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I recently came upon an eBay auction for a skeletonized harp style cello tailpiece manufactured by Frirsz. It certainly looked interesting and I think that it would be fairly simple to do with a router once a jig was prepared. The wood direction in the "cross member" would be rather weak but likely adequate because it is acting in compression. This area could also be reinforced with a carbon fiber rod. I see no reason why this could not be done on violin and viola tailpieces (conventional and harp) and removing material (and therefore mass) from the tailpiece would appear to be an easy method for obtaining greater harmonics and sustain.
Logically, the tail piece would have less mass if a 3/4 one was used on a full sized (4/4) violin. Rosewood has less density than ebony, and boxwood has the least of the three. I think that I am going to purchase a couple of rosewood 3/4 sized tail pieces and put them on the "healing bench" to skeletonize them like the Frirsz. I will put them on a violins (assuming I done kill one of the tail pieces in the process) with Knilling planetary pegs (easy for me, since all of mine have them) since it makes no sense to reduce the mass of the tailpiece (and increase string after length) and then cobble fine tunes on it.
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