The Unwound Third > Gitfiddles, Harps, Washboards & Kazoos

Fraulini Angelina 12 string - pin bridge or tailpiece?

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Howdy fellow Weenies!   :D

I am currently getting into the order details for my Fraulini Angelina 12!!!  I'm going pretty basic, but I am still undecided on a pin bridge versus tailpiece.  At first, I really liked the way the tailpiece looked, but now I really can't decide.  I like the way both of 'em look.  And also, if a pin bridge, a 12 or 6 pin? 
So, what do you guys think?
I've heard that string length can be a problem with the tailpiece - hard to find strings long enough to fit. 
How about the top pulling up at the bridge with a pin bridge?  Anybody think that is a concern? 
Or intonation problems with one or the other?   
Or anything else that should enter into the decision?

Any opinions are greatly appreciated!  I've been going back and forth over the pin bridge vs tailpiece since I put my name on the order list with Todd!

Thanks for your help!

Nice choice to have to make!

I went for the tailpiece. I like the sound, slightly less bright, and I think playability is better as there is a little less tension as there is more string to stretch, as a bonus the tailpiece looks great. I've had no trouble with getting strings despite the long scale, although I now get them through Todd who has La Bella make custom sets.

Having said the above, others prefer the pin bridge sound and I don't dislike it (maybe one couldn't even tell in a blind test). I don't believe that either choice would be something you would seriously regret making - pin or tailpiece they are still a great sounding/playing guitar - flip a coin if you are that undecided.

BTW, probably more important, what woods have you chosen?

My Fraulini has a tailpiece, and I have nothing to compare it to so can't comment on the sound. What I would say is I really like to rake the thumbpick over the strings behind the bridge in my endings, gets a laugh every time.

Yeah, I do that with my Nationals, Riv, ala Fuller, et al., but my Sov 12 string is a 6 pin bridge, of which I am a fan.

I think Todd is perfectly capable of building a pin bridge that is hassle free, but a 6 pin, in that the top and bridge plate have less perforation, may be a little more stable?. I think it looks cooler.-G-

There really is a difference in the way the two styles actually move the top. As someone mentioned above, the string tension is taken mostly by the body and the top is laterally stressed by the strings with a tailpiece, and it is changes in this sideways string pressure which drives the somewhat less reinforced top. In a pin bridge, the string tension pulls a slight torque into the bridge and the entire string tension is absorbed by the top, reinforced with a bridge plate. In a bridge plate all of the energy not absorbed by the head is transmitted to the top. But too much tension can have a damping effect.

But it is a complicated question, and I would leave it to someone like Neil Harpe (among others), who has heard perhaps dozens (hundreds?) of each style, to actually describe the sonic difference. I couldn't.


I have neither played nor even seen a Fraulini 12-string in person. So I can't speak to Fraulini's specifically. But I have played lots of Stella 12-strings - both "BBQ Bob" and "Leadbelly" size. I have played those having tailpiece with fixed (glued) bridge, tailpiece with a moveable bridge, 6-pin fixed bridge and 12-pin fixed bridge. I have not noticed a big difference in overall tone and volume between tailpiece and fixed bridge examples.

I have noticed one thing, those with pin bridge seem to be a little more responsive to a lighter attack. I play with no picks, so this is important to me. I also am not a fan of the heavy strings some people believe are necessary on a low-tuned 12-string. I use .011 high E strings tuned to C# on a long scale Stella 12-string, which works great for my playing style!

6 or 12 pins make little difference. The fixed bridge models tend to have a bit more sustain in most instances. But having said that, every guitar is different. I have played some incredible tailpiece models!

Certainly, there is nothing structurally wrong with either method of construction. Most of the old Oscar Schmidt 12-strings of either style have survived well over the course of 80+ years!

Neil Harpe


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