Back during my undergraduate degree at the Peabody Conservatory, I was not the most adventurous soul in the types of music that I played. Beethoven - sure, Mozart - of course, Brahms - daily. However, when it came to more advant garde music from the 20th century, I was a bit of a stick in the mud. Since then, I would like to think that I have tried to broaden my horizons in both styles and genres of music, while at the same time keep one foot in the realistic public viability of it, because in the end, music is about communication and sharing.
What does all this TMI have to do with a tailpiece? Suffice it to say, when I find a product that works well, I tend to stick with it and I may come kicking and screaming to change. The Arbutus tailpiece, designed and built by Ted White, who is a frequent attendee at the Oberlin Acoustical Research workshop, has silenced my inner 5 year old. Plus, they are elegantly made - and irregardless of the tonal improvements or changes, they are pleasing to look at! (though not cheap)
While the science, to my layman's understanding, is very thought out and extremely methodical, to me, as a former practicing musician, it is the tonal result which I find extremely exciting. Essentially, Mr. White has built a channel into a light tailpiece he manufacturers (I have tried his Ebony and Composite materials), which has a weight that can be moved up and down within it. By moving this weight within the tailpiece, it alters the way the plates of the instrument vibrate. It not only can help phase out a wolf, it can add clarity, depth and nuance to the instruments voice.
I have tried the cello tailpieces with five of my more critical customers, and all of them had very positive, yet different results (of course, they were also looking for different things). I would recommend doing this with your luthier (or come visit us here in Katy!), as it really is a two person job (one adjuster and one player). Plus, having an extra set of ears is welcome, because you may not believe your ears, the changes can be significant. It is nice to have outside verification that you are not going crazy!
While he does make these tailpieces for violin and violas well, I have limited experience with them - so more future trials and experiments will be made. Contact me, if you have any questions, or would like to try one of Ted Whites tailpieces on your instrument!!