I have on my bench an old Gibson mandola that the customer wants to make playable again. However, one of the string tabs on the tailpiece is missing, and one of the others looks like it is ready to break off if it is returned to it's original position - see picture. So I started researching mandola tailpieces, and in the process, I found the 2nd picture. It appears that they cut out the missing tab farther and bent it to create a new tab - does this seem like a reasonable way to repair this for my customer? It will leave her with the original tailpiece and cover and that seems like the right way to go if possible.

Has anyone done this type of repair to an old tailpiece, and are there any pros/cons to doing it this way? She is less concerned with original than playable, so if a new tailpiece is a better solution, please suggest which one would be best for this instrument.

Thanks for any help!

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Personally, I would take it and have a new tab tig welded on, the one about to break off tigged in place, and maybe a bead run at the stress point on all of them...not much cost and keep it mostly original.

Barring that, a stud up through a hole drilled in the tailpiece to hold the string would work...


First off, though I don't chime in often here, because I try to stay within my qualifications to do so,
I am an avid consumer of the advice offered here, by people with an immence collective amount of
experience, and don't mean to presume any equality in this high company!
I do play and love old instruments and fix them some. I think I have a feel for what's right or wrong in the way
of treatment of these old treasures, such as this Gibson Mandola , posted by Bob. In my humble opinion, the chance of any
type of welding working on this tailpiece is near non-existent. The picture you found of the tab cut deeper and
re-bent, to me is the most direct and elegant way of addressing the owner's desire to make it playable and
Keeping it as original as possible, as you will be keeping the original part, and it couldn't be made like new anyway.
I think care needs to be taken in bending so the brass isn't over stressed, that is keep it a little curved, not kinked too
tight. I could stand correcting if anyone thinks I'm off base on this , though. Wish you would post a picture of the mandola, Bob.
Would be nice to see the whole thing!

I suppose I go to my experience...with a back ground in welding, fabrication, and sheetmetal work...

Being brass...Silver soldered or brazing would be the proper repair.....for me

The added strength at the bends to prevent further need for repair in the future was my concern...

But if reslotting is the 'go to' method....then that works for me too


Glen, I'll defer to your experience in metal work! No offence meant!

No offence taken...

Many ways to skin a cat...So whatever works best for the one doing it is the best option...



These old tailpieces often break, and it's fairly common to replace the bottom part with a new one.  If you fit up the old cover nicely, the result is very good.  Don't count on screw and end pin holes matching exactly. . .

I have seen these with a section of nail, of the right size and length, tucked under all of the remaining tabs, and the string loops threaded on the nail.  A pain to change the strings, but it functioned well.

Many thanks for the replies. I ended up creating a couple of new tabs below the missing ones since the owner decided she wanted to try to remain as original as possible, with installing a new tailpiece as the backup plan. It worked out fine, and the mandola is back in action.


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