'cellos all used the standard stamped tailpiece. And the K-5 used some variation of a mandolin tailpiece.
    Regarding the TR-3, I'm not sure whether the big .074 strings will fit. That's a valid question. I'd see if Randy Allen would be able to give you an exact diameter of the holes. I wouldn't worry too much about crowding near the tailpiece. It doesn't seem to be a problem on the Gibsons. See the K-4 and K-5 below:

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  3. #3
    Registered User Walt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandocello parts?

    Is this the mandocello that you have? I remember seeing one for sale years ago, labeled as Portuguese.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    If that's it, I think even a stamped Gibson tailpiece might be a good option. With the gibson style TP, you don't have to worry about the strings passing through a hole. A James or a Hamlett tailpiece would be a good solution as well. On sunburst's mandocello build thread, he's using one of his Hamlett tailpieces. https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...-thread/page18

  4. #4
    Gadfly Dr H's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandocello parts?

    @Walt

    Thanks for the replies.

    My MC is actually teardrop shaped. Something like this:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The top of mine is arched, somewhat, though.

    From the pictures you posted I can see that the mando tailpieces do actually work on the 'cellos, although they do look a little crowded to me

    I really would like one that reached further down the side, though, else I'm going to have to either move my endpin up towards the edge and fill the old hole, or find some way to drop another screw in the tailpiece where the endpin would have been.

    I've thought of maybe using something like the trapeze tailpiece from an archtop guitar, but of course they only have 6 holes. Also, I'm using loop-end strings, and would like to continue with those, if possible.
    Dr H
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    "I have nothing to say, and I am saying it, and that is poetry." -- John Cage

  5. #5
    Registered User Walt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandocello parts?

    I see what you're getting at with the endpin situation. What does your endpin look like right now? Is it truly an endpin (a tapered pin) or is it rather a strap button attached with a screw?

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