Banjo Tailpiece | Types | Setup And Adjustment
Although it may seem like an easy to play instrument due to its simple build, a banjo is actually a quite complicated instrument. If you don't have any prior knowledge of its history and build, you should definitely not attempt to do anything to it, like fixing or replacing parts. The banjo is similar to a guitar; the only differences are the shape and the sound. If you ever get to see a banjo split in parts, you will be amazed to see the large variety of parts, from a banjo resonator to a banjo tailpiece. But what is a banjo tailpiece? You probably noticed that on the exterior margin of the body there is a metal piece that holds the strings in one place. It is an extremely important part of a banjo, since it defines the sounds the string come out with. Well, that is the banjo tailpiece.
A good tailpiece makes the difference that is a fact. It has to keep the strings straight, spaced enough to allow a comfortable play and not allow any small movements. You should only expect these characteristics at a branded tailpiece or at least at a branded banjo tailpiece. If you ever got to see a no name banjo and look closely to it, you will notice the strings have small shakes whenever they are touched. Also, the sounds are extremely different. Even a newbie can make the difference between an original banjo and a $20 one. However, just like any other banjo part, the banjo tailpieces have a particular life time. Sooner or later, due to the multiple plays, the tailpiece should give you some signs saying it has to be changed.
Changing a banjo tailpieces are not a hard task, unless you have never touched a banjo before. First of all, you need to know what to get, since there are plenty of such banjo parts on the market. It is extremely easy to trick into thinking you buy a quality piece, when you actually get one made in an uncertified workshop from someone's garage. A few good banjo tailpiece manufacturers include Price, Oettinger, Fults or Kirschner.
There are various myths about each of them, but actually each has its own characteristics. So check them out first and only then decide what you will choose. Looking on the web at their specifications may be a good idea; you will also get to see customers' reviews as well. Some myths say that the easier a banjo tailpiece is, the better the play is. This is mostly intended against the Price tailpieces. That's true if you are thinking to purchase a 1 kilo tailpiece. Otherwise, you shouldn't take that in consideration. Also, the Kirschner tailpieces, even as antique and old school as they are, they are still considered to be the best banjo tailpiece by many famous artists of the modern age. What is your best option? Only you can answer that, therefore ignore such myths launched by various managers to fight against the competition.