July 23, 2006

#135: Tailpieces

Richard writes:

The tailpiece on my Tennessee Flathead is the original one when purchased 30 years ago. It looks to be the same as the ones Deering uses on the GDL's. I'm not unhappy with it but are there better ones to use for sound enhancement? Or am I just asking for trouble to change it out?

Richard,

I am not aware of the tailpiece having a lot of effect on banjo sound. I have no special preference about tailpieces, but have generally used the ones that came with the banjo. I used a Price Straightline for a while because I liked the appearance, but I didn't notice a tone change.

There are some who discuss tailpieces as though they are an important part of the tone. I'm not one of them, but they might have some good insights for you.

You're not asking for trouble to change it, but in general I think you're better off spending your time on playing good music. Sometimes, it seems to me that people would rather think about banjo setup than actually playing the thing. Playing the thing, and putting a lot of care into your playing, is what creates good sound.

Enjoy your picking!

Pete Wernick