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  • Brass tailpiece?

    So I watched this vid:



    ... and while I do find that the difference is subtle, and I prefer the warmth and fatness of the zinc tailpiece.

    I wonder if brass would be even fatter-sounding. Would it be heavier?

    Anyone had a chance to try one out?
    Last edited by Rex_Rocker; 08-13-2020, 07:23 PM.

  • #2
    Definitely heavier. Back in the 70's and early 80's brass hardware was a craze because "heavier means more sustain". Most players thought it sounded brighter. Frankly, what I noticed was better definition from string to string.

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    • #3
      I have tried the Philadelphia Luthier Tools ones and the Kluson ones. They sound the same as each other to me. I think they even sound the same as steel or aluminum – at least effectively the same in the end, i.e. within the adjustment range of your typical amp. It's hard to say because with a tailpiece change also comes a string change.

      For steel, I have used Callaham. For aluminum, Philadelphia and Gibson Historic. Whether it makes a difference...the Les Paul Internet guys will go on and on about for pages. Not a lot different from each other IME. But the brass feels like an exquisitely made hunk of metal. I appreciate the heft of the brass, especially on a guitar that seems excessively light or neck heavy.

      But again, I honesty don't think it changed much about the tone. Bridge saddles make more of a difference IME. You can get those in nylon, ABS, brass, steel, etc., even titanium...any one of which will give you more tonal change than a tailpiece swap, IME.

      In short, I would definitely consider brass on a build or assembly where I wanted extra weight and a hunk of hardware that felt really well made. But I don't think I would switch from anything to it, unless the guitar really needed some added weight on the body. $75 to $100 could be better spent elsewhere on the guitar, if altering the tone is the goal.

      P.S. That guitarist in the video has terrible rhythm. So hard to listen to.
      Last edited by ItsaBass; 08-13-2020, 11:15 PM.
      Originally posted by LesStrat
      Yogi Berra was correct.
      Originally posted by JOLLY
      I do a few chord things, some crappy lead stuff, and then some rhythm stuff.

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      • #4
        Most stop tailpieces are made from zinc...pot metal. They're heavier than what Gibson used in the 50's: aluminum.

        I prefer aluminum.

        Interestingly, Eric Johnson sometimes uses a brass saddle for the high E string on his Strat to thicken up the tone, and original Teles and Esquires made before 1954 used brass for the bridge saddles.

        So it has its place.
        “Practice cures most tone issues” - John Suhr

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        • #5
          If you think about it, brass is a very musical metal. Bells, horns, and more are made with brass.

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          • #6
            It's not only about hearing a difference. Often it's about FEELING a difference.

            How do you FEEL when you play a guitar you're thinking about purchasing or trying some new device?

            Does it inspire you? Do you feel more at ease? Does it cause you to stop thinking and free you to create instead?

            For me, the biggest confirmation I can get is if a new guitar or new device I'm trying out causes me to stop thinking and spontaneously compose a new song.


            “Practice cures most tone issues” - John Suhr

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Lewguitar View Post
              It's not only about hearing a difference. Often it's about FEELING a difference.

              How do you FEEL when you play a guitar you're thinking about purchasing or trying some new device?

              Does it inspire you? Do you feel more at ease? Does it cause you to stop thinking and free you to create instead?

              For me, the biggest confirmation I can get is if a new guitar or new device I'm trying out causes me to stop thinking and spontaneously compose a new song.

              New album title for you, "Spontaneous Composition".

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              • #8
                Originally posted by ErikH View Post

                New album title for you, "Spontaneous Composition".


                Reminds me of the joke about two people standing at Beethoven's grave and hearing music being played backwards.

                One guys says: "What's that sound?"

                The other guy says: "Oh, that's just Beethoven decomposing!"
                “Practice cures most tone issues” - John Suhr

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                • #9
                  Thank you all for the replies!

                  The guitar in question is my LTD EC-401. It's a great-sounding guitar, but it is abnormally light. Somehow, it still manages to sound fatter and chunkier than my full-thickness heavy PRS SE, but I still wouldn't mind to fatten it up a bit more. Another big part of the reason why I want to change it is for it to balance better. It's not terribly neck heavy, but it could be better. I swapped the tuner buttons to light plastic ones, and it's a lot better, but I wonder if the brass tailpiece would help here to distribute more weight onto the body.

                  The bridge and tailpiece themselves right now are nothing fancy like a Callaham, ABM, or Faber, but they are Schaller, so they're more than OK, I think. The bridge, I was told by emailing Schaller, has brass saddles and a zinc body, and the tailpiece is zinc. I prefer the tone of zinc over alluminum in the comparisons I hear, because it's darker and fatter, the way I'd expect a mahogany guitar to be. I wonder if brass would be even fatter-sounding and heavier in weight than zinc. It would seem so, right?

                  I'm looking into the Philadelphia Luthier Tools tailpiece, and it seems nice. Also the Kluson one. But how about saving a few bucks with this one? Has anyone tried it? Or am I cheaping out? https://www.guitarfetish.com/XGP-SOL...ed_p_4226.html

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Lewguitar View Post



                    Reminds me of the joke about two people standing at Beethoven's grave and hearing music being played backwards.

                    One guys says: "What's that sound?"

                    The other guy says: "Oh, that's just Beethoven decomposing!"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Rex_Rocker View Post
                      Thank you all for the replies!

                      The guitar in question is my LTD EC-401. It's a great-sounding guitar, but it is abnormally light. Somehow, it still manages to sound fatter and chunkier than my full-thickness heavy PRS SE, but I still wouldn't mind to fatten it up a bit more. Another big part of the reason why I want to change it is for it to balance better. It's not terribly neck heavy, but it could be better. I swapped the tuner buttons to light plastic ones, and it's a lot better, but I wonder if the brass tailpiece would help here to distribute more weight onto the body.

                      The bridge and tailpiece themselves right now are nothing fancy like a Callaham, ABM, or Faber, but they are Schaller, so they're more than OK, I think. The bridge, I was told by emailing Schaller, has brass saddles and a zinc body, and the tailpiece is zinc. I prefer the tone of zinc over alluminum in the comparisons I hear, because it's darker and fatter, the way I'd expect a mahogany guitar to be. I wonder if brass would be even fatter-sounding and heavier in weight than zinc. It would seem so, right?

                      I'm looking into the Philadelphia Luthier Tools tailpiece, and it seems nice. Also the Kluson one. But how about saving a few bucks with this one? Has anyone tried it? Or am I cheaping out? https://www.guitarfetish.com/XGP-SOL...ed_p_4226.html
                      My experience swapping a 32mm OFR tone block for a "Fat Brass" block, was that the tone was a bit thicker and had more fundamental tone, but it lost some "zing" and harmonics were duller.

                      For my playing style in a basswood guitar, the Fat Brass block was a step backwards.

                      That said, I could see the fat brass block working well in an all-mahogony guitar that has an aggressive top that you want to tame.

                      All you can do is try brass bridge on your guitar and see if you like it. It may make it seem less resonant.

                      If the neck is too heavy, you might try lighter tuners.

                      If what you really want is just a better balance, I would put lead weights in the control cavity drilled through and held in place with a wood screw. Or you could buy adhesive backed lead strips, like they use to balance car tires.
                      Last edited by Top-L; 08-14-2020, 02:51 PM.

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                      • #12
                        I have a tailpiece that is nickel plated brass on a guitar I got recently. LP style, great soudning guitar
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                        • #13
                          I put the guitar fetish brass tailpiece on a guitar i built that felt too light. it did not make a huge difference but it did make a difference and I was happy with the purchase. Just get it with their studs. As for tone, I THINK it gave the guitar a thicker tone, but it could be all psychological?

                          I also added some heavy, solid metal knobs, which also gave a bit more heft. They did not change the tone of the guitar!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Dave Locher View Post
                            I put the guitar fetish brass tailpiece on a guitar i built that felt too light. it did not make a huge difference but it did make a difference and I was happy with the purchase. Just get it with their studs. As for tone, I THINK it gave the guitar a thicker tone, but it could be all psychological?

                            I also added some heavy, solid metal knobs, which also gave a bit more heft. They did not change the tone of the guitar!
                            What I heard when I switched the zinc tailpiece for aluminum (which is lighter) was a very slightly breathier, airier, more spacious tone. So I don't think the difference you heard was all psychological.
                            “Practice cures most tone issues” - John Suhr

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ICTGoober View Post
                              Back in the 70's and early 80's brass hardware was a craze because "heavier means more sustain".
                              ^ this

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