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Stringing thru body or not

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by JayJay, Feb 4, 2003.

  1. string-thru-body

    74 vote(s)
  2. conventional thru bridge

    28 vote(s)
  1. JayJay


    May 13, 2002

    I bought a Lakland 55-02 deluxe by faith without trying it. After I got the bass, I am pretty satisfied with it but there is something that gets me irking.

    Perhaps it's due to feel of the strings as Lakland basses come stock with the strings going thru the body. The tension and feel are "funny" to me and not really to my liking especially when I slap on it. I tried lowering the action of the bass but the feel is still not right as compared to my Yamaha BB1500A.

    What are your take on this matter. Does stringing thru the body alter the tension and feel of the strings.

    I have also heard some players swear by having the strings thru the body.

    Fellow TBers with basses that have string-thru body option, pls vote your preference if you would forgo this option and string conventionally i.e thru the bridge or would your string thru the body.
  2. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I've strung my Fender RB5 both ways and noticed absolutely no difference, therefore I never bother with thru-body if it's an option.

    As for the difference in tension between your two basses: isn't the Lakland 35" scale and the Yammy 34"? That's a noticeable difference right there. But even if not, the way to truly compare tension between two basses is to use the exact same brand and gauge of strings on each.
  3. JayJay


    May 13, 2002
    Hey Fuzz,

    Thanks for the info, it was new to me. I did not know that the scale length affect the feel and tension of the strings too. I thought only the tone is affected especially the 35 gives focus to the B.

    No wonder Sadowsky swears by 34. Have not played one though

    I did not really want to change the set of strings as you know a brand new set will cost and the set that came with the Lakland is still new. However, if I am still not able to like it, I will rush to get a new set. ;)
  4. Thumper


    Mar 22, 2000
    Syracuse Ut
    Jay-jay, just give it a little time and practice and you should be okay. I've got basses strung both ways. The difference is so minimal (to me) that I never take a good set of strings off until they need it.
  5. I say nope.. I don't believe in that theory and besides, it's a bit harder to change strings if installed that way.
  6. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    To me, it's all academic unless you're in an environment, (e.g., studio, concert hall, et al), where subtleties can be "in-your-face."

    When the nuances are critical, a longer length of string has better sustain and improved overtones. It has to do with tension - you need more tension to keep a string at a certain pitch if you lengthen it, (this doesn't include wraps around a tuning post).

    FWIW - Whether to go string-through or not depends on the bass, for me. I have a northern ash/maple neck bolt-on on which stringing-through makes a definite improvement in sustain. But it sounds the same, tonally, either way.
    I had a maple-topped alder bass on which stringing-through was critical to tone.
  7. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I think this discussion has been done before, but: assuming mass and pitch remain the same for a string, tension depends on scale length *only*. Adding length to the non-vibrating portions of the string might affect its flexibility, but not tension. The only possible way string-thru-body would affect tone/harmonics would be if it resulted in a sharper break angle over the saddle, resulting in a better witness point.


    Nov 10, 2002
    Las Vegas
    I have a Carvin LB-70 that's strung thru the body and the sustain is noticably better than bridge strung basses.
  9. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
  10. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Fuzz - Just to clarify: We're in agreement. When I said, "adding length" I was talking about "scale length."
    The rest has to do with "feel".
  11. through body may just be a carry over from the fender regime of guitar design
    i think it is valid and not an option
    you either have through or not
    string change speed was never a consideration.
    just manufacturing costs
    cheaper for haveing surface mounted bridge.
  12. I am another who sees no difference. I believe that through body stringing was a marketing gimmick...a way of 'improving' basses without actually changing them in any way....
  13. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York
    Given the choice, I'll string thru every time.
    Theres something about all that tension pulling on four or five chintzy bridge screws that bothers me....
  14. I dont own and basses that can be strung through the body but i have played them and i've never noticed a difference. I would rather not string through the body because i hear it can make strings break easier.
  15. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    pickle - It's not the string-through-body design that causes string breakage (unless the bass was made by someone who didn't really know what they were doing).

    However, the design does create more downward force on the bridge saddles. And if the saddles are sky-high or have tiny metal burrs, (i.e., a cheap bridge), string breakage is definitely more likely.

    Also, the tighter string "feel" that can result from through-body stringing makes some players pound harder on their strings.....and you can guess what might happen.

    All I'm saying is - the design shouldn't be a cause on a reasonably decent bass.
  16. DougD

    DougD Bassman7654

    Sep 19, 2002
    North Las Vegas NV
    I’ve got s 55-02 and just changed from thru body to thru bridge and believe me there is a difference. First thru bridge gives more snap (For lack of a better word), which is better for slap IMHO. Also I noticed that when strung thru bridge I had to lower the action a tad cause it changed. I do keep the B string thru body though for maximum tonal effect;)
  17. electricdemon3


    Jul 28, 2000
    I always thought the advantage of string through is that because the strings are going through the body, it would cause the body of the instrument to resonate more with the strings than with a a bridge that is glued/ bolted on the surface of the instrument.
  18. Thumper


    Mar 22, 2000
    Syracuse Ut
    This may be true, but in a band setting could you hear the difference? Maybe for recording would be the big advantage, or in a quieter band than I'm in.
  19. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Changing the string termination should have had no effect on the high of your action, seeing as the height of your bridge saddles did not change. I am thinking that one of two things happened: either your action changed do to some other factor (such as humidity changing the neck bow), or your playing approach changed, so you required a different action, as Rickbass has suggested. Again, not disputing that you needed to change the action, just suggesting other causes, since the saddle height should not have changed.
  20. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    It is true that some of the vibrational energy gets past the bridge saddle. But, by changing the string termination, you are not changing the amount of that energy that gets to the body, you are just changing the direction of the force. In a straight-termination (on the bridge), this force is roughly in the direction of the strings; if strung through-body, it is applied perpendicular to the body surface. And as can be seen in this discussion, whether that energy is enough to affect the tone, regardless of its direction, is a matter of debate.

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