It's about time I put into the mix on Randy's
Tail piece. I took him up
on the deal and he got it down the coast to me fast. I put it on my
cheapo (and only) "Galveston" (read Korean, possibly Samick) box that
I've been improving on the installment plan (install this, install
First of all I was surprised at how small it is. About half the length
and width of my original stamped tail piece.
Second of all, it's a thing of beauty! I got the basic bronze one. It
looks good with the imitation Hound Dog sunburst top and Mahogany
plywood sides. It contrasts real nice with the chrome cover plate.
Third the sound. The reso is now louder. I don't know if part of it is
opening up the area covered by the old tail piece or the slight change
in the angle of attack for the strings over the bridge and out farther
to the shorter tail piece. To me the trebles aren't as harsh
acoustically now as they were before. Yet when I rip a muted cord (my
name for it, the ignorance of only having played reso a few months) it
seems to have more grab. Again, my suspicion is that this is due to
opening up almost a quarter of the sound holes in the cover plate.
My delay in reporting out on my impressions is because as I was
stringing the critter back up one of my tuner gears striped. I told you
the thing was a cheapo. I got a new set of tuners on after doweling the
old mounting holes. I got to play the critter for about four hours and
then went on travel for 10 days. Today I played out with the band I've
been sitting in with and got a lot of comments on the looks and the
sound. I highly endorse it! Oh and the Kathy Fox / Jim Beeler CD is
After I replace the cover plate, there won't be much left that is
original other than the body, neck and frets. I've had fun tweaking on
it though and I've learned a lot. I recommend the experience.
Well enough of my long wind. Time to pay some bills so I can get back
to pickin'! Thanks for such a great list out there!
Port Hueneme (Ventura County) Ca.
Proud to be a High-Tech Red Neck!
Ron Bednar here. Great talking
with you the other day!Just short note about the RS-2 tailpiece I recently
bought. Wow, what a difference it made on my reso, it really opened that
guitar up! A marked increase in volume, richness of tone and sustain...and
it looks very spiffy cool too! You did a great job on it, everyone should
have one, that's my honest opinion. Thanks a bunch for the best tailpiece
That tail piece is amazing. I tried it on my
D60 and a friends National and Beard. I could not believe the difference it
made on the sound of my D60 and the National. It really wasn't very
impactful on the Beard. The improvement of the sound on the other two were
unbelievable. I had no idea such an otherwise not thought of part could play
such an integral part in sound performance. I want one.
Thanks for the test drive, Randy.
Hello. Here's my (lengthy and
belated) review of the Allen RS-2 Tailpiece I tried out earlier this month.
First, much thanks to Randy
Allen for sending the review sample. With the number of requests he
received for tailpiece tryouts, he sent a couple more out for parallel
processing, so I received my tailpiece quickly. Another example of the
cooperative spirit in the reso community.
My first impression is of a
finely crafted piece of hardware, nicely styled and beautifully rhodium
(lighter/brighter than nickel; warmer than chrome) plated. The tailpiece is
quite solid, rigid and weighty. Two design features make this part easy to
retrofit on the guitar: the slotted hole for the mounting screw allows
height (and therefore string angle) adjustment, and the string spacing
matches that at the saddle for straight string pull (these are both great
improvements over the RS-1). The RS-2 is shorter than the standard dobro
tailpiece; that combined with the styling and plating present a
non-traditional look, while exposing more coverplate openings.
straightforward as expected. I couldn't use the screw from my Dunlop
Straplok strap button (too large in diameter). So, I used the supplied
screw with a toothpick to take up the slack (no glue required, but I'd plug
and re-drill for a permanent installation). Of course, I may be the only
person in Reso-land that uses the Dunlop Straplok instead of the Schaller
system, so it may be a moot point.
I installed the RS-2 on my
1985 OMI Model 27, with Quarterman cone, bone
nut, ebony/maple saddles (Tim Scheerhorn set it up once before I bought it,
but I've had the cone out a few times since, so I guess that doesn't
count…). I mounted the tailpiece so it cleared the coverplate by about
3/32". The red damping strip on the underside of the tailpiece is too far
back to be effective on my instrument, but the slot allowed a mounting which
cleared the coverplate. I may have increased the string break angle by
about a degree or so.
The first thing I thought I
noticed was more sustain, but after replacing the original tailpiece, I
realized that was I was hearing was a stronger, more solid fundamental (the
sustain was about 15 seconds either way). The range of solid tone moved up
from about the 7th fret to about the 10th fret. I thought the sound was
louder and punchier.
One interesting observation is
the significant string length between the tailpiece and saddle. With more
string length, the strings behind the bridge vibrate louder than behind the
longer standard tailpiece. On my dobro, the pitch was very close to a C
chord, two octaves above a fifth fret bar position. The sympathetic
vibrations may have helped the sound up the neck (above the 7th fret) when I
played in G and C, but not as much when I played in A. I tried damping the
strings behind the bridge; the sound became drier and less pleasant to my
ears. Please note that the pitch behind the bridge may be different on
other instruments, based on the length from the back of the saddle to the
leading edge of the tailpiece.
Summary: The Allen RS-2
tailpiece is well made. I found the tailpiece improved the overall tone of
my instrument. It looks good if not traditional. If I were going to keep
my 27 (another good story for another time), I would purchase this
As always, your mileage may
vary, close cover before striking, imaginary luthier on closed track, etc.
I received Randy Allen's
new tailpiece with the wider string spacing today (Monday, September 20th).
First of all, I must say it looks *nice*. All around good looks and nice
finish. There are three or four features I really liked even before I
installed it on a guitar.
(1.) The way the strings
come out from underneath the leading edge. That is good in my book. It gives
a positive "jumping off" point to the bridge.
(2.) The slotted hole for
the mounting screw. This allows for a couple of different things. One thing
(the original intention, I believe) is it allows the tailpiece to line up
with screw holes that are not quit "standard." You have some leeway there.
The other thing is that the slotted screw hole allows you to place a piece
of leather under the tailpiece should you want to raise it up to adjust your
down pressure to the cone.
(3.) The tailpiece is
about an inch shorter than a stock tailpiece. This gives more string length
behind the bridge, and makes for "good vibrations" for the cone. Since the
tailpiece is shorter, there will be more of a drop in the string height from
bridge to tailpiece, especially as the strings exit from beneath. If you
fear that the drop is too much, you just place a piece of leather under the
tailpiece about even with the ball ends of the strings. I did this to see
how it would work out, and it works just fine, thanx to that slotted screw
hole. Of course, there is the ability to add one or two more strings with
this tailpiece as well. You got your six, seven and eight stringer right
here, folks. I figured the best test would be on my OMI D 60.
It sounds great as is, so
I wondered what the result would be. The tailpiece is no trouble to install.
There may be some who complain about the fact that you have to thread the
strings through from the back, but that is a non-problem for me. I did space
it up to sort of match the string drop I had before, since it was where I
had found that I liked it. The first thing I noticed (other than the spiffy
good looks) was that it made my guitar more fun to play.( Most will know
what I mean...there are lots of great Dobros, but some are simply *more fun*
as soon as you start to pick...). The tailpiece seems to have given my D 60
a more lively action. I *really* liked that. It had an improved response
over the entire range, but especially in the Bass. I would not hesitate to
say that I found a definite improvement in my guitar after installing
Randy's new tailpiece.
I LIKE IT.
The only thing I don't
like is the fact that I gotta take it off and send it on to Benny Barrett.
Hang on, Benny, relief is on the way...
For those of you who remember
Randy Allen's great offer to circulate a couple of his new reso tailpieces
among the list members, well, I finally received one and had a chance to try
it out. Thought I'd post my thoughts here as a thank you to Randy and to let
you all know my take on the RS-2 tailpiece.
First of all, the RS-2 is a thing
of beauty. Heavy, beautifully-finished, and a real eye-catcher. It would be
worth having one just as an eye-pleaser. When it arrived, the finish looked
wonderful except for some markings on the matte-finish behind the rearmost 2
extra string holes. Don't know if this was from strings being installed, but
I don't think so. More like somebody doodled on it with a pencil. A small
thing, and shouldn't be an issue. The rhodium plating is quite striking--not
an exact color match for nickel or chrome finishes, so it stands out. (I'd
love to see the bronze tailpiece, just for comparison.) I ended up trying
it out on a circa-1971 Dobro.
I recall someone saying they
thought that feeding strings through the holes on an Allen tailpiece was
more inconvenient than slipping them into the slots of a traditional
tailpiece. With the exception of the rare occasion when you're actually
changing and comparing tailpieces and trying to save the strings, I
disagree. It was great not having to use a piece of masking tape to hold the
string in the slot while I fiddled at the far end to get the string on. I
find the Allen design a definite feature and not a bug.
Others have described the design
of the tailpiece, so I'll just describe what it did for my Dobro. It
definitely improved the lows, while the highs were a bit softer--not a bad
thing, just a mellowing of some of that Dobro shrillness. In the midrange,
it somehow seemed to eliminate that Dobro funkiness--coupled with that new
Quarterman cone, it sounded a lot more like an
open soundwell guitar than I ever expected that instrument to sound. Now, I
happen to like that funky tone on the Dobro, but the sound coming from that
Dobro was very pleasing. Makes me really wonder what I could have done with
a screw hole in the right place and a little judicious adjustment.
I plugged a microphone into my
computer and made some quick and dirty recordings, first with the RS-2
installed, then with the old tailpiece back on (and a new set of strings),
then, for the heck of it, my newly set-up Jones. Now, it's hard to do this
and know how much of what you're hearing is the guitar, or the slight shift
in angle and position of the microphone, or maybe even the change in
humidity from the time I made one recording to the next. For what it's
worth, though, the recording of the guitar with the RS-2 sounds clearly
different from the old tailpiece. Less muddy, less overtones, louder, and
sweeter, even with a slightly used set of strings. Less midrange "funk."
Overall, it's a pretty amazing difference.
I'd love to find one of these in
my Christmas stocking. It's not going to make as big a difference as a new
set up or putting in a new resonator. It definitely falls into the category
of a subtle but real shift in the tonal qualities of the instrument. I'd
love to have one for the Jones guitar and the time to really work with it,
adjusting the height and tweaking the angle of the strings. I think it
could be a real asset. And sound issues aside, the thing just looks great.