Workshop: Hardware Store Bass Cable Tailpiece

Any bassists out there wanting to try the feel and tone of a Marvin cable tailpiece yet not willing to shell out $80 for a trial use? Yeah, me -- though the Marvin is a heck of a lot sexier.

I popped over to the hardware store today, picked up 20 feet of 1/16" braided cable and associated crimps/holders, and some figure-8 hooks. This is what I cooked up in half an hour for my own bass, though I also polished up my fingerboard at the same time and set the soundpost at a healthier angle.

I don't think these figure-8 hooks would cut it for really high tension strings but the looped 1/16" cable should handle about 100lbs each. My strings run between 45-55lbs tension so I'm way within that spectrum.

As described on the Marvin tailpiece site, my bass responded in the following ways: more forward volume and cut, much faster bowing response, and a springier feel to the strings (due to the extra string-like length which adds elasticity -- mandolin players know how important it is to keep string ends nice and long for easy playability).

I will add that some folks will probably need to mute one or two of these afterlengths to cut down on overtones that might clutter up your sound.

This is as simple as it gets... I filed a few slots in the "saddle" to hold the loops at equal distances.


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Francesco Fracan said...

hi, very brilliant tailpiece posted. I wanted to know the exact measurements than devevono be in the long steel cables up to the ropes. thank you. Francesco forgive my poor english