Tailpieces

The size and design of the tailpiece can have a noticeable effect on tone. The Presto tailpiece is very popular for a number of reasons, including the fact that it’s easy to attach the strings. Some tailpieces have a poorly located lid design that interferes with the string hooks. The size and weight of the Presto seem to be just right for most bluegrass banjos. Tailpieces that are too long and heavy seem to mute the tone somewhat. Small old-time style tailpieces are too short and do not put enough down pressure on the bridge.

The height of the tailpiece is very important. Too low can give a harsh, edgy tone; too high can give a soft, mushy, less focused tone. It’s worth taking some time to find the right setting for your instrument. A good setting to start with is to have the strings clear the head about half the height of the bridge.