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Thru-Body stringing vs Bridge only


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#1 molan

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 04:10 PM

Only just noticed that my new Lakland JO 4 has a thru-body stringing option. I've never owned a bass with this before!

I realise there will be some different stresses on strings through the body given various angles etc. and that if I experiment and don't like it then I'm left with a set of strings to throw away.

However, I just wondered if in "real world" sense, there was much difference between the two options?
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Posted 18 June 2008 - 05:12 PM

In my experience and assuming everything else is equal (ie. string break angle over the saddles) it makes a difference only so far as the bridge contributes overall to the general rigidity of the instrument. In plain english that means the following points:

1) The string vibrates from the saddle, not from the anchor and the saddles are in contact with the base plate. So most of the vibrations essentially get transmitted to the body primarily through the base plate. A high mass bridge (like a badass) is less likely to vibrate in sympathy with the the strings and therefore less likely to transmit vibrations through to the body but will help with sustain.

2) The through body anchoring may make a difference if the bridge lacks sufficient rigidity as an anchor. Basically this would mean that if the bridge was flimsy enough to dampen the sustain AND the wood selected and neck design was insufficiently rigid then through body anchoring could probably have some slight benefit.

3) With a high mass bridge, the wood makes less of a contribution to the tonal character and sustain of the bass. With a low mass (eg. vintage Fender) bridge the wood is likely to make more of a contribution. So in basses with low mass bridges its more important that the wood is well seasoned and rigid if sustain is desirable.

To sum up, I'd suggest the role of the bridge is relative depending on how the rest of the bass has been designed. I've owned stingrays with both options and there was little difference in tonal character.
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#3 molan

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 05:24 PM

View PostCrazykiwi, on Jun 18 2008, 06:12 PM, said:

In my experience and assuming everything else is equal (ie. string break angle over the saddles) it makes a difference only so far as the bridge contributes overall to the general rigidity of the instrument. In plain english that means the following points:

1) The string vibrates from the saddle, not from the anchor and the saddles are in contact with the base plate. So most of the vibrations essentially get transmitted to the body primarily through the base plate. A high mass bridge (like a badass) is less likely to vibrate in sympathy with the the strings and therefore less likely to transmit vibrations through to the body but will help with sustain.

2) The through body anchoring may make a difference if the bridge lacks sufficient rigidity as an anchor. Basically this would mean that if the bridge was flimsy enough to dampen the sustain AND the wood selected and neck design was insufficiently rigid then through body anchoring could probably have some slight benefit.

3) With a high mass bridge, the wood makes less of a contribution to the tonal character and sustain of the bass. With a low mass (eg. vintage Fender) bridge the wood is likely to make more of a contribution. So in basses with low mass bridges its more important that the wood is well seasoned and rigid if sustain is desirable.

To sum up, I'd suggest the role of the bridge is relative depending on how the rest of the bass has been designed. I've owned stingrays with both options and there was little difference in tonal character.

Brilliant - what a well reasoned response!

The Lakland has a pretty chunky looking bridge so I'm guessing it'll be doing it's work just fine.

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#4 silverfoxnik

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 10:56 PM

View PostCrazykiwi, on Jun 18 2008, 06:12 PM, said:

In my experience and assuming everything else is equal (ie. string break angle over the saddles) it makes a difference only so far as the bridge contributes overall to the general rigidity of the instrument. In plain english that means the following points:

1) The string vibrates from the saddle, not from the anchor and the saddles are in contact with the base plate. So most of the vibrations essentially get transmitted to the body primarily through the base plate. A high mass bridge (like a badass) is less likely to vibrate in sympathy with the the strings and therefore less likely to transmit vibrations through to the body but will help with sustain.

2) The through body anchoring may make a difference if the bridge lacks sufficient rigidity as an anchor. Basically this would mean that if the bridge was flimsy enough to dampen the sustain AND the wood selected and neck design was insufficiently rigid then through body anchoring could probably have some slight benefit.

3) With a high mass bridge, the wood makes less of a contribution to the tonal character and sustain of the bass. With a low mass (eg. vintage Fender) bridge the wood is likely to make more of a contribution. So in basses with low mass bridges its more important that the wood is well seasoned and rigid if sustain is desirable.

To sum up, I'd suggest the role of the bridge is relative depending on how the rest of the bass has been designed. I've owned stingrays with both options and there was little difference in tonal character.

+1

I though that the diference was more apparent in the way the bass sustains, as opposed to a change in tonal characteristics..
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#5 Jase

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 11:30 PM

I've noticed very little difference on my Fenders, adds a little bit of extra tension on my fretless but that's about it. I don't use it on a fretted.

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 11:32 PM

View Postsilverfoxnik, on Jun 18 2008, 11:56 PM, said:

+1

I though that the diference was more apparent in the way the bass sustains, as opposed to a change in tonal characteristics..

Well imho, I am not convinced that it adds a great deal to the sustain. I have two basses with through bridge stringing and one without. My MIA Jazz V DLX (with J-Retro) has a stock fender bridge and is strung through the body and has the shortest sustain of all three. My self built P five string has a Badass and is strung through the body and sings like a singing thing singing for all its worth. My latest acquisition, an Overwater J V has a conventional Hipshot bridge (no thru body stringing) and it sings like a choir of singing things singing for all they are worth.

My conclusion is that the resonance of the body wood has a lot more to do with sustain and tone than whether the strings are strung thru or not. I believe that stringing thru the body does add something, but that that something is probably only one or two percent of the whole. Its far more important to have carefully selected tone woods for the body than worrying about whether to string thru or conventional.

Then again, with my ears that could all be total bollocks, still one man's tone is another man's nightmare!
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Posted 19 June 2008 - 12:43 AM

View PostJPJ, on Jun 19 2008, 12:32 AM, said:

Well imho, I am not convinced that it adds a great deal to the sustain. I have two basses with through bridge stringing and one without. My MIA Jazz V DLX (with J-Retro) has a stock fender bridge and is strung through the body and has the shortest sustain of all three.

Hi

I
I am not suprised that the standard Jazz bridge gives the bass the least sustain irrespective of the through stringing I just don,t think they are that rigid, but have noticed that it gives better control as note decay is faster so lends itself to fast finger playing. My Squier Jazz (also fitted with a J-Retro) was still "dead" until I put a high mass Fender style (Chinese of course)bridge on. The bass came alive especially with harmonics, brightness and sustain but didn't sound like a Jazz anymore. I had to consciously damp strings more than I would normally when playing.
I think bridge choice is very important and can completely change a bass sound and the way you have to play it.
I have knife edge saddles on my Hofner S7B and the sustain is amazing.
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#8 wazz

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 01:28 PM

Are strings more likely to break if strung thru body rather than thru bridge?

I found that they last about 4 gigs when strung thru the body before the e or a string goes kaput.
They dont break at all when strung thru the body.
Is the tone benefit worth it?

On the plus side, I have become a dab hand at changing strings mid set now. Even changed a whole set(settled in too) in a 10 minute break last saturday. :)

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 02:49 PM

Ultimate way to check would be get a new nut and string two identical strings, one each way on your bass, so you can directly A-B it. I prefer through strung, seems to make more vibration come through the wood, guess cause the saddles are being pulled right into the body.

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 11:01 PM

View Postwazz, on Jun 24 2008, 02:28 PM, said:

Are strings more likely to break if strung thru body rather than thru bridge?

I found that they last about 4 gigs when strung thru the body before the e or a string goes kaput.
They dont break at all when strung thru the body.
Is the tone benefit worth it?

On the plus side, I have become a dab hand at changing strings mid set now. Even changed a whole set(settled in too) in a 10 minute break last saturday. :)


Aye, thru body puts a nasty little kink in them.

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 05:27 AM

View Postwazz, on Jun 24 2008, 02:28 PM, said:

Are strings more likely to break if strung thru body rather than thru bridge?

I found that they last about 4 gigs when strung thru the body before the e or a string goes kaput.
They dont break at all when strung thru the body.
You're breaking bass strings? I can't begin to imagine what your playing style is like. If the bridge is well designed it shouldn't be doing that.
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#12 wazz

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 09:16 AM

nothing really extreme about my playing style.
I broke them on my fender dlx jazz V when playing finger style and also on my Precision 51 reissue when playing with a pick. Hadnt broken one for 15 years before I got these basses.

They dont break untill they are about 4 gigs old though. I guess it is the extra kink. I must check where they break next time it happens. Its always mid gig and I'm in too much of a hurry to change it to notice.

#13 Marcus

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 06:38 AM

Sustain eh ?

I know a long sustaining note from a bass with a big "piano like" accoustic tone makes you feel like you have a well constructed instrument, but most bass players work hard to kill the notes that ring (unwanted) and when was the last time anyone needed a note that lasted more than a couple of seconds anyway ?
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Posted 31 July 2008 - 06:55 AM

View PostMarcus, on Jul 30 2008, 07:38 AM, said:

Sustain eh ?

I know a long sustaining note from a bass with a big "piano like" accoustic tone makes you feel like you have a well constructed instrument, but most bass players work hard to kill the notes that ring (unwanted) and when was the last time anyone needed a note that lasted more than a couple of seconds anyway ?

I'm so-o-o-o-o glad you posted that!

I've been wondering for ages what it is that I'm missing. People keep banging on about 'sustain', but the longest I've ever wanted a single note to ring for would be a matter of three, maybe even four, seconds. And that's in the slowest of slow blues.
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Posted 31 July 2008 - 12:02 PM

View PostHappy Jack, on Jul 31 2008, 07:55 AM, said:

I'm so-o-o-o-o glad you posted that!

I've been wondering for ages what it is that I'm missing. People keep banging on about 'sustain', but the longest I've ever wanted a single note to ring for would be a matter of three, maybe even four, seconds. And that's in the slowest of slow blues.

Our main song is at 45 bpm and a section involves me sustaining a note for 9 beats. Depends on what you play. Its easy to kill sustain, hard to increase it without bass modding.

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 12:11 PM

View PostMarcus, on Jul 30 2008, 07:38 AM, said:

Sustain eh ?

I know a long sustaining note from a bass with a big "piano like" accoustic tone makes you feel like you have a well constructed instrument, but most bass players work hard to kill the notes that ring (unwanted) and when was the last time anyone needed a note that lasted more than a couple of seconds anyway ?

Play a fretless and you'll understand that sustain is the one thing that separates good fretless basses from bad. Sustain is of course a question of taste and all that.
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#17 Happy Jack

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 09:44 AM

Getting back OT, I had some work done on my Lakland Skyline a few weeks ago. While he was at it, I asked him to change the strings for something quite different - DR Black Beauty against a maple fretboard, lovely.

Messing around at rehearsal on Sunday I suddenly noticed that he'd taken off the old strings which were run to the bridge, and put the new ones on through-body. With the Lakland bridge, it's not particularly obvious.

I noticed some obvious differences in tone (less zingy) and feel (rougher) when the new strings went on, but as to sustain ... well, it was two weeks before I even noticed that the strings were through-body!

As blind tests go, I think that one is pretty conclusive.
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Posted 20 August 2008 - 09:55 AM

View PostMarcus, on Jul 30 2008, 07:38 AM, said:

Sustain eh ?

I know a long sustaining note from a bass with a big "piano like" accoustic tone makes you feel like you have a well constructed instrument, but most bass players work hard to kill the notes that ring (unwanted) and when was the last time anyone needed a note that lasted more than a couple of seconds anyway ?

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 11:25 AM

I've just put a new bridge on my carved up P bass which has back or through strung options, and the bottom string isn't quite long enough to make it to the nut, so I have back strung that one and through strung the rest. There is definitely a difference in feel, less tension. I've used the same strings (Ken Smith Metal Masters) on a few basses and they are consistent. There is a bit of a difference in sound too, more of a thump to the attack.

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 01:38 PM

View PostHappy Jack, on Aug 20 2008, 10:44 AM, said:

...well, it was two weeks before I even noticed that the strings were through-body!
As blind tests go, I think that one is pretty conclusive....
Yep. That proves conclusively that you couldn't tell the difference!

Edited by chris_b, 29 September 2008 - 01:40 PM.

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Posted 02 October 2008 - 03:45 PM

Im using a Traben Phoenix 4-string.
im currently using DR strings.
im confused.
can someone please suggest what i should do? through body or through bridge?
(Considering that it has a MONSTER bridge which has a whole lot of bridge-body contact)

#22 Mr. Foxen

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Posted 02 October 2008 - 03:57 PM

View Postshauryamanga, on Oct 2 2008, 04:45 PM, said:

Im using a Traben Phoenix 4-string.
im currently using DR strings.
im confused.
can someone please suggest what i should do? through body or through bridge?
(Considering that it has a MONSTER bridge which has a whole lot of bridge-body contact)

Since its established it may or may not be different, try and see which you like. Top two through and bottom two back strung could work. Would make less odds with the chunky bridge I'd guess. Make sure strings are long enough to string through before you kink them.

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 11:39 PM

View Postmolan, on Jun 18 2008, 05:10 PM, said:

Only just noticed that my new Lakland JO 4 has a thru-body stringing option. I've never owned a bass with this before!
I realise there will be some different stresses on strings through the body given various angles etc. and that if I experiment and don't like it then I'm left with a set of strings to throw away.
However, I just wondered if in "real world" sense, there was much difference between the two options?

My apologoes if this is slightly off at a tangent to the original post, but it may be relevant to "Wazz's" & CarazyKiwi's earlier replies.
I've been looking to treat myself to a set of Flats and had narrowed the choice down to La Bella or Webstrings/Detroit Bass. I looked at La Bella's catalogue this evening and they say Deep-Talking flats "are unsuitable for thru-body stringing. They suggest a "flexi-core flatwound" as a suitable alternative, but I can't find any such product in the catalogue. Google came up with just the one reference at La Bella.

As I've got thru-body stringing with brass saddles and no bridge option, I've e-mailed both La Bella & Webstrings for further info as to suitability. Anyone come across this before or have any recommendations.

Thanks folks.

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 01:33 PM

View PostCrazykiwi, on Jun 25 2008, 05:27 AM, said:

You're breaking bass strings? I can't begin to imagine what your playing style is like. If the bridge is well designed it shouldn't be doing that.

I used to break a lot of bass strings also but that was with a pick only.
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Posted 15 November 2008 - 12:24 PM

View PostMr. Foxen, on Jul 31 2008, 12:02 PM, said:

Our main song is at 45 bpm and a section involves me sustaining a note for 9 beats. Depends on what you play. Its easy to kill sustain, hard to increase it without bass modding.

That's what vibrato is for.

As for breaking strings when strung through body - I've been through body stringing my Fenders every since I bought my first. It adds an extra inch or so to the overall length of the string and seems to increase tension ever so slightly.

I've never really paid it much thought though. There are countless instrumenst out there that are fundamentally better designed that my jazzes and p, but that doesn't mean that sound they produce is neccesarily more pleasing.

Finally, some of the most memorable songs ever were performed on bass guitars with a rudimentary design, with old strings, action that would cause most of the members of thsi forum to faint through very basic amps. Doesn't stop people trying their hardest to emulate those sounds though.

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 05:03 PM

-> You're breaking bass strings? I can't begin to imagine what your playing style is like. If the bridge is well designed it shouldn't be doing that. <-

haha, I broke a bottom E the other day. But it was only because it was the string was thru-body and it was thinner at the bridge end than the rest of the string (maybe as an increase for sustain). Either way, it broke playing relatively hard rock (think linkin park kind of stuff, only slightly less) and it just gave way.

(OT story)

In the end I got a string off my other bass that was too short to get strung thru-body so it went through the bridge, then I gave my bass away to someone to borrow for recording (in promise for a new set of strings) and they came back with the top 3 thru-body and the bottom E thru-bridge. teehehee, good to see that he cared for her. :)

bottom line: Thru-body=breakable....easily

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 06:36 PM

View Postiamapirate, on May 27 2009, 06:03 PM, said:

bottom line: Thru-body=breakable....easily

bottom line: Thru-body=breakable.... maybe on your bass.

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 03:08 PM

View PostEBS_freak, on May 27 2009, 07:36 PM, said:

bottom line: Thru-body=breakable.... maybe on your bass.

I used to break strings all the time when fingerpicking down by the bridge pup. Probably because I couldn't hear myself properly on stage so I was over-doing it. Haven't broken one in years but it used to be a common problem for me.

It was usually the thicker strings that broke. Not sure whether that's because I was attacking them from a different angle to the treble strings or because they're less flexible or what. Had it happen on a Jazz, a Yamaha BB1100S, a Warwick Corvette 6, er... some other basses, I forget. None of them were strung through the body.

#29 iamapirate

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 06:21 PM

yeah I mean, I wasn't actually really going for it, it was just that they had been thinn'd at the bridge so that it could improve sustain i think and cos it was thinner and was thru-body string'd, then thats why it snaped.

#30 Mr. Foxen

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Posted 12 June 2009 - 09:35 PM

View Postiamapirate, on Jun 7 2009, 07:21 PM, said:

yeah I mean, I wasn't actually really going for it, it was just that they had been thinn'd at the bridge so that it could improve sustain i think and cos it was thinner and was thru-body string'd, then thats why it snaped.

Strings with the thin part at the bridge are no less string, the core that takes the tension is still the same, the windings take to tension and are just there for weight. I've still never broken a string. It's all about having enough amps that you are loud enough.





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