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Thread: Replacing the Tailpiece on my Flatiron (would like original)

  1. #1

    Default Replacing the Tailpiece on my Flatiron (would like original)

    Hi there,
    Did a search and while there are others looking for tailpieces, I didn't see one that specifically address my questions.

    I have a Flatiron Mandolin: Festival F (or maybe E)made by Flatiron Madonlin and Banjo Co (which I believe was bought by Gibson). It's a performer series purchased in the 80's and the tailpiece is tearing (the metal itself). I would love to get a replacement that's original but not sure where to find one and thought I would try here. If no original is to be found, is there one that would let me use the my original cover piece with the new tailpiece hardware (I might not be using the terms correctly here...sorry)?

    Also, if I do get one, it's it pretty easy to swap them out myself or should I spend the extra $ and have someone do it?

    I've attached a couple photos:
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Replacing the Tailpiece on my Flatiron (would like original)

    You may have some luck by placing a want ad in the classifieds, and by also reaching out to larger volume stores that do lots of mandolin work. Like Carterís, Gruhnís, Elderly, Gryphon, Fiddlerís Green, TMS, etc. Lots of folks change to a James (or other such tailpiece), so there may well be an original Flatiron one sitting in a parts box in a shop or music room someone would sell or even possibly give you. If you donít have any luck, I really like the James tailpiece on my Skip Kelley A5, or check Stew Mac for a replacement. If the holes line up the replacement is a matter of taking out the screws, changing out the TP, and then reinserting the screws. If the holes donít line up most people will fill the old holes (with hardwood toothpicks) and drill the new ones. Whether youíre comfortable trying that is completely up to you. On my inexpensive mandolins Iíll try all sorts of stuff that Iíll probably never consider doing to the Kelley. Thereís also a wealth of information at frets.com (Frank Fordís site), and I havenít searched it, but Iíd be shocked if thereís not a YouTube or Stew Mac how to video out there.

    Good luck! Sweet mando there, keep it making music!!
    Chuck

  3. #3

    Default Re: Replacing the Tailpiece on my Flatiron (would like original)

    That's a very well loved mandolin. Could you get a clear photo of the label inside the F-Hole for dating?

    I would be surprised if a standard stewmac nickel tailpiece would not work for this. You could very likely use the base of the new tailpiece and keep your original cover:

    https://www.stewmac.com/Hardware_and...Tailpiece.html
    Scott R.
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    2017 Pava A5 Pro - Autumn Burst
    1987 Flatiron F5 Artist
    Ellis F5 On Order...

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  4. #4
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Replacing the Tailpiece on my Flatiron (would like original)

    If it was me I would use the Greg Boyd Prucha tailpiece. There's a good chance your cover will fit this base.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  6. #5

    Default Re: Replacing the Tailpiece on my Flatiron (would like original)

    I would listen to Mike
    Scott R.
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    2017 Pava A5 Pro - Autumn Burst
    1987 Flatiron F5 Artist
    Ellis F5 On Order...

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    Default Re: Replacing the Tailpiece on my Flatiron (would like original)

    I agree with Scott. I had Randy Wood replace the base on my '84 Flatiron F5, retaining the original engraved cover plate. Randy said that the original was an inexpensive grade of stamped steel, and that the new one he installed (from Allparts) was stronger and made of stainless steel.

  8. #7

    Default Re: Replacing the Tailpiece on my Flatiron (would like original)

    For what it is worth, I have a James tailpiece on my 80's era Carlson signed Flatiron, and I love it.
    Scott R.
    -
    2017 Pava A5 Pro - Autumn Burst
    1987 Flatiron F5 Artist
    Ellis F5 On Order...

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  9. #8

    Default Re: Replacing the Tailpiece on my Flatiron (would like original)

    I actually found an original document for it. The serial is 9108556 and it's a Festival F (or maybe E).

    And thanks for all the replies!

  10. #9
    Registered User Kykym's Avatar
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    Default Re: Replacing the Tailpiece on my Flatiron (would like original)

    It was not replacement of the Flatrion's.
    I've replace the tailpiece for my Unicorn Mandolin few month ago.
    I had heard that Prucha's are better than other retro style pressed tailpieces. So Was looking for it to some online stores.
    First Quality Music was the better price. Screw holes was same dimention as no modification, But did not fit the cover, It needed to bending the sides of cover.
    https://www.firstqualitymusic.com/pr...-nickel-plated
    2018 The Quint Workshop QT-F5
    2018 Gibson F5L Fern
    1976 Unicorn A style #45

  11. #10

    Default Re: Replacing the Tailpiece on my Flatiron (would like original)

    What a gorgeous mandolin! It looks to be in excellent condition and I bet it sounds terrific too! If you want to stay traditional, then I would go with a higher quality stamped stainless version like the Prucha. I have to confess to being frustrated with the traditional stamped steel version. The covers tend to either rattle, buzz, or come off easily or if adjusted to stay snug, require sliding them on with a fair amount of force. The covers have sharp corners and tarnish or corrode quickly. Then there's sympathetic harmonic vibrations that need to be dampened. I put an Allen on one of my mando's (similar to what Collings uses). It has it's own challenges in stringing and is definitely contemporary looking, but is rock solid and weathers well. My last build came out awesome enough that I sprung for a James and absolutely love it. If you change strings very often (who doesn't) it makes it an absolute breeze. The machining is flawless and there is O-ring dampening built right in. Several of the top drawer builders now outfit their mandos stock with the James tailpiece. It's pricey, but considering it's designed and built in America, it's worth it IMO. Nice mando, play it in good health.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Replacing the Tailpiece on my Flatiron (would like original)

    if I'm not mistaken, didn't Prucha make some items like this for Gibson at one time?
    just a thought I wanted to confirm.

    d

  13. #12
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Replacing the Tailpiece on my Flatiron (would like original)

    Quote Originally Posted by darylcrisp View Post
    if I'm not mistaken, didn't Prucha make some items like this for Gibson at one time?
    just a thought I wanted to confirm.

    d
    Yes.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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