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Thread: So, I have to bend this tailpiece I bought?

  1. #1

    Default So, I have to bend this tailpiece I bought?

    Hi,
    Working on resurrecting my 1st mandolin--somebody's unfinished kit I got at a yard sale (a flat-top, I should state). I bought a "Winomo" tailpiece online & it just arrived. There is a 45 degree angle between the piece that screws into the "butt" of the mandolin and part that hold the strings--it's one solid piece of metal bent at 45 degrees. I assumed there would be a hinge between the two parts, but no, it's solid metal. Apparently I have to bend this thing to a 90 degree angle before attaching it to the instrument?

    I can put it in a vice and do that, but why in the world would one create a 45 degree tailpiece like this? Am I missing something here?

    Thanks much for any help!
    Dave in Emmett

  2. #2
    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: So, I have to bend this tailpiece I bought?

    Is it like this one? https://www.amazon.com/WINOMO-Mandol.../dp/B01I3GH5VO

    If so, it shouldn't require any bending, just mount it on the side where an endpin would go. The top lip should rest on the surface of the instrument.
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  3. #3
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: So, I have to bend this tailpiece I bought?

    There is also this WINOMO tailpiece, also sold by Amazon and closer to the Gibson style that is most common.

    Dave: post a photo of yours. I am not sure what you are talking about bending a 45 angle to 90. The link I posted shows probably around a 120 angle from the mounting part to the place where the strings anchor. That would make sense for an arched top mandolin. Perhaps the tailpiece that Jim posted would be more suitable tho i think that one I linked to should work.
    Jim

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  4. #4

    Default Re: So, I have to bend this tailpiece I bought?

    Jim,
    That's probably the tailpiece I should have bought--looks like it's made for a flat top!

  5. #5

    Default Re: So, I have to bend this tailpiece I bought?

    Jim,
    Here's an image of the interior of the thing. The "inside" angle (between the two parts of the tailpiece and the instrument) is about 130 degrees, such that the thing sticks up a full inch above the top of the mando---seems way extreme, even for an archtop. --the tabs the strings hook onto are not all in a line! The 8 of them are lined up almost exactly like the Big Dipper (but upside down)! Plus it has four tabs oriented at a right angle, off to the instrument's right! Is this even a mandolin bridge? Or something else entirely?
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    Default Re: So, I have to bend this tailpiece I bought?

    The hooks for the strings are meant for the plain strings to hook sideways and bend around the other hook to eliminate slippage. It is the way Gibson and most tailpieces have been set up.
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  7. #7

    Default Re: So, I have to bend this tailpiece I bought?

    I've used a few tailpieces like that, though all for other instruments. But they were sold as mandolin tailpieces. They work fine.

    However, all mine had a bend much closer to 90 degrees. I think yours is made wrong! Here is an eBay one for the equivalent of around US$7:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    That said, they bend really easily - put the part with screw holes in a vice and hand pressure should bend it.

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    Default Re: So, I have to bend this tailpiece I bought?

    I think those tailpieces are made to be easy to bend because different instruments require different break angles. The entire tailpiece shouldn’t just lay on the top, rather most of it should be slightly above the top with only the back edge making contact. Bending in a vice is easy, as you state, but make sure you use pieces of wood for cauls or a piece of cloth as a cushion so that the metal jaws of the vice don’t mar the tailpiece. Don’t ask me how I know this. Like Yoda said in “The Last Jedi”, failure is the greatest teacher!

    As for the stringing pattern and the lugs that seem to face the wrong way, as noted above, these are to put a 90 degree angle in the solid strings. You put the A and E strings in the corresponding sideways facing lugs then bring them around the backwards facing ones. I don’t have a diagram for illustration but surely someone here has one they could post. That said, it’s my belief that these are not necessary anymore. The loops on the ends of strings used to be a lot less reliable when this tailpiece was designed. They are much better now. I only have one instrument now that uses that type of tailpiece but I have owned others in the past. I have never used the sideways lugs and never had a problem as a result. And no one can see because the cover hides it. Now, before the purists come in and jump all over me, let me ask, if using those sideways lugs is so important, why don’t my Weber tailpieces have them? Or Allen? Or James? Or Collings? Or Eastman? I could go on but you get the point. I think those extra lugs in the “Gibson” tailpieces is a relic rendered moot by modern string technology. I’ll go even further by stating that, if you use them, you introduce a potential weak spot and breaking point in that string by introducing an unnecessary 90 degree bend.

    I edited this post because I found an excellent article to pass along. Go to Frank Ford’s Frets.com web site and look for an article entitled “ Restringing Your Mandolin”. He has excellent photos illustrating both the traditional way with the 90 degree solid string bends and the more modern 8 strings straight stringing. He explains why the 90 degree bends used to be considered necessary, and why they really aren’t necessary now. Every mandolin player should read this article. As usual,Frank is the Man!
    Don

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  10. #9

    Default Re: So, I have to bend this tailpiece I bought?

    Thanks to everyone for their advice.
    I'm up early and have bent the tailpiece to nearly 90 degrees so it will be a bit above the instrument's top as suggested by respondents. Have filled the earlier tailpiece screwholes in the instrument with wood filler and am waiting for that to set up. Later will go into town and buy strings, then after tailpiece is mounted, will begin sanding wood off the bridge I bought, to bring it down to something close to appropriate, then begin the setup process. With luck, I'll be making noise by the end of the day!

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  12. #10
    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Re: So, I have to bend this tailpiece I bought?

    Yes you have to bend it: I buy something similar direct from a source close the far-eastern manufacturer - they're cheap, surprisingly well made, but are almost flat. I assume this is deliberate to make shipping/packaging easier. Some re-sellers in Europe or the US will have unpacked them and bent them to the proper angle before selling on at a much higher price.

    Another tip is to remove the cover and apply some wax to the rails that hold the tailpiece on - afterwards it should slide on easily yet still be fairly well held. Beware that there are some on the market where the cover is nothing like a fit for the base and require some considerable tweaking to get them to go together.

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