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How Far Back Can A Tailpiece Be Mounted Without Problems?


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I'm working on an experimental Tele design that will include a tailpiece behind the bridge. One of the concepts I'm looking to try out is adding as much overall string length as possible while keeping friction low to see how much of a difference in feel it creates due to the greater elasticity inherent in the longer string.

But I was wondering if I would get problems with sympathetic tones in the part of the string between the saddles and the tailpiece if they were too far apart, and I was wondering if anyone else had made a guitar with a tailpiece really far back and what your experiences with it were.

Moving it forward kind of negates part of the experiment, I suppose if I was getting sympathetic string problems I'd probably just introduce some kind of mute to the design at the tailpiece so I'd still get the benefit of the longer overall string length.

Anybody built a guitar with similar principles that has some thoughts to share? Thanks. :D

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Increasing the break angle helps some to. (At least, it helps on enough Jaguars and Jazzmasters that folks have released a product that does just that, with the goal of stopping buzz)

I have a guitar with a jaguar trem, and it's got about 4 5/8" length of string behind the roller bridge. Quite a shallow break angle coming of the bridge as well - (I don't know how much, but less than my headstock break angle, that's certain.) the sympathetic ringing from behind the bridge is just enough to be annoying when I'm playing unplugged, so I slide a piece of foam in there. Plugged in, you don't hear it out the amp usually. With a lot of gain on, it can get a cool sound, hitting the strings behind the bridge for an atonal, percussive chime, but I don't really notice it in general playing. I'm always tempted to make an instrument planning around this - some sort of mechanism for tuning the strings behind the bridge to a note, [sliding saddles to change the length of the vibrating string back there] and maybe winding a tiny pickup to put under there.

Seems to me the easiest way to figure this out is to plan out on paper the bridge height and tailpiece height and distance, and mount your hardware to a big old slab or two of sturdy wood in the same manner as the guitar you're planning on making. Might not translate exactly, but I figure it should give you an idea. If you're going with a bolt-on neck, you could probably even just make a quicky surrogate body out of a 2x4 pice with the neck bolted to it.

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