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Why string through the body

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by LarsLockwood, Feb 27, 2008.

  1. LarsLockwood

    LarsLockwood Guest

    Jan 23, 2008
    I am a newbie so please don't beat me up if this was already posted or should go under a different topic. I searched but did not find any info in past postings.

    My bass has the option of threading the strings through the body. I am wondering what the advantage of this is. My bass is a 5 string and has a 35" scale so my options are already limited when buying strings. Threading them through the body requires extra long strings and limits my choices even more. I purchased my bass used and the guy I got it from had the B,E,A strings starting at the bridge and the D, and G threaded through the body. This confuses me. If there is a valid reason to do one or the other, why would you do both at the same time? Did he have it set up in a weird way? He put new strings on it before I bought it and I kind of got the impression he did that just to show that it has the option. He seemed to think it looked cool or something. I don't know if this info matters but my bass is a Lakland 5501D. So, what do you think?
  2. MyUsernameHere

    MyUsernameHere ?????????????

    Nov 3, 2007
    Lexington KY
    Supposedly, string through body increases sustain. This might (or might not...who knows) have been true to an extent with some old school basses with exceptionally crappy bridges, but for your Lakland it won't do anything at all except make string changes more of a pain in the butt.

    If you end up wanting to do the string through body thing DR Strings should work fine and IMO Hi Beams sound great on a 01.
  3. saxofunk


    Jul 25, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
  4. El-Bob

    El-Bob Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2006
    Hamilton, ON
    i agree that it makes no difference. my peavey (which doesn't really compare to a lakland in terms of quality, although it is a great bass) has the option of stringing through the body, and IMO/IME the only REAL difference is aesthetic.
  5. LarsLockwood

    LarsLockwood Guest

    Jan 23, 2008
    Thank you for the replies.

    "IMO Hi Beams sound great on a 01"
    Thanks for the input. I am currently trying out different strings in hopes of finding ones I really like and eliminating ones I don't. Have tried Boomers and currently trying Elixir. I will definitely try Hi Beams. This could be a whole new thread but I will search before posting that question as I'm sure it's been covered numerous times. Thanks again.
  6. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I'm surprised no one has posted the real answer: stringing through the body keeps the ferrules from falling out.

    :D :bag: :D
  7. tmw

    tmw Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 17, 2006
    Delmar, NY
    +1. That's all it did for my Fender:D
  8. dbcandle


    Jan 30, 2008
    Wouldn't tapered strings be impacted by the choice of string-through-bridge or string-through-body? I have only string-through-bridge, but in theory, it seems like there would be less of the "taper" on the playable part of the string if you string-through-body.

    I only mention this because on my Ibanez, with a tapered B string, I've got the saddle set so far from the nut that the "messy windings" close to the eyelet/ball at the end of the string is in the playable part of the string. Ignoring the fact that these are LaBellas (and risk breaking with string-through-bridge), I thought it would be nice to string through bridge so that only the nice smooth part of the taper was in my strings playable area.
  9. Stringing through the body destributes the stress on the body over a bigger area. With (string through the bridge) design all the pulling stress is on the bridge screws. Does it sound different? It depends on the bass.
  10. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    Supposedly, there's more pressure on the saddles, changing the sound.
    My Cort, a standard 34" scale bass, string-through only, when tuned seems at much higher tension than on regular 34"s.
    It also needs extra long strings. This could be a combination of things,
    including the fact that the ferrules are further back than on most basses, signifcantly IMO.

    I tested this myself with same brand/scale/guage strings on multiple basses,
    in multiple tunings, always the Cort came out at higher tension.
    Downtuned to DGCF the tension is at least as high as another 34" bass at EADG.
  11. lazyone2


    Jul 27, 2006
    new jersey shore
    I would suggest that you try a set of D'Adario Chrome Flats super longs, or TI Jazz flats or rounds . These strings sound great last forever and can be strung either way.

  12. LOL.....Thats funny
  13. Just tested through body and through bridge on my Lakland JO4, it makes a difference IME, better tension through the body
  14. My experiments have led me to like the through-body set-up better. I get a more acute angle across the saddles and I hear more "ringing" when letting a note sustain, especially with flats. The other plus is that with soft-wood bodies, a bridge "rip-out" can't happen. Changing strings? I always cut them rather than drag them over the paint on top loaders, anyway, so I don't do anything different on either set-up. Snip-snip! Haven't had any trouble using regular long scale strings on the 34"'s or regular shorts on a 30 incher. I've taken to string through on all my builds. Nothing to it.
  15. wdinc01


    Nov 19, 2005
    Jacksonville, FL
    A friend of my dad's told me that stringing through the body gives better leverage on the strings when you're changing them, which makes the job a little easier. He also claims that if it's top loaded, then the tension might move the bridge like a millimeter or something, which'll throw off your tuning. I think weather effects that, although I'm not sure how true it is. Makes sense to me, although that probably depends on the bridge you use.
  16. greencow


    Feb 7, 2008
    String through body makes it safer to switch to a heavier gauge strings. In some cases the heavier strings may rip the bridge of the body....

    Also the intonation should be better with a string through...
  17. JansenW


    Nov 14, 2005
    Cambridge, MA
    There may be string issues with through-body set up using flats (i.e. La Bella "Deep Talk'in" flat wounds).

    For EUBs, the best reason for string through set ups, is so you can use standard double bass strings. (For the NDS EUB, it's actually string-around-the-bottom-of-the-body setup).

    A lot of excellent sounding basses don't offer the through-body option.
  18. Lalabadie

    Lalabadie Guest

    Jan 11, 2007
    Stringing through the body, if done in replacement of a bridge with badly distributed tension, will increase pressure on the saddles, therefore helping the transfer of vibrations to the body if the bass.

    But you won't hear it :p
  19. Hooveoperator


    May 19, 2007
    Bristol, UK
    The string tension on my Mustang (thru body) appears to be much greater than on my through bridge SX Shortscale Jazz with the same strings. My physicist friend assures me that it's the distance between the saddle and the nut that makes the difference but that doesn't explain the very obvious difference in tension. I've measured the respective distances for the two basses (saddles to nut) and they are the same. So - is my friend missing something?

    I'm interested because I'd consider drilling my SX to string thru body if it would increase the string tension.

  20. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Lineā„¢ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    luthiers offer the string-thru option so that threads like this are possible.

    every now an then one of us will make a bold statement about string-thru being superior to top loaded as a pure marketing ploy (hey - free publicity baby!) during times when the buying trends favor top loading. when the buying public shifts their desires towards string-thru, another luthier will boldly assert top loading as the superior methodology for string loading (again, another marketing ploy ... and more free publicity!!! :hyper:) unfortunately, a few luthiers have sold their souls to the marketing machine - and they offer both thru-body and top loading on every model they sell in hopes that whichever way the fickle market swings, they have full coverage

    in reality ... physics proves a very simple equasion:

    given string diameter + given string length + given string tension = specific vibration frequency (note pitch)

    for all you who love a conspiracy, feel welcome to dream up some new marketing math in an attempt to justify your pseudoexperiences ... but in a scientific world, stringing thru-body simply cannot change the string tension without a direct impact on string pitch - greater tension = higher pitch. period.

    what many here are attempting to explain is the perceived difference in string stiffness that can occur due to many, many different things. but (whoa - that's a pretty big butt!) stiffness and tension are two entirely different properties.

    ok ... back to your string tension debates. somewhere, someplace a luthier needs your support so he/she can feed their children

    all the best,


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