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Through-body stringing...or not?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Mystic Michael, Dec 9, 2004.


  1. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Anyone here care to share informed opinions about the pros & cons of through-body stringing vs. strings anchored at the bridge? Especially if you've had experience of both types...

    Personally, I'm not convinced that any advantage of through-body stringing would be significant, if even noticeable - I suspect the quality of the bridge to be far more important. But I'm interested in the views of anyone who can speak authoritatively to this - especially if you have any anecdotal or empirical information you can share...

    MM
     
  2. i'm getting a custom with string thru body stringing with a hipshot bridge
    supposedly it adds sustain, and on warriors, they claim it tightens the feel of the B and E strings.
     
  3. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    Well, I owned one bass with that option and could not tell the difference. YMMV.
     
  4. ApeIsHigh81

    ApeIsHigh81

    Aug 24, 2004
    CA
    I've had both string through and top loading bridge ash/maple jazz basseses and there wasn't really a difference to me at all. The string through's E string might have sounded a little lamer/less full/deep than my current traditional, but I think it was just because I had hi-beams on it. Not to swerve off the topic lane but I can't stress enough how killer LaBella's HardRockinSteel E string sounds.
     
  5. I'm no expert on this matter, but planting my thumbs firmly in my suspenders I can relate my own experience. The myth was (is?) that string-through provided better coupling with the body of the bass and therefore offered more sustain. My experience has been that a brass tone block (for example) does more in this regard than string-through. Couple that with a top-loader and I would choose it every time. I like the fact that a broken or dead string can be replaced in the blink of an eye.
     
  6. I had the bridge on my MIA jazz bass drilled out to do top load. I don't think it had much effect on the sound of the bass, but it did change the feel noticeably for me. I'd always found that it felt very 'tight,' like there was more tension on the strings than there should be, especially compared to my SR5. It now feels more like the SR5, more 'slinky.' I think that maybe the strings are a bit freer to roll a bit in the saddle with the shallower break angle that toploading gives.... Maybe I'm just nuts.... :D

    Now the leveling of the fretboard (the rosewood wasn't an even thickness up and down the neck) , vintage sized super hard frets and addition of a bone nut made some tonal difference. It sounds more like an old Jazz bass now. A bit less bottom end but a richer midrange.... It's gonna sound more like that when I get my Fralins (should be here next week).... :D
     
  7. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Tone block? Eh? :confused:

    MM
     
  8. metron

    metron Fluffy does not agree

    Sep 12, 2003
    Lakewood Colorado
    I have both and have noticed no difference in tension/tone/playability BUT I have noticed something else. I agree with Mark that the strings are a bit freer to move with the shallower break angle. Because of this what Ive experienced is that when stringing a bass its easier for the string to twist from saddle to nut (and give funny overtones as a result) with through body. Thats the only difference Ive ever found but its enough to make me want through bridge stringing on all my basses.
     
  9. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    That sounds like a function of the bridge saddle to me. If I understand you correctly, I'm sure you could get away with the shallower break angle as long as there's a nice groove in the bridge saddle to keep the string from moving laterally. The Quan BadAss II that I use on my Carvin LB70 has these sort of heavy zinc alloy saddles that seem to carve well into a nice "V" shape. From what I've seen, the Hipshot, for example, has these rounded, tubular-shaped saddles that look to be made from stainless steel - not very "carveable"...

    Just my observation...

    MM
     
  10. bassjam

    bassjam

    Aug 2, 2004
    dfw
    Lakland Basses,Genz Benz
    i have spoken with luthiers from both sides on this issue.both sides have logical arguments.presonally ive also owned several of each variety and havent heard or felt any differance.ive strung my lakland both ways and still not much differance if any.after 25 years of playing though im probably half deaf anyway.ive always felt it had more to do with the bridge rather than if the strings did or didnt go through the body as the distance from saddle to nut is the same either way.but if someone out there can tell a differance i certainly believe it.i just cant.
     
  11. With your bridge firmly screwed onto the body with 4 or more substantial screws. Vibration from the strings IS transmitted sufficiently to the body. To me, the only advantage through-body has is when you are using an instrument with an acoustic-like bridge. Otherwise, go for the bridge-anchored set up
     
  12. metron

    metron Fluffy does not agree

    Sep 12, 2003
    Lakewood Colorado
    Not at all. Actually I dont really know what you mean but what Im saying is that for a through body bass when bringing a string up to tension, the string anchor at the bridge has much less freedom to move because of the angle goes through the body and gets twisted easily unless I string it very carefully. The other bass I have (which is always strung through the bridge) is much easier. I just bring the string up to tension and the anchor end at the bridge moves very freely until the point that it is against the saddles. What Im talking about is independent of the saddles themselves.
     
  13. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Got it...

    MM
     
  14. Dbassmon

    Dbassmon

    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    Stringing through the body is especially helpful for 5 or 6 string basses with 34" scale. The reason is, the longer travel and string length reduces floppiness of the low B and keeps tension feeling uniform across gauges. Warrior Instruments builds some great basses. They string the E and Low B through the body and the rest stop at the back of the bridge. This works extremely well to reduce produce a great low B.
     
  15. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    Actually, that's been debunked around here several times. With identical strings at identical pitch, the only thing that affects tension is the distance from saddle to nut. I'm certain Warrior makes great basses with great low E and B strings, but it's not because their stringing method yields higher tension on those strings.