The violin string is broken


Change the tailpiece

The reason for changing a tailpiece can be varied. A defective tailpiece makes the replacement just as necessary as the desire for other materials to improve the sound. A tailpiece equipped with fine tuners may also be necessary.

When changing the tailpiece, the following things must be observed:

  1. All strings have to be removed in order to be able to change the tailpiece at all. It should be noted, and especially if the tailpiece itself is to be replaced, that the sound post can be adjusted due to the lack of string tension or, in the worst case, can even fall over.
  2. To give the violin stability, we use a padded impression of a vault in the violin making. As a tip for you, place a towel twice and roll the pages in so that the instrument rests with the edges on the towel rolls. We have also chosen this method in our photos for clarity.
  3. Before removing the strings, a soft cloth should be placed under the tailpiece to protect the paint.
  4. The position of the bar should be carefully marked with a soft grease pencil. Under no circumstances should a pencil be used as this would scratch the paint.
  5. The instrument should not be compressed horizontally or vertically when it is without strings. This can happen, for example, if you hold the instrument between your legs or arms. Even a little pressure on the side frames in the middle area can cause the interior to be enlarged and the voice, which is only stuck between the ceiling and floor, falls over.

If everything went well, you could use this condition to clean the ceiling of the instrument. To do this, place the instrument on a well-padded surface and do not exert any side pressure on the sides and initially only clean the top. The rest of the instrument with the strings back on.

A new hanging string is usually required to change the tailpiece. There are different materials to choose from, which also bring changes in the sound with them. The easiest option is the screw-on hanging string, which is made of solid Perlon and has a thread at both ends, to which a brass nut is attached.

Both ends are put through the two holes in the tailpiece and then screwed together. This means that even laypeople can easily exchange them. A steel rope hanging string offers a similar fastening with nuts.

The gut hanging string is probably the oldest way to hang a tailpiece. It is burned at the ends with an open flame. During this process, the ends thicken. In order to additionally secure this, both ends are wrapped with a thinner gut string about 3-5mm, the ends of which are then again thickened by heating.

A hanging string with Kevlar / carbon fibers is relatively new. Their ends are knotted several times.

All the different materials sound different. This is due to its own weight and the damping properties. It affects the tailpiece as well as the hanging side. You can understand this from the different weights:

  • a Wittner Ultra chin rest made of synthetic weighs approx. 21 grams with integrated 4 fine tuners.
  • a grooved tailpiece made of ebony without fine tuner 10.5 gr.
  • a normal fine tuner for ball suspension weighs 5.5 grams.
  • a titanium fine tuner 2gr.

Every weight on the instrument dampens vibrations. We all know this best from the damper, as it is used a lot and sits directly on the bridge. But also the mass of the tailpiece, the fine tuner, the chin rest and also the hanging string dampens to different degrees. Sometimes additional cushioning can be an advantage, sometimes any additional cushioning should be avoided.

The length of the tailpiece and the hanging string also determines the length of the string between the bridge and the tailpiece. In our experience, the tone of these strings should harmonize with the tuned instrument.

However, the following applies: every instrument reacts differently and needs the best tailpiece and hanging string equipment. Feel free to experiment a little with the length.