String Thru Body

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by bluesavageraff, Aug 12, 2009.

  1. bluesavageraff


    Jul 7, 2009
    Just wondering if anybody has ever modded their bass to make it string thru. I love the look. What are the tonal benefits?
  2. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Robert / redleg just mod'd his MIK Yamaha BB something-or-another. Looks really nice with a Hipshot A bridge. Tonal benefits? None that I know of. Official Zooberwerx disclaimer: others will swear up and down that they notice a difference in sustain, tone, whatever. So be it. I top-load all my 5 bangers 'cuz I like the quick-release feature.

  3. No benefits at all. Doesn't make a bit of difference in tone or sustain or anything. It's a bit of a gimmick.
  4. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    +1. I've done plenty of experimenting with basses that can take either top load or thru body, and there is no difference that can't be accounted for as "hearing with your eyes".
  5. I have a custom shop Peavey Cirrus with the B and E throu the body. I don't hear much difference throu the body or on top however, I like the feel of the b sting much better thou the body.
  6. bluesavageraff


    Jul 7, 2009
    Yeah, I guess the gimmick thing sounds pretty accurate. I do like the looks though. As for feel...well I'm all about feel.

    Anyway, it seems like way more trouble than it's worth.
  7. JazznFunk


    Mar 26, 2000
    Asheville, NC
    I have never noticed a difference in sustain per se, but I can say that in all of the basses I have (all Laklands) that are strung through the body, there is a pronounced increase acoustically in the amount of resonance being felt and heard unplugged. The other bass I have that is not strung thru the body (non-Lakland) sounds great, has great sustain, but not as much punch. All body/neck woods are the same among all basses. I have strung the Laklands thru the bridge a time or two and have noticed a small dropoff in the amount of acoustic resonance/punch, but not enough to make a difference amplified. So... the point? I personally prefer strings through body for that and other reasons... does it make a ton of difference? Probably not.
  8. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    The only benefit I've found in stringing through the body is that it keeps the string ferrules on the back of the body from falling out.
  9. JTE

    JTE Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    I've gotten as close as I can to a real A/B comparison and trying to control all the variables. I had two Lakland 4-94 basses. I strung one with the E and D through the body, and the E and A top-loaded. I reversed this on the other one. When I changed strings, I reversed it again on each one. I had to look to tell which strings were top-loaded and which were through-body. It made no difference in the sound nor the feel. Before I did that, I was one who claimed it made a noticeable change in the way the strings felt, but real evidence showed I was wrong. It's interesting to note that Dan Lakin doesn't feel there's any difference, but he offers the option anyway. He's said the reason is that Pino Pallidino wanted the option, and when Ernie Ball declined to give him the option, they lost the endorsement opportunity.

    I still string those basses through the bridge, but pretty much for the reason mongo2 lists.

  10. jackall237


    Aug 5, 2007
    I've heard it's more or less for the action of the B and E strings primarily. Some companies say they can get the larger strings "closer" to the frets using string through.. Who knows?
  11. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    i don't buy that for a second. it sounds like an extrapolation of the myth that string-through creates more string "tension" than top-loading.

    i like to think that through-stringing allows the body wood to have a bit more influence on the tone, and it does take the string pull off of the wood screws (not that i've ever heard of a bridge that came flying off the guitar because the mounting screws sheared off :rolleyes:), but the difference is tiny either way.
  12. JazznFunk


    Mar 26, 2000
    Asheville, NC
    My personal feeling is that the string couples at a different angle and actually contacts the bass at 2 points, the bridge saddle and then the bridge AT the body... that to me invites more 'participation' in body resonance by the body, whereas in bridge-through the strings never actually contact the body. I like the idea of string-in/on-wood. Perhaps it's just placebo, but I feel better having things strung thru-body. :bassist:

  13. JazznFunk


    Mar 26, 2000
    Asheville, NC
    Sounds like a poorly constructed bass, my friend! I've never had that happen! :eek:

  14. Fratone


    Dec 25, 2006
    St. Pete, FL
    I like my string thru MIM jazz. It only took half an hour and a drill press... and a new bridge... and some ferrules. Does it make a difference? No. A bass player from another band thought it mas an MIA once and that felt kinda nice.

    here's an awful pic

    Attached Files:

  15. +1

    I would buy the tension claim before I would buy the tone claim.
  16. barebones

    barebones Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    Denver, CO
    Now that's funny!

    To the OP's question: My old Frankenbass has endured this particular experiment. Be damned if I can tell a difference one way or the other tonally or sustain-wise.

    Many years ago, when I first started tearing my poor old bass apart to test ideas like these, I used to swear up and down I could hear a difference in every little nuance of my experiments. That was a lie. I now have tried and re-tried some of these experiments so many times that I can be honest with myself:

    Sometimes there's just no there there. Period.

    That said, the biggest tonal differences I've noticed over the years have come from pickup, neck, strings, and bridge swaps--pretty much in that order.

    String through body or top load? No difference. No way. I'm embarrassed when others say there IS a difference.

    With bridges, the differences are so subtle I've learned to go with the convenience of my quick-release, top loading (that almost sounds dirty...) and locking-everything ABM bridge. (That ABM bridge, mind you, was once upon a time modded for string-through experimenting!)

    It all comes down to, for me, practicality over the mystical "sonic differences."

    Case in point:

    Sonically speaking, my favorite sounding bridge setup on the Frankenbass is the aluminum Hipshot B bridge plate with some smooth brass barrel type saddles from a vintage style Wilkinson bridge I have. However, the difference, from my quick-as-possible-parts-swapping-and-quick-listening point of view, is so damned hairsplitting that I finally just kept the ABM bridge for its set-it-and-forget-it superiority. I did, at one point, in a moment of insecurity, swap the ABM for a Badass II when I was bumming about how long it took me to micro-adjust action and intonation on the clock in the studio once.

    But I ultimately swapped back to the ABM bridge and simply vowed never to show up in the studio without the perfect action and intonation! If I'm going to be anal about something bass bridge-wise it should be those micro-adjustments rather than bridge materials or string-through vs. top load issues.

    Anyway... How's that for OCD analysis of bass bridges and such?!

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