Is my tailpiece dangerous?

March 21, 2019, 11:06 PM · Hi everyone
I am stuck at home with a broken ankle and I want to be able to practise my violn while I have free time. I stopped playing because when I went to replace a string 2 months ag0 I allowed my tail cord and everything else to come loose and it fell apart in that the tail cord was no longer a loop. Nothing was actually broken, I put it back together and it seems okay, but now I am afraid to play it in case I've done it wrong and something pops out and hits me in the eye. Is this a realistic fear?

I can't take it anywhere to be checked until my ankle heals (6-8 weeks) but I don't want to miss the chance to play.

Thank you for reading :)

Replies (13)

Edited: March 22, 2019, 5:08 AM · An old gut loop can break through age; on a nylon tailgut the screw-thread at each end can wear out. A new nylon loop, with its two brass "nuts" can be bought on th web for a few Euros.

Do make sure the sound post hadn't shifted when the tension was suddenly released..

March 22, 2019, 5:23 AM · Yes, your tailgut is dangerous, if it broke so that it wasn't making a loop it has failed and has to be replaced, fitting it back in will just make the same thing happen again, only sooner.
Edited: March 22, 2019, 7:58 AM · Tell us what kind of tailcord you have and how it failed and perhaps we can help.

Check with a local violin shop. They can set things right for you. Chances are good that the failure of your tailcord has resulted in your soundpost falling - so that also might need to be placed.

The nylon Sacconi tailcords were much better than the "off-brands" (20 years ago - my last experience with them) but since their introduction (almost 70 years ago) there are newer options, Kevlar being very popular now. The Sacconi tailcords are easily installed, the Kevlar ones are tricky to get the optimum amount of cord in the right place. I have found I get better sound and response with Kevlar and have them on all my instruments now.

When my family moved to the Maryland countryside 72 years ago, the old grandpa of the illiterate family across the road was using a heavy wire as a tailcord on his fiddle.

Edited: March 22, 2019, 1:29 PM · Lesley, can you post a photo? From your description, I can't quite tell what's going on.
March 22, 2019, 12:11 PM · For the several decades I had my cello its tailpiece cord was piano wire, with no problems . I believe it is still on that cello, which my daughter now owns.
March 22, 2019, 2:12 PM · I was considering making a similar post about my ebony tailpiece. I shaved a good half of its mass off (from the bottom) to make it lighter, and I was wondering what the maximum tolerance is for thinning a tailpiece.

Another day.

March 22, 2019, 4:29 PM · Cotton, really looking forward to that one!
March 22, 2019, 4:34 PM · Dangerous... For the violin, probably. Not for your eyes.

March 22, 2019, 5:44 PM · It'd be fine... My violin's been through plenty of hardships.
I'd be more worried about my strings, which are slowly but surely creeping up in price in Canada.
March 22, 2019, 7:02 PM · Thank you all for the kind and helpful replies, I need not have feared that my post would be trashed. I now know that I can buy a new tailcord and I have now seen one collapse on Yuri Bashmet. Interesting that it went suddenly and the strings were playable right up to the end.
I won't be posting a photo soon sorry David as I would like to try playing it and it creates such a mess. In our current hot weather down under I can't face a disassembled violin which was the original issue before I broke the ankle. Andrew, I know it is a black nylon tail cord with tiny gold screw-threads.
Trevor and Andrew, something like fencing wire or piano wire would probablty suit my level, nice to know, but at least I can read quite well now.

I will try and check the sound post Adrian, YouTube seems to have a video for everything else.

Thank you all again, it's so nice to have someone to talk to about this :)

(Lovely dog Cotton)

March 22, 2019, 9:24 PM · The juxtaposition of "tailpiece" with "dangerous" here on a public web forum will doubtless be noticed by some AI-controlled security database, if it hasn't been already, and brought to the attention of inquisitive check-in staff at airports and elsewhere. What times we live in!
March 23, 2019, 4:37 AM · Lesley, I was interested in photos showing the tail adjuster with the instrument strung up. No need to take the setup down at this point to photograph it.

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