4 String Oettinger Tailpiece
The original Oettinger tailpieces were 4 string versions. The tailpiece was invented in the 1920s and 4 string banjos were very popular for jazz music. Modern four string banjos incude Tenor, Irish and Plectrum banjos.
An original 4 string Oettinger made for the Vega Co. Each of the four fingers is engraved. This is a very rare example, indeed. Note that there is a hook-like protrusion between the middle two fingers, this rests on top of the tension hoop. Later versions and replicas doubled up on this protrusion, having them between the first and second and the third and fourth fingers. This was an improvement in the design as it prevented the tailpiece from sitting any way other than flat on the tension hoop.
An original Oettinger plated in nickel. The Oettinger logo and 'Pat Pend' text can just be seen on the back plate. Note the diamond knurled thumbscrew, the original straight knurled thumbscrew appears to have been lost over the years.
A modern replica of the 4 string Oettinger made in brass. The fingers on the originals were often loose but this example has each finger tightly fitted at assembly time. The thumbscrews on this replica have the correct straight knurling and are the same size and the same thread as the originals.