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Thread: Silver vs. Nickel James Tailpiece?

  1. #1
    Pickin' Padawan swankerme's Avatar
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    Default Silver vs. Nickel James Tailpiece?

    Does anyone have any good pictures of both the nickel and the silver James tailpieces? I have scoured the internet but I can't really find any pictures that compare how differently the two look.
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Silver vs. Nickel James Tailpiece?

    Check out Elderly. I don't know what you are looking for or whether you can tell anything from these photos:

    James Nickel

    James Silver

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    Registered User amowry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Silver vs. Nickel James Tailpiece?

    They look pretty much identical, in fact the first time I received a nickel one from Bill I had to call him to make sure I received the correct one I think the main difference is the the nickel will tarnish more slowly than the silver.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Silver vs. Nickel James Tailpiece?

    Same price, too. I have one on my Brentrup and I think it is silver... or is it nickel. Did he always make all three or was it only silver and gold originally?
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    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Silver vs. Nickel James Tailpiece?

    Yes, the silver plated version is a bit 'lighter' and will tarnish significantly faster.

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    Default Re: Silver vs. Nickel James Tailpiece?

    Mix Bought the silver plate. It does tarnish.. might have to get some silverware cleaner..

    of course Gold does not tarnish, that's why its used for electrical contacts..

    both are relatively soft, Nickel would be more durable .. & less precious,
    you could leave it in the plating bath longer for a thicker coating..
    the precious metals are kept pretty thin. a few microns.. save $ ..


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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Silver vs. Nickel James Tailpiece?

    I asked the same question of Bill James a few years ago. His e-mailed answer was:

    They both have a “satin” finish. That is, blasted before plating so technically they both have the same “finish”. Here is an image I found that helps show the difference in color, silver on the left . Keep in mind the silver will tarnish faster and get darker than the nickel.
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    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Silver vs. Nickel James Tailpiece?

    The one on my Brentrup never tarnished so it might be nickel. Works well though. If I was loaded I would buy one for other mandolins. Great tailpiece.
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    Default Re: Silver vs. Nickel James Tailpiece?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    The one on my Brentrup never tarnished so it might be nickel. Works well though. If I was loaded I would buy one for other mandolins. Great tailpiece.
    When doing some work on my mandolin several years ago Hans ask me it I wanted a James tailpiece instead of his. I said I liked his fine. I don't use the cover, as I like the sound better without, making it more like a Nugget for string changes and appearance. I am sure I would like the James, but satisfied with the Brentrup.
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  11. #10

    Default Re: Silver vs. Nickel James Tailpiece?

    I bought a brushed nickel shell style James off the classifieds here. I haven't installed it yet, but darn if it doesn't look like brushed gold to me. Is it just my eyes, or did thhey make gold ones, too?

  12. #11
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Silver vs. Nickel James Tailpiece?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rdeane View Post
    I bought a brushed nickel shell style James off the classifieds here. I haven't installed it yet, but darn if it doesn't look like brushed gold to me. Is it just my eyes, or did thhey make gold ones, too?
    They do indeed make a gold tailpiece. It's one of the three options available.

    https://www.axinc.net/James_Mandolin...iece_p/jtt.htm
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    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Silver vs. Nickel James Tailpiece?

    Guess I'm late to the party. What makes these tailpieces so much better than anything else? Do they improve the sound?
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  14. #13
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Silver vs. Nickel James Tailpiece?

    As much as anyone wants to talk about improving the sound they really don't. No tailpiece does. They do make string changes easier and they are a work of art.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  16. #14

    Default Re: Silver vs. Nickel James Tailpiece?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Calley View Post
    Guess I'm late to the party. What makes these tailpieces so much better than anything else? Do they improve the sound?
    Nope, but they feel nice, work nicely, and last really well.

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  18. #15
    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Silver vs. Nickel James Tailpiece?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    As much as anyone wants to talk about improving the sound they really don't. No tailpiece does. They do make string changes easier and they are a work of art.
    +1 for that. Occasionally, you get some folks claiming that a tailpiece swap made a big difference to the tone of their mandolin. This makes little sense, from an instrument perspective, and I find it rather hard to believe them. Usually, something else was changed out at the same time as the tailpiece, for example: new strings were put on, or the bridge was subtly re-positioned, or the strings were re-seated in their grooves in the saddle and nut. And those small adjustments were likely driving any changes they were reporting. Also, a better-designed tailpiece can eliminate the undesirable buzzing ("harmonic suppression") that sometimes occurs between the tailpiece and the strings, or noisy vibrations of the tailpiece cover itself. Such noises can also be eliminated rather easily in other ways, e.g., by bending or better seating the tailpiece cover, or by using a leather caul under the cover, or by using rubber grommets (or a piece of leather, or clamping a "harmonic supressor") on the strings behind the bridge. But the tailpiece itself is not making the mandolin sound better.

  19. #16
    Pickin' Padawan swankerme's Avatar
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    Default Re: Silver vs. Nickel James Tailpiece?

    Does anyone have any pictures of a tarnished silver? I might actually enjoy the "aged" or tarnished look.

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