There is a vast variety of tailpieces to choose from these days, varying in cost, aesthetics, origin, and materials. So how should you choose the right tailpiece for your violin?
Before answering the question, we need to understand how a tailpiece can affect a violin. It comes down to two things: sound and appearance.
Appearance can be subjective, and we won’t be diving into much detail here, besides that it’s worth noting the more you like the violin, the better you will play on it, and the more enjoyable the experience becomes. When it comes to sound, the type of material has significant influence, provided that the violin is well setup, has a good quality tailcord, and the instrument at hand is indeed a violin, and not a violin-shaped-object. Wood produces a generous and natural sound compared to metal. The difference here is similar to comparing gut strings to steel strings. And similar to strings, of course the quality of the tailpiece itself is important too.
Two factors are especially important to making a good tailpiece: the type/quality of wood, and weight. On top of that, it is also important to consider the match or the synergy between the violin and the tailpiece. Generally, denser/heavier tailpieces, like ebony, produces a darker and more focused tone, while woods like boxwood and rosewood produce warmer and more euphoric tones. Pernambucco tailpieces generally produce brighter and more focused tones. While craftsmanship in terms of appearance does not affect the sound itself, the knowledge and the ability to find the balance between the wood and the weight is essential. So craftsmanship does play a very important role.
Commission a tailored violin with the fittings of your choice: