Aluminum Tailpiece experience

scissorlock

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I recently bought myself a Gotoh aluminum tailpiece for my LP off Ebay, and eagerly installed it as soon as it arrived at my door. I'm on a total vintage-kick these days, and my LP wouldn't be complete without the "original" bridge assembly.

However, once it was installed and strung up, I have to say that I was less than impressed.

The topic of said tailpiece seems to be a perennial favorite on the message boards, and people like to throw around elaborate adjectives like "airy" and "hollow" and "open" to describe the new sound. Such creative words seem to have decieved me, so I'll give my own account of the experience while trying to stay away from similar vague talk:


PROS:
A noticable increase in sustain. Acoustically louder and brigher - similar to JUST having put on fresh strings. More individual note clarity when playing chords. Fantastic clarity for playing lead - you hear EVERYTHING. Notes ring like a bell.

CONS: Much less growl, and almost too much bite. Tonality shifted towards the upper register, and lacked punch when playing rhythm. Always bright all the time - that "brand-new set of strings" sound never goes away.

I really don't expect my descriptions of things to be any more clear than the other reviews I have read myself. But I just thought I'd weigh in on the matter, and hopefully help out some other poor soul who's looking for a definitive description of the change in sound before he invests his money.

And for the record, I've switched back to my stock heavy zinc tailpiece. I suppose my lesson here is that just because something is "vintage spec" doesn't necessarily mean that it will sound good.
 

monroe

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PROS:
A noticable increase in sustain. Acoustically louder and brigher - similar to JUST having put on fresh strings. More individual note clarity when playing chords. Fantastic clarity for playing lead - you hear EVERYTHING. Notes ring like a bell.

Hmmm.... I think I'll leave mine on.
 

dwagar

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With a high quality guitar, everything matters with regards to tone.

I think it's good to test your options, but don't always buy into what someone else says is 'best'. The tone I chase may well be completely different than what you are chasing.

I'm keeping my LW TP. Works for me.
 

alexvdl

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I recently bought myself a Gotoh aluminum tailpiece for my LP off Ebay, and eagerly installed it as soon as it arrived at my door. I'm on a total vintage-kick these days, and my LP wouldn't be complete without the "original" bridge assembly.

However, once it was installed and strung up, I have to say that I was less than impressed.

The topic of said tailpiece seems to be a perennial favorite on the message boards, and people like to throw around elaborate adjectives like "airy" and "hollow" and "open" to describe the new sound. Such creative words seem to have decieved me, so I'll give my own account of the experience while trying to stay away from similar vague talk:


PROS:
A noticable increase in sustain. Acoustically louder and brigher - similar to JUST having put on fresh strings. More individual note clarity when playing chords. Fantastic clarity for playing lead - you hear EVERYTHING. Notes ring like a bell.

CONS: Much less growl, and almost too much bite. Tonality shifted towards the upper register, and lacked punch when playing rhythm. Always bright all the time - that "brand-new set of strings" sound never goes away.

I really don't expect my descriptions of things to be any more clear than the other reviews I have read myself. But I just thought I'd weigh in on the matter, and hopefully help out some other poor soul who's looking for a definitive description of the change in sound before he invests his money.

And for the record, I've switched back to my stock heavy zinc tailpiece. I suppose my lesson here is that just because something is "vintage spec" doesn't necessarily mean that it will sound good.


I coulnd't agree more. I did the same. I noticed the same. I ended up doing the same :thumb:

Airy, hollow, open... my ass. New string sound is exact what I'd call it too!

I wish the aluminum had the low end growl of the zinc tailpiece.
 

Adwex

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Thank you for the thread. I was considering getting one, but I absolutely MUST have low end growl. That's what a Les Paul is all about, to me.
 

coxster

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I agree with Adwex. If I didn't need low end, I'd still be playing my Tele.
 

Rock Johnson

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Yup... it's all about what you want. The "new string sound" is a perfect description.

I play my LP in acoustic mode a LOT, through the Fishman powerbridge. For me, the lightweight TP made it sound much more like an acoustic going through the PA. I can certainly see how some folks might prefer the lower midrange of the heavier TP, though.
 

alexvdl

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Okay, I just installed my alu tailpiece into a 70's les paul of a friend. He always complains that it sounded too dark and not much sparkle. The tailpiece actually did improve his sound, it removed most of the muddyness and it added the new string sound, which the guitar needed badly. So they do improve the sound, but it really differs from guitar to guitar. I didn't like it on my LP but my friend's LP became alive!
 

jwinger

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Hmmm.... I think I'll leave mine on.


+1....and if you want the low end growl, just pump the low mids on your amp a bit. and well i guess it depends on the individual guitar but mine definitely got a more accoustic quality when played clean and definately sounds more open and airy both clean and distorted
 

lineboss58

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Thanks for that insight i was thinking of getting one for my classic, i dont think ill bother now. She sounds as if she has one on already with the zinc tailbar, an aluminum bar would just make the guitar sound thinner.
 

jack briggs

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If you really want the kind of response of a '50's LP, then you need an aluminum tail. If the brighter, more airy tone isn't for you - leave the zinc tail on.

I prefer the lightweight tone, myself.


Cheers,
 

asmith9509

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I put a tonetail on in place of the stock zinc tail, and the difference was pretty small. Switching to the TonePros locking studs made a much bigger difference (and for the better).
 

vladmaximus

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hey..i got aluminium tailpiece too..
i dont know hows the sounds effect for my guitar...
for me...
all i know..its ok for me..juz a great guitar sound...


vladmaximus-albums-my-1978-tokai-reborn-ls60-new-pics-picture6771-my-1978-tokai-reborn-ls60-new-pics.jpg
 

The_Sentry

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I am pretty adamant about NOT changing my h/w on my Gibsons...especially my Norlin Custom.

But I did order one of these for my cheap archtop. Thanks for the review...its sounds like it'll be just what the doctor ordered. :)

*especially with a set of 490/498's in there which should have more than enough growl to overcome a tailpiece*
 

Kølabrennern

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My Classic was very midtone-based before I put a Faber aluminum tailpiece on it, and it kinda bugged me how the highs never made it through the way I wanted them to. After I swapped, I'm much closer to what I wanted. I have to admit I miss the extremely full bass I had with the zinc tailpiece, but all I needed to do was crank the bass on my amp anyway - good to go! And I love the sound of fresh strings as well, as opposed to a lot of folks. It all depends on personal taste I guess.
 

LPSGME

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I recently swapped in an aluminum tailpiece and Zinc bridge.

I wouldn't say that it is any less desirable, in tone, than the stock parts.

In fact I now like my amp set up more than I did before.

I was contemplating buying a Vox in order to get a more 'chimey' sound than I was getting from my Fenders - a Fender Deluxe (with JBL) and Champ (with switchable Alnico and Ceramic speakers and switchable 'blackface' to 'tweed' circuitry.

But now I find I can get the sound I wanted from the Fenders. I also like the tweed setting more than I did before.
 

bfcg

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Maybe you could keep the note articulation( which is what makes great guitars great)
and try some different value caps.
I would keep the superior note articulation and talk to RS or Jonsey.
Mechanical changes like bridge, nut, tailpeice, action should be done first before setteling on electronics. That could also include choice of amplification.
Just my opinion.
 

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