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Oct 23, 2019 - 10:23:08 AM
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1234 posts since 10/11/2012

I have always loved the Oettinger tailpiece. It looks so cool and they are rare, right. Which just adds to the attraction. I'd never seen one 'in the flesh' in England.

I eventually bought one and it was all I had hoped for. And it worked, Form and Function! By adjusting the fingers it is possible to increase or decrease the down-pressure of the bridge on the head. It is possible to 'lower' a shrill 1st string and 'up' a dull 4th, for example.

Anyway, being a 'maker of things' I got to thinking about making an Oettinger...

Without giving too much away, I can tell you a bit about it.

It took about a year and a half elapsed time to achieve the goal. The Oettinger is cast and then it requires quite a bit of  machining. A back-plate, five fingers, five thumbscrews and a long screw with a fancy nut to attach it to the banjo.

I have fitted Oettingers to all my banjos and I have sold a few on eBay (I also have an Oettinger Tailpiece for Sale  here).

I have a few more and if they sell, I will make some more. I am also trying to do a 'silver' model as well but there's all sorts of problems involved with that (isn't there always).

Anyway, here's some pictures...

Oettinger Tailpiece 5 String in Brass

Oettinger Tailpiece Shoing Thumbscrews

Oettinger Tailpiece 5 String in Brass Seen From Top

Oettinger Tailpiece Seen From Right

And another picture to show one mounted and strung up...

Oettinger Tailpiece Mounted on 5 String Banjo
 

Some people say negative things about Oettingers and suggest that they don't work as I have described and some even say they are only useful as 'fine tuners' like on Fiddles (not true).

I stand by what I say on these beautiful tailpieces, they work as I have described but if you need further convincing then please read this rather interesting article in Banjo Newsletter regarding Bill Rickard's Oettinger here.

Oct 23, 2019 - 10:25:47 AM

1234 posts since 10/11/2012

I can ship these to the USA via a fully insured postal service that takes five or six days. I know this because I have done it recently. It costs £22 which is about $28.

Oct 23, 2019 - 10:28:36 AM
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947 posts since 3/21/2013

i have one, very similar on a luthier made long neck banjo from the 60's

Oct 23, 2019 - 10:55:51 AM
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4766 posts since 9/21/2007
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyndon Smith


 

Some people say negative things about Oettingers and suggest that they don't work as I have described and some even say they are only useful as 'fine tuners' like on Fiddles (not true).

 


I saw that on Facebook.  Trolls are always going to troll.  And they usually don't know what they are talking about.

Excellent work on this.  I think you should keep making them.  I like that you made the string connectors correct.

Oct 23, 2019 - 11:01:37 AM
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4766 posts since 9/21/2007
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Funny...  

https://patents.google.com/patent/US1713855A

Evidently it was intended as a fine tuner set up.  He also mentions individual string tension at the end of the patent.  So it could be said that they were designed for both uses.

Oct 23, 2019 - 11:41:37 AM

1234 posts since 10/11/2012

Just so that any of you guys know, I sell spares Oettinger Thumbscrews Set of Five and a single Oettinger Thumbscrew for anyone who has lost these hard to find parts...

Oct 23, 2019 - 2:34:06 PM
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7418 posts since 1/7/2005

Like a beautiful and functional piece of jewelry for your banjo. It looks like top quality work. I'm sure there are pickers who will want one.

DD

Oct 23, 2019 - 3:51:16 PM

2 posts since 10/18/2019

Looks great. Do you have 4 string/Tenor versions? Or would it be possible to make them? I'm sure there would be a market with all the Trad players out there.. probably useful when using Irish tuning due to the lower tension?

Oct 23, 2019 - 5:36:59 PM

6245 posts since 8/28/2013

I do agree that there are probably tenor and plectrum players who would love these.

I doubt you can make a "silver" one, though. Silver itself is too maleable. Silver plated brass would work, or perhaps an alloy that looks like silver.

Do your replacement adjustment screws fit the original Oetingers or any of the other non-originals that have been produced?

Oct 23, 2019 - 5:37:06 PM
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4383 posts since 11/20/2004

Nice work. Looks just like the Fender Concertone original.

Oct 23, 2019 - 6:49:26 PM
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777 posts since 2/17/2005

These are fantastic looking Lyndon! i cannot imagine all the work that went into getting this right

Oct 23, 2019 - 9:57:45 PM
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5181 posts since 12/20/2005

I have one Oettinger tailpiece, a 6 string. It was on a 1931 Gibson GB1, I purchased from Gruhn's several years ago. I don't know if the banjo left the factory with this tailpiece or not.
I like it. I wish I had several more.
I once read 6-string Oettingers were actually made by soldering a 4 string + half of another 4 string.

The Oettinger on this banjo is incredible. Really nice work.

Oct 24, 2019 - 12:38:04 AM

1234 posts since 10/11/2012

quote:
Originally posted by thegrimdreaper

Looks great. Do you have 4 string/Tenor versions? Or would it be possible to make them? I'm sure there would be a market with all the Trad players out there.. probably useful when using Irish tuning due to the lower tension?


Thanks.

I have only one 4 String Oettinger in Brass at the moment. The higher price reflects the extra work involved in making it. I am flexible on price, though.  

Oct 24, 2019 - 12:48:48 AM
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1234 posts since 10/11/2012

quote:
Originally posted by G Edward Porgie

I do agree that there are probably tenor and plectrum players who would love these.

I doubt you can make a "silver" one, though. Silver itself is too maleable. Silver plated brass would work, or perhaps an alloy that looks like silver.

Do your replacement adjustment screws fit the original Oetingers or any of the other non-originals that have been produced?


When I said silver, I meant the colour rather than the elemental metal.

I think the answer to this problem is Nickel Silver but that presents more problems. There are many types of Nickel Silver which is an alloy of copper, zinc and nickel (and some other rarer metals sometimes). The different compositions are different colours, some yellowy and some more bluey.

I thought about plating but it has its own problems. Holes get smaller, parts get bigger and no longer fit and so on. I have had real problems in the past with chrome plated parts for my motorbikes and cars.

And finally, YES, my Oettinger Screws do fit the original Oettingers. I sell them in sets of five and I sell a single Oettinger Screw.

Oct 24, 2019 - 12:53:44 AM

1234 posts since 10/11/2012

quote:
Originally posted by R. Blakeslee Gilpin

These are fantastic looking Lyndon! i cannot imagine all the work that went into getting this right


Thanks very much. Yes, it was a lot of work and money up front with no real guarantee of success. I have great faith in Oettingers and hopefully others can now get to own them for a more reasonable cost. I've seen originals go for $600! 

Oct 24, 2019 - 1:00:34 AM

1234 posts since 10/11/2012

quote:
Originally posted by Leslie R

I have one Oettinger tailpiece, a 6 string. It was on a 1931 Gibson GB1, I purchased from Gruhn's several years ago. I don't know if the banjo left the factory with this tailpiece or not.
I like it. I wish I had several more.
I once read 6-string Oettingers were actually made by soldering a 4 string + half of another 4 string.

The Oettinger on this banjo is incredible. Really nice work.


Thanks.

I have never seen a six string Oettinger tailpiece. That's one rare beast. My 4 String Oettinger Tailpiece was made from 5 String Oettinger parts and required a lot of additional work. I could maybe make a six string version if someone wanted one badly enough...

Oct 24, 2019 - 3:42:30 AM

1234 posts since 10/11/2012

Just so that you guys know, the first person to buy an Oettinger tailpiece from me here: 

https://www.numonday.com/shop/lyndon-bespoke-banjo/

Will get a £10 discount by using the coupon code: MEFIRST

And shipping to USA is £22. It's safe and secure and takes about five or six days...

Oct 24, 2019 - 5:34 AM
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5181 posts since 12/20/2005

I visited the site where you sell your tailpieces. I was expecting prices to be much higher.
Very reasonable prices. I hope you get enough orders to become a billionaire !
I think there is a market for Oettinger tailpieces.
I'm thinking there is perhaps a small market for 6-string tailpieces as well.
I have seen them sell within an hour on this site. Last one was a couple of years ago. It came off of a Framus banjo guitar. Price was too much for me, but someone grabbed it fast.
Like I said, I really do like the one I have.

Edited by - Leslie R on 10/24/2019 05:34:41

Oct 24, 2019 - 6:04:23 AM

1234 posts since 10/11/2012

quote:
Originally posted by Leslie R

I visited the site where you sell your tailpieces.smiley I was expecting prices to be much higher.
Very reasonable prices
.smileyI hope you get enough orders to become a billionaire !
I think there is a market for Oettinger tailpieces.
I'm thinking there is perhaps a small market for 6-string tailpieces as well.
I have seen them sell within an hour on this site. Last one was a couple of years ago. It came off of a Framus banjo guitar. Price was too much for me, but someone grabbed it fast.
Like I said, I really do like the one I have.


Thanks Leslie. I'll be happy with recouping my outlay and some pocket money. There's just not a big enough market in the banjo world. We're a minority...

Oct 30, 2019 - 9:53:08 AM

1234 posts since 10/11/2012

Just so that you guys know. I have created a 4 String version of the Oettinger in brass. I am toying with a 6 String version and I am moving along on the 'Silver metal' version. I will keep you all posted.

4 String Oettinger in Brass

This one is available here: 4 String Oettinger in Brass

Oct 30, 2019 - 10:55:41 AM
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5181 posts since 12/20/2005

6 string Oettinger's are almost non-existent. Other than mine, I have seen 3.
One was on a B&D. There was the one I saw here on BHO for sale, several months ago.
Bill Rickard also has/had one. I don't know if it has sold. It looked great. But it would only fit for the spacing of tension hooks on a Gibson, or I would have purchased it.


I have seen a number of high quality 6 string banjo's on the market: retail, ebay, on BHO, etc.
Good quality, attractive, 6 string tailpieces are not easy to come by, particulary adjustable tailpieces.

I suspect there is a market here. Not huge, but I think it's there.

I'm curious.
How many here would be interested in a 6-string Oettinger ?

Nov 4, 2019 - 5:19:19 AM
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5181 posts since 12/20/2005

I have got my order in for the 6 string Oettinger tailpiece.
I think it should arrive in a couple of weeks.

Really looking forward to this.

Thanks Lyndon !

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