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String-through-body setup

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by couzin2000, Oct 18, 2017.

  1. So I have this Warwick Rockbass. It's made of bubinga... not the heaviest of woods. I'd like to give it more resonance. I want to try to convert the awful 1st-gen bridge to string-through-body configuration. I'm looking for a bridge that would use as a replacement. Any suggestions?
    1 request: has to be chrome. Can't be another color.
  2. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    No bridge suggestions, but an observation-
    String-through probably won't change sound. I used to think it made a difference. Then I strung my two Laklands with alternate methods. One got the E and D top-loaded, the A and G through-body; the othermthe opposite. Switched the alternation when I changed strings. I repeated this through several string changes when I was gigging a lot. With this real-time, side-by-side comparison on the exact same bass, I had to admit therenwas no difference in sound or feel. I wouldn't go to the hassle and expense to make the change.
    Atshen, Bob_Ross, /\/\3phist0 and 2 others like this.
  3. It looks to me like you could make it a string-thru with the current bridge:


    but the string ferrules would be awfully close to tail end of your bass
  4. I tried going to a string-through setup expecting a noticeable change - BUT there was absolutely no difference.
  5. Not quite -- my bridge is the OLD version. Like this:
    So I can't use that one for this purpose.
  6. songwriter21

    songwriter21 I have an obsession for wood. The musical kind.

    Jul 31, 2005
    Sponsored by Hipshot
    A few things, simply from my experience:

    Bubinga is one of the heaviest woods, so the OP either lucked out and got an actual lighter piece, or it's not bubinga. Bubinga is an exotic heavyweight that's very dense, like Purpleheart. Many vintage Thumbs and Corvettes are boat anchors, due to the bubinga bodies.

    To the last two quotes, the last few basses I've owned...one 34", and two 35", both with string-thru, that option didn't make as much difference on the 34, as much as it did with the 35's. The strings noticeably felt tighter when they went through the body on the latter ones. That is what my fingers felt. Some might not feel it, while others do. Instruments are so quirky when it comes to stuff like this (along with the tonewood debate)...sometimes it doesn't matter, other times it actually does. Every instrument, even same models, can be respond differently from each other, more so with wood instruments (as opposed to carbon/man-made materials, which are bascially made to be the same every time).
  7. There are MANY existing posts on this topic.

    The general consensus is there is no noticeable difference with string-through.
  8. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    While I'm happy that you felt a difference, I actually proved that there is measurably more string compliance when going through the body than through the bridge. Just shows that feelings are one thing, and not necessarily backed by fact.

    Consensus seems to be that there is no sonic difference though. I didn't go as far as doing a spectral analysis to find out.
  9. songwriter21

    songwriter21 I have an obsession for wood. The musical kind.

    Jul 31, 2005
    Sponsored by Hipshot
    I've never heard a difference, just felt a tension difference. The strings tend to feel more supple for me, going through the bridge.
  10. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    ...while they are actually less compliant that way. But I can't argue with what you feel - that's subjective.
  11. songwriter21

    songwriter21 I have an obsession for wood. The musical kind.

    Jul 31, 2005
    Sponsored by Hipshot
    It's odd, because other basses, it feels the opposite to me. Again, I notice the difference more with 35 vs 34.
  12. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    You aren't going to find a through body bridge that is a drop in replacement, mounts like you have are just too rare. Either pony up the bucks to have a custom bridge made, pick a body through bridge you like and mod your bass, or take the advice others have already given and pass up this opportunity to spend some of your money.
  13. Well, I wasn't really looking for a drop-in replacement, and I did have a look at Warwick's website but they don't seem to offer a string-thru replacement. I thought I'd try it on my bass, but all comments seem to lead to "don't waste your cash". Funny, I was told it did bring more resonance to the notes played... but hey, for now this is only an inquiry.
    Thanks for your comments!
  14. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    If you spend enough money you will hear a difference. There probably won't be a difference, but you'll hear it anyway. Because you will want to hear a difference.
    ddnidd1 likes this.
  15. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    To back up a bit, what you want to do is create more "resonance" in the bass, right? Resonance can mean different things, but I'll take that to mean that you want more bottom end clarity and sustain, more low end ring. Less dead.

    As the others have said, going string-through may slightly change the feel of the strings, but it isn't likely to affect the sound much at all.

    What will affect the sound is a more solid mounting of the existing bridge. One approach is to rout a shallow cavity, about 3/8" deep, under the bridge, just slightly smaller than the footprint of the bridge. Then fit and epoxy in an aluminum block which has a machined flat top surface. It's set in at a depth so that the top surface is just slightly above the body wood. Then the bridge fastens down to the aluminum block with machine screws, into threaded holes in the block. This makes a much more solid connection between the bridge and the body wood.

    I use this method of anchoring the bridges on all of the basses I build, although the configuration varies. I can tell you that this extra detail in the mounting of the bridge makes a significant improvement in bottom end clarity and ring.

    Last year, Keith Horne and I did this modification to a vintage Fender Performer bass for a customer, putting the aluminum block under the bridge. That was the only modification we made to the bass, and the customer immediately noticed and commented on the improvement in the sound. There was a thread about it here on TB with pictures. I'll see if I can find it.
  16. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    A few tips that may help the situation:

    *Re-think your string install & set-up. Any missed, botched, or overlooked steps will suck the life out of an instrument.

    *Neck shift: loosen the neck bolts slightly while tuned to pitch. This allows the neck heel to butt-up firmly within the pocket. Don't forget to re-tighten!

    *Add threaded inserts to the neck heel.

    New bridge? Meh....maybe as a last resort if all else fails.

  17. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    Lost Wages, Nevada
    Hipshot A-style bridge, maybe? They will do both top-load and string-thru, but.. probably a different foot print than your stock bridge. I have no experience with Warwicks. As for all the other stuff going on here; not a swamp I want to wade in. I tried stringing my LB-20 Carvin (Hipshot A bridge) thru the body - Once. I thought it was a PITA, and the difference wasn't wonderful enough to make me want to leave it that way. But, that's just me...;)

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