A Tail of Two Tailpieces
I have been having a fair degree of success with Stratocaster builds of late and, apart from the neck set, one of the key components is a large hunk of brass underneath the bridge acting as the counter balance for the tremelo mechanism - it adds huge amounts of sustain to the guitar. Similarly on Telecaster builds, one of the favorite tricks is using the Armadillo Brass Bridges which are milled out of heavy bell brass rather than use the conventional bent steel bridges much to the same effect.
So I decided to have a go at applying the same principle to some other Guitars. As it happens Kluson have re-issued a number of vintage type parts and one of them is a heavy duty tailpiece meant for Archtop Guitars. I included it on the spruce up of the Harmony Meteor and it has made a huge difference to that guitar - not only in look and feel but also in the overall sound - it is now much fuller and rounder and has the depth that you would normally associate with a full bodied Archtop rather than a ply topped mail order guitar which were what Harmony were back in the day.
The next one for the treatment was the original Black Les Paul "Rescue Dog". With time on my hands to finally get round to working on it again, after a fret job (see the hygenist entry for what's involved in that one), it was time to change out some of the cheaper Hardware that I had used to get the thing going in the first place. The Tuners got changed for a set of real US Grovers and I added a bridge with 6mm posts to give it more stability and body contact. The final part was adding the Kluson tailpiece and the effect was dramatic - adding depth and tone and just generally improving the feel of this rather well beaten up Beauty.