String Through vs Top Load

Discussion in 'V.C.'s Parlor' started by Steve NB, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. Steve NB

    Steve NB Squier Talker

    Apr 21, 2015
    New Brunswick Canada
    If it seems that the overall consensus in the guitar world is that string through is better than top load, then are all Les Pauls and all the other guitars with tune-o-matic bridges inferior?
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
    dbrian66 likes this.
  2. kjmac

    kjmac Squier-Meister

    Aug 14, 2017
    Omaha, NE
    Not necessarily. The LPs etc. are a different animal. That said, I don't think I can tell the difference in a blind test between a Telecaster string through vs. top load. It's a matter personal preference. There are so many other things that make a more substantial difference.
    dbrian66 and radiotech like this.
  3. radiotech

    radiotech Squier-holic

    Apr 23, 2014
    Truly a YMMV thing. Everyone has what they “like”, I like stringthrough (and have a few), but love my top loading Sawtooth Tele...

    Some guys wrap the strings over the top of the Tune-o-matic tailpiece and swear it improves sustain. Many here feel the wrap-around lightning Bridge has better sustain than the tune-o-matic.

    They’re all opinions, only your ears/hands/head can tell you what you like best.
    Caddy, dbrian66 and duceditor like this.
  4. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    Having started out in TeleLand with a through body my prejudice was well formed. But in truth, owning both, I can hear no marked difference.

    SoundDesign, Caddy, radiotech and 2 others like this.
  5. squierbilly

    squierbilly Squier-holic

    Apr 21, 2013
    sunny phoenix
    I think the top loaded has more sustain.. The added string length of a string through dampens it..
    The string through just sounds better (verbally) and looks cooler doing it (visually)..
    dbrian66 likes this.
  6. fendereedo

    fendereedo Squier-Meister

    Aug 12, 2015
    I don't mind either. Whatever floats your boat to be honest.
    Dr Improbable and Matt Shevell like this.
  7. Steve NB

    Steve NB Squier Talker

    Apr 21, 2015
    New Brunswick Canada
    For a hobbyist like me, there is no difference. My two Teles and Ibanez SA160 are string through and the new addition, Squier '51, is a top loader. So I don't really get ..."Top Load ... no thanks. I'll take a Les Paul though".
    radiotech and so1om like this.
  8. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Squier Talker

    Jan 19, 2018
    GA USA
    I like the TOM style bridge on my Rondo SX Strat-oid...


    The only bridge I don't care for are the Jaguar and Jazzmaster style trems.
  9. jjudas

    jjudas Squier-holic

    Mar 23, 2016
    Metro New Orleans
    Top loader or string through... I can't tell the difference.
  10. 5ofeight

    5ofeight Squier-Nut

    Nov 14, 2016
    Glasgow, Scotland
    This kind of a sits along with the same argument about necks, "Glued in or bolt on", what gives the best wood to wood connection and the better sustain. Sometimes us bald monkeys think too much.
    radiotech and Merv_j like this.
  11. Matt Shevell

    Matt Shevell Squier Talker

    Feb 5, 2018
    New York
    I’d like to try a top loader

    I think we all should realize that the traditional bridge designs are archaic; we Guitar players just like the vintage look.

    But it ain’t broke , no need to fix, and I’ve convinced myself the old ways sounds better ;)
  12. squierTony

    squierTony Squier-holic

    Jul 4, 2012
    MAUD Oklahoma
    I like to think a string through but my top loader Esquire has sustain in the Las Paul territory.
  13. squierTony

    squierTony Squier-holic

    Jul 4, 2012
    MAUD Oklahoma
    squierbilly likes this.
  14. squierTony

    squierTony Squier-holic

    Jul 4, 2012
    MAUD Oklahoma
    Oh and this isn't a full thickness body and I have no idea what kind of wood if that really matters.
    Caddy likes this.
  15. Toddcaster64

    Toddcaster64 Squier-Nut

    Apr 1, 2013
    Camarillo, CA
    Can’t hear a difference, and considering that in the bass world, all vintage Fender basses were top load (correct me if I’m wrong), I don’t think it makes a shred of difference. In fact, I think the concept of sustain on an electric guitar has to be the most overblown subject there has ever been. I’m not holding whole notes, and even if I were, my “worst” sustaining instrument doesn’t decay so fast as to be a detriment.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
    Caddy likes this.
  16. SoundDesign

    SoundDesign Squier-Nut

    Better? I don't think anyone here is going to touch that one with a ten foot pole. ;)

    To me a well-adjusted TOM or Tele string through or top loader are all time-tested, reliable kit. As a traditionalist (looks wise) I favour string through for a tele but not convinced there's a universal "sonic truth" to it.
    Shine likes this.
  17. Luvs2yoko

    Luvs2yoko Squier-holic

    Jan 19, 2014
    image.jpeg image.jpeg Doesn't make a lick of difference. The red paisley tele on the left is top loaded, and has a basswood body. The cheapest tele I own, also one of the best sounding.Out twangs and sustains better than most.
    squierbilly likes this.
  18. wickedtools

    wickedtools Squier-holic

    May 16, 2010
    west texas
    I like both don’t matter to me;)
    Shine likes this.
  19. squierbilly

    squierbilly Squier-holic

    Apr 21, 2013
    sunny phoenix
    The sustain on my phone ran out about 13 or 14 seconds after that I just couldn't hear it anymore..
    But the next tune that popped up,, (Friday afternoon sounds) sure is nice,, is that little wing?.. Its got jimmy written all over it.. I can't play jimmy worth a damn but I love his music...