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  #21  
Old 02-24-2007, 02:17 PM
Bob Branstetter Bob Branstetter is offline
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Here's a nice carved tailpiece by gold medal bass maker Dan Hachez.
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  #22  
Old 02-24-2007, 02:44 PM
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Brian, when I first got my bass, the shop set-up was with the afterlengths tuned to the major 3rd (plus at least one octave, perhaps two). I was surprised to find that this kind of detail had been paid attention to in design and placement of the TP. The tuning was too dead on for it to be accidental. So at least the maker thought it contributed something. I changed the string spacing and the only 3rd tuning that is surviving is the middle string, the A. The rest are close but of course the G and low B suffered the most. It really didn't seem to affect the way the bass played or sounded nearly as much as the new bridge, or even as much as when I did a very minor dressing on the FB. With a tunable Pecanic;- that is one with separate adjustable saddles on the TP for each string, I could have restored the tuning. I don't think it is that important what these are tuned to as long as it is tuned to something. It could help with getting intonation correct in the high range and might give a little constructive resonance to some notes here and there. I'd love to get one of them and play with it to find out. As far as wolf tones go, it seems plausible that if putting a weight on an afterlength reduces a wolf tone, then tuning the afterlength to something might also help, but I don't know that anyone has done the careful research that would be required to establish that. Like anything else in a system as complex as a DB, it might work sometimes, and it might do nothing.

As far as the compensated TP goes, the extra room for afterlength on the heavier strings probably makes those feel more balanced in terms of flexibility.
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  #23  
Old 02-24-2007, 05:01 PM
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Cool TP Tuning

I have been taught that the after length should be tuned to 2 octaves and a fourth. This will interfere less with the natural harmonics of the Bass.
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  #24  
Old 02-24-2007, 05:30 PM
Bob Branstetter Bob Branstetter is offline
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OK - we've got a third and a fourth. Anyone got a fifth or maybe a flatted fifth? Or an augmented ???
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Old 02-24-2007, 05:40 PM
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Unhappy Anyone got a fifth?

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Originally Posted by Bob Branstetter View Post
OK - we've got a third and a fourth. Anyone got a fifth or maybe a flatted fifth? Or an augmented ???
Bob, I'm not much of a drinker, sorry..
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  #26  
Old 02-25-2007, 08:06 PM
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Brian Gencarelli Brian Gencarelli is offline
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Hey Bob,

Thanks for the thoughts. Personally, I kind of think afterlength tuning is hooey, too. It may make a difference, but I think as long as you are in the ball park...

On my very first bass I removed the tailpiece completely and it really sounded great! It was a Romanian Hybrid, the finished version of what Kolstein used for his orchestral model bass in the early nineties. I used a wire rig and wrapped each ball end in the wire. No mass equalled a much more resonant bass.

I am very happy with my "Heifetzbass". I pay no attention to what pitches the afterlength is tuned to, and I don't have wolfs, etc... My instrument is old and it moves. I can feel when the weather changes and I know that is stretching the tailpiece wire, string over the bridge, and such.

I was asking more for a colleague that I am sending to Dr. Mike for a new tailpiece. I will probably end up doing the installation. He has one of the Kolstein Carcassi's with the brick (read: cinderblock) of an adjustable tailpiece. I really think it is damping the sound (or at least the response) due to the weight.

I have toyed with putting one of Dr. Mike's compensating tailpiece on my instrument because of the looks. I like "other" woods used other than the traditional ones.

Thanks for the responses. I love hearing all the opinions and "old wives tales" within this realm. It really fascinates me. I really want to be a luthier when I grow up!
Brian
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  #27  
Old 02-26-2007, 12:29 AM
Ken McKay Ken McKay is offline
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I haven't messed around with TP after length tuning on basses much but do on violins as it can help with carrying power. In a violin I shoot for more power in the 2.5k range. I believe this is standard practice with the better violin set up artists. I don't achieve it consistently and the concept is a bit ellusive. The only way to test for the change in carrying power is to listen far away from the instrument, while it is being played with other instruments. I can get a rough idea of how well this might be achieved by measuring or listening for the right overtones up close to the instrument.

But with a bass it is unclear to me what I would be shooting for. Is there any standard for bass set up regarding afterlength tuning or TP weight?
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  #28  
Old 02-26-2007, 11:50 AM
stan haskins stan haskins is offline
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Lightbulb

This is interesting . . . After all the discussion about tailpiece tuning, etc . . . I decided to take some measurements (I don't have a stroboscope or anything, all notes were recorded by ear, checked against my reasonably (a=440) well-tuned Klavier . . .)


Tailpiece “chimes” (like a marimba, when I tapped it) just sharp of “C”

After-Length tuned to:
Eb on Gstr,
Bb on Dstring (this one's a little flat)
F on Astring
C on Estring (this seems to be different then everyone elses - tuned to a minor 6th . . .)

Body cavity resonance: A little sharp of G

I'm very curious to find out more about how all of these things interact in the overall tone production . . .
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  #29  
Old 02-26-2007, 12:45 PM
Bob Branstetter Bob Branstetter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken McKay View Post
I haven't messed around with TP after length tuning on basses much but do on violins as it can help with carrying power. In a violin I shoot for more power in the 2.5k range. I believe this is standard practice with the better violin set up artists. I don't achieve it consistently and the concept is a bit ellusive. The only way to test for the change in carrying power is to listen far away from the instrument, while it is being played with other instruments. I can get a rough idea of how well this might be achieved by measuring or listening for the right overtones up close to the instrument.

But with a bass it is unclear to me what I would be shooting for. Is there any standard for bass set up regarding afterlength tuning or TP weight?
I think that most of us can agree that moving the tailpiece forward or back will change the feel and the response. It's the afterlength tuning to some arbitrary pitch that is a bone of contention. I received most of my early training in the shop of an award winning violin maker. It was here that I learned about the 1/6 rule for after length, My mentor was very good at setting up instruments and tweaking them for best sound. Although he did deviate from the 1/6th rule on occasion, for the most part, the fine tuning consisted of swapping out tailpieces both in different density woods (ebony, rosewood and boxwood) and in style (Std and Hill) which no doubt was basically adding or subtracting weight. He would also swap out different weight and styles of E string adjusters. He must have done a pretty good job with this method since he won several international awards for tone in violin making competition.

I follow the same basic methods as my mentor did. I don't know of any shops that "tune" the afterlength on violin, viola, or cello to an arbitrary pitch the way some do in the doublebass community. I've often thought it would be interesting to ask those who "tune" the afterlength to accurately measure the playable string length and the afterlength and to calculate the ratio.

There seems to be another rule of thumb that heavier tailpieces work best for arco and lighter ones for pizz. I've found this to be true on most instruments, but just as with bridge height adjusters, there are some basses that do not follow this gereralization. My belief is that the optimum weight for a tailpiece is dependent on the afterlength and the vibrating portion of tailgut. If you examine the motion of a tailpiece, you observe that it moves in several directions at once. It twists on it's axis, it goes up and down and it goes side to side. It also vibrates at a constant frequency. Since the tailpiece does is not struck into motion like a marimba bar, the force that sets the tailpiece in motion has to be transfered to it via the afterlength and to a lesser extent the tailwire. Once the mass of the tailpiece is set into motion, some of this motion is sent back to the bridge which in turn sends it to the body of the instrument. If you change either of these, you change the vibrating frequency of the entire tailpiece assembly. You can also change the tailpiece frequency by adding or subtracting weight from the tailpiece. IMO, it is the mass of the tailpiece and the resulting vibrating frequency that has the greatest impact on the responce of the bass.
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  #30  
Old 02-27-2007, 09:19 AM
Greg Clinkingbeard Greg Clinkingbeard is offline
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Bob,
Now you've got me thinking, or second-guessing. I've got what looks like an ebony tailpiece on my bass. At least thats what they told me.
In your experience with pizz playing, how do lighter and heavier tailpieces differ in response. Do they differ in tonal balance, clarity or both?
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  #31  
Old 02-27-2007, 09:21 AM
Greg Clinkingbeard Greg Clinkingbeard is offline
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Of course, people other than Bob are also free to jump in. Please forgive me.
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  #32  
Old 02-27-2007, 11:27 AM
Bob Branstetter Bob Branstetter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Clinkingbeard View Post
Bob,
Now you've got me thinking, or second-guessing. I've got what looks like an ebony tailpiece on my bass. At least thats what they told me.
In your experience with pizz playing, how do lighter and heavier tailpieces differ in response. Do they differ in tonal balance, clarity or both?
Hi Greg,
My personal experience and most of the people I've talked to about it seem to agree that you get "quicker" response with a lighter TP. However, it also seems to make for rougher bowing. Tonal balance? Clarity? I can't say. Not every bass is the same.
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Old 02-27-2007, 11:44 AM
Greg Clinkingbeard Greg Clinkingbeard is offline
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Thanks Bob.
Quickness is something my bass could use. I rarely bow, so it can't get much rougher.I'll try a lighter one maybe at the next string change.
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  #34  
Old 02-27-2007, 02:37 PM
Daniel Yeabsley Daniel Yeabsley is offline
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Here's a nice looking composite tailpiece on Bob Gollihurs site. And it's only $43. Hmmm...
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  #35  
Old 02-27-2007, 02:45 PM
Greg Clinkingbeard Greg Clinkingbeard is offline
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Add to that, depreciation on a newish set of Obligatos and it just got more expensive. I think I'll wait a few months and try something lighter.
There was a thread on TB (I think) that Arnold is using composite tailpieces on his New Standards. FWIW.
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  #36  
Old 03-22-2007, 10:14 AM
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Default perhaps we do have a fifth

Bob Branstetter,

If the general rule in tuning the after length is 1/6, wouldn't that be a perfect 5th plus two octaves? (2/3 = the fifth degree, 1/3 is octave up, 1/6 another octave up)
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Old 03-22-2007, 10:47 PM
Bob Branstetter Bob Branstetter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Powell View Post
Bob Branstetter,

If the general rule in tuning the after length is 1/6, wouldn't that be a perfect 5th plus two octaves? (2/3 = the fifth degree, 1/3 is octave up, 1/6 another octave up)
It really is not a general rule, it is known as the German rule. Length and pitch are two different animals where this is concerned. You must consider that the end of the string with the wrapping and ball are usually not even the same diameter or mass as the speaking length string diameter. I don't consider the 1/6 length something to be fixed in stone. I may make it a little longer or a little shorter depending on the bass. I have not found the pitch/interval of the after-length to be anything consistant using the 1/6 length.

I fail to see how anyone can logically isolate the after-length frequency (pitch) from that of the tailpiece and tailpiece wire/gut/rope/etc. They vibrate as a single unit and the vibration frequency of the tailpiece, which has by far the greatest mass and amplitude, is frequently below that of the the lowest note on the instrument. If I were going to "tune" anything, it would be the tailpiece. It makes more sense to me to make the pitch of the tailpiece the same or an octave (1/2 the frequency) lower than the body resonance frequency, but that would be getting into A0/B0 matching. I also find it interesting that many players who amplify routinely mute that after-length . I guess they must not consider the after-length pitch all that important either.
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  #38  
Old 03-23-2007, 11:49 AM
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I tune my afterlength, and it does do something, at least on my bass. I tune it to a 5th. There was one symphony rehersal that my bass felt "off," and I just idly plucked the afterlength and noticed it was not at a 5th. I changed it and there was an enormous difference - volume went drastically up, it was much easier to get a great tone, etc. I have a witness - my stand mate watched me do it and said that the entire nature of the tone became much "warmer" and the volume went way up. I didn't even tell him what I was doing - he just exclaimed after I was done. I am certain it has an effect. I did it by putting pressure up or down on my bridge just around each string.

Here's my take on it, though - you're not really "tuning" the afterlength alone - you're tuning the nut to bridge length, too, which is pretty important - scale length has a pretty measurable effect on sound. It seems to me that every bass has a scale length (or a "tuning") that it is most resonant at - mine seems to be really really happy when the afterlength sounds at 2 octaves and a 5th above the forelength. Other basses I'm sure are very different. I'm sure it's not a placebo - I can tell just with a couple bow strokes if the thing isn't "tuned."
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Old 03-23-2007, 01:33 PM
Bob Branstetter Bob Branstetter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobwall View Post
I tune my afterlength, and it does do something, at least on my bass. I tune it to a 5th. There was one symphony rehersal that my bass felt "off," and I just idly plucked the afterlength and noticed it was not at a 5th. I changed it and there was an enormous difference - volume went drastically up, it was much easier to get a great tone, etc. I have a witness - my stand mate watched me do it and said that the entire nature of the tone became much "warmer" and the volume went way up.
You did not change the after-length, you just changed the pitch - two entirely different things. After-length is not after-length pitch. If you had said you took the bass home, took off the tailpiece and replaced or shortened the tailwire, you would have actually changed the after-length. The fact you were able to change to pitch simply means that the string was not sliding freely across the bridge (which of course is perfectly normal).
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Old 03-23-2007, 01:48 PM
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I don't understand - if I move the bridge towards the tailpiece, changing the length of the string between the tailpiece and the bridge, how is that not changing the afterlength?
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