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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Looking for an Oettinger tailpiece

Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link:

Wayne King - Posted - 01/28/2009:  15:03:44

Hi all,
My Tenor Banjo playing buddy has a Oettinger tailpiece, ( the ones with the individual string arms and adjustable tension) I'm looking for the 5 string model, I know they made them but can't find anyone who has one instock. I'm looking for the gold plated model. I'm playing a Nichols banjo with a Gibson Granada pot and a Deering Golden Era so I'd need two.
Anyone use one and can give me there opinion on them ? My friends mastertone sounds great with it and he swears by it.
Hope to hear from some of you,

jbalch - Posted - 01/28/2009:  15:32:02

We discussed these tailpices here a few days back. I think there was some information about availability (or the lack of it) here:

There is a 4-string version on ebay now. The seller is asking $295. That price seems very high to me...

Edited by - jbalch on 01/29/2009 12:37:59

xnavyguy - Posted - 01/28/2009:  16:27:26

There is some information and some URL's where you might be able to find one similar to the Oettinger.


"The only security you will ever have is in your ability to perform."

George Flink - Posted - 01/28/2009:  17:30:36

I think Elderly sells them.

ambpicker - Posted - 01/29/2009:  13:49:08

I just looked at Elderly's talipieces, and they did not have in this style.


slopdropper - Posted - 01/29/2009:  14:38:56

Is it possible that the tenor piece was modified to accept another arm to make it a 5string tailpiece. I have searched all over and have not been able to find a Ottenger 5string tailpiece either.

If It Feels Good Do It!

jbalch - Posted - 01/29/2009:  15:41:14

I'm sure there were original Oettinger 5-string tailpieces. But I imagine they are fairly rare. Most of the originals I've seen are 4-string versions.

Check out the photos from They show a 5-string Oettinger with the center finger removed.

jims38134 - Posted - 01/30/2009:  11:28:15

Not Oettinger but similar.


jbalch - Posted - 01/30/2009:  11:55:06

That is interesting. Thanks!

Dogface - Posted - 01/30/2009:  12:27:21

Richelieu sells a pretty good quality direct copy.


If there are no dogs in heaven then when I die I want to go where they went...

Will Rogers

pgroff - Posted - 01/30/2009:  12:56:31

[quote]Originally posted by jbalch

That is interesting. Thanks!

I posted a thread here some months back to ask if anyone here had tried the Tomcat TP -- no takers.

Anyone since then?

Re: Richelieu, the last time I talked with them they did not have and could not get the 5 string version of the repro Oettinger. Check with them to be sure I am remembering correctly, but I got the impression they only made the 4 string version themselves and for 5 string they recommended the German repro, which they said was no longer available. But recently, Mike Keyes was able to get that version (maybe from Switzerland?) and Ome and Renee Karnes have also been recommended as sources.... search the hangout for these recent threads.

Edited by - pgroff on 01/30/2009 13:00:34

Paul Gorman - Posted - 01/30/2009:  16:09:19

A week or so ago I was able to get a used 5-string "Bearclaw" from a a fellow BHO member for $50. It is in good working condition, with a nice vintage tarnish on the back plate. It came missing the end bolt, easily replaced with a generic. It is very similar to the original 4-string Oettinger on my '38 Silver Bell, simpler lines but same action. See John Balch's pictures (no.3) above.

I put it on my 1907 Bacon Professional ff which has an oversized neck and pot so it is really worthwhile to tweak the tonality some. Still, the 'fingers' wind up at pretty much the same level. It is a big sucker, and I may have to remove about 1.5" x 1.8" padding at the bottom of the case to fit it in? No it fit because when the case is closed the tailpiece rides up in the top, where there is no extra padding!.

Owen Hickman

Edited by - Paul Gorman on 01/30/2009 19:51:57

RaYhOLio - Posted - 01/30/2009:  17:49:46

Forget about tomcat.. I tried to order that tailpeice.. had ZERO luck.. several emails went unanswered... Phone disconnected... couldn't even do a google search for the guy!

i WISH I could get my hands on one of those... but aint gonna happen..

Makin'' grass grow in Joplin, MO

Want a bail out plan that actually works??

jbalch - Posted - 02/04/2009:  19:23:04

check out this one on an old Vega Professional:

Arthur Hatfield - Posted - 02/04/2009:  19:48:40

I have one of the Ottinger 5 string tailpieces on one of my personal banjos but not interested in selling it they are so handy they will work like fine tuners on a fiddle if a string needs just a tiny bit of tuning and so much more precise than having to use the regular tuner if the string just needs just a real small amount of tuning. Of course when used as fine tuners you must check the height of the tailpiece off the head fairly often to keep it at the desired height you prefer.

Arthur Hatfield

SJL - Posted - 02/04/2009:  20:27:36

I believe that these were standard on Fender Concert Tones. My uncie had a five string Concert Tone and it had one of these tail pieces,

"If the woman is alive at the end of the song, it ain''t Bluegrass".

2007 Hatfield Walnut Custom

1976 (?) Aria Pro Tree of Life

southcoastman42 - Posted - 02/05/2009:  03:23:11

I had been looking for one a month ago and had started the other thread. Answers led me to Richelieu Banjos ( Rich answered right away by phone and said he had 1 5 string but his German supplier had gone out of business and he would not be getting any more. He did not have any 4 string. I have this one and it is a new one just the same as the one on my Great Lakes.
I also contacted Renee Karnes ( who was very slow to respond but said she could put one together after she knew what I wanted. I asked for a price before I ordered and she did not answer me. She did indicate she had the parts.

dsr - Posted - 02/05/2009:  06:42:43

I must consider myself fortunate since I just bought a 5 string gold plated Richelieu from a guy in Canada that replied to my banjo parts wanted ad in Kijiji. Going to try it on a Bacon Peerless . I say this to enphasise that they are out there...somewhere!

Edited by - dsr on 02/05/2009 09:50:22

bango - Posted - 02/06/2009:  12:33:33

Monte Hendricks uses something very similar on his banjos. His web site does not show them, but you can see how to contact him.

Baconfine - Posted - 02/07/2009:  06:50:51

see Richelieu banjos or Renee Karnes

anbanco - Posted - 02/07/2009:  09:13:22

If you are still interested, I have one of the Ottinger repros (nos) made by ABM in Germany, I've had it for more than ten years. Gold Plated and still in its shrink wrap package. It is identicle to tailpiece #3 in the pictures posted previously. The price is $150.00 post paid.

southcoastman42 - Posted - 02/07/2009:  16:18:03

Glen-- you have mail

JOnkka - Posted - 02/18/2009:  00:54:51

I have a Liberty Bearclaw. See the picture above labeled #1. I got it from Liberty Banjos in the seventies. It is like an Oettinger. Built a bit heavier. I use it to set the volume of the individual strings so that they are more even. Lowest string gets the most pressure moving to higher strings getting lesser pressures. More pressure being closer to the head. Love it.

BNL April 1974

Edited by - JOnkka on 02/18/2009 01:01:42

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