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Post new topic Check your 8 string reso tailpiece!
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Author Topic:  Check your 8 string reso tailpiece!
L. Bogue Sandberg


From:
Chassell, Michigan, USA
Post Posted 26 Feb 2017 5:02 pm     Reply with quote

I had a nasty surprise tonight, when I took out my OMI 8 string to give it some exercise. It's a backup, not played in a few months. Strings 1 and 2 were slack, but not broken. When I looked at the tailpiece, it had fractured from the outer edge through the first three ball end holes.

The tailpiece is an older one from Beard of chrome plated brass. It is an modified 6 string tailpiece with extra holes and slots cut inside, and to the rear of the outer holes. The OMI's previous owner had put it on to replace the original trapeze style.

My everyday McKenna 8 string had the same problem. After about two years of heavy playing. I noticed some wrinkles in the plating. It was starting to fail. I replaced it with a Beard steel tailpiece purpose made for 8 strings. No problems after 6+ years. I got a couple spares, one of which will go on the OMI. It requires doweling the old hole and re-drilling to get it to fit properly.

Since I keep bar, picks, tuner, etc. in each case, I grab and go. Thankfully, this was discovered at home. It would have been a really bad day otherwise! So if you have one of the older tailpieces, check it.

Bogue
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Nate Hofer


From:
Overland Park, Kansas
Post Posted 11 Mar 2017 6:52 am     Reply with quote

Bouge
I'm curious to know what kind of tension you might have on that instrument. What's your tuning and string gauges?

I ask because I'm a new owner of an eight string reso and I'm exploring my preferred steel C6 tuning with fairly heavy gauges. I'm a little paronoid of too much tension.
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Nate Hofer
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Chris Templeton


From:
The Green Mountain State
Post Posted 11 Mar 2017 8:27 am     Reply with quote

I've had two Beard 8 stringers. I got them before he was "on the map".
The main problem I have with 6 string tailpieces that have been modified to 8 strings is that the 1st string and the 8th string often jump out of the bridge slots due to the angle of the outside strings coming from the modified tailpiece, rendering them pretty much useless. You would have thought Paul would have spotted this by now.
The pressure of the extra two strings, on an eight stringer, also causes the plate not to be as responsive and cuts down on that resonator sound we all love.
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Mark Eaton


From:
Sonoma County in The Great State Of Northern California
Post Posted 11 Mar 2017 10:39 am     Reply with quote

Quote:
You would have thought Paul would have spotted this by now.


It has in fact been a bunch of years now since Paul spotted this. He has the 8 string specific tailpiece for sale on the Resophonic Outfitters site, pictured below, it goes for $55. This would be the same tailpiece Bogue mentioned where he hasn't had problems for 6+ years. I can't vouch for the fact that the Beard 8-string specific tailpiece was on the first Beard Mike Auldridge Signature 8 string which was built in 2003, but were I a betting man I would put money down that it was. When he and Paul were designing the guitar, I would find it unlikely that a stickler like Mike would roll with a converted 6 string tailpiece for his at the time ballpark $36000 guitar with his name on the headstock.

I was at the final ResoSummit in Nashville where Mike was in attendance in 2010, here is a link to a Mel Bay interview that was done with Erica Cantrell during the event. The first thing he plays in the video is Panhandle Rag on one of his 8 string guitars. For anyone who hasn't seen it - you're in for a treat:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OE30wNv6yw0



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Mark
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L. Bogue Sandberg


From:
Chassell, Michigan, USA
Post Posted 11 Mar 2017 11:31 am     Reply with quote

Nate, I'm using essentially the same gages as the Beard 8 string set and play G13, with the 8th string tuned to F. From your post on C6/A7, I remember you having a Gold Tone Beard Signature 8. That should have the same steel tailpiece that I now have. If looks like the one Mark posted, and it's magnetic, you should be okay with the gages you're using. You can find tensions with stringtensionpro.com .

As an old structural engineer, I made some rough calcs on the tailpiece stresses. Not that high. Both failures occurred in the tops of the string slots nearest the bridge. There may be a notch effect there.

Mark, my McKenna 8 was built in 2007. Greg used Beard hardware on quite a few 8 strings and said at least two other customers reported failures with those tailpieces. I believe the current steel tailpiece dates to the introduction of the Beard Gold Tone 8. The production was likely warranted by the numbers at that point. (Howard Parker, we need you here!)

Chris, the spacing from 1 to 8 on the current tailpiece is essentially the same as my old ones. My bridge spacing is 0.375" and I haven't had problems with outside strings jumping out of the bridge slots.
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Mark Eaton


From:
Sonoma County in The Great State Of Northern California
Post Posted 11 Mar 2017 12:20 pm     Reply with quote

So I'm guessing Paul beefed it up at some point if there were failures on the early version of the 8 string specific tailpiece.

Though it wasn't especially common, it hasn't been rare or unusual for even the regular 6 string tailpiece on an OMI Dobro to fail (circa 1970 to late 1990s).

The failures I recall have actually for the most part occurred at the 90 degree angle bend.

I've been lucky. My first Dobro and I still own it was purchased in 1976 and is a California-built from the early 1930s. Still has what appears to be the original tailpiece which is ballpark 84 years old. My main guitar is a 2004 Clinesmith with a Beard tailpiece going on age 13, no problems. These are both 6 stringers. A bunch of years ago I had an OMI 8 string Dobro for a relatively short period, but at the time playing 8 string didn't "take" for me so that instrument moved on.

Think I better knock on wood and go open the case on the Clinesmith which I haven't played in a couple weeks and make sure everything is good to go. I'm leaving in an hour for the Sonoma County Folk & Bluegrass Festival and plan on doing some jamming.

The headliner this evening is a Good Ol' Persons reunion with Sally Van Meter on dobro.

If the tailpiece blows up some time today on Sally's Scheerhorn I can loan her my Clinesmith. Wink
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Mark
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Chris Templeton


From:
The Green Mountain State
Post Posted 11 Mar 2017 2:53 pm     Reply with quote

Cool! Thank you for the update, Mark. I've been out of the dobro loop for a while and am happy Paul has an 8 string tailpiece.
I have visited with Paul at his shop several times, in Hagerstown, MD.
A great person and I look forward to visiting with him down the road.
It has been a treat watching his company become successful and the most visible and dobro brand in the industry today.
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