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Gitterman

Aluminum stop tail

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I finally swapped out the Schaller stop tail piece. I swapped the bridge with the Tone Pro's AVR1 awhile back and it was a good move. Better sustain, better intonation. Hated the look of the Schaller stop tail, but it worked,so I left it. I recently swapped out the pup's for some Planet Tone Pasadena 78's (under wound A2). That was a fantastic tone upgrade. I ordered an aluminium Gotoh stop tail. Got a chance to put it on this weekend and all I can say it wow. That one piece or perhaps the combination of bridge, pups and tail piece made the difference, but Im amazed at how much of a difference the aluminium made. I mean its a BIG difference. The guitar seems to sound more hollow, woodier and seems to sing, now. Im just very impressed and didn't think a tail piece would make that much difference, but it does. Anyone else make the switch and hear a difference or is it just me?

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I've swapped stock zamak tailpieces with Aluminum in the past. For me I never found there to be a "huge" difference. However, my playing situation over the last 20 years has changed to where I seldom get to play very loud. Given that, I wouldn't be surprised to find that at rehearsal or stage volumes you could notice the change. I see you're located in TC, the Mrs. & I usually take vacation there every summer. 

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It may very well be the difference of the sum of all parts, but it definitely had a more hollow sound. I certainly like the appearance of the ABR over the Schaller. I hadnt heard of Planet Tone until I started searching for pickups. I have no problem with Dimarzio or Duncan's, they have just become rather ubiquitous. I was looking for something a little different. Im super happy with the tone of the pups. Under wound A2's really have a different tone. The harmonic structure of the overdrive is just fabulous. I get a great Gary Rossington out of them. Add a touch more gain and they do a great Slash tone. I just think maybe the aluminium tail might have just been the last piece of the puzzle. This guitar is now done. She is perfect. Now, just need to get better playing it. Were glad to have you here in TC. My wife and I were both summer kids on Torch lake, seemed like a good place to raise our boys.

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Yep, I’ll admit that the Schaller stuff is pug-fugly.

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I put aluminium tailpieces on ALL my stoptail tunematic guitars.   For me, there was a very noticeable difference.   They were more open & airy sounding, more alive sounding with slightly more sustain.  More overtones is maybe the best way to put it.   ALSO, there is a big difference in weight (believe like 5-7oz).   They used aluminum stoptails back in the golden era of the '50s & '60s, and I try to replicate that magic elixir on all my new guitars because I don't have $200K laying around .... but I might have $40.   

It's not voodoo, it is a major difference in tone.   But some people like the thicker tone with fundamental tone but less overtones.   But if you want the original open, clear "Burst" tone, I think the aluminium bridge is definitely a factor in achieving it.

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Its been a couple weeks and I'm still of the opinion that it makes a big difference. The 150 is also louder than before, which may be the pups. Im done fiddling with this one, as I find perfect, for me anyway.

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Nice to hear your liking the mods you chose..  I’ve had mixed results with Al tailpieces; depends on the guitar.

Did you keep the same pots & caps?

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On 2/28/2020 at 11:35 AM, Kuz said:

I put aluminium tailpieces on ALL my stoptail tunematic guitars.   For me, there was a very noticeable difference.   They were more open & airy sounding, more alive sounding with slightly more sustain.  More overtones is maybe the best way to put it.   ALSO, there is a big difference in weight (believe like 5-7oz).   They used aluminum stoptails back in the golden era of the '50s & '60s, and I try to replicate that magic elixir on all my new guitars because I don't have $200K laying around .... but I might have $40.   

It's not voodoo, it is a major difference in tone.   But some people like the thicker tone with fundamental tone but less overtones.   But if you want the original open, clear "Burst" tone, I think the aluminium bridge is definitely a factor in achieving it.

 

ditto!!

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I did keep the same pots and caps. I did buy new cts 500k and Russian pio cap's, but I left the originals just to see the initial difference. It rang so well, I just left them in. Im not sure I mentioned this, but this guitar is now twice as loud as any of my guitars. Im sure thats not due to a stop tail piece, is it? Really, I can plug each guitar in one at a time and its twice as loud. Cant figure that?

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On 3/9/2020 at 8:41 AM, Gitterman said:

I did keep the same pots and caps. I did buy new cts 500k and Russian pio cap's, but I left the originals just to see the initial difference. It rang so well, I just left them in. Im not sure I mentioned this, but this guitar is now twice as loud as any of my guitars. Im sure thats not due to a stop tail piece, is it? Really, I can plug each guitar in one at a time and its twice as loud. Cant figure that?

I don't know about TWO times more, but I definitely heard MORE sustain, openness, and overtones with the Aluminium stoptail.

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On 2/28/2020 at 11:35 AM, Kuz said:

I put aluminium tailpieces on ALL my stoptail tunematic guitars.   For me, there was a very noticeable difference.   They were more open & airy sounding, more alive sounding with slightly more sustain.  More overtones is maybe the best way to put it.   ALSO, there is a big difference in weight (believe like 5-7oz).   They used aluminum stoptails back in the golden era of the '50s & '60s, and I try to replicate that magic elixir on all my new guitars because I don't have $200K laying around .... but I might have $40.   

It's not voodoo, it is a major difference in tone.   But some people like the thicker tone with fundamental tone but less overtones.   But if you want the original open, clear "Burst" tone, I think the aluminium bridge is definitely a factor in achieving it.

Over, above and beyond the new element you discovered (aluminium :) ),  did you mean to say "bridge" in the last sentence?

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I did the bridge (Tone Pro's), Pup's (Planet Tone) and tail piece. I think its the pups. They are Alnico 2 and suppose to underwound, but they are super loud. Super clear, but super loud.

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17 hours ago, Steiner said:

Over, above and beyond the new element you discovered (aluminium :) ),  did you mean to say "bridge" in the last sentence?

Stoptail piece

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3 minutes ago, Kuz said:

Stoptail piece

I have read your recommendations through the years and found a vast majority to be true.  Thank you for that.

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ABM are the people that make the finger tailpieces used on Heritage Jazz guitars. I had them make a custom short, nickel plated tailpiece for my SuperLight Millie. Talk to Peter at ABM if you need something special from them.

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2 hours ago, pressure said:

ABM are the people that make the finger tailpieces used on Heritage Jazz guitars. I had them make a custom short, nickel plated tailpiece for my SuperLight Millie. Talk to Peter at ABM if you need something special from them.

Funny I was just telling a friend who is considering buying one of the new Heritage built Harmony Juno guitars, that he ought to replace the little cut-off Tele bridge with an Archtop style bridge and a short tailpiece so it's more like an original Harmony H44. If he does that I'll tell him to call ABM!

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You can get ABM tailpieces from American retailers online. I needed a tailpiece that wasn't made as a stock item. Peter at ABM was able to make what I needed as a custom piece.

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On 3/16/2020 at 8:35 AM, Gitterman said:

Im curious. Hows does the brass differ?

It really depends on the guitar, I think it sounds a more musical, less thin than aluminum. But it truly depends on what the guitar needs. The only way to know is to try them both, which is exactly what I did with the bridges on my Gretsch guitars. One of them likes aluminum, one likes brass. and one likes titanium!!! They all use the same bridge, so I just swapped them back and forth, I didn't buy 3 of each:) No science to the madness of tone chasing.

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1 minute ago, rockabilly69 said:

 

It really depends on the guitar, I think it sounds a more musical, less thin than aluminum. But it truly depends on what the guitar needs. The only way to know is to try them both, which is exactly what I did with the bridges on my Gretsch guitars. One of them likes aluminum, one likes brass. and one likes titanium!!! They all use the same bridge, so I just swapped them back and forth, I didn't buy 3 of each:) No science to the madness of tone chasing.

Wouldn't brass be significantly heavier than Aluminium or Titanium? 

Brass Tele saddles are much more "rounder", "softer", with less highend, and not as loud as steel Tele saddles.  I have two Teles with steel saddles, one Tele with brass, and one Tele Custom with individual Titanium saddles (like on a Strat).  And you are right Daniel, you don't know what each guitar will like until you try it.

For me, I try to duplicate what the original vintage guitars came with so; my Blackguard maple neck Tele has brass, my '60s RI Rosewood fretboard Teles have steel, and the Custom (with humbuckers) just "opened up" with Titanium saddles.

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4 minutes ago, Kuz said:

Wouldn't brass be significantly heavier than Aluminium or Titanium? 

Brass Tele saddles are much more "rounder", "softer", with less highend, and not as loud as steel Tele saddles.  I have two Teles with steel saddles, one Tele with brass, and one Tele Custom with individual Titanium saddles (like on a Strat).  And you are right Daniel, you don't know what each guitar will like until you try it.

For me, I try to duplicate what the original vintage guitars came with so; my Blackguard maple neck Tele has brass, my '60s RI Rosewood fretboard Teles have steel, and the Custom (with humbuckers) just "opened up" with Titanium saddles.

Not so heavy that it would bother me Kuz, as a matter of fact I couldn't tell the difference at all as I was swapping bridges, but most of my guitars are light to begin with. I wouldn't say brass has less high end than steel, and in the case of the Country Gent I had it on, it was the most complex sounding with very even overtones, so I would say, it does sound different. I currently have titanium on a DuoJet, brass on my Anniversary, and aluminum on my '55 VS 6120T. I think of all the metals mentioned brass is the most musical sounding. You rarely see an aluminum or titanium horn/woodwind instrument, you know what I mean? I used to be that way regarding what the instrument came with, but I've long since changed my feelings on that. I think vintage anal guitar purists would blow a vein in their brain if they saw the aluminum intonatable Pigtail on my Historic SG Special which is supposed to have a plain zinc wraptail. But guess what, I've never heard a better SG ANYWHERE! Including my buddy's very nice vintage '62 SG Jr. I put DeArmonds pickups in a Zemaitis guitar that should have a set of T-Top style pickups in it, and it is one of my favorite all time guitars. I'm committing heresy right and left! I play acoustic to pay the bills, these days, so I have as much fun with my electrics as possible!

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Im with you billy, I dont really care what they came with, I care about what it takes to make them the best. I have Graphtech saddles on my Tele and they sound much better than the metal mismash of the 6 individual saddle Tele's.

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