Gibson Historic Spec Aluminum Tailpiece

Discussion in 'Historics & Reissues' started by Subterfuge, Aug 18, 2017.

  1. Subterfuge

    Subterfuge Junior Member

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    Greetings, I would like to address what I perceive as a misconception regarding this tailpiece discussed in online forums. It seems a lot of people perceive this tailpiece to be the same as the standard issue Zamak Tailpiece that ship's with most Gibsons, the only difference being that it is cast in aluminum rather than Zamak. I have recently retired from a lifetime of Tool and Die, machine shop employment. Careful examination plus measurements clearly show's that the Historic Spec casting is nothing like the Standard issue Zamak piece. There are many differences between the two, both in size, height and the actual profile's of the casting. That's just the tip of the iceberg. I understand that minutia is not of interest to everyone but trust me, there are many, many differences between the standard and Historic Spec tailpiece's, the main one being the Historic Spec being a lot more accurate to what they actually slapped on the guitars back then. It just seems to me anyway that most people do not even consider the changes and automatically say, Geez, I will by a Gotoh for much cheaper, I can't say which choice is more correct but it just seems like the Gibson is automatically getting a bum rap as being a "Rip-Off"
     
  2. bluesky636

    bluesky636 Senior Member

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    And your point is?
     
  3. asapmaz

    asapmaz Senior Member

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    With all due respect, I don't mean to burst your bubble but the Gibson Historic Spec TP is not even in the same league as what's available aftermarket as far as accuracy is concerned.
    Gibson does what it can but with examples like this available aftermarket, it's hard to argue.
    DSC05184.JPG
     
  4. 59noob

    59noob Senior Member

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    That's nice, who makes that?
     
  5. asapmaz

    asapmaz Senior Member

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  6. 59noob

    59noob Senior Member

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    Must be an older one, the ones from this year and last year don't look so worn. I bought a couple of them this year when in Japan, and last year as well, I go yearly. It's hard to find a nice vintage accurate tailpiece these days.
     
  7. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    There are many tailpieces around. And there are a LOT of Al alloys about, as well as zamac.

    Just because something is accurate doesn't mean it will do great things for your guitar in particular..
    Just because something is inaccurate doesn't mean it can't be the best thing for your guitar.
     
    clutchcargo likes this.
  8. 59noob

    59noob Senior Member

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    I agree totally. I have many vintage accurate looking tailpieces and they aren't the ones that sound the best to me. I actually like the sound of the regular Historic one the best.
     
  9. Subterfuge

    Subterfuge Junior Member

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    Yea I know, I figured I would go with the Gibson Historic and settle for that, I find with the aftermarket it seems, new improved versions come out all the time, each new revision claiming to destroy all previous versions, which becomes a chasing the dragon kind of thing where you one day end up owning 15 aftermarket bridges when one would have sufficed.
     
  10. asapmaz

    asapmaz Senior Member

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    That one is a DMC, version 1.
     
  11. Subterfuge

    Subterfuge Junior Member

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    my point is that for people that don't know , there is a difference between a Historic Spec TailPiece and a Gibson Zamak "Advanced Plating" stamped standard issue bridge other that the fact that one is Aluminum and one is Zinc ... that was my point ... do you understand now ???
     
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  12. bluesky636

    bluesky636 Senior Member

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    Oh. I thought you were going to tell us something we didn't already know.
     
  13. jamman

    jamman Premium Member

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    Thanks for the Info OP . What most look for , at the end of it all , is the tone and if a new 1 changes that(to better) .
    At the basic level they all must spec out to "fit" without refitting the guitar to accept the new piece . Drop in replacement ....
    Loads of different kinds made , and if you want to throw (in some cases) nice amounts of $$$ at 1 , you can . for IMO at best minimal differences (in most cases)
    Yup, USA and CS are different , and that's reflected in their prices ... Now, is the Price difference between the 2 "worth" it ???? ,Might be the question . IMO absolutely ....Just not Gibson's list price . less expensive can be found that gives as good or better(or worse at times,, depending)

    Aging these is easy and cheap to do at home ... Something I wouldn't pay for . Prices on some of these aftermarket parts , imo are crazy ...
     
  14. Subterfuge

    Subterfuge Junior Member

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    ok Mr. Smart-Ass, have yourself a wonderful sarcastic day,
     
  15. oicu812

    oicu812 Member

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    As for the tailpieces, weren't the original castings hand finished and polished making each one "different" from the next even if ever so slightly? The point being, how do you get a truly accurate repro if that is the case? Which original tail piece is it being modeled after? Which one of the hundreds from the 50's is the benchmark? With new castings, you are still at the mercy of hand finishing unless you find one example to copy and reproduce it by CNC. Thoughts?
     
  16. BBD

    BBD Senior Member

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    Since manufacturing methods resulted in a fair bit of variability in the original 1959 production, the idea of a 'truly accurate repro' is, as you suggest, a non-starter. So a generally accurate repro is all we can and should expect. And that's what the Rx provides.
     
  17. Subterfuge

    Subterfuge Junior Member

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    My logic was that Gibson might/would/should ?? have to access to the most accurate original die's/mould's to work with. We used to make moulds/die's (same thing different words) for GM and they would send a die back if one of the measurements were off two/tenths of a thou. We made dies costing upwards of $250,000. per die. I don't think people realize quite how expensive dies can be. My logic was that Gibson has deep pockets and could afford the most accurate reproduction die and that smaller companies might not have the capital to finance such an expensive investment. Does DMC have their own accurate dies or does someone else cast their tailpieces ?? I'd love to know. I'll admit it's a crap shoot but I figured I might as well start somewhere. Regardless, I am happier with the Aluminum tailpiece vs. the stock Zamak boat anchor. I worked in a zinc die-casting plant for a few years and found that Zinc/Zamak is a dirty, brittle metal, hit a Zamak bridge with a mallet, it will snap in half. .... I found the aluminum grain structure was so much more solid. Anyway, it works for me, call it the Placebo effect perhaps, but I like aluminum better
     
  18. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    A mould for a car maker where precision is a key aspect to the ability of the final product to even perform is wholly irrelevant to a spec for a tailpiece where it doesn't have anything to do with it.

    Have you even bothered to consider that with the different alloys available now and the changed purity (as opposed to way back when) that a different shape might just be the one thing that makes it sound right.
    And Zamak is used on the USA line, but the RI's have had Al for quite a while now....2001 to be precise.
     
  19. efstop

    efstop Senior Member

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    I only checked LPs and one Firebird, but the Traditional T and Classic T have Zamak bridges. All the other bridges and tailpieces are aluminum, according to the Gibson site for the USA line (2017).
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2017

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