Tail Piece Gut Adjustment for best performance....
... A short historical note might be in order here. The ' Gut' refers to the time when the trail piece gut {or attaching cord} really was made of sheep gut [made up of square leather strips from the middle lining of the small intestines]. Nowdays this is often made of a tough synthetic plastic, which usually has a threaded brass sleeve nuts for adjustment at each end
...To appoximate the proper tail gut length, adjust it so that the distance from the center of the bridge to the string bar on the tailpiece is 1/6 th the length of the string from the nut to the center of the bridge. Since this 'stopped length' on a full sized violin is (12 15/16"), 2.156" is the other measurement (2 5/32") from the bridge center to the string bar of the tail piece.
...Remember that the new tailgut will stretch with string tension so make the tail gut a bit short to begin with. As a practical guide, adjust the tail gut length as short as possible so that the tailpiece just does not touch the saddle [the saddle is that ebony block of wood the tail gut sits upon]. Then under full string tension is will have just a little clearance back to the saddle.
(modified 8/2014)
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