Thoughts From My Life

Replacing The Tailpiece On My Mandolin

Written by Neil Galloway

I unfortunately broke a piece of the tailpiece off on my mandolin the other day. I was restringing it and was putting on some old strings (they hadn't been used) I purchased a few years ago. I don't know if that was the problem or not, but one the little pegs in the tailpiece that the eye of the string holds onto snapped off.

I didn't know what to do, so I phoned around to a number of places in Calgary and no one wanted to deal with it. Replacement tailpieces were selling upwards of $100 on eBay so that didn't look very good either.

I ended up phoning Long & McQuade here in Calgary (Calgary Long & McQuade) and they said to bring it by and they would take a look. Anyhow, I walked in and they have a replacement tailpiece of the exact same shape and size for $20. I couldn't believe my luck. It was the same size as my original so I could use my Kentucky tailpiece cover on it as well. It wasn't even stored in the back. It was a plastic wrapped item on a display shelf.

I own a Kentucky KM200S teardrop style mandolin. I purchased it back around 1995 or so. It is a pretty nice little instrument so I want to keep it in good repair.

Replacing A Mandolin Tailpiece

Replacing it is really simple:

  1. Remove the cover of the tailpiece.
  2. Remove any strings connected to the tailpiece. Either remove them from the Mandolin completely or loosen them enough that you can slip the string eyelets off of the tailpiece pins.
  3. Remove the screw for the knob you connect your strap to.
  4. Remove the 3 screws holding the tailpiece onto the bottom of the mandolin.
  5. Hold the new tailpiece in place where the old one was. The angle of the mandolin tailpiece might not quite be right, so bend it a little so that it is touching flat on the bottom side of the mandolin and the on the top.
  6. My old tailpiece had a piece of felt along the edge that the strings dug into, but the new one didn't have this. I removed the felt and superglued it onto the new tailpiece.
  7. Replace the 3 screws to hold the taipiece on.
  8. Replace the strap knob and screw.
  9. String up your guitar and put your tailpiece cover back on.

Overall, it was super simple, only cost me $20, took half and hour of work including the restringing, and I was able to keep on my original tailpiece cover.

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Category: Music

Original Post: Wednesday, May 7th, 2008


rAy Says:
2010-07-31 06:15:42
Yeah, I broke the tailpiece on my father's 1930s National Dobro mandolin beast. Some electric dobros and prototype electric dobro tenors have the same tailpiece but I've never seen another like it exactly. The local luthier told me I could remove the tailpiece to remove the strings and did not mention anything about loosening the strings first which should have been common sense but I am a mando noob. It had a crack possibly, and for now I have another style kept in place by the endpin/a bit of felt folded over to fill the spacing difference between it and the body. No screws holding it down, endpin is how mine has always stayed put even before the break. Nice tips. Thank you.

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