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Wood or Composite Tailpiece?
Which is better?
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (1 votes) 
Tennessee, USA

August 2, 2013 - 8:47 pm
Member Since: May 17, 2013
Forum Posts: 277
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Hey everyone,

I've got a crazy, profound, completely subjective question for you.  What do you guys think produces a better sounding violin, Composite or Wood Tailpieces?  Of course the word "better" is up for debate, and I expect that I will get votes for both sides, but I'm curious if anyone has experience with both on one violin maybe, and which sound they liked better. 

That being said, I honestly kind of expect that there is a preference.  Everyone seems to prefer synthetic strings over steel for example, so why wouldn't people have a preference about the tailpiece?  Or does it not make a noticeable difference. 

The tailpiece on my violin is a composite, which seems to be pretty standard, but I've seen that some come with the wood tailpieces.  So many questions in my head, and only you can answer them. 

There is no failure, only results.


August 2, 2013 - 9:09 pm
Member Since: May 4, 2012
Forum Posts: 2379
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I changed my acoustic violin from a carbon fibre tailpiece with built-in fine tuners to an ebony tailpiece with no fine tuners.  I feel it def made a difference so far as a slightly stronger tone, more resonance/sustain.  I like it better on my acoustic.

On the other hand, the CF tailpiece went on my electric (replacing one that was plastic with add-on fine tuners) and sounds nice and the better quality fine tuners alone made it an upgrade, in my opinion. 

As you say, though, "better" is always going to be up for debate, since folks like different sounds and qualities to their sound for playing.  But I can definitely say I felt the differences resulting from changing types/materials of tailpieces was pretty easy to hear.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

Honorary advisor

August 2, 2013 - 11:55 pm
Member Since: July 8, 2012
Forum Posts: 328
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changing tailpiece...I say they don't really show obvious difference in sound, probably more on aesthetics, well, I should say go for a wooden one, it's great, traditional, and pros use them, I've never seen a soloist perform using a violin with composite tailpiece.

cheers! - ⁰ℨ


August 3, 2013 - 2:20 am
Member Since: June 30, 2011
Forum Posts: 2673
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I played around changing nearly everything for a while.  It all has some effect on different fiddles. swapped out a metal tail piece for an ebony and saw a big change for the better. swapped a composite for an ebony and heard no difference.

The best upgrade Ive ever heard a real difference from is in strings

There is no shame in playing twinkle, youre playing Mozart

Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa

August 3, 2013 - 11:30 am
Member Since: September 10, 2011
Forum Posts: 1969
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You say that everyone prefers synthetic over steel strings but it really has to do with the sound you want from the violin. Many fiddlers prefer steel over synthetic to get the sound they want.

With tail pieces it is much the same. What is the composit made of, are there built in tuners and is it adjusted correctly, meaning where it is in relation to the bridge. The next thing is what wood is the tail piece made of and what style is it. Does it have fine tuners and if so what kind. There is no right answer. It all maters on the sound and the look you want from the instrument. I have found some violins sound good with composit where others don't and vis versa.

Fort Lauderdale
August 3, 2013 - 1:19 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 14342

I have yet to notice a difference in sound from changing a tailpiece. I believe most of your sound comes from the vibrations that travel from your strings through your bridge and the body of your instrument. Great differences if you affect the body by for example moving or changing the sound-post or even the bass bar but don't do that unless you are an amateur luthier ;-) Even changing and adjusting the bridge can make a big difference. Strings make a huge difference as well but what comes after the after length, I'm not sure....

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

Tennessee, USA

August 3, 2013 - 2:06 pm
Member Since: May 17, 2013
Forum Posts: 277
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Thanks for the responses everybody!  That's all good to know info and I think @Fiddlerman actually answered my follow on theoretical question; what ARE the tonal differences is wood types when used as fittings.  Thanks all for your responses.  Good stuff!

There is no failure, only results.

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