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View Full Version : Going to try to make a tailpiece



orangeena
10-29-2013, 06:22 AM
The first decent uke I made (walnut body, ash neck) is a nice enough looker, and has a good sound. However the mistakes I made on it became insurmountable. I drilled the peg holes in the wrong place, so the machineheads were upside down. I had not yet learned about compensated scales lengths, so the tuning went out as you left the nut. And the bridge was beginning to pull the body up as the bracing was inadequate.

I have now removed the bridge, removed the headstock veneer and filled the holes with ash dowels.

Then looking at it naked there, it began to remind me of my Hofner archtop and I thought wouldn't it be great to have a uke with a tailpiece and a floating bridge!

So I hunted around the charity and "" shops in town eventually settling on a potato masher as the candidate for my tailpiece.

http://i367.photobucket.com/albums/oo118/orangeena73/IMAG0816_zpscba092ee.jpg

I only plan to use the central four 'tines' of the handle end of the masher, but it looks like it might work.

What do the experts think? I worry that the tailpiece might be a little too close to the bridge at the moment. I think I will make a cardboard copy and try out a few combinations before cutting.

Cheers
Max

ksquine
10-29-2013, 08:01 AM
Interesting idea. Looks like the tines might even fit the string spacing
I would cut it off at the 90deg bend and then bend the unslotted triangle part down to screw into the tail block. drill a hole in each tine for the string and see how it goes

Garry Petrisic
10-29-2013, 11:24 AM
I know all about mistakes. They are only mistakes if you do not learn from them. I am building a selmer style uke with a tail piece and have built an archtop with a tail piece. The tail pieces are made from ebony. The selmer has half a brass hinge to attach it to the body and the archtop has a violin attachment.6037560376 I find the floating bridge style really good. Some builders say that there is not enough pressure to make a full sound, but it is in the way the neck angle and the tail angle are set. Also the bracing needs to be tailored to accommodate the down pressure instead of the twisting and pulling pressure.

Allen
10-29-2013, 10:37 PM
If the bridge was beginning to pull the top up and roll it over, then I suspect that you are in for another structural failure going with a tail piece and floating bridge. The first option was showing you that the bracing was inadequate to hold the bridge against the pulling and rotational forces of the string tension. With a tail piece and floating bridge the forces will be driving that bridge down into the body. Again, the bracing needs to be substantial enough to withstand these forces.

I have a couple of old instruments picked up at flea markets that display those results quite well. They make interesting wall hangings, but will never be an instrument.

However, the very best way to learn, is from mistakes.....and believe me, we all have them. Right now the instrument in question is a lost cause, and at the end of the day it may still be. But by experimenting and tinkering, you are bound to learn something.

orangeena
10-29-2013, 11:16 PM
Interesting idea. Looks like the tines might even fit the string spacing
I would cut it off at the 90deg bend and then bend the unslotted triangle part down to screw into the tail block. drill a hole in each tine for the string and see how it goes

That is exactly what I plan to do ksquine. I am pleased that it screams the same thing to you as me.


I am building a selmer style uke with a tail piece and have built an archtop with a tail piece. The tail pieces are made from ebony

I saw your pictures when I searched the old posts Gerry, but there is no way I can do that kind of work. Looks fab though.


Right now the instrument in question is a lost cause, and at the end of the day it may still be. But by experimenting and tinkering, you are bound to learn something.

I agree with your assessment Allen, but it is useless now, so can't get any worse, and it is more about the experiment. Might be a nice wall hanger at the end of the day.

Thanks for all your great comments. I will endeavour to keep you updated.

Max

orangeena
10-30-2013, 01:34 AM
I photocopied the potato masher, glued it to card and cut out a decent enough shape to give me some idea what it might look like.

http://i367.photobucket.com/albums/oo118/orangeena73/IMAG0823_zps4e4ada79.jpg

http://i367.photobucket.com/albums/oo118/orangeena73/IMAG0822_zps527f54b3.jpg

Cheers
Max

Garry Petrisic
10-30-2013, 11:29 AM
Talk about lateral thinking! Not even I would have seen a tailpiece in a potato masher, and I have done some off the wall stuff. When I am stuck, I will come to you for inspiration. Looking at it though, seeing the fret board is flat, the bridge height will be low and that may reduce the pressure on it to a large degree. You can work it out using the total axial pull on the strings and then working out the resultant downward pressure on the bridge using the sting angles. Most ukes and guitars with floating bridges have a neck angle of somewhere between 2 degrees for selmer style instruments and 4.5 for archtop jazz guitars. this gives enough string break angle to get the downward pressure on the top.
Happy building.
Garry

orangeena
10-31-2013, 03:29 AM
I fear you are right Garry. I have spotted that the angle will not be much, but maybe I can force it a bit by keeping the tailpiece sort of level with the body. The neck was built for a fixed bridge so is already leaning forward, nothing I can do about that.
If it is too quiet or the string pressure means the bridge moves about, then I will return it to a fixed bridge I guess. I am just messing with it here.
I could always amplify it too I suppose.

Max

lauburu
10-31-2013, 09:03 AM
Mmmmmmmmmm. Don't want to be negative and I wholeheartedly applaud a bit of lateral thinking BUT.... I think your uke deserves something better. I don't think the quality of the tailpiece matches the quality of the rest of the build (unless of course you have some other design elements you will add later). However, I have been wrong once or twice in my life... and it's your uke so do what you feel is best
Miguel

Titchtheclown
10-31-2013, 09:24 AM
A moving 'floating' bridge is easily rendered less so with a drop of super glue.

Over on Cigar box nation all manner of items are used as tail pieces.

orangeena
10-31-2013, 11:18 AM
I think your uke deserves something better. I don't think the quality of the tailpiece matches the quality of the rest of the build

Miguel, your perception of the quality of my first uke flatters me. It looks OK and sounds sweet, but with the fixed bridge, played poorly. I have made a number of Type 0 clones since then, so feel I can take some liberties with this one, and if it does not work out, I can always go back to the fixed bridge (but properly compensated this time!). Just wish I had not used stain as it is proving tough to hide the original bridge position.

And good tip, Titch.

Cheers
Max

orangeena
11-06-2013, 11:09 AM
OK, so the experiment is finished.

After more thought and planning (measure twice, cut once) I have hacked up the potato masher and made what appears to me to be a passable tailpiece.

I had a 4 string banjo bridge (from my banjolele making days) but that was a bit high, so I quickly made a temporary one out of ash and fitted it roughly in the right place and tuned her up.
Strings are still settling and I need to get the bridge in exactly the right place and do something about the (chopstick) nut which was never right, but it is not too quiet and sounds pretty archtoppy.

http://i367.photobucket.com/albums/oo118/orangeena73/my%20ukulele%20stuff/IMAG0839_zps6cb02177.jpg

http://i367.photobucket.com/albums/oo118/orangeena73/my%20ukulele%20stuff/IMAG0840_zps506cab42.jpg

http://i367.photobucket.com/albums/oo118/orangeena73/my%20ukulele%20stuff/IMAG0841_zps48510692.jpg


Sound! https://soundcloud.com/banjoleleinc/tailpiece


Cheers
Max

RyanMFT
11-06-2013, 11:38 AM
The potato masher's forum is none too pleased about this....