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Los Angels 8/4-8/9
London 8/25-9/3
PM me for appointments.
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1 week ago  ·  

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Closer look ... See MoreSee Less

2 months ago  ·  

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For those of you loves the wet glossy look, simply a super thin layer of automotive clear coat. The weather was so nice that I get to do this outside for the first time. ... See MoreSee Less

2 months ago  ·  

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One of the highlights of my SF trip was meeting John Sherba of the Kronos Quartet. I made a special tailpiece for him that has the same designed fine tuners as the cello version and is the only one I have ever made so far. Spending an afternoon tweaking his violin as well as sharing old time stories of legendary musicians was such a delight. Today I got this letter from him and so happy to hear his experience touring with that special tailpiece.

“ Kenneth , sorry for the delay in responding . Currently on my to Toronto after 2 weeks in Europe . The tailpiece has now been through many climates , halls and even a string change . Passed all the tests ! I love it . In all the different acoustics it kept the characteristics I noticed right from the beginning - more breath to the sound . On my violin this translates into more ring , depth and ease of playing . As others noted , your tailpiece can add more positive colors to the sound than a sound post tweaking . It must be the combination of material , weight and shape , whatever , I hear and feel a major difference . ( more than just merely subtle) Thank you for the personalized tuners . Tuners can be quite different . Some fussy , as well as difficult to turn and difficult to put new strings on . As we talked about ,the lever often falls off when changing a string . Not a fun thing to have happen in the middle of a concert - imagine if the lever falls to the ground and you can’t find it . You’re tuners are simply the best in all regards . Thanks for all the thought and work you put into these important devices . Over the last 40 years I have tried many different kinds of tailpieces and totally recommend yours . It’s fabulous . Great talking with you in SF and will let you know when we are back east . My violin thanks you .”

John Sherba
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2 months ago  ·  

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What a gorgeous bass.So here I am with the Gasparo da Salo, anno ~1585. Finally (and somewhat reluctantly) got the carbon fiber tailpiece on. Honestly didn't expect much - spent several months testing lots of different tailpieces and wires a couple of years ago, and pretty certain I had found the best combo for the Gasparo. Having played the new tailpiece now for about two weeks, I can only say this: not taking it off! Smooth playing, more resonance in the low register, more vibrance in the high ranges, faster response and significantly easier to play cross-string legatos. This one is a keeper! ... See MoreSee Less

2 months ago  ·  

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Manufacturing Process

Carbon Fiber(CF) is basically carbon that is woven in to threads and act as a fabric. It is usually a cross weave just like any other fabric but there are various sizes of the weave, the most common for what I am doing is using a 2mm x 2mm.

As a piece of fabric, it is weak and flexible but once the epoxy resin is added, it is incredibly strong compare to other materials of the same weight.

The most exotic cars, bikes, and even now drones are using CF in the construction mainly to reduce the weight.

One thing that no one has ever pay attention to it is the way it sounds. Because of its density after the resin cured it has a natural ringing effect that is pure natural. Because of how hard and light it is, it is able to transmit vibration in a much faster time.

CF is very brittle, unlike the Kevlar which absorbs vibration, it will shatter upon impact while the Kevlar will not and that’s why Kevlar are used for making bullet proof vests etc. but it is terrible for transmitting vibration or sound.

Making a CF part is time consuming, there are no short cuts when doing it the correct way and that’s why they are very expensive. Each step takes tremendous effort and waiting for the epoxy to dry can take up to 8-10 hours each time curing in the oven at 180 degrees. It’s similar to making a violin. You have your material, pattern, lots of extra material that you throw away, you make a mess, you glue it, cut it, shape it, varnish it (clear coat), you sand it, polish it, drill holes etc..

I have spoken with many experts in F1 racing and everyone agree that each piece is made by hand and the mold for each part can take weeks to refine. That being said, this entire CF tailpiece experience has been amazing that I am able to learn and discover how we can use this amazing technology to enhance our beloved instruments and set it free at last.

PHOTOS

Materials
Laying initial outer layer fabric on mold
Using infrared light to cure the coated resin
Sanding excess resin from tailpiece in the clean box
Smoothing out the key hole to fit titanium puller arm by using diamond coated file
Polishing the finished product with compound and buffing drill
Weight
JP Mullen, Kenneth Kuo, Andrew Brittle
Tailpiece on a cello
cello version with titanium fine tuners
cello version
violin version
double bass version
different arch shapes for cello
finishing options: glossy, polished, matte

VIDEOS


Mold making process


Grinding away excess resin, this process needs to be done in a enclosed environment as the resin powder in this stage is bad for your lungs


Drilling pilot holes in cello tailpiece


Violin tailpiece


Cello tailpiece sound comparison


Bass tailpiece sound comparison


Thanks to my dear friend Renato, we are able to use a 3D scanner to scan the original tailpiece and create additional designs base on the original measurement and curvature. You got to love modern technology.


Please put on your headphone, get ready for something amazing!


Maybe I should be making marimbas instead of tailpieces! Lol, 4 different tailpiece 3 different pitch.


Tuning a Tailpiece (part 1)


Tuning a Tailpiece (part 2)


Tuning a cello tailpiece down from D


Consistency of the sound


Ridiculous price!