Aluminum stop tail tone effect?

Sven

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I was wondering if anyone had done any research into the difference between the cast zinc stop tailpiece and the aluminum one?

How is the tone different? Sustain? Bass response? Treble?

Thanks.
 

Satch0922

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I have purchased several 'Tone Tail" stop bars. They brighten up the tone a little and these are made with notches so you can run the strings over the top and bolt the stop bar all the way flush on the guitar. You can bolt a stock stop bar down too however you do have the risk of breaking the strings without the little notches in the stop bar.

Anyhow...check em out Tone Tail replacement guitar tail pieces
 

G Man

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Satch, thanks for the link, just ordered one.
 

Sven

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I was wondering if anyone had done any research into the difference between the cast zinc stop tailpiece and the aluminum one?

How is the tone different? Sustain? Bass response? Treble?
Anybody?
 

asher67

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I just changed out the stock stoptail on my 1990 LP Classic for a Gotoh aluminum stoptail. Bearing in mind that I'm still dealing with a fresh set of strings, which always sounds better, I do notice a few differences with the aluminum.

First, the tone of the unwound strings is not as harsh with the aluminum as it was with the stock zinc tailpiece. With the zinc, my unwound strings tended to have a very bright, hard tone. With the aluminum, their tone is a bit warmer, and there are no "brain dart" treble sounds.

Second, with the aluminum, my low E and A strings have a bit more punch than they did with the zinc. Unplugged, chords on the guitar have a more balanced feel between all strings, and the result is audibly noticeable when plugged in.

Finally (and kinda related to the above), the string responsiveness is more even from string to string, but the body resonance is the same. It's a matter of taste. I have two PRS guitars with aluminum stoptail bridges, and the string response is much the same as the LP with the aluminum stoptail. Paul Reed Smith has said that Ted McCarty recommended material changes which brought PRS guitars more in line with the construction of '50s Les Pauls (such as the use of an aluminum tailpiece).

Other previous changes to my Classic are '57 Reissue pickups, 500k audio taper pots, paper-in-oil caps, and a bone nut. These mods could have an impact on the differences I noticed in the tailpiece change.
 

mbornhorst23

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I have been reading about this modification for years but was always skeptical. I have a 2003 Gibson Les Paul Special faded that I have been slowly upgrading over the years. I have replaced the stock pickups with 57 classics, replaced the stock Nashville bushings with Faber steel inserts, installed a Tonepros bridge, and put in a bone nut. However, despite all this it was still a bit too dark, the neck pickup was a little muddy, and it just seemed dull and lifeless compared to my Strat. I had convinced myself that it was the 57 classic neck pickup and was just about to change out the magnet (or the entire pickup) when I decided to try changing out the tailpiece and studs with hopes of a brighter, airy, more resonant tone. I purchased a 1oz aluminum stop tail on Ebay for about $22 and got some Kluson steel stop tail studs for about $11. It took only about 10 minutes to remove and replace the stock 4oz zinc tailpiece and studs. The steel studs were a bit longer than the zinc ones I removed (a little less than 1/4") and when tightened all the way down the heads were just a little high off the body. Luckily I had some steel washers handy which let me crank the longer steel studs down tight to the washers while still bottoming out the studs into the body without the stings touching the back of the bridge. The results? All I can say is DAMN! I was instantly blown away by the improvement in tone, sustain, and resonance. My guitar came to life. No more dark and muddy tone. No exaggeration. The improvement was HUGE. It has since become my #1 gigging guitar, replacing my Strat. Now to be fair, I can't say exactly what was responsible for the improvement: was it the lighter aluminum tailpiece? The steel stop tail studs? Tightening the longer studs down until they bottomed out inside the guitar? Likely it was a combination of these things but it made all the difference in the world. I highly recommend trying this out. For less than $35 and 10 minutes of your time, it is a nobrainer. However, I would not suggest replacing the tailpiece without also replacing the studs. I have a feeling that they were more responsible for the improvement than the tailpiece. :slash:
 

Mickey_C

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Some people say it cuts the mids and increases sustain. Others say no tonal difference at all. But here's one difference everybody can measure:

It will shave 1/4 pound from the weight of your guitar.

*TADA*
 

GitFiddle

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Because there is none.
If I just played at home, I would probably never notice any difference for myself. When I play one of my LPs on stage for a 4 hour gig with a hard hitting drummer, bass and a singer, it's pretty easy to notice differences in sound, when changing things on the guitar.

I can easily tell a difference in sound when changing to an aluminum tailpiece. I like the sound much better. I have changed all my LPs to aluminum TPs.
 

Frogfur

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Zero difference in tone. Sustain.. maybe. From the stock zinc sb.
 

Rick

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If I just played at home, I would probably never notice any difference for myself. When I play one of my LPs on stage for a 4 hour gig with a hard hitting drummer, bass and a singer, it's pretty easy to notice differences in sound, when changing things on the guitar.

I can easily tell a difference in sound when changing to an aluminum tailpiece. I like the sound much better. I have changed all my LPs to aluminum TPs.
Placebos are a powerful thing.
 

El Kabong

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I can hear a big difference with the aluminum ones, but like with a lot of these incremental improvements, I needed someone to show me exactly what to listen for, before being able to first, hear the difference, and second, to decide which I personally liked best.

I think one thing to bear in mind when considering these tone monsters going by the name of Lester, is that they were designed by guys with incredible hearing. Seth Lover & Les Paul, for example, had awesome ears (performance wise... I've never really looked at them aesthetically). I'm sure they tried hundreds, if not thousands, of variations before deciding on which combination sounded best. After that it was just rinse and repeat. They didn't need skilled laborers who understood the intricacies of sound... just someone to paint inside the lines.

If you can put two virtually identical sounding guitars side by side, and make changes to one and compare it to the other, you can notice a helluva lot more than by changing the tailpiece on one and comparing it ex post facto by memory. I wasn't there, but I tend to believe they tested a bunch of different tailpieces before deciding on the aluminum. I'm sure they tested various caps, nut and saddle variations, pots, positioning, bridge materials, etc., ad nauseum, before deciding on their winning formula. And while it wasn't accepted as the de facto king of the hill until musicians with an equally good sense of tone (Clapton, Richards, Green, Allman, et. al.) recognized their superiority. I get a good laugh at the hacks that come along in these forums spouting off about how they know more about tone than these guys, and even though they may not be using them any more (for whatever reasons) they were still used to create some of the greatest music in history... IMHO. :cheers:
 

Rick

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I can hear a big difference with the aluminum ones, but like with a lot of these incremental improvements, I needed someone to show me exactly what to listen for, before being able to first, hear the difference, and second, to decide which I personally liked best.

I think one thing to bear in mind when considering these tone monsters going by the name of Lester, is that they were designed by guys with incredible hearing. Seth Lover & Les Paul, for example, had awesome ears (performance wise... I've never really looked at them aesthetically). I'm sure they tried hundreds, if not thousands, of variations before deciding on which combination sounded best. After that it was just rinse and repeat. They didn't need skilled laborers who understood the intricacies of sound... just someone to paint inside the lines.

If you can put two virtually identical sounding guitars side by side, and make changes to one and compare it to the other, you can notice a helluva lot more than by changing the tailpiece on one and comparing it ex post facto by memory. I wasn't there, but I tend to believe they tested a bunch of different tailpieces before deciding on the aluminum. I'm sure they tested various caps, nut and saddle variations, pots, positioning, bridge materials, etc., ad nauseum, before deciding on their winning formula. And while it wasn't accepted as the de facto king of the hill until musicians with an equally good sense of tone (Clapton, Richards, Green, Allman, et. al.) recognized their superiority. I get a good laugh at the hacks that come along in these forums spouting off about how they know more about tone than these guys, and even though they may not be using them any more (for whatever reasons) they were still used to create some of the greatest music in history... IMHO. :cheers:
Tone is in your fingers (and pickups and amp). That was a nice made up story you told about them trying hundreds of tailpieces, but it's complete bull****. Please find any of the musicians you mentioned that have a "good sense of tone" attributing their tone to aluminum tailpieces... Post that when you find it.

By the way - what the hell is a "good sense of tone?"

And how do you claim to know that Seth or Les had better than average hearing? You made that up.

It's easy to notice differences in sound when you just shelled out $60 for a tailpiece. You could convince yourself of anything after that. Creamtone has some $70 knobs as well you should see what those do for your tone...
 

El Kabong

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By the way - what the hell is a "good sense of tone?"
Obviously something you will never understand... I'd respond to your other ignorant crap, but like virtually everything else you have posted to date, both here and elsewhere, that really is all that it is, and it is quite undeserving of even the slightest response or acknowledgement.

I do look forward to your witty response about being put on my ignore list though... too bad I'll never see it... :cool:
 

ARandall

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Tone is in your fingers (and pickups and amp). That was a nice made up story you told about them trying hundreds of tailpieces, but it's complete bull****. Please find any of the musicians you mentioned that have a "good sense of tone" attributing their tone to aluminum tailpieces... Post that when you find it.

By the way - what the hell is a "good sense of tone?"

And how do you claim to know that Seth or Les had better than average hearing? You made that up.

It's easy to notice differences in sound when you just shelled out $60 for a tailpiece. You could convince yourself of anything after that. Creamtone has some $70 knobs as well you should see what those do for your tone...
There are a lot of elements in guitar tone. You will need to educate yourself considerably in this department.......the whole is the sum of the parts in all cases.

In that way, the change of 1 part can have a big effect.....or very little, or none depending on the whole.

The electric guitar is a physical or mechanical device long before it becomes an electromagnetic one. Anything which enables the string to be held at tension (wood/hardware/etc) will have a major to minor influence on how the string vibrates. Only after this does the pickup come into the equation.


This is the way it is........it is now up to you whether you are able to understand the complexities - then we can move forward.
 

El Kabong

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There are a lot of elements in guitar tone. You will need to educate yourself considerably in this department.......the whole is the sum of the parts in all cases.

In that way, the change of 1 part can have a big effect.....or very little, or none depending on the whole.

The electric guitar is a physical or mechanical device long before it becomes an electromagnetic one. Anything which enables the string to be held at tension (wood/hardware/etc) will have a major to minor influence on how the string vibrates. Only after this does the pickup come into the equation.


This is the way it is........it is now up to you whether you are able to understand the complexities - then we can move forward.
You are much more patient than I... :cheers:
 

ARandall

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^ I've had a lot of these 'caveman' type arguers to deal with in the past......you know the ones that try and 'club you over the head' with their flat denials until you submit.

Its not a position arrived to by virtue of any intelligence or application to the issue at hand. Its simple stubborn belligerence.

We'll see if there is any light at the end of the tunnel here, see if this one can actually come up with any semblance of a structured argument. Judging by this thread and the other he was in I doubt it.
Not that the result is in any doubt.....its just a case of whether he can swallow the pride enough to actually listen to arguments.
 

El Kabong

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^ I've had a lot of these 'caveman' type arguers to deal with in the past......you know the ones that try and 'club you over the head' with their flat denials until you submit.

Its not a position arrived to by virtue of any intelligence or application to the issue at hand. Its simple stubborn belligerence.

We'll see if there is any light at the end of the tunnel here, see if this one can actually come up with any semblance of a structured argument. Judging by this thread and the other he was in I doubt it.
Not that the result is in any doubt.....its just a case of whether he can swallow the pride enough to actually listen to arguments.
Kudos for your efforts... :cheers:
 

d1m1

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with aluminum you get a more open, hollow, honky tone.
 


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