Top wrapping the tail piece

Discussion in 'Epiphone Guitars' started by Daniel Desmarais, Feb 28, 2021.

  1. Daniel Desmarais

    Daniel Desmarais Member

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    Does anyone top wrap their tail pieces?

    I watched a couple of youtube vids, and they seemed to make a decent case for top wrapping the tail piece, Their claim is that top wrapping makes the string angle from the tail piece to the saddle flatter, and thus (they claim) making the string tension on the in-tune string less. This helps make the guitar more comfortable to play, and makes it easier to do things like bends.

    The downside it it tends to scratch the top of your saddle.

    Has anyone tried this? Does anyone keep their LP, ES, or SG strung this way?
     
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  2. Antigua

    Antigua Active Member

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    The logic seems dubious, in that the benefits of shallow break angle would make a much bigger difference at the nut end, since there is more string length over the headstock than there is between the tail and stop bar. One way to test this without changing anything could be to raise the level of the stop bar, with the two large screws that hold it in place. I don't know how long those screws are though, I don't know how far it can be safely raised up.

    I have a couple Sheratons, one with frequensator tail pieces and one without. The frequensator should be like top wrapping on steroids, but I don't perceive that they feel any different. I've experimented with steeper break angles on other guitars with Bigsbys and Fender offsets, and I can say for sure that if the downward break angle is greater, I get more sustain and clarity in every case. It causes the strings to pull the bridge down firmly into the body of the guitar.

    I think the most objective drawback to the steeper break angle is increase metal fatigue and a higher probability of breaking a string over the bridge. There are pros and cons either way, I bought Buzz Stops for my Fender offsets, but after a week I took them off because they robber them of their shallow break angle mojo. There's nothing wrong with discarding some (or a lot of) sustain for musical effect.

    It might be interesting to top wrap the plain strings but not the wound strings. Slinky plain strings that decay quicker, and stiffer wound strings that sustain longer, or vice versa. It's an easy way to set a guitar apart from the rest.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2021
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  3. Keefoman

    Keefoman Well-Known Member

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    I topwrap my R8 and my Firebird. Not the Explorer. Tried it on the Explorer and it didn't feel right. Both the LP and Firebird feel better when wrapped. My ES 335 has a Bigsby and it's a simillar feeling stringtension-wise.
     
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  4. BGood

    BGood Well-Known Member

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    A said string tuned to B let's say has an X tension on it to produce that note, isn't it ? If there's more tension on it it will produce a higher note, and a lower note with less tension. We agree on that ?

    If so, how can the height of the anchor point behind a bridge produce more tension on the plucked string section ?

    To me all a decked tailpiece strung from the back does is put more downward and forward pressure on the bridge, stressing posts and bushings. That can eventually lead to problems with tilting and pulling out tailpiece bushings, bending bridge posts and/or collapsing bridge. Why risk that ?

    Untitled-1.jpg

    RedSG.jpg

    nashville-tune-o-matic-bridge-collapsed.JPG
    I love the simple wraparound bridge, which is by default top wrapped. I like the look, so I instinctively top wrapped tailpieces too. Will it scratch the finish ? It will never show, since strings will always be there to hide any scratching.

    bridge.jpg
     
  5. soulman969

    soulman969 Well-Known Member

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    Same technique for top wrapping a piece of tail? :hmm: :naughty:

    Or do I have that reversed? :D
     
  6. Keefoman

    Keefoman Well-Known Member

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    Tension is probably the wrong word, but it certainly feels different with the strings wrapped.
     
  7. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    They make the tailpiece adjustable for a reason. They expect you to adjust it. If they had intended for it to be non-adjustable they would have made it a thru-bolted deal or just made the body string thru to save money. If you want the "benefits" of top wrapping all you have to do is turn two screws.

    The rule of thumb is this: If you can slip a piece of regular paper between the string and the back of the bridge (ie tailpiece side) that's your lower limit. You can raise it almost as much as you want as long as you keep *some* break angle off the back of the bridge.

    The only reason top wrapping is a thing is because some yabbo saw it on some cool guy's guitar and copied it thinking it would make them look cool too. It's a crutch for those who think they have to keep the tailpiece decked :rolleyes: but their strings hit the back of the bridge.

    No rules - only guidelines.
     
  8. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    I was a working tech for a number of years. I noted that my Tune-o-matic clients who top-wrapped achieved the same effect I did by raising the tailpiece about the the thickness of the stopbar.
     
  9. BGood

    BGood Well-Known Member

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    Original catalog image of the 1956 Gibson Les Paul Custom

    1956_Gibson_les_paul_custom.jpg
    Don't tell me it's an illustration and the artist took the liberty to top wrap. Right ...
     
  10. Keefoman

    Keefoman Well-Known Member

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    :naughty:
    That would make sense. However some argue that you get a tonal advantage by lowering the tailpiece all the way down. We’re sniffing corks here, I know... :naughty:
     
  11. Antigua

    Antigua Active Member

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    When you bend the string, as it gets slightly longer from the stretching, it must pull across the break angle of the bridge, and if the break angle is greater, it would be harder to pull the string over the break angle, because of increased friction and the rigidity of the steel string. I doubt that's a factor when there's only and inch of string between the break angle and the anchor, and there's not much string to be stretched. The reduced friction should improve tuning by reducing the hysteresis / tension difference across the break angle, but again, it's such a short segment of string, it's more of a concern when thinking about head stock angles.

    Yes no maybe so, but they come "straight through" from the factory, so that's the de facto manufacturer's recommendation. Being that we're all Epiphone fans here, we have the advantage that replacement parts are cheap and easy to come by, so we can have our cake and eat it too.

    Truth be told I love the rich sound of my Les Pauls and my stop tailed Sheraton so much that I worry that with top wrapping, the only direction my satisfaction can go is down. If I changed strings ofter, I might try it, but I use Elixirs, and they feel good as new for years on end.
     
  12. davesultra

    davesultra New Member

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    I’ve tried top-wrapping a few times on a few different Gibson guitars. Never cared for it, makes the strings way too slinky IMO. While I love the original Gibson wrapover tailpiece, I can’t stand that if you do a lot of deep string bends, the bent string(s) will slightly move on the tailpiece. IMO- PRS did the wrapover right.
     
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  13. Luke V

    Luke V New Member

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    I top wrapped my 335s, 339, Les Paul, and Midtown. I love the way it feels, 10 gauged strings feel very slinky.
     
  14. BGood

    BGood Well-Known Member

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    True that ! I love that bridge and it's intonation is 100% right.

    PRS wraparound.jpg
     
  15. Old Woody

    Old Woody Active Member

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    I top wrap my Firebird as well while it's hard to tell a real difference in tone the guitar does stay in tune longer and it seems easier to bend the strings. But it's the first time I've tried it and I'll go back to normal on my next set as it s not worth scratching my tailpiece IMHO.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2021
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  16. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    That's right and the Les Paul had .080-.038 strings, too.:naughty:
     
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  17. MrJay

    MrJay New Member

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    I cut the ends off the old strings, take the little brass roller out and thread it over the new strings, it acts as a spacer and stops you having to bend the twisted wire over the tailpeace. Not a big deal but it looks cleaner and stops that wire end scratching the tail peace
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2021
  18. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    It's a very nice illustration, but artistic interpretation doesn't equal engineering intent.

    Do as thou wilt - It doesn't change the engineering, parts, or the fact that they get shipped with the tailpiece strung as intended.
     
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  19. L.A. Nights

    L.A. Nights New Member

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    You mean top of your (tailpiece).
     
  20. dasherf17

    dasherf17 Active Member

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    On my next string change I've been threatening to do it on one of my Gibson-esque kits. Sad part of this was I didn't read of the practice till they were strung...
     

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