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  1. #1

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    Can anyone attest to any noticeable difference in sound between stoptail hollow bodies and tailpieces? Both with tune-o-Matics.

    Specifically, I’m looking at gibson Es-135’s, and I’m wondering if anyone knows if there will be a difference between the 90s models with the tailpieces and the 2000s models with stop tails. Both have humbuckers, no P-90s. Unfortunately, I’m shopping online and can’t try anything.

    Where do these guitars lie on the solid body/ archtop spectrum? Looking for some nice acoustic properties.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I have an ‘02 trapeze-piece Gibson—balsa wood block, humbuckers. I have never played a fixed bridge 135.

    I will attest to the lovely properties of this Gibson. Despite being semihollow, with the balsa block it’s got a surprisingly loud, airy acoustic sound. No 175 of course. Electrified, it can run the gamut from hard blues to jazz to country. There’s a bit of a thunk, but again no 175. But then no feedback either.

    I really like the thinline style. Very comfortable to play. The 135 is pretty heavy, over 9# IIRC, but sitting down of course it’s well-balanced and not burdensome. When I do play standing up, which is rare, it’s not too bad with a good supportive strap.

    I’ve said many times it’s a great workingman’s guitar. Not as fancy as some, not a thunky deep-bodied guitar like the 175 that’s awesome for jazz but less suited to other styles, not super-collectible. But a lot of guitar for the money back when they were making them.

    Gibson ES-135 - Sound difference between stoptail and trapeze tailpiece hollowbody?-8c6c3c46-630a-4868-b2f3-379366a5ce32-jpeg

  4. #3

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    Good question. It would be interesting to hear a comparison of the two tailpieces on the same guitar. Thinking about the physics, the stop tailpiece is likely to have a sharper break angle over the bridge, increasing the downward force on the bridge against the top. The strings between bridge and tailpiece would obviously be shorter and the tailpiece would be more solidly coupled to the body. I think this would provide more attack and sustain than a trapeze tailpiece. You’d lose the subtle reverb-like effects of the vibration of strings between bridge and tailpiece as well as the tailpiece itself. That’s fits my experience on my guitars, but I’ve never heard a comparison on the same instrument.

  5. #4

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    The key design feature of the ES-135 series guitars (and subsequent and ES-137 models w/mahogany blocks and more fizz) is that the necks join the bodies at the 16th fret. They did the same thing with the Howard Roberts Fusion models (also with balsa wood inserts), which are shorter, uglier versions of the ES-135. Same upper fret access as a Les Paul. Or a Hofner Jazzica/New President/Chancellor and more recent Thin President (w/spruce block, from 2009) as shown.

    That neck joint, combined with the use of ES-175 top and bottom plates for the guitar (a production decision), pulls the bridge up toward the neck [ed: pulls the whole neck up, extending it further out from the body], so the version of the guitar with a trapeze tailpiece has a lots of string behind the bridge. The versions with stop tailpieces (Some ES-135 and most ES-137) have typical Les Paul tailpiece geometry. The Howard Roberts Fusion model with stop tailpiece has the tailpiece located further away from the bridge to reduce the break angle over the bridge.
    Attached Images Attached Images Gibson ES-135 - Sound difference between stoptail and trapeze tailpiece hollowbody?-hofner-htp-e2-w-0-jpg 
    Last edited by Hammertone; 04-23-2021 at 05:58 PM.

  6. #5

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    The length of the string between bridge and tailpiece matters. When you bend a note, that part of the string also stretches. It gives the action a softer feel, but you have to push the string further to bend to the same pitch. So, the change in feel changes the way you play and that will sound different.

    I agree about breakover angle. It's shallower with a trapeze.

    I've had two L5S guitars, a trapeze , 74, and a stop tailpiece, 86 I think. I preferred the trapeze.

  7. #6

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    Stop tailpieace imparts a rocking motion on the bridge whereas trapeze imparts an direct downward motion. Theoretically trapeze tailpiece leads to a more efficient and direct transfer of energy between the strings and the top which makes the guitar louder but with a shorter sustain. This design allowed acoustic archtops to cut through in big bands.

    Rocking motion of stop tailpiece slows down the transfer of energy. That gives more sustain but also a more electric sound.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammertone
    The key design feature of the ES-135 series guitars (and subsequent and ES-137 models w/mahogany blocks and more fizz) is that the necks join the bodies at the 16th fret. They did the same thing with the Howard Roberts Fusion models (also with balsa wood inserts), which are shorter, uglier versions of the ES-135. Same upper fret access as a Les Paul. Or a Hofner Jazzica/New President/Chancellor and more recent Thin President (w/spruce block) as shown.

    That neck joint, combined with the use of ES-175 top and bottom plates for the guitar (a production decision), pulls the bridge up toward the neck, so the version of the guitar with a trapeze tailpiece has a lots of string behind the bridge. The versions with stop tailpieces (Some ES-135 and most ES-137) have typical Les Paul tailpiece geometry. The Howard Roberts Fusion model with stop tailpiece has the tailpiece located further away from the bridge to reduce the break angle over the bridge.
    I did not know they used 175 tops and bottoms for this. Makes sense, and maybe one of the reasons I really like my guitar—brings back memories of the 175 I used to have.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammertone
    ...
    That neck joint, combined with the use of ES-175 top and bottom plates for the guitar (a production decision), pulls the bridge up toward the neck ...
    I'm having trouble seeing how the body shape affects the distance between the neck and the bridge if the scale length is constant. Could you explain that?

    John

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A.
    I'm having trouble seeing how the body shape affects the distance between the neck and the bridge if the scale length is constant. Could you explain that?

    John
    the necks join the body at the 16th fret, that is the point

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by 339 in june
    the necks join the body at the 16th fret, that is the point
    How does that change the distance between the bridge and the neck ? From nut to bridge it's the same 24.75", isn't it?

    John

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A.
    How does that change the distance between the bridge and the neck ? From nut to bridge it's the same 24.75", isn't it? John
    You are correct. It doesn't change the distance between nut and bridge. My description was unclear: the 16th fret neck joint positions the whole neck further away from the guitar body and the trapeze tailpiece. This changes the distance between the bridge and the standard trapeze tailpiece that Gibson uses on the ES-135.
    Last edited by Hammertone; 09-17-2020 at 02:07 AM.

  13. #12

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    Regardless of all the techo-gobbledygook IMO the trapeze looks correct an any git with an F hole.

  14. #13

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    I own one and find the trapeze-tail sounds better for jazz chordal playing, especially vintage jazz and the Big Band Era; even though I use an Epiphone Joe Pass for that.

    I've tried the stop tail in stores and feel that it's more conducive to lead playing in a Jazz-Rock or Fusion style; string bending blues and blues-rock. I think it all depends on whether your interests are Allan Reuss/Freddie Green or Pat Metheny/Rory Gallagher.

    You can tell immediately by playing a simple two-string shuffle boogie on the E and A strings. The trapeze tailpiece adds a vibe that I can't get enough of. And those Mickey Baker/Johnny Rector/Roger Edison chords seem to shimmer more. Even Country sounds a little Twangier with a Trap.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by StringNavigator
    I own one and find the trapeze-tail sounds better for jazz chordal playing, especially vintage jazz and the Big Band Era; even though I use an Epiphone Joe Pass for that.

    I've tried the stop tail in stores and feel that it's more conducive to lead playing in a Jazz-Rock or Fusion style; string bending blues and blues-rock. I think it all depends on whether your interests are Allan Reuss/Freddie Green or Pat Metheny/Rory Gallagher.

    You can tell immediately by playing a simple two-string shuffle boogie on the E and A strings. The trapeze tailpiece adds a vibe that I can't get enough of. And those Mickey Baker/Johnny Rector/Roger Edison chords seem to shimmer more. Even Country sounds a little Twangier with a Trap.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by StringNavigator
    I own one and find the trapeze-tail sounds better for jazz chordal playing, especially vintage jazz and the Big Band Era; even though I use an Epiphone Joe Pass for that.

    I've tried the stop tail in stores and feel that it's more conducive to lead playing in a Jazz-Rock or Fusion style; string bending blues and blues-rock. I think it all depends on whether your interests are Allan Reuss/Freddie Green or Pat Metheny/Rory Gallagher.

    You can tell immediately by playing a simple two-string shuffle boogie on the E and A strings. The trapeze tailpiece adds a vibe that I can't get enough of. And those Mickey Baker/Johnny Rector/Roger Edison chords seem to shimmer more. Even Country sounds a little Twangier with a Trap.
    Interesting. I have a 135 (with a trapeze) and a 175 and will have to check them out. I used to have an Epi Joe Pass, which after a little pickup upgrade was a great guitar indeed.

  17. #16

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    All things being basically equal on both guitars. Stop tail peice gives a more solid body sustain like quality. Both are just fine for me either a Bigsby or Stop tail peice.

    But Thinlines feel best with stop tail peice, especially since you can adjust the height of the stop for tension..

    Just my experiences and you might like the other way?

  18. #17

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    In 1993 when I got my ES-135, my friend got one also. This was one of the few times when we had two guitars of the same "Name" that sounded so different compared side by side. Mine sounded a lot better to both of us. He almost took his back. These were both new 1993 guitars with P100 and the trapeze tailpiece and Nashville bridge.

    I still have mine.
    Gibson ES-135 - Sound difference between stoptail and trapeze tailpiece hollowbody?-gibson-es135-jpg

  19. #18

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    Never owned a trapeze tail ES135, but I had a satin finish natural color ES135 with stop tail and f holes and did a lot of gigs with it. Pretty versatile guitar. Soundwise, slightly like a solid body and a bit like an ES335 in a way. Classic Gibson sound due to having 57 classics pick ups, pretty nice. I played all styles on it including hard rock, and it all sounded good. A great guitar which cost me I think only $799, from Guitar Center back then around early 2000s. After that, they revised the 135s and stoptail 135s came with no f holes and no pick guard, which sold poorly, and then soon after, Gibson just stopped making them altogether. They were considered budget no frills guitars back then and GC had lots for sale cheaply. I sold the 135 around 3 years later to buy an ES335 which was what I originally really wanted i but couldn’t afford at the time hence the 135 purchase. It really was a nice instrument that served me well. As a previous poster said, it was a lot of guitar for the money back then. I would buy one again if they remade them but I have a feeling they would charge a small fortune for them these days if they came back.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by icr
    In 1993 when I got my ES-135, my friend got one also. This was one of the few times when we had two guitars of the same "Name" that sounded so different compared side by side. Mine sounded a lot better to both of us. He almost took his back. These were both new 1993 guitars with P100 and the trapeze tailpiece and Nashville bridge.

    I still have mine.Gibson ES-135 - Sound difference between stoptail and trapeze tailpiece hollowbody?-gibson-es135-jpg
    I'm still kicking myself for getting rid of my '97 ES-135, with the sunburst finish, for a 2002 with humbuckers. The '97 had a chunkier and more comfortable neck, and IMO, sounded better than the 2002 - despite the bad rep that P-100s have. But noooo! I wanted humbuckers! Nowadays, along with either going for a full blown 17" hollowbody (only not another Gretsch Country Club - I can't afford one nowadays, and the neck's too thin), another ES-135 with the P-100s is in the running (no ES-137 - I had one, and while it was a very nice guitar, the Slim Taper neck profile became a real turn off for me).

    P.S. - in an earlier post, it was mentioned that the Howard Roberts Fusion had a weird/ugly looking body. My main gigging guitar in the 90s was a 1980 Howard Roberts Fusion. It was a very versatile guitar for every thing from heavy rock to smoky jazz (I used to love flipping from the bridge pickup at full on roar to the dialed down neck pickup, to jazz out). The Version 1 (which I had) and the Version 2 (made until the late 80s) look a bit less squashed weird - kind of like an oversized Les Paul with f-holes. The only problem - they weighed a ton! Out of curiosity, I weighed my 1980 Howard Roberts Fusion on a calibrated scale. It weighed 13 lbs! No wonder I typically had a sore shoulder by the time the third set rolled around, and to think people complain about how heavy 9 lb guitars are.


  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by StringNavigator View Post
    I think it all depends on whether your interests are Allan Reuss/Freddie Green or Pat Metheny/Rory Gallagher.
    Not sure I've ever seen Metheny and Rory lumped together as a tone family before.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by EllenGtrGrl View Post
    I'm still kicking myself for getting rid of my '97 ES-135, with the sunburst finish, for a 2002 with humbuckers. The '97 had a chunkier and more comfortable neck, and IMO, sounded better than the 2002 - despite the bad rep that P-100s have. But noooo! I wanted humbuckers! Nowadays, along with either going for a full blown 17" hollowbody (only not another Gretsch Country Club - I can't afford one nowadays, and the neck's too thin), another ES-135 with the P-100s is in the running (no ES-137 - I had one, and while it was a very nice guitar, the Slim Taper neck profile became a real turn off for me).

    P.S. - in an earlier post, it was mentioned that the Howard Roberts Fusion had a weird/ugly looking body. My main gigging guitar in the 90s was a 1980 Howard Roberts Fusion. It was a very versatile guitar for every thing from heavy rock to smoky jazz (I used to love flipping from the bridge pickup at full on roar to the dialed down neck pickup, to jazz out). The Version 1 (which I had) and the Version 2 (made until the late 80s) look a bit less squashed weird - kind of like an oversized Les Paul with f-holes. The only problem - they weighed a ton! Out of curiosity, I weighed my 1980 Howard Roberts Fusion on a calibrated scale. It weighed 13 lbs! No wonder I typically had a sore shoulder by the time the third set rolled around, and to think people complain about how heavy 9 lb guitars are.
    I seem to remember you struggling with the 135 issue. It rots looking back with regret on a lost instrument, been there, done that. As far as the bad rep P100's had, they solved the noisy pup issue, and for anyone who dared use the EQ on the amp they were great pups. For those who tried one and insisted on everything in the amp EQ being on 5... it was their loss. I still have mine.

    Anyway, funny, my HRF weighs 7lb. 12ozs. This disparity likely comes from some with a maple block and others like mine with Chromite (balsa). Why a company would have a model with such differing build specs with the same name always baffled me.
    Attached Images Attached Images Gibson ES-135 - Sound difference between stoptail and trapeze tailpiece hollowbody?-howard_roberts-jpg 

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by GNAPPI View Post
    I seem to remember you struggling with the 135 issue. It rots looking back with regret on a lost instrument, been there, done that. As far as the bad rep P100's had, they solved the noisy pup issue, and for anyone who dared use the EQ on the amp they were great pups. For those who tried one and insisted on everything in the amp EQ being on 5... it was their loss. I still have mine.

    Anyway, funny, my HRF weighs 7lb. 12ozs. This disparity likely comes from some with a maple block and others like mine with Chromite (balsa). Why a company would have a model with such differing build specs with the same name always baffled me.
    The earlier ones like mine, had the maple center block, and I think it was a little larger than the center block (probably for anchoring the stop tailpiece) in your HRF III. The Version 3s in some ways, are completely different guitars than the Version 1s & 2s. The HRF III's controls are arranged differently, the center block is different, and they have finger tailpieces, instead of the stop tailpiece the earlier ones had. The Version IIIs also seem to be more common than the Version 1s, and the Version 2s.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzrock View Post
    Never owned a trapeze tail ES135, but I had a satin finish natural color ES135 with stop tail and f holes and did a lot of gigs with it. Pretty versatile guitar. Soundwise, slightly like a solid body and a bit like an ES335 in a way. Classic Gibson sound due to having 57 classics pick ups, pretty nice. I played all styles on it including hard rock, and it all sounded good. A great guitar which cost me I think only $799, from Guitar Center back then around early 2000s. After that, they revised the 135s and stoptail 135s came with no f holes and no pick guard, which sold poorly, and then soon after, Gibson just stopped making them altogether. They were considered budget no frills guitars back then and GC had lots for sale cheaply. I sold the 135 around 3 years later to buy an ES335 which was what I originally really wanted i but couldn’t afford at the time hence the 135 purchase. It really was a nice instrument that served me well. As a previous poster said, it was a lot of guitar for the money back then. I would buy one again if they remade them but I have a feeling they would charge a small fortune for them these days if they came back.

  25. #24

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    I always told myself, If I was standing up doing gigs again, I would try and find a 135, just like the one I had, with the Trapeze. That was until I got my GB100.
    The 135 is heavy for its size. I like full necks but the neck on my 135 was, well, like George Foreman full.
    But it had a beautiful thick sound that sustained for days. To me the 135 is more Solid body than Hollowbody. So why not go for the stop tail?
    Plus, I am not a fan of that generic trapeze tailpiece. They could have done better than that.
    Joe D