basic newbie questions

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by discogravy, Jan 17, 2009.

  1. discogravy

    discogravy TDPRI Member

    Jan 4, 2009
    Sorry to ask such basic stuff but I haven't been able to find any really great answers and since these are tele-specific, I'm hoping forum regulars might be able to give some decent answers or thoughts.

    what's the difference between string-through body and string-through-bridge, tonewise? is it big enough (or worth it enough) to drill through-body holes in a tele that doesn't have 'em?

    the two tele's I've got have 6-saddle bridges, but the majority I've seen have 3-saddle bridges; I would guess that 6 saddles lets you fine-tune better, but is there a real difference?

    is converting to a baritone neck and nut sufficient to convert to make my tele into a baritone?
  2. PJ55

    PJ55 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Mar 27, 2003
    Philadelphia, PA
    String through bridge (on a Tele) is commonly called a "top-loader." Expect more of a bright tone. Through the body gives a woodier tone. I'm pretty sure can convert a standard Tele to a Barritone, with a barritone neck. It's a longer scale length. You probably don't a special bridge, but I'm not 100% certain on that. Fender does use a difFerent bridge on their barriotone Tele. But, I think getting the scale length correct is the key to a barritone. It's sort of like a bass. Longer scale than a guitar.
  3. Doug Ferguson

    Doug Ferguson Friend of Leo's

    Jan 3, 2008
    Indianapolis, IN
    I have both through body and toploaders. I can't really tell a substanial difference in tone or sustain. With the bridge saddles, yes, a six saddle bridge helps adjust intonation a bit better than the three saddle versions. All but one of my teles have three saddle bridges, and I can get them to intonate well. PJ's right on the baritone: It's the scale length that's important. Scale ranges (the length of the string from the nut to the bridge) on baritone's run from 27" to 30.5", compared to 25.5" on most tele's. So it comes down to the neck length. A number of online places sell barione necks, so if you're thinking a conversion, just look around.
  4. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Jan 21, 2007
    Tucson, AZ
    Hey Disco -

    Welcome to th forum.

    Question 1 - The biggest difference between a top loader and string through bridge is the angle and therefore tension that the string breaks over the saddle. Whether or not that makes a "substantial" difference is debatable, but in all reality it won't change the voice of your guitar substantially. It may change the tone of the guitar, but the guitar will still sound like the guitar. The # 1 thing to improve tone is PRACTICE, and that bares Practice. Not to say your a bad player or haven't mastered your craft, Im just saying that these little nuances and idiosyncrasies of changing one part of a guitar won't substantially change your tone, a lot of times there will be a noticeable change, but not to the affect that the guitar will sound like a different guitar. So no need to sweat the small stuff.

    Question #2 - sells conversion necks that will make your tele into a baritone. If you don't have any experience cutting nuts or finishing, they have those available options. All you will need to do is add/ swap tuning keys and bolt it onto your guitar. If you want to double check to see if your bridge setup will work, buy a set of baritone strings to see if they will go through your existing holes and seat nicely on your saddles. I would say their diameter is the only real limiting factor. When intonating your new neck, just remember "Flat Fret Forward".
  5. KevinB

    KevinB Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 4, 2007
    SC (S)lowcountry
    1) A string through the body design is said to give the strings more contact with the body wood and is said to produce more sustain, but in all practicality these tonal changes are probably not measurable. A top-loader bridge does result in a shorter overall string length - producing slightly less tension in the string - and a shallower break angle over the bridge, and this can be felt more than heard. Again, the difference is subtle. Would I drill a top-loader for body-through stringing? No. And even if you wanted to, be aware that to do it properly is not easy and typically requires a large drill press.

    2) Many folks feel that the traditional Tele bridge should be 3-saddle and that the extra mass of the shared saddles provides distinct tonal benefits. With compensated saddles now available, intonation isn't much of an issue.

    3) Yes, you would just need a baritone neck. With a really long scale your current bridge may not offer enough adjustment for correct intonation.
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