Fender's answer to the 'String Tension' thang...

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Rockin John, Jan 6, 2006.

  1. Just been having an amusing time looking over the string tension threads (the Gary Wills one, for ex.).

    I accept string tension is NOT affected by these silly spacer thingies. However, a chance peek at the Fender site for my bass (Fender Jazz 5 USA Dlx) says:-

    "The Jazz Bass V incorporates our four-over/one-under tuning machine array and two Hipshot string trees with custom tailored break-angles that create balanced string tension across all five strings."

    As spacers don't work at the bridge, I can't believe these Hipshot trees work either. Whatever mechanism is placed between nut and tuners surely cannot affect the string's speaking length tension. That in turn must mean the string tensions aren't balanced as Fender claim.

    Unless I've got it round my neck as usual... :ninja:

    Thoughts welcomed.

  2. Except, in this case, the "tension" they are referring to is the downforce on the nut and the tree's really do help with that.

    Have you noticed that on a Fender headstock, the E and A strings break over the nut at shallower angles than the D and G strings that use the retainer? That's the difference that the second retainer would correct. When all of the strings break over the nut at the same angle, the pressure on the nut is even across it's width. It's all part of the total "balanced" concept of setup - that the more balanced things are between the strings the better all round for tone and playability.
  3. Dan1099

    Dan1099 Dumbing My Process Down

    Aug 7, 2004
    Second that. Break angle is important. Not *hugely* important, but having all the strings have a uniform break angle will create strings that are closer to eachother, tonewise.
  4. Hambone said:
    Sounds fair to me. :D

    You learn something every day.

    Thanks to Hambone and Dan.


    Oh, BTW, has that concept anything to do with through the body stringing: it seems pointless to me on the face of it?
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I think it can be an improvement - so I had a Fender Roscoe Beck 5 string which allowed either and I tried it both ways and noticed a difference. I think it made the B string sound better stringing through the body - don't know why though!! ;)
  6. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA

    Through body is a way of removing the quality of the bridge and/or its method of being attached to the body from the structural equation.

    For example, a thin, plate metal type bridge may tend to deflect slightly when the bass is played. Or if the bridge is simply attached to the body with a few wood screws, over time it is possible that the coupling may become less than perfect.

    With string through body, the down force on the bridge from the strings actually squeezes it tighter to the body. And, the bridge isn't a structural part of the coupling anymore, so it can't deflect when the strings vibrate.

    It is also a simple method of creating a very severe, thus efficient, break angle over the saddle pieces a still allow a way to actually attach the strings to the bass.
  7. Hello, Bruce. How are you? Long time since we've posted.

    Again, Chas, good point. I never thought of it like that. Actually, the screw system on the Jazz holding the bridge down really is cr*ppy. I think Fender drill over size pilot holes. Then even getting a minimum amount of tightness to each screw results in it rotating in the hole. I ended up splitting matchsticks and pushing those down each hole for the screws to grip on. Much better now.

  8. A beautiful thread - think I may come over here instead of the other one.

    I second, third and fourth all the points made to date.

    I would also add that the B string is the heaviest and so will give the strongest vibrations, meaning that it is particularly affected by the way it is fixed at the ends. I would expect the biggest difference in tone to be heard on this string if you went to through-body.
  9. More of a strings issue really, but it seems to me that thro body stringing needs tapers. My bass was AWFUL with the stock Fenders and one or two other brands. It's only ever been really good with the higher tension Rotosound Jazz Monel Flats: I'm a flats man anyway so that's OK.

    Thing is, the angle over the saddle pulls the string windings open when strung thro. It sounds fine but, somehow I just don't like it that way. I fitted a set of Roto 88s (the black nylon flats) at one time. The B string with silk wrappings was too thick to pass through the hole in the body.... :eek: :eek: :eek:

    The Roto Jazz strings are thro body. The B sounds really good, IMHO.

  10. Hawkeye

    Hawkeye Canuck Amateur

    Aug 8, 2002
    North of GTA, ON, Canada
    Long&McQuade Employee
    Eloquently put, and my thoughts exactly. I have never felt the need to upgrade the bridges on my MIA Precision or Lakland Skyline 55-01 (even though they both use stamped steel bridges that look sort of flimsy) because they are strung thru the body. The geometry of the break angels etc. just seems to ensure that the maximum tension is on the strings and that forces are being applied in a direction that minimizes strain on the bridge and its attachment to the body.
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I always hated Rotosounds (although in the 80s they were all you could get!) and stock Fender strings - I had those off my RB5 straight away and put on some nice D'Addario Slowounds - 100% improvement!! :)
  12. Akami

    Akami Four on the floor

    Mar 6, 2005
    Just bought a Hipshot bridge and am planning on using the body-through option as well as adding a three string retainer on the headstock.

    If it does what I'm hoping I'll try to write up a review. :)
  13. Yes, Bruce, I'm with you. I don't like them either. Like most, I suppose I've tried their main products (66s, 77, 88s).

    Although the Fender seems to like the higher tension / stiffness (or whatever it's properly called) of the Jazz 77s, I don't.