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May 31, 2020 - 12:04:29 AM
43 posts since 5/1/2010

Up till now I've never given any thought to the string length between the bridge and the tailpiece. Then I saw a YouTube video on that subject. The guy said it affected the sound, so I checked my fiddle and saw that the "tailspace" (I think that's what he called it) could indeed be lengthened by shortening the tail gut, drawing the tailpiece away from the bridge a little.
After this operation, I did notice a change in tone. Whether this is good or bad, I'm still trying to make up my mind.
Do you guys consider this factor important?

May 31, 2020 - 12:26:24 AM

1557 posts since 12/11/2008

I've never done it, but it might be worth a try. Tell us what you hear. What's better. What's worse. If you don't hear any difference, tell us this, too. Inquiring ears want to know!

May 31, 2020 - 4:36:47 AM
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138 posts since 11/28/2018

The 'afterlength' is definitely important and you can tune it by lengthening or shortening the tailgut. A good starting point is roughly 1/6 the length of the G-string or about 55-57 mm.

May 31, 2020 - 5:17:44 AM
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43 posts since 5/1/2010

Afterlength! Where on earth did I come up with "Tailspace?"
No wonder I couldn't get any results on Google! Doh!

May 31, 2020 - 5:42:43 AM

1942 posts since 10/22/2007

I've also heard of t.p.s with built-in fine tuners to effect longer afterlength. My luthier also suggested to remove the wrap down at the strings loop to increase afterlength. This did give me slightly more volume with a Prim brand string. Eventually strings need changing., I have not treated current strings accordingly.

Anybody's opinion on accidentally creating wolf tones as a consequence of increasing afterlength?

May 31, 2020 - 9:42:50 AM
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DougD

USA

9609 posts since 12/2/2007

Steve, did you miss this recent thread? It was quite exciting: fiddlehangout.com/topic/53379

May 31, 2020 - 10:40:35 AM
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844 posts since 8/11/2009

Yes the afterlength is important, and yes the 1/6 measurement is the place to start. measure the string length from nut to bridge, usually around 330mm, I have my fiddles set at 328mm. so divide by 6, or around 54.5mm. What that does for you with a bit of tweaking, is the note of the afterlength of the A string will match the e note. The note of the afterlength of the D string will match an A note, and the note of the afterlength of the G string will match a D note. So they ring sympathetically, giving you more volume, better tone etc. It's a noticeable improvement if you get it all perfect.

Edited by - bandsmcnamar on 05/31/2020 10:41:43

May 31, 2020 - 12:16:22 PM

43 posts since 5/1/2010

Does the presence of fine tuners interfere with the formula?

May 31, 2020 - 3:58:51 PM

1697 posts since 8/27/2008
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quote:
Originally posted by Fiddleharp

Does the presence of fine tuners interfere with the formula?


The answer is yes because add-on style fine tuners shorten the possible after length. Some players only have one fine tuner which might complicate things as well. A further consideration for fine tuners is the weight they add which can have a separate effect. Wittner makes a light tailpiece with built-in fine tuners which is what I have on my fiddles. Beyond the first set up of a new instrument, In my opinion worrying about the after length isn't something you need to do unless you are trying to make a specific improvement. If it ain't broke don't mess with it in other words. That's my 2 cents.

May 31, 2020 - 7:48:10 PM

151 posts since 3/1/2020

Afterlength is definitely something to take into consideration in setting up instruments. It’s not a magic bullet, but rather something to add to other correct measurements. Good setup is the combination of many different techniques and relationships in a way that suits each instrument.

Wittner actually makes a tailpiece that allows for adjustment of the afterlength while the strings are at tension, but almost nobody buys them because they cost more and it’s not hard to get the afterlength right if you’re a luthier.

May 31, 2020 - 7:54:57 PM

151 posts since 3/1/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Brian Wood
quote:
Originally posted by Fiddleharp

Does the presence of fine tuners interfere with the formula?


The answer is yes because add-on style fine tuners shorten the possible after length. Some players only have one fine tuner which might complicate things as well. A further consideration for fine tuners is the weight they add which can have a separate effect. Wittner makes a light tailpiece with built-in fine tuners which is what I have on my fiddles. Beyond the first set up of a new instrument, In my opinion worrying about the after length isn't something you need to do unless you are trying to make a specific improvement. If it ain't broke don't mess with it in other words. That's my 2 cents.


I agree. One thing I might add is that the tuners that extend from the tailpiece always have long levers underneath that can do serious damage to the top. Only having an E string tuner is not an issue for the afterlength if it doesn't change the string position in the tailpiece. It can make tuning more difficult if the pegs aren't properly fitted.

 The Wittner tailpiece has levers underneath as well, but their design is better, so they're less prone to scraping the top. I recommend this tailpiece to anyone who wants fine tuners at the tailpiece, although I tend to recommend the Wittner pegs instead because they're so easy to work with and allow the instrument to look more professional. 

Edited by - The Violin Beautiful on 05/31/2020 19:55:20

Jun 1, 2020 - 2:31:49 AM

43 posts since 5/1/2010

quote:
Originally posted by Lonesome Fiddler

I've never done it, but it might be worth a try. Tell us what you hear. What's better. What's worse. If you don't hear any difference, tell us this, too. Inquiring ears want to know!


Yes, I did notice certain differences. First, a disclaimer: I don't really know what I'm doing! I don't have anything with which to measure "millimeters." Also, I won't give up my fine tuners. So I'm probably not doing a first-rate job of this. This particular fiddle has always had a nice sound. Since shortening the tailgut, I've noticed the sound has become "woodier" in a rather pleasing way. It seems to have developed a distinctive "voice" it didn't have before. The Prim E string doesn't sound "tinny" anymore. It has a "throatier" or fuller sound. I like that! The instrument seems louder, especially the A and E strings. This seems to make the G and D sound a little weaker, and I'm not sure I like it. I do like the idea of more power, since I'm looking forward to jamming with banjoes and vintage Martin dreadnoughts again, once this damned lockdown is over. I have an old Wittner alloy tailpiece on my electric violin, and I might try putting in on my acoustic, although I rather prefer a wooden tailpiece on that one. All in all, this is an interesting experiment. Who knows? I might end up putting everything back the way it was. Or not. We'll see.

Jun 1, 2020 - 11:44:50 AM

844 posts since 8/11/2009

A very knowledgeable fiddle repair person, told me once, that there are many many things that all make a slight difference to getting the ultimate sound that an instrument is capable to give out of it Each thing may only add 1 or 2 percent to the sound, which is barely noticeable, but if you do them all properly, you can and will be able to notice the difference. Afterlength is one of those things.  BTW,  I bought a small tape measure at Home Depot for like $4, that has mm on one side and inches on the other, very handy.

Edited by - bandsmcnamar on 06/01/2020 11:49:20

Jun 1, 2020 - 1:47:58 PM

49 posts since 11/19/2019

Fiddleharp, if you have a ruler, you're looking for just a hair over 2 1/8".

Jun 1, 2020 - 2:43:51 PM
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1697 posts since 8/27/2008
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quote:
Originally posted by bandsmcnamar

...Each thing may only add 1 or 2 percent to the sound, which is barely noticeable...

That is generally true in my experience as well. Trying to objectively determine a change in sound is almost impossible when you're making small changes in after length or moving a sound post. That doesn't mean it's not worth doing sometimes, but any changes are usually very subtle.

Jun 3, 2020 - 5:01:52 PM

1557 posts since 12/11/2008

You got me to break out my wife's precision ruler and my magnifying spectacles. I'm within a millimeter of 1/6 on all my strings. I figure that's good enough. BTW, I have one of those adjustable tailpieces where the strings are stopped by tiny individual bridges within the tailpiece proper. I have no idea what brand it is. In any event, I now have one less thing to obsess over.

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