Flatwound string, Top load or String Thru the body

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Waksfly, May 6, 2018.


  1. Waksfly

    Waksfly

    Nov 3, 2013
    I just bought a Fender American Pro PBass and I’m planning to put TI jazz flats on her. I wonder which one is better, top load it thru the bridge or string it thru the body? My concern is the break angle. Stringing it thru the body might be too much of angle for the E string? Please help it’s my first flatwound experience.
     
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  2. My own personal policy is to top-load all flats, although some flats, such as the TIJFs in question, are flexible enough not to break. My own logic tells me the sharp break angles created by thru-body stringing can't be all that good for the flat ribbon outer wrap, which is not as pliable as a round wire.

    Another thing about top-loading flats is due to their relative longevity, you might get into a situation where you want to move a set from one bass to another. You go ahead and try doing that with the ones strung thru-body!
     
    Bassfishin72, Aidil, dagrev and 4 others like this.
  3. FishDub

    FishDub Stuck in the 80s and happy about it Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2011
    Charlotte, NC
    Strange timing with this post...Last night I did exactly this: Put Labella low tension flats on my Jazz, thru-body. I didn't like the way the string rested and the height seemed too much with the bridge pickup. I then strung top load and it felt WAY better. Not saying it IS better but just my opinion..and the tone wasn't affected at all.
     
    Waksfly, Pbassmanca and TN WOODMAN like this.
  4. FrenchBassQC

    FrenchBassQC Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Gatineau QC CA
    Top load for me too with flatwound strings.
     
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  5. Linnin

    Linnin

    Jul 19, 2012
    Linningrad, Earth
    I string everything through the bridge and never through the body.
     
    fretlessguy, strappa, dagrev and 2 others like this.
  6. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    South Bend, Indiana
    Some people do it - and get away with it. They probably win at Bingo all the time, too. The distance of the string ferrule holes back from the bridge saddles probably has something to do with the success factor. Greater distance = shallower break angle, which would = greater success. Still, flats and thru-body is generally not a good idea, although TIJFs are the most likely ones you'd do it with successfully. Also; La Bella makes flats that are intended for thru-body use; look for the "TB" suffix. Other flats? Good luck... Personally, I only have one bass with a thru-body option. I used it once, just for grins. Aside from the high probability of twisted strings, I thought it was just a PITA. Re-strung it as a top-loader; been that way ever since. And it's strung BEAD with heavy Roto 77 flats now, anyway, so...:)
     
    Waksfly likes this.
  7. Waksfly

    Waksfly

    Nov 3, 2013
    Thanks for all the inputs Top load it then!
     
  8. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Top load.
     
    Waksfly likes this.
  9. 7dollarbologna

    7dollarbologna Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2014
    Downtown Albuquerque
    Desert Eccentric
    image.jpg Here's my Fender Am dlx jazz v
    I put a set D'Addario Chromes and went through body - alls good 1 year in.
     
    Eikari and Waksfly like this.
  10. dagrev

    dagrev Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2006
    Kentucky
    On my '55 I have to go through the body, on other basses I don't. I see no point. I've tested this both ways and can tell no differences at all. You might think it would sound differently but I can't tell it. If I can't tell it while looking for it, I'm certain no one else is going to notice it when playing. While most flats likely can--to me it's not worth the stress on the string if you don't have to. I can't imagine how it's not more stressing on a string than through the bridge.
     
  11. Linnin

    Linnin

    Jul 19, 2012
    Linningrad, Earth
    That photo is a perfect example of why you don't want to string flats through the body if you don't have to. You can easily see the flat ribbon wrap on the E and A (and to some extent the D) has been pulled apart leaving huge gaps at the break over angle. What we can't see is that underneath at the bridge saddle is the exact opposite where the flat ribbon wrap is bunched together. This mechanical distortion & disfigurement can't be good for the longevity of the string or the ability to achieve precise intonation.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2018
  12. Three advantages of stringing thru-body:
    • Reduces the stress on the bridge and the screws holding it in place by having the pulling weight of the strings supported by the body itself.
    • Keeps the ferrules in place. (I almost lost a couple when my bass was brand new.)
    • The strings I use have a winding length of 37.25", meaning the silked ends line up better where they should be when strung thru-body on my Fender Am Std P. (Yes, it's purely aesthetic, but it matters to me greatly due to my OCD-prone nature.)
    Otherwise, no perceivable positive effect on tone, tension or overall playing feel. Period.
     
  13. 7dollarbologna

    7dollarbologna Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2014
    Downtown Albuquerque
    Desert Eccentric
    image.jpg
    If I ran the B thru the bridge, you wouldn't be able to wrap the the free end around the tuner post because you would be past the thin silk wrapped length. Edit photo example:
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2018
    FunkHead likes this.
  14. Linnin

    Linnin

    Jul 19, 2012
    Linningrad, Earth
    You just strip the silk back. Easy as pie.
     
  15. 7dollarbologna

    7dollarbologna Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2014
    Downtown Albuquerque
    Desert Eccentric
    image.jpg -See.
    If you run the string thru the bridge you lose over an inch on the tuner side, if I cut 1+" then you would be on the thick part of the string and wouldn't be able to wrap the string around the post - See
     
  16. 7dollarbologna

    7dollarbologna Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2014
    Downtown Albuquerque
    Desert Eccentric
    image.jpg Here's a close up of the B - as you can see no distortion or disfigurement on the saddle side, the string sounds strong - I've had this bass for going on 3 years, it's intnoated and holds it's tune fine.
     
    HaphAsSard likes this.
  17. Linnin

    Linnin

    Jul 19, 2012
    Linningrad, Earth
    We're looking at the same thing. Totally disfigured flat ribbon wrap at break over angle. No thank you.
     
  18. ixlramp

    ixlramp

    Jan 25, 2005
    UK
    That's the worst possible setup. The saddle has to be so far back to intonate a stiff flatwound B it makes the angle over the saddle much worse. The idea of through-body is to get a steep 45 degree break angle, not 90 degree.

    The issue for me is that the B string goes over the saddle in a gentle arc instead of a sharper kink. The arcing of the string starts a few mm from the saddle and the primary contact point with the saddle isn't the top of the saddle but at around 45 degrees further back. So you get a strange type of setup. I'm sure it sounds ok but it would probably be better top-loaded if you were able to.

    Because the string ends in a curve, the tension of the string is constantly fighting against the bend that doesn't want to straighten, so the string has a soft and springy anchoring at the bridge, which goes against what through-body is meant to do.

    A 5 string bridge (or bass) with no top-load option is just ridiculous bad design.
     
  19. 2saddleslab

    2saddleslab Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    Kentucky
    Sorry for the broken record repetition but over 30 years of flat wounds, across many brands and gauges, strung thru with no issues whatsoever. Seems like the loudest negative voices typically have the least experience, if any at all.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2018
    Eikari and 7dollarbologna like this.
  20. Europebass

    Europebass

    Mar 22, 2010
    Sorry, I didn't see this post before. So I made a new one. On my telebass I only have the through body option. But with La Bella flats you can choose either through-body or regular string versions. So I made a bunch of pictures about the differences between those. Hopefully it adds a little information to this quest. La Bella through body flatwounds on Telecaster Bass (pictures and remarks)
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
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