Tailpiece is installed to a string instrument to primarily hold the end of the strings. The most common reasons to change the tailpiece are replacement of damaged tailpiece and tone modification or enhancement.
The main body of a tailpiece is usually made of hardwood such as rosewood, ebony, etc. Sometime you will find it made of other durable materials such as cast light metal or composites (plastics, carbon fibre, etc.). On the tailpiece, there are also fine tuners and tailcord (also known as “tailgut”). A fine tuner has a screw that tightens or loosens up the string and a lever that helps to hold the strings. Daily usage can damage the screws, levers and tailcord easily. If any of these is broken, you’ll need to change the tailpiece.
A compatible tailpiece can increase responsiveness and playability and bring out harmonics and overtones. It can also enhance resonance and even reduce undesired vibration such as wolf tones for a richer and fuller tone quality. In fact, physical specifications, string slot position, and installation position can affect the tone quality. Only the right tailpieces installed at the right position can bring out the best of the instrument. Therefore, it is worthwhile to seek professional advice for tone modification or enhancement.