Tailpiece cables for Upright Bass - Selection
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A tailpiece hanger (aka "Tailgut") is an oft-overlooked "upgrade" or replacement part; it can have a surprising effect on the tone and feel of your bass. Even more surprising is when your old, weak cable fails, hopefully by stretching, but believe me, I would not wish having one break on my worst enemy (or opposing auditioning bass player) - the resulting "bang" as the bridge collapses is a sound you never want to hear.
"Flexible and strong" are usually the buzzwords for tailguts, and we have several such choices, briefly described below.
Braided "Bulletproof" Tailpiece Cable:
The core of this cable is made with multiple strands of a synthetic fiber that has extreme strength - so strong, in fact, that is commonly used in bulletproof vests! Hence, the "Bulletproof" name. (The actual material name, which starts with a "K," is trademarked, which is why we're not specifically naming it.)
The cable is approximately .150" in diameter, which is thicker than a Spirocore E string. Most tailpieces have mounting holes that are big enough to accommodate this thickness - for instance, our ebony 3/4 size tailpieces, Wittner composite tailpieces, etc. all can manage this diameter with no problems. This cable has been stress-tested to hold over 1000 lbs of tension! (For what it's worth, a bass strung with typical "medium gauge" strings is normally handling in the neighborhood of 300 lbs of tension.)
This lightweight multi-strand cable is flexible, strong, and easy to install - no hardware or crimp sleeves, just tie a nice fisherman's knot and you're good to go. (We include instructions along with the tailpiece to tie this knot, or you can consult with your local Boy Scout). 24+ inches long, can be cut to length with scissors or a firm, sharp blade. But we recommend first saturating the section of the cable that you're cutting with liquid (not gel) super glue and use a good quality pair of scissors to prevent the end from fraying. You can also melt the outer jacket with a heat gun or a flame. Black outer jacket color.
Deluxe Adjustable Stainless Steel Tailpiece Cable:
This brand-name stainless steel tailgut is 17 inches (432 mm) long and has threaded ends with adjustable stop nuts on each end. The cable is thin and lightweight, and is coated in black for low-profile looks. It is unbreakable under normal use. It is very nicely flexible without any stretching. It is designed for use with tailpieces that have vertical holes behind the tailpiece - and a a recess or cutaway to allow room for the threaded adjusters. We get very similar cables from two different respected manufacturers, and the cable may differ in appearance from the photo, based upon availability.
DO NOT USE this cable with stock Engelhardt or Kay type tailpieces that have their holes drilled through the front face of the tailpiece; this would require a hard right-angle bend - as well as create a poking hazard with the ends of the wire. Check out our standard stranded steel or "bulletproof" tailpiece cables for your Kay or Engelhardt (or similarly-equipped bass).
This cable is very easily adjusted - as well as installed and removed - thanks to its threaded stops. No crushable sleeves or special tools required.
According to the manufacturer, this wire is suitable for all 3/4, 1/2 or 1/4 size basses. Here's the specs, so you can compare to your existing wire or bass measurements:
- Approximate Length of wire: 17 in
- Diameter of wire: .157 in/4mm
- Length of nut adjusters: 1/2 in
- Diameter of nut adjusters: 1/4
- Weight: 27.5 grams
Stranded Steel Tailpiece Cable:
The Flexible Stranded Steel (plain) Tail Gut (Tailpiece Hanger) is 28 inches long and comes with a crushable sleeve to secure it. You determine the length desired and cruch the sleeve with a crimping tool (or, if one is unavailable, smash it with a hammer) to secure. Simple, inexpensive and effective, stranded steel is absolutely superior over solid cables, as it is less prone to complete failure if it gets damaged - not to mention it can move with the music!
TIP: If using it with a stock Engelhardt or Kay tailpiece with the holes through the front, feed the wire that is exposed (on the front of the tailpiece) through a small piece of heat-shrink tubing to create a cleaner, less visible look! I also recommend a piece of shrink tubing (or a dip in "rubberized tool grip") on each end, as the single wires that make up the rope can poke and scratch.
Stranded Steel Tailpiece Cable with Adjustable Clamp:
This is very much like the version above, but it comes with an upgraded clamp; whereas the basic model comes with a crushable "once it's clamped, it's never comin' off" sort of arrangement, this version has a two-way clamp that allows you to tighten it, and later remove and/or adjust it for length, using a standard hex wrench (aka Allen wrench.) The Flexible Stranded Steel (plain) Tail Gut is 22 inches long, and the ends are pre-treated with rubberized tool grip to prevent those nasty little finger pokes (and finish scratches!) -- and we even include the hex key for you.
TIP: If using it with a stock Engelhardt or Kay tailpiece with the holes through the front, feed the wire that is exposed (on the front of the tailpiece) through a small piece of heat-shrink tubing to create a cleaner, less visible look!
Works great! Does seem to let my bass ring more freely than the previous steel cable.
Yes, this is that great (stiff w/ kevlar strands) tailpiece cord I'm familiar with! However at a 1 foot & a 1/2 (17") seems cutting it close for dialing in after-length and various bass depth, tailpiece sizes, hole configs, lengths etc. Maybe a yard could be more than enough for experimentation, 2' perhaps? For a whopping $25 bucks. But this should work, has no metal and not worried, the folks at Gollihur Music are fantastic.
Easy and secure installation. Looks super!