1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

Top Load or Thru Body?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Stanford Guitar, Mar 5, 2021.

  1. telestratosonic

    telestratosonic Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    2,896
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    44BD08AC-6F6D-4ECE-8AA7-4799F52CE810.jpeg CDA8162D-A94D-4B36-A2BE-9EC021BC6C5B.jpeg DB4FB306-9053-4C5B-8856-A9C21AAD0FA0.jpeg BF251DB9-E183-4BB3-9C43-32805E5714F6.jpeg I like vintage bridges. What I like mostly is that I can hook my pinky finger on the underside of the bridge to 'keep my place' when picking.

    For years, I've been wanting to swap out the modern bridge for a vintage bridge on my 2008 Indonesian-made Squier Standard Telecaster.

    I bought it used back in August, 2012 for $170 CAD. I was working at an 8-week oil-refinery maintenance turnaround just outside Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta at the time. I was browsing Kijiji on my iPhone during my coffee break when I saw it for sale. I sent the seller a message and we agreed to meet at the nearby Fort Saskatchewan Walmart parking lot after work. I met the seller after work, had a look at the Telecaster, saw that it was in excellent condition and $170 changed hands.

    I've done some mods to this guitar:
    1) new Grover Mini Rotomatic tuning machines (great tuners but unnecessary as the stock tuners were fine) - $75 CAD back in 2013 or thereabouts;
    2) new Seymour Vintage Rhythm neck pickup - $55 CAD back in 2013 - I wouldn't buy it again;
    3) used USA Fender bridge pickup - $45 CAD - I bought on Kijiji and I'm happy with it.

    Back then, the Canadian dollar was equal to or worth a little more than the US dollar if memory serves.

    I drilled holes in the pickguard so I'm able to adjust the height of the Seymour Duncan neck pickup.

    The only thing I didn't change was the bridge. I bought the Wilkinson vintage bridge with compensated saddles on Kijiji for $30 on Kijiji some years ago. But the string-through-the-body holes didn't line up so I didn't install it. I checked StewMac and online for a suitable bridge but no luck there either. I even posted here about it.

    THEN, I saw this thread. I checked the bridge and lo and behold, it's a TOP LOAD as well as a THRU BODY.

    I had to drill 4 holes through the bridge to make it work but it works. The screws in the pics are red-colored so that you can see what I did. I'm happy with the TOP LOAD; I hear no discernible difference in the sound and I can hook my pinky finger on the underside of the bridge.

    At the rear and outside the bridge, where the strings load, I put the 3 screws from the modern bridge back in the holes. The vintage bridge doesn't cover the holes. If you look closely, you can see the 3 screw heads.

    I also have a Fender vintage bridge but it's not a Top Load. I would have had to drill holes at the back of the bridge to make it work. Not an insurmountable problem though.

    I also have a new Warmoth Telecaster neck I picked up on Kijiji in Edmonton last year for $200 CAD. The seller told me he paid $400 CAD for it. If the frets wear out, I can always swap out the neck.

    HALLELUJAH! ALL HAIL THE MIGHTY TELECASTER!! LOL!

    Here are some pics.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2021
    hemmings likes this.
  2. hepular

    hepular Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    949
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2019
    Location:
    abilene, tx
    that would be relevant if said application were to produce ACOUSTIC vibrations. it MIGHT be relevant to the induction of electromagnetic signal through the pickups, but probably NOT in the manner that most participants in the tonewood debate think: as with passive tone devices, i guess that the interaction of various woods with string vibration will only dampen some aspect of the string vibration, or, some aspect of how the pickup is induced to respond to the string.

    unless we were all deriving our conclusions from the same guitars, with the same bridge/saddle/nut/pickups, our opinions will not derive from similar experiences: as many have noted, the difference in saddle quality (and correctness of adjustment) will produce a huge range of variance in string-through performance, and the same would be true for top-loaders.

    that said, i prefer string-through. because, in the immortal, and with her, argument ending words of my mom: "i like it."
     
  3. IrishB

    IrishB TDPRI Member

    Age:
    51
    Posts:
    13
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2021
    Location:
    Sweden
    I got an Esquire that came top loaded with 11s. Had it set up by a pro and asked him to switch to thru.

    Really not much of a difference if any. Maybe a little less slinky as someone mentioned.
     
    telestratosonic likes this.
  4. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    9,976
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2013
    Location:
    Indiana
    have both, too many variables to perceive any appreciable difference, let alone a difference that matters

    top load is more convenient and cheaper to build

    use the cheap Fender bridge plate and sand its bottom dead flat
     
    gmann and telestratosonic like this.
  5. palethorn

    palethorn TDPRI Member

    Age:
    37
    Posts:
    43
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2019
    Location:
    Sveti Stefan
    Eating-Popcorn-GIF-Image-for-Whatsapp-and-Facebook-3.gif
     
  6. orangeblossom

    orangeblossom Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,180
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Location:
    Renfrew county, Canada.
    I have both and there is no difference that I can tell. IMHO.
     
    Jim622, gmann and telestratosonic like this.
  7. Marblatx

    Marblatx TDPRI Member

    Age:
    66
    Posts:
    83
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2017
    Location:
    Austin
    My first Tele was an 83 and I didn't even know some were string through. I didn't find that out until around 30 years later.
     
    trev333 and telestratosonic like this.
  8. Froopenstein

    Froopenstein NEW MEMBER!

    Age:
    54
    Posts:
    2
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2021
    Location:
    Wiltshire Uk
    Toploaders : more slick sounding

    String through : more midrange tone & more emotive sounding
     
  9. ElJay370

    ElJay370 Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    51
    Posts:
    1,680
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2018
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    It's probably psychological, but I feel like the strings are more solidly mounted if they're going through the body, which in turn makes the guitar feel more substantial to me, which makes me play better....so it's a win all around, even if there's no science to back it up.

    And it also prevents me from having to look at those ugly-ass rainbow colored ball ends D'Addario insists on using.
     
  10. mjtrip001

    mjtrip001 TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    44
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    My tele bridge will allow for either thru or top load and I've used both. Thru has more sustain, top loaded is more raw and aggressive.
     
    Roscoe295 likes this.
  11. jimi00

    jimi00 TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    37
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2013
    Location:
    Paris, France
    I really didn’t like telecasters… until I played a Top Loader. The difference in slinky makes Through Loaders unbearable for my fingers.
    I don’t think the argument regarding sustain is justified. If it were, what to make of Les Pauls or even classical instruments?
    As for the sound, I’d be hard tried to tell the difference.
     
    northernguitar likes this.
  12. Jim622

    Jim622 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Age:
    57
    Posts:
    3,443
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2011
    Location:
    Philly
    Chant.......It just doesn’t matter, it just doesn’t matter., it just.........
     
    orangeblossom and gmann like this.
  13. pippoman

    pippoman Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    326
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2014
    Location:
    Memphis
    String through, I guess, cause that’s how Leo designed it. I’ve played both and honestly don’t have a problem with either one. If you have a string through Tele and want to try a top loader just switch bridge plates. If you have a top loader and want to try a string through, tough titty.
     
    northernguitar likes this.
  14. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    26,738
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2009
    Location:
    Coolum Beach,Australia
    I'd been playing a nice '91 strat for a while. A mate brought over a tele that was for sale, a local studio was selling off some gear to buy digital desk stuff.
    It was an '83.... it felt as slick as snot compared to the strat, sounded wonderful...... I bought it on the spot... he left it with me before we worked out a deal with the studio guy.... I had previously got a super 210 off him cheap...

    later you find out things like it's a rare hard tail set up and a 12" rad neck.... try one..:)

    I never used to bend much with my strat playing.... with this tele I couldn't help but bend notes, it was so much easier.. and the guitar seemed to like doing it, too...:D
     
  15. bendecaster

    bendecaster Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,766
    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2007
    Location:
    maine
    Opinions vary. I've got both and prefer string-through, but I never really examined it that deeply. Just play and if you enjoy it, it's right IMO.

    Just play!
     
  16. Jay Jernigan

    Jay Jernigan Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,546
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2013
    Location:
    10-uh-C
    Definitely a subjective matter. I had a '92 MIM with the top load POS bridge; mediocre natural sustain, excellent harmonic feedback.
    I have a partscaster that is string-thru but suffers from the string holes being improperly drilled approximately a sixteenth of an inch too far back; it seems that the flatter break angle might shorten the sustain, but it could be other factors, also.
    Over wrapping a stop bar on a Les Paul allows you to set the bolts deeper; tune o matic bridge design only allows for a certain amount of break angle, which seems to be plenty.
     
    Roscoe295 likes this.
  17. darkwaters

    darkwaters Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,492
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2012
    Location:
    Newfoundland
    I'd prefer top load because I much prefer TOM bridges, but I can live with string thru. It's really not that big a deal.
     
    northernguitar likes this.
  18. northernguitar

    northernguitar Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,572
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Location:
    North of Toronto
    Cool! I don’t think I’ve seen a Tele with the TOM bridge. To me, it’s by far the easiest to set and intonate. However, I only have the one Tele and love it as is, with the classic three saddle bridge and string-thru.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2021
    darkwaters likes this.
  19. darkwaters

    darkwaters Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,492
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2012
    Location:
    Newfoundland
    The only one I've seen is the Jim Adkins JA-90. It's very much a Fender Tele Thinline crossed with a Gibson LP Special hybrid, which I find attractive, but certainly wouldn't be to everyone's taste.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. northernguitar

    northernguitar Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,572
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Location:
    North of Toronto
    Neat. I had a Yamaha AES-620 for a time...string-thru and TOM. I thought it was a perfect design for a future custom guitar, some day....
     
    darkwaters likes this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.