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Thread: Collings Tailpiece Strap-button Removal

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    Registered User Gary J's Avatar
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    Default Collings Tailpiece Strap-button Removal

    Purchased a new James tailpiece for my Collings MF Deluxe. Does anyone know exactly how the strap-button is attached at the tailpiece? I feel competent on switching the tailpiece out but the button feels really, really tight. Does it unscrew from the body? Iíve removed the 3 screws from the tailpiece.
    Any feedback is appreciated.

    Gary

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collings Tailpiece Strap-button Removal

    Should be a simple press in fit. It shouldn't be glued. It should be a tapered end pin. It shouldn't be attached to the tailpiece, it's pressed into the body through the tailpiece.
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
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    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collings Tailpiece Strap-button Removal

    I've had some really tight stuck end pin buttons to remove over the years. I made a little tool out of a scrap of wood with a hole drilled and a slot cut, a small bolt with a wingnut allows one to tighten the tool with drilled hole over the endpin. This prevents damage to the endpin plus it gives leverage to loosen it.
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    Registered User Gary J's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collings Tailpiece Strap-button Removal

    Thank you, Mike. So really it should pull straight out from the body. I will try and gently pull it free from the body.

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    Registered User Gary J's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collings Tailpiece Strap-button Removal

    Thanks, Jim! I appreciate the tip. I felt confident on the swap-out, however, I wasn’t for certain in how the end pin was attached. I’ll study on a tool as you mentioned.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collings Tailpiece Strap-button Removal

    I'm reluctant to say this but I use a set of opened needle nose pliers with padded jaws as a pry bar and a small piece of wood as a fulcrum to remove them. You don't clamp down on the endpin you lift with the jaws open.
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
    --M. Stillion

    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them"
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  9. #7

    Default Re: Collings Tailpiece Strap-button Removal

    Collings end pin is glued in.
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    Registered User Gary J's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collings Tailpiece Strap-button Removal

    The end pin is glued in. Had to be drilled out by a Luthrie I know.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collings Tailpiece Strap-button Removal

    I guess somebody had to do it eventually.
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
    --M. Stillion

    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them"
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    Default Re: Collings Tailpiece Strap-button Removal

    Yet another annoying feature of the Collings tailpiece (?) but probably makes fitting the James tailpiece easier. The standard endpin hole position in the James doesn't match that on the Collings so at least there should be no hole to fill.

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    Registered User Gary J's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collings Tailpiece Strap-button Removal

    Yes, the endpin hole on the James tailpiece is in a different spot than on the Collings tailpiece

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collings Tailpiece Strap-button Removal

    The James end pin holes are now oval to allow for the difference in the pin placement or at least the last two I purchased were.
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    Last edited by MikeEdgerton; Aug-17-2020 at 12:55pm.
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
    --M. Stillion

    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them"
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    Default Re: Collings Tailpiece Strap-button Removal

    I was just going by the ones on my two Kimbles. It might be simpler to screw a new button into the glued in end.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collings Tailpiece Strap-button Removal

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray(T) View Post
    I was just going by the ones on my two Kimbles. It might be simpler to screw a new button into the glued in end.
    I wonder how much glue they actually use? I wonder if a little judicious heat might loosen that thing? Weber years ago built an endpin out of normal hardware store stuff that you could actually install in an existing tapered hole. I wonder if you could use a button like the Waverly buttons with a machine screw to just replace a normal end pin.

    In this case the screw on might be better as long as the hole is filled and covered.
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    Last edited by MikeEdgerton; Aug-17-2020 at 2:16pm.
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
    --M. Stillion

    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them"
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    Default Re: Collings Tailpiece Strap-button Removal

    Either you could simply drill it out and fit an endpin jack or fit a larger/guitar sized screw on button. By the time you’ve attached a strap, any imperfections wouldn’t be noticable.

    I was thinking of fitting a James to my MT mandola but it now seems that life’s too short to bother with it!

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    Registered User Gary J's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collings Tailpiece Strap-button Removal

    Mike is correct. The end pin hole on the James tailpiece is slightly elongated making it easier to refit the endpin. I was hoping this was a direct fit but it wasn’t. Luthrie friend had to do this for me and I’m glad he did. Also, James does make direct fit tailpiece for Collings with Collings engraved. Should have went that route but I’m happy with what I now have. Appreciate all the feedback for a novice like me!

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    Default Re: Collings Tailpiece Strap-button Removal

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    I'm reluctant to say this but I use a set of opened needle nose pliers with padded jaws as a pry bar and a small piece of wood as a fulcrum to remove them. You don't clamp down on the endpin you lift with the jaws open.
    I use a strain relief pliers. There is no teeth on the curved jaws and they can grab an end pin very nicely without damaging it.
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    Dave Sheets
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    Default Re: Collings Tailpiece Strap-button Removal

    I put a K&K Twin into my Collings, with an endpin jack (yes, a sacrilege, I know, but it works great and is convenient). I couldn't get the tailpin out, wound up drilling it out very cautiously. Glad it to hear it really was glued in and not just me being dumb.
    -Dave
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  22. #19
    Registered User John Soper's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collings Tailpiece Strap-button Removal

    When did Collings start gluing them in? My 2005 MT2 had a tailpin that would easily pop off whenever the humidity dropped below about 50%. Until I put a K%K in, I had to build the diameter up with a few layers of clear fingernail polish so it wouldn't pop off at an ill-advised time & is the reason that I have anchored all my straps to the tailpiece of my subsequent mandolins.

  23. #20
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collings Tailpiece Strap-button Removal

    Quote Originally Posted by John Soper View Post
    When did Collings start gluing them in? My 2005 MT2 had a tailpin that would easily pop off whenever the humidity dropped below about 50%. Until I put a K%K in, I had to build the diameter up with a few layers of clear fingernail polish so it wouldn't pop off at an ill-advised time & is the reason that I have anchored all my straps to the tailpiece of my subsequent mandolins.
    I was surprised to hear that they are glued in as well just due to the way this industry has always been but I can understand why they might.
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
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    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them"
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    Registered User Tom Haywood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collings Tailpiece Strap-button Removal

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    ...but I can understand why they might.
    I don't understand at all why they might. Do tell please.
    Tom

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    Registered User Gary J's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collings Tailpiece Strap-button Removal

    I had reached out to Collings regarding the endpin. Mark Althans, of Collings, got back with me and said their endpins are indeed glued in. There wasn’t really any residue or evidence of glue being used but it would not come out with force. Ended up having to drill it out.

  26. #23
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collings Tailpiece Strap-button Removal

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Haywood View Post
    I don't understand at all why they might. Do tell please.
    To stop the endpin from falling out. Most of the rest of us go to great lengths to make sure it won't happen. Obviously they took the easiest route for themselves and lets be honest, how many people actually ever change out their tailpiece? Most likely very few.
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
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    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them"
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    Registered User Tom Haywood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collings Tailpiece Strap-button Removal

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    To stop the endpin from falling out. Most of the rest of us go to great lengths to make sure it won't happen. Obviously they took the easiest route for themselves and lets be honest, how many people actually ever change out their tailpiece? Most likely very few.
    I suppose there is a greater risk of the mandolin breaking from being dropped off a strap than from being dropped during shipment, so maybe their warranty stats support the decision to glue in the pin. And I guess changing the tailpiece might affect the warranty. Installing a pickup might be a more usual task. I can see that drilling out a wooden end pin and enlarging the hole may be less of a risk for splitting the tail block than drilling a new hole if the end pin were just screwed in, but maybe not. So, my question really is - if you're going to glue the pin solidly, why not just screw one in? You are already not "traditional" when you glue it. Collings charges a premium price for their mandolins, so maybe they prefer that any work be done by an experienced luthier rather than an individual owner. Reminds me of the Cadillacs with the starter inside the engine. When the starter quits working, no backyard mechanics allowed. You might as well contact the dealer and think about buying a new Cadillac.

    I rarely understand the decisions Collings makes, but, Mike, I appreciate your explanation.
    Tom

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  28. #25
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collings Tailpiece Strap-button Removal

    I think those are pretty much the reasons why they would do it but what I still wonder is what would happen if you placed a hot iron on that pin for a few seconds with a towel in between the heat source and the pin and then tried to pull it. I wonder if it would come out without the hassle of drilling. I can't imagine they didn't account for someone having to remove that pin at some time eventually.

    By the way, for anyone struggling with a loose end pin there are literally dozens of threads with all sorts of answers, including one from me posted years ago about using a few drops of glue on them. My favorite answer for the problem was posted by Hans Brentrup years ago.
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    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
    --M. Stillion

    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them"
    --J. Garber

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