'Burst tailpiece weight

sozo

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Anyone know the weight of the tailpiece on a '58-'60 'burst?

I have an R9, was surprised when I changed strings how light the tailpiece is. Weighs in at 34g. I'm used to production line Gibsons, my '97 and '03 LP Standard's tailpieces both weigh around 90g.

Beauty of the Burst reports that the '58-'60 'bursts had a nickel plated aluminum tailpiece, and that Gibson switched to zinc alloy in the '70s.

So I'm wondering - is the light weight of the tailpiece on the R9 a result of Custom Shop wanting to recreate the true vintage specs of a real '58-'60 'burst?
 

ARandall

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Vintage were Aluminium.
And obviously a RI is going to try and match the components of the original hardware where possible - that is the whole point of a RI after all.

Boutique parts go further and analyse the precise metallic composition - aluminium for example is an alloy as is brass and steel (as used in the bridge and saddles). Modern metals are way more pure and consistent than stuff from the 50's. So for those wanting to go the extra mile you go to boutique.
This applied to pickups as well. Lots of important metal items in crucial parts of a pickup.
 

fernieite

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Here's a video that indicates that 32 grams was the norm.

 

delawaregold

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If I remember correctly, member, "Danelectro" is the person who could answer any
questions you have about Stop Tails. Perhaps a PM to him, and ask him to join in
this thread.
 

Danelectro

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The 1950's tailpieces were made of aluminum and they typically weigh around 31g although the weight can vary a gram or so from part to part. This could be due to several factors:

- Dimensional Differences - When the parts come out of the mold, they have a gate on the bottom of the part and an overflow vestige on the topside that gets trimmed off in a stamping die. The edges are rough and there is flash at the mold seam around the perimeter of the parts, so the seams were sanded and then polished on a buffing wheel. These operations are done by hand so there can be a lot of variation. I compared the sanding marks on two 1955 wraparounds I have in my parts drawer and it appears that one part was cleaned up with a belt sander because it has straight sanding marks and the other was cleaned up with a disc sander becasue the sanding marks are radial. It was probably the worker's choice to use whatever tool it took to get the job done (these parts were made by an outside supplier). This hand sanding is the reason why some wraparounds buzz while others don't. The part came out of the mold with a defined crown along the saddle line, but after trimming the overflow and then smoothing out the rough edge by hand the crown would often be overly flattened which results in the wraparound having a sitar-like buzz.

- Mold Blow - Unlike zinc which flows into a mold cavity pretty easily, aluminum needs to be pounded in with a lot of force. This can often cause the mold to "blow" open which will make the part wider from front to back.

- Plating Thickness - Nickel is very heavy relative to aluminum. If part was left in the plating bath longer, then the nickel "skin" will be thicker. In my experience with aluminum parts of this size plated in nickel, the weight can increase by as much as 3-5 grams if the nickel plating is overly thick.

- Different Aluminum Alloys Used - Different alloys do have different weights. Although I suppose its possible that an alternate allow was used, I think that its highly unlikely. 1950's stopbars were most probably made of the commonly used A380 alloy.

I believe that Gibson changed the stopbars from zinc to aluminum around 2002. I recall they began advertising them as aluminum in 2003. Compared to 1950's aluminum stop bars, the Historic aluminum stopbars tend to weigh a couple of grams more than their vintage counterparts. The form factor of the Historic stopbar is a little more squared off, but the overall size is about the same so I don't think that size is the reason for the weight difference. I believe that plating thickness is more likely the factor in the weight difference. 1950's parts have the nickel plated directly over the aluminum whereas the Historic parts have a copper pre-plate to help the nickel to adhere better. There's an extra layer of plating (copper) and maybe a thicker layer of nickel which probably explains why the Historic stopbar weighs a couple grams more.

One thing to point out is that 1950's stopbars have a 1" wide gate on the bottom. The gate is the point where the metal is injected into the mold cavity.

38008939-O-1a.jpg


Historic Reissue tailpieces have a 2-1/2" wide gate on the bottom. I presume this was done for improved mold flow into the cavity. A wider gate would require less pressure when molding, thus here would be fewer manufacturing issues (such as mold blow).
Vintage_-_Historic_Wraparound_1a.jpg


The aluminum stopbar on my 1969 Goldtop has the same 1" gate as the 1950's parts. Comparing this part's features to that of a 1950's part, it appears to be made in the same mold cavities, so I assume that the same mold was used from the 1950's through at least 1969. I'm not sure when Gibson changed the mold to the wider gate, or when the material was changed to zinc, but probably in the early 1970's when a number of things were changing to lower costs..

Regarding the video in post #3, I only skimmed through it, but I question some of the stopbars that are identified as "vintage" because the have the more modern 2.5" gate. I'm not certain what those parts are, but I don't believe they are from the 1950's.
 
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delawaregold

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Thanks, Danelectro ! I knew you were the right man for the job.
As always, great work. Enjoy your day. :cheers:
 

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