String Through vs Top Load

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Steve NB, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. Brokenpick

    Brokenpick Tele-Afflicted

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    It often doesn't take long to hear a word from the wise.
    (If you're listening...)
     
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  2. BjornSynneby

    BjornSynneby TDPRI Member

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    If you are interested in empiric proof of the question if sustain is longer with top-loader or string-through alternatives you could actually record the tones and measure the sustain. A bridge with both alternatives could be used. Recordings with the same initial volume could be compared. The answer comes out as difference in seconds. It would perhaps be a boring answer for some... but perhaps more true in an empirical perspective.

    The answer of what alternative is the best will still be more or less relativistic though. The descriptions here of different preferences helps users to identify their own taste. But its just their own.

    My own preference is colored by my deep love for the Telecaster as an outstanding instrument. The difference in sound between the two aternatives may be marginal but I love that little difference.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2019
  3. TwangBrain

    TwangBrain TDPRI Member

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    I have a telecaster that I decided to fit with a Glendale top-loader bridge, which also has the standard string-through holes as well. My experience is that, while it isn't a dramatic difference, it does change the feel, the response & sound, and the string sustain. I flip flop between through-body and top-load setups, depending on what I'm doing or in the mood for as I also switch string gauges and between flat and round winds semi-frequently.
     
  4. Mur

    Mur Tele-Afflicted

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    I experimented with top load vs thru body .. each effected attack and sustain, with the thru-body adding a tonal resonance to the body itself.
     
  5. gobi_grey

    gobi_grey Tele-Holic

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    If I had a top loader, I'd play it and really enjoy it. All I have are string throughs so I just play them and really enjoy them.
    I think top loaders are cool. I'm tempted to build one. I'd never change a string through tele to a top loader though. Just as I would never change a tele to an Esquire. Just kinda seems like the guitar should be born that way and then enjoyed for it's odd differences.
     
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  6. NEED4TWEED

    NEED4TWEED TDPRI Member

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    I think the answer is possibly yes, but it may not make a difference. If the stop tail is making good contact with the body it may be as good.

    Either way, I'm not fan of stop tail/tune-o-matic hardware after having many guitars with that. The string through and adjustable saddles of Teles is superior and less hassle IMO.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2019
  7. skerwo

    skerwo Tele-Holic

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    Actually I'm playing a top loader tele and it has everything soundwise what I'm expecting from a tele style guitar.
     
  8. sjtalon

    sjtalon Doctor of Teleocity

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    well this one ALMOST died

    :D
     
  9. BramptonRob1958

    BramptonRob1958 TDPRI Member

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    My Page Mirror has the feature of being both a "Top Loader" or "String Through" I haven't found any tonal differences when strung either way.

    I have found that there is a definite playability advantage when strung as a Top Loader. I find that there is less tension on the strings when played as a Top Loader.

    It doesn't take as much effort to play, especially in the first 2 frets.
     
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  10. Platefire

    Platefire Friend of Leo's

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    I have one top loader and one string through. The string through is darker or the top loader is brighter. However they have different pickups, the top loader is maple board and the other rosewood. I've always heard rosewood board tends to be darker than maple. So the differences may not even be related to how the strings are loaded. Both are great teles---so I guess I haven't contributed any value to this conversation:>) Platefire
     
  11. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Tele-Afflicted

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    When did they have MIM toploaders?

    I've got two teles, one string thru and one toploader, both with the same pickups. They are pretty interchangeable, but there is a small tone difference in the two guitars. The difference could be slightly different electronics, different wood, etc, so not convinced the difference is the bridge. Before I matched the pickups, they were like two completely different guitars. Pretty powerful testimony to pickup influence.
     
  12. sjtalon

    sjtalon Doctor of Teleocity

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    Top loader up to '95.

    My 95 Std.:

    IMG_5776 [1024x768].JPG
     
  13. Kezzell

    Kezzell TDPRI Member Ad Free Member

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    Both of mine seem to sustain about the same either way. My problem with top loading on my guitars it that it caused the low e,a, to buzz more. I guess maybe I need to tweak the setup. The strings do feel slightly more slinky to me too loaded.
     
  14. ben smith

    ben smith Tele-Holic

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    I love this topic because after building my tele and trying both top load and string through I chose to top load. the wrap on the strings doesn't tear my hand up at all and if it does yours then the strings can't be that great. without a doubt in my mind the strings are easier to bend with a top loader which is perfect for me seeing as I use 11's. with the right neck angle the strings don't buzz, I like to increase the neck angle anyway (quite a lot) I have found perfection with my tele it chimes and resonates like nothing I have heard before so top loading cannot be detrimental. I am building another two tele's one for a friend and I will top load both of them, i'm not saying it's better I just prefer it. the high E will break less too if at all, I bend the hell out of my strings and I have had the same set on now for a good few months. don't knock it until you have tried it! p.s as for ferrule holes I found these really nice looking kinda closed type. IMG_8200.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2019
  15. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    I've also used the same guitar for my string-through vs. top load experiments. I actually have two teles with bridge plates that accommodate either stringing method, the first two from the right in the pic below...
    07-13-2019 - Logan Customs 1-3.jpg

    I chose the one in the middle, my honey blonde Logan Custom "Logo" thinline. Here's a closer look at it, from an angle that gives a little better view of the butt end of the bridge plate...
    My Logan Custom 'Logo' Thinline, prototype - 5.jpg

    Used the same strings I usually use (D'Addario EXL-110s). This was several years ago now, so it's hard to remember for certain, but there was a slight difference in string tension, or slinkiness or elasticity, or whatever you want to call it. I don't remember an appreciable difference in tone or sustain, though. After months of having that guitar strung as a top loader, a switched it back.
     
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  16. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I prefere body through to topload , body through allows the body to resonate differently than a top load , but as the tone wood depate is pointless, or the cap composition debate , its all a matter taste and prefference!
     
  17. Wrighty

    Wrighty Tele-Afflicted

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    To a Tele, yes!
     
  18. Wrighty

    Wrighty Tele-Afflicted

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    I’m gonna buy one of those bridges and put strings 1,3 and 5 through the body and 2,4 and 6 top load. Best of all worlds, unless that is, if one or other is deemed to enhance treble response and the other bass, I’ll have a huge problem. Do I use the bass enhancing option for 4,5 and 6 to increase bass and 1,2 and 3 in treble enhancing mode or the opposite to balance the tone? Then again, add a thicker three ply guard and it’ll all change again, thoughI. Outdoor balance tgat with higher mass strap buttons I s’pose. Any testing would need to be based on whether there is an ‘r’ in the month if it’s to be be irrefutable...............................
     
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  19. TX_Slinger

    TX_Slinger TDPRI Member

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    Exactly the reason I'm thinking of converting mine to a bridge that accepts string thru. Have everything possible adjusted for lowest action and still can't get EAD lower than 4/32-5/32 without buzzing when fretted at 5-9. A little extratension would go a long way.
     
  20. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I had to drink four beers to get this outcome.

    Without the beer? No difference.

    :^)

    Look, sometimes the perceived tension of the string is different. When a string goes down the through hole, it may "anchor" on the edge of the through hole or it may not. The unimpinged string that goes down to the bottom lip of the bridge (toploader) can be more long in effect and this can yield a sort of spongy or loose feel - the guitar may feel less bound up. But this stuff is close to imperceptible sometimes.
     
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