Do string-through design guitars keep their tuning better?

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Verzila, Jun 17, 2019.

  1. Verzila

    Verzila Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    144
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2012
    Location:
    WR15 8PH, United Kingdom
    i’ve got two string-through types, a telecaster and one with a tune-o-metic and body ferrules. Of all my guitars, these two seem to keep tune better than the others (tune-o-metics and stop tails, wrapover bridges).

    I know there are many other factors at play when it coms to tuning stability but I just wonder if this is partly down to the string-though design, or is it just coincidence?
     
  2. Fluddman

    Fluddman Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    141
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2010
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    I'd be inclined to think the main issues would be at the headstock end of the guitar.

    Cheers
     
  3. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    4,869
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2003
    Location:
    Athens-GREECE
    No they don't.
     
    Treadplatedual and rangercaster like this.
  4. stefanhotrod

    stefanhotrod Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    238
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2016
    Location:
    germany
    Tuning issues are in most cases poor stringing and/or a poor slotted nut. Third suspect is the bridge.
     
    Treadplatedual and rangercaster like this.
  5. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,634
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2014
    Location:
    South London UK
    As the owner of many types of guitars, no.

    Tuners, stretching strings thoroughly and nut cut / lube are top of my list.
     
    Old Deaf Roadie likes this.
  6. bettyseldest

    bettyseldest Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,062
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    Other than Teles the only through body strung guitar I have is a Patrick Eggle New York. Despite a pretty straight string pull at the head it needed a nut lube to give it tuning stability.

    upload_2019-6-17_10-7-7.jpeg upload_2019-6-17_10-6-50.jpeg
     
  7. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Age:
    62
    Posts:
    59,499
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Location:
    Austin, Tx
    This, IMO.
    A straight string pull behind the nut is helpful.
    I have String Butlers mounted on a few of my guitars.
    They help keep the guitar in tune.
     
    nojazzhere likes this.
  8. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,538
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2013
    Location:
    meridianam altum centralis
    One thing to consider, is pitch discernment. Some instruments are more easily tuned because you can hear and feel the pitch more precisely, and therefore you can tune it quicker, and more reliably. You can readily hear the difference in a couple cents difference, so that dissonance stands out. You tune till the dissonance goes away. Your string-thru's may have a more stable, clearer response, allowing you to more easily hear and tune them more precisely. As an opposite example, some banjos, and some older guitars are really hard to tune precisely, because the pitch is not as easily heard or identified. A few cents difference around the pitch you want, is difficult to hear. There appears to be dissonance below, on and above the target pitch. With these instruments, you aren't really ever convinced you have them precisely tuned. You walk away, and come back later and pick it up, and it sounds out of tune now - when the instrument wasn't in tune before you walked off. Your ears got a rest, and can now hear the dissonance better. That inability to present a good pitch with precision leads to ear fatigue, worsening the ability to tune.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2019
  9. Old Deaf Roadie

    Old Deaf Roadie Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    642
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2017
    Location:
    Oregon
    I have never experienced a tuning issue on any guitar that wasn't related to the tuning machines slipping under tension. I have seen Lester's with an unstable Tune-o-matic that won't hold tune, though. Any solid tailpiece should work to your benefit, whether it be thru-body or a stop-type.
     
  10. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,575
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Location:
    Hudson Valley, NY
    90% of tuning stability is the strings not being able to move freely in the nut. Widen the slots and apply lube - as simple as graphite from a pencil - and you'll solve tuning issues on almost any guitar. Straight string pull helps as well, which is a reason Fenders stay in tune better than Gibson, but that ALSO has to do with the string moving in the nut.
    Almost all cheap tuners work fine, and trem systems can be made pretty stable, but the strings can't be tightly seated in the nut slots or you will continually have problems.
     
  11. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,281
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Location:
    Lions & Tigers oh Mi !
    .

    There is tuning stability playing, with a trem or bending strings. Which I think most of the prior responses are aimed at.
    There is tuning stability from temperature and humidity fluctuations. Which is the construction style I think you are more going after.

    I find the latter is mostly due to all-maple necks are more stable than mixed wood necks like rosewood/ebony. All maple necks also have full finish on them while rosewood/ebony are only oiled and left open pores for humidity to move in them.

    18 inches of wood flopping back and forth under temperature and humidity swings causes a guitar to drop tuning.

    Through body adds another section of lumber that can expand and contract with humidity. I mostly hate through body for having to flop the guitar carcass back and forth at string changes like a dead fish. Top loaders are my favorite.



    .
     
  12. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    20,178
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2012
    Location:
    Montana
    I have never experienced a difference and as others chimed in, there are other areas of the guitar that have way more effect on tuning, but theoretically, it probably is true that string thru is more tuning stable, because of less parts involved. The KISS strategy in engineering design usually prevails. @jvin248 just gave another example of the KISS design of solid maple necks. Perhaps this is why some of us refer to our teles as the basic tool. We know that Keef has shown how robust it is on stage:

     
  13. SacDAve

    SacDAve Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    67
    Posts:
    6,811
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2009
    Location:
    Rocklin Ca.
    I found cheap tuning machines to be the #1 cause of going out of tune. I always like to use locking tuners on my guitars I prefer Sperzel I just like the feel of them.
     
    Old Deaf Roadie likes this.
  14. rangercaster

    rangercaster Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,668
    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    portland, or
    My understanding and most others is that even the cheapest functional tuning machines will provide adequate stability ... You can put a $200 set of titanium alloy locking tuners on a guitar with a bad nut and it won't tune properly ... It's your money ...
     
    I_build_my_own and nojazzhere like this.
  15. mistermikev

    mistermikev Tele-Holic

    Age:
    45
    Posts:
    653
    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2018
    Location:
    phoenix
    I would think string thru has little to no effect. in my experience the nut is often the source of tuning issues. if we are talking about a fixed bridge... nut, tuners, then saddles/bridge, then rigidity of the neck/headstock.
    If we are talking tremolo... I just learned something recently that allowed me, for the first time in my experience, to float a six screw bridge, do divebombs, and actually stay in tune ALMOST perfect... and that was the carl verheyen setup.
    Thought I knew everything but the more I know the less I know I know.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  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.