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 Post subject: Re: 12 string tailpiece Blues
 Post Posted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 5:53 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2008 4:13 am
Posts: 6
Location: So California
While I have never witnessed a 12-string R tailpiece actually fail, I have seen several late 1980s-1990s era tailpieces that have developed very pronounced stress lines or fractures. Once you see fractures developing, you have a potential problem on your hands, because if the tailpiece fails it could conceivably damage the guitar if it comes apart under full tension. While it seems unlikely that the tailpiece would "take flight" in those circumstances given the number of strings that are wedged in the slots, if the tailpiece dug into the wood for any reason (or, if it came apart in the case and subsequent movement of the case caused the loose parts to rattle around), the damage could cost a lot more than $100 to repair. I have no idea what the engineering considerations are, and you obviously can't design your way out of situations where the customer takes a chisel to the part or decides to store their Ric in a fish tank, etc., but it seems to me that an unaltered tailpiece ought to be manufactured to withstand a lifetime of "normal" use. If this is an ongoing issue even with new Ric 12 strings and the strength of the tailpiece could be improved at modest cost, that would be a win-win all around.


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 Post subject: Re: 12 string tailpiece Blues
 Post Posted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 6:12 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 04, 2009 3:15 am
Posts: 659
Location: Florida
REPORT: :-))

my 12-string R tailpiece is 43 years old (from 1966) and it has never broken. My guitar was put through a lot of playing in the 1960's, 1970's, and 1980's. I believe it has stood well to the test of time. Many times I have used it as a 6-string, it sounds different than any other guitar.

TIP:
When not in use for a while or during transport, I tune my 370-12 down to D, that is, the E strings are tuned to the D note, this keeps tension on the neck and tailpiece but not so much as when tuned to normal A=440hz.

Zurdo




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 Post subject: Re: 12 string tailpiece Blues
 Post Posted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 9:31 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 27, 2008 10:49 pm
Posts: 573
Location: Stanstead, QC
I have a 1986 vintage black tailpiece that so far is in good shape on my 330/6 MG.

Some things I've noticed about this peculiar model that differ from my 330 FG 2005: the R-tailpiece has space for 12 strings and the bridge saddles are single-notched off-center in the "octave" position as if it started life as a 12 but never made it past 6. Because the saddles are twisted on one side, you really have to keep on top of adjustment or you will get buzzing.

Powder coating vs chrome plating should not affect the structural strength of the R at all, but constantly pulling the tailpiece a little off-center with that odd saddle ... ???





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 Post subject: Re: 12 string tailpiece Blues
 Post Posted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:35 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2008 8:14 pm
Posts: 427
Location: Ohio
OK everybody, you can stop worrying about your R tailpieces. The heavy chrome plating actually adds to the structural strength (much like an ecto-skeleton). So unless the chrome becomes deeply scratched or etched, you're good. Which brings us to the black, powder finished tailpieces. The powder coat is baked on, so the finish is not as substancial, leaving its overall structure a touch weaker. But again, if it is free of scratches or defects, odds are very good the black R tailpiece will never give you any trouble, either.

So, from time to time, check your R for cracks, etching or deep scratches. If you find some metal fatigue, replace the tailpiece. Just as you would any other damaged or worn out part.

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 Post subject: Re: 12 string tailpiece Blues
 Post Posted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 3:08 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2005 2:00 pm
Posts: 2962
Location: Scotland
Quote:
OK everybody, you can stop worrying about your R tailpieces. The heavy chrome plating actually adds to the structural strength (much like an ecto-skeleton). So unless the chrome becomes deeply scratched or etched, you're good.
Again, I'm not sure I quite agree. While it's true that a scratch will definitely increase the chance of failure, one of the ones I saw break, I'm almost 100% certain was not scratched, even lightly. The guitar had belonged to me previously, and it was in mint condition. I sold it to a friend who is also extremely careful with guitars, and in fact barely used it. One day he opened the case after it had been put away for a few months and found the tailpiece broken. So I think they *can* fail even without being scratched. (In case you wonder, this is the one that was strung with 9s and it was not stored anywhere that might increase the risk, ie anywhere cold.)

Quote:
Which brings us to the black, powder finished tailpieces. The powder coat is baked on, so the finish is not as substancial, leaving its overall structure a touch weaker.
That does seem to be the case, although I've never actually seen a broken black one! I have come across a black bass tailpiece that was badly lifted though, worse than any chrome one I've seen.

Quote:
So, from time to time, check your R for cracks, etching or deep scratches. If you find some metal fatigue, replace the tailpiece. Just as you would any other damaged or worn out part.
Of course, although the problem is that it's not cheap, and you can't keep a spare, unless you buy a used one on the open market - you have to send the broken original to RIC and wait for a replacement (not sure what the turnaround time is in the US, but in the UK going via the national distributor, it took weeks), so if it's a guitar you need to use, this could be a serious problem.

Don't misunderstand, I'm not saying the the part is no good, and the failure rate is certainly small - but it's not *totally* uncommon for them to break either. I just wonder whether it is really quite strong enough for the job, on a 12-string... or more accurately, that there are slightly flawed examples (which is always going to happen with a casting) that just fall into the unsafe range. It's also quite clear that an un-flawed example will easily last decades with heavy strings with no problem at all.


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 Post subject: Re: 12 string tailpiece Blues
 Post Posted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:44 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:49 pm
Posts: 1
I have a chrome broken tailpiece from my 1993 / 360/12. I opened the case in my studio only two weeks ago and it was broken where it slips over the catch attached to the body. Emails to the company have so far been unsuccessful. Bit of a problem when i am in Australia.


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 Post subject: Re: 12 string tailpiece Blues
 Post Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 1:54 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2005 1:00 pm
Posts: 2592
Location: The Rickenroom
Marty, I don't know when you emailed RIC, but right now the company is shutdown for summer vacation until July 9th. If you had send emails much sooner than this past Thursday, it's possible that your email might be going into their spam filter. Most companies set their spam filters very sensitive, They can't be too careful. What kind of email account is yours?

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Throw that piece of firewood where it belongs and get yourself a Rickenbacker!


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