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Contemplating getting a fine tuner tailpiece--suggestions?


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#1 Trent_Hill

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Posted 12 March 2001 - 01:11 AM

Hi, guys. I just recently broke down and tried a set of Helicores on my violin and love 'em. They don't sound quite as good as the Obligatos that were on there, but since they're cheaper and will last a lot longer (the Obs were crapping out after three months), I can accept the slight difference. At any rate, I think I want to get a tailpiece with integrated fine tuners and was wondering what folks experience with them were. I know that Wittner and Thomastik make aluminum models, but aren't there also some carbon fiber and / or wooden ones out there too? Are there any advantages, other than aesthetic, for one model over another.

Thanks for any help!

Trent


#2 PoorDad

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Posted 12 March 2001 - 01:37 AM

My son and I just put a boxwood Bois d'Harmonie tailpiece on his cello. The workmanship is first rate, and was worth the 2-3 month wait (ordered through Johnson Stringed Instruments - good to work with, I think). The carbon fibre tuners are fasinatingly simple.

About 3 weeks ago, Becktell and Blackerby in Austin had an ebony violin taipiece from Harmonie for sale - they had to order one and ordered a couple of extra - www.becktellblackerby.com.


#3 MikeH

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Posted 11 March 2001 - 05:39 PM

Try a Pusch.

They come in Ebony, Rosewood and Boxwood. They also maintain the correct string afterlength. You would have to order one specially through your Luthier or music shop.

They are also not cheap.

Mike

P.S. Try www.quinnviolins.com

[This message has been edited by MikeH (edited 03-11-2001).]

Mike Hulme

#4 fiddlers

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Posted 12 March 2001 - 07:30 PM

Trent: Have you tried putting tuners on your present tailpiece? This would be more economical. Talk to your local luthier and get his/her input on it.

#5 Trent_Hill

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Posted 13 March 2001 - 12:30 AM

quote:


Originally posted by fiddlers:
Trent: Have you tried putting tuners on your present tailpiece? This would be more economical. Talk to your local luthier and get his/her input on it.

Actually, using individual tuners is usually a bad idea because they add weight and dampening to the violin, they mess up the proper ratio of string length to stoplength (potentially further dampening the sound), and they pose a hazard to the violin if, for whatever reason, the bridge ever collapses suddenly.

My luthier's a friend, but if I suggested this to him, he'd likely punch me!

[This message has been edited by Trent_Hill (edited 03-13-2001).]


#6 flamenco

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Posted 13 March 2001 - 10:18 AM

Do your pegs work right? I have no trouble tuning Helicores without fine tuners. If the pegs are very good, I can tune solid-core steel OK without fine tuners, but that becomes trouble all the time. The Helicores are so stable that I usually only have to make very minor tension adjustments. I always have excellent pegs fit well. Oversize pegs will make this more difficult and poorly fitted pegs will make it impossible.

#7 Trent_Hill

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Posted 14 March 2001 - 01:14 AM

quote:


Originally posted by flamenco:
Do your pegs work right? I have no trouble tuning Helicores without fine tuners. If the pegs are very good, I can tune solid-core steel OK without fine tuners, but that becomes trouble all the time. The Helicores are so stable that I usually only have to make very minor tension adjustments. I always have excellent pegs fit well. Oversize pegs will make this more difficult and poorly fitted pegs will make it impossible.

My pegs are pretty well-fit, and I have been able to tune the Helis with them without too much difficulty. But I do have to tweak the tuning every couple of days, and it's my understanding that the Helis really don't stand up well to the standard tuning technique of lowering the pitch of the string and then bringing it up to pitch, particularly if you overshoot it and tune it too sharp. What's your experience with them been?

Thanks!


#8 flamenco

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Posted 13 March 2001 - 07:56 PM

I have never been able to wear out any Helicores. Someone always buys the violin. One has broken when a beginner tried to tune it and went sharp lots. I bow two strings and then slide the string I'm tuning up to pitch. I set the A string to a tuning fork. I don't seem to go sharp very often and never more than a tiny bit. I don't go very flat to tune up either, just a tiny bit. With that style of tuning, the strings stabilize quickly and seem fine after up to 18 months of intermittent play. They require cleaning regularly; roisin buildup seems to fuzz the sound a little. I really like them because they are so forgiving!

Steve


#9 Barry J. Griffiths

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Posted 13 March 2001 - 10:48 PM

You might try an Akustikus. It's plastic with a wire holder. Though not frequently used on violins they're very popular with cellists. I have one or two in the shop. If you're intersted in a test drive let me know. You can e-mail me.

Barry


#10 monroe

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Posted 28 October 2004 - 11:49 AM

Most folks in mypart of the country us individual ones without any loss of sound.Don't use am metal tailpiece with fine tuners.They sound terrible.
Monroe
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#11 DarylG

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Posted 28 October 2004 - 02:40 PM

Thread

Check out the above thread. I weighed some tailpieces and unless your using premium fittings your not going to notice any difference. I'd recommend a Wittner Ultra. It's a composite version of the old metal type and is cheap and widely available.
Daryl Griffith

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#12 Fellow

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Posted 28 October 2004 - 03:11 PM

Believe me you don't know well-fitted pegs until you have them. If you do have well-fitted pegs then you need only
one fine tuner on E (violins). I have used Wittner's built-in fine tuners on two of my three violins together with a quartz tuner I get my violins perfectly tuned every time.
I also have my third violin with only one fine tuner on E but the pegs have recently been refitted and they are in good working order.

#13 MANFIO

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Posted 28 October 2004 - 03:26 PM

I use just one fine tuner, Hill type, on a wood tailpice, that's what violin and viola soloists in general use. I sometimes cut some milimeters of the wood tailpiece to get the proper afterlengh, that's why I don't use non wood tailpieces.

Cellists are in general much more attached to fine tuners than violinists and violists.

#14 jackc

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Posted 28 October 2004 - 03:33 PM

The Pusch tailpieces are nice looking, but the tuners themselves are not very effective. Still, better than adding all the grillwork of metal fine tuners for all four strings.

I'm guessing (since I've never seen one) that the Bois De Harmonie tailpiece is what the Pusch would like to be when it grows up.

#15 MANFIO

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Posted 28 October 2004 - 03:46 PM

Well, what I've said is related to sound, but if the instrument is intended for a begginer and he feels better them, I would use even four heavy fine tuners. The student can discard them when he get more experience and when he starts be more concerned about sound.

#16 SteveLaBonne

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Posted 28 October 2004 - 03:50 PM

I have seen them on a number of fine instruments (including the Ravatin quartet made for the Miro Qt.) and your description is apt. They are really beautiful and by all accounts the tuners work very well. If I had the kind of viola that deserved it I'd be using one, but my modest Chinese wears a Wittner which also functions very well. Yes, you can tune Helicores with the pegs (and my pegs work very well, thank you); I could also shave without pre-electric shave lotion if I had to. But why would I want to?

#17 Steve_W

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Posted 29 October 2004 - 04:09 PM

Quote:



The Pusch tailpieces are nice looking, but the tuners themselves are not very effective.




In what way? I have a Pusch on my fiddle and it works just fine; I use it with synthetics and do probably 80% of my tuning with the tuners. I've had it for a year and haven't run into any problems. -Steve

#18 jackc

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Posted 29 October 2004 - 07:54 PM

The range of movement on the Pusch tuners is very small. COmpared to any other fine tuning mechanism I've seen, it's like 20%. It's enough, but for those used to the range of other tuners, it will be much less.

I've had people screw them down to the point where the screw could not be turned out, but broke off instead. It's not that they are not good, just that, only in terms of the range of tuning adjustment, they aren't up to the quality of the other attributes of the tailpiece--aesthetics, finish, etc.

I have one on several of my violins, including the workhorse, and they are preferable, in my mind, to a Wittner or add on tuners. But they could be better. It has to do with how the pivot is built. Lots of play in that, which is not true of any other fine tuning mechanism I've encountered. Most of the movement is used to take up slack in that pivot, leaving too little to actually move the end of the string and adjust tension.

#19 Andrew Victor

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Posted 29 October 2004 - 09:07 PM

I've tried most kinds of tailpieces with integral fine-tuners on cellos and violins - and a smaller range of brands on violas.

Pusch are beautiful to look at (even more so than the much more costly Bois d"Harmonie) but the Pusch's tuning mechanism's design is flawed compared to all the others, is much more difficult to load some brands of strings into and subject to slippage and has a smaller range of tuning. Further it does less to enhance the resonance of the instrument than any others I have tried - including
1. naked tailpieces with fine tuners only on the E string
2. Wittner
3. Thomastik
4. JDF (Ferwerda - and Australian brand) - I've tried only on cellos
5. Akusticus
6. Bois d'Harmonie.

Nothing else has equalled the sound enhancement of the Bois d'Harmonies for which I would generally recommend the lightest design (boxwood in the French style). Ebony and Rosewood are also pretty good, but the Pernambuco is a more dense wood and more difficult to find an instrument on which it does not deaden the tone - relative to the effect of the other woods.

Next I would favor the Akusticus.

Next I would rate the metal Wittner and Thomastik about equal to each other and OK. (I think I put a Wittner plastic tailpiece on one violin - and it wasn't bad at all.)

Just adding steel fine tuners for all 4 strings both weights down the tailpiece, restricting resonance, and also foreshortens the string afterlengths (distance from briidge to tailpiece stop) which also can restrict the resonance of some instruments.

Bois d'Harmonie tailpieces seem to be under the control of Johnston in the US, but other dealers like Ifshin and www.cellos2go.com seem able to get them to sell.

I've used fine tuners on cellos since I quit using gut strings - long ago. But on violin and viola, I added these new-fangled tailpieces after hitting age 65 and not wanting to wear my wrists out on the tuning pegs - but I still do 95% of my tuning with the pegs, not the fine tuners

Andy

#20 Rich

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Posted 30 October 2004 - 12:07 AM

If it is a decent violin, you will never regret the Harmonie De Bois. I have one and really like the rate of adjustment of the fine tuners. Plus, each one can be removed if you so desire.




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