1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

top load vs string through

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by bassdog, Jul 7, 2012.

  1. bassdog


    May 23, 2005
    Atlanta, Ga
    I have an '11 Am Standard J that I have been playing string through. Sometimes I feel like I'm getting too much sustain. The A string particularly, almost a mwah sound it seems. I just restrung as top load for the more traditional approach. First impression is that it seems to have a slight affect on the sustain and I don't notice the A string as much. Doesn't string though privide increased sustain?

  2. Half of the people say "yes" the other half say "no" I don't agree with either side.
  3. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    +1, the effects are so subtle that when playing through an amp in a band, it's difficult to hear a difference, if there even is one.
  4. mech

    mech Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2008
    Meridian, MS, USA
    So you're a realist. :)

    To the OP. I have a limited experience with trying both methods on a few basses and think it's dependent on the individual instrument as to how the sustain changes. For each method you also have to use new strings that haven't had their kinks set to have a result that may be considered valid.

  5. eddododo

    eddododo Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2010
    Trust your ears. If you think youre fooling yourself, record the difference; even the crappiest recordings make good comparisons
  6. Dave the Bass

    Dave the Bass

    Sep 11, 2011
    I have a Carvin LB20 that has a string-through-body bridge, I usually run the E and A through the body and the Dand G are top-loaded.

    I like the tighter feel on the lower strings.
  7. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I only use through body stringing to keep the string ferrules from falling out of the back of the bass.
  8. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    It's never been proven to do so. No. :rollno:

  9. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    Badum tsssh!
  10. ubnomnar

    ubnomnar Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    So Cal
    I only top load and let the string ferrules choose their own place of residence.
  11. jordak


    Apr 7, 2011
    Queens, NY
    In theory, increased pressure on the bridge saddles and nut should help the bass resonate where it counts.

    This doesn't apply evenly to all instruments and factoring in your electronics, pickups, strings, amp, etc...makes it very hard to determine anything for sure. As others have suggested, try recording it both ways, see if you can feel or hear a difference.
  12. I've come to the conclusion that all my basses A string have more sustain than the other strings. Since most my A strings are usually the longest strings from tuner post to bridge, I believe that's what gives me the sustain. I usually play the A string so I'm accustomed to the way it feels, sound and plays. Now I'm not sure this is proven in any way but just my thoughts.

    Usually string thru will get you more sustain but neck thru is suppose to as well. This is very similiar to the neck thru vs. bolt on and which has more punch and sustain. Maybe you should have excellent sustain with neck thru string thru and exellent punch with bolt on and top load but I'm not sure. But there are also alot of factors that are involved to like stated above, strings, pick ups, amps, playing position etc.
  13. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    Any additional string before the bridge or after the nut should have negligible effect on a properly designed bass. In the end, I say to do what works best for you. Even if there is no measurable difference, the placebo effect can be quite important in the outcome of a bass line.
  14. BLDavis

    BLDavis Master of Snarks. Supporting Member

    May 21, 2009
    Ellenboro, NC
    Ding-Ding-Ding......WE HAVE A WINNER ! ! ! ;)
  15. With string through the tension is pushing down on the bridge - you could take the bridge mounting screws out and it won't move.

    With top load the tension is trying to yank the bridge off of the body. You would not want to try removing the bridge mounting screws.

    Since the strings don't know where their tension is being spent, they don't really care.

    (in the end the only difference is the break angle of the string over the bridge - and any and all differences in sound should be attributed to that - if any actually exist.)
  16. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    As far as I know, string through body gives the bass increased sustain for sure. It's because there is more contact with the body plus the string get's longer, so more room for vibration.
  17. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Exactly. Break angle is an important component.
  18. pudge

    pudge Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2008
    In theory yes,but the effect will be different on each individiual bass,way to many variables for a yes no answer.It's that way with any mod you make p.u's tuners,bridge ect.What makes a world of difference on one bass will be negligible on another.
  19. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    Then Steinberger would have to be the worst sustaining bass on the planet. Pretty sure this isn't the case. The primary vibe is between nut and saddle, anything after that is pretty much absorbing vibes, bleeding energy away from the vibe.

    Now the change in angle provided by string through does two things I figure. As has been said, more pressure on the saddle and the vector of the delivery of energy to the saddle changes. The vector of kintetic energy delivery to objects plays a major role in how they behave (react) . Physics 101.
  20. pbassnut

    pbassnut Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2004
    Falls Church, VA
    (in the end the only difference is the break angle of the string over the bridge - and any and all differences in sound should be attributed to that - if any actually exist.)


    I have several basses which can be strung top load or string through and have tried both ways. If there is any difference in sustain or tone, it is VERY subtle. The only thing that I've noticed is that the strings feel a bit stiffer when strung through the body which I attribute to the more extreme break angle over the bridge pieces. I have exploited this on string sets that were slinkier than I prefer by stringing them through the body and getting a slightly tauter feel out of them. As always ... YMMV.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.