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
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  2. kjmac

    kjmac Squier-Nut

    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.
  3. radiotech

    radiotech Dr. Squier

    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.
  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.

  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)..
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  6. fendereedo

    fendereedo Squier-Meister

    Aug 12, 2015
    I don't mind either. Whatever floats your boat to be honest.
  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".
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  8. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Squier-Nut

    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.
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  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.
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  11. Matt Shevell

    Matt Shevell Squier-Meister

    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 ;)
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  12. squierTony

    squierTony Dr. Squier

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

    squierTony Dr. Squier

    Jul 4, 2012
    MAUD Oklahoma
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  14. squierTony

    squierTony Dr. Squier

    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.
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  15. Toddcaster64

    Toddcaster64 Squier-holic

    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
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  16. SoundDesign

    SoundDesign Squier-holic

    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.
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  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.
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  18. wickedtools

    wickedtools Squier-holic

    May 16, 2010
    west texas
    I like both don’t matter to me;)
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  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...
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  20. Rollmeaway

    Rollmeaway Squier-Nut

    Feb 7, 2016
    Fayetteville, NC
    I don't think string thru vs top load makes much difference in sustain.

    I do think the type of bridge used on a top loader might have something to do with it. My top loader Bullet Strat was terrible. The strings went into the bridge plate, lifted up the back of the saddles, hit the intonation screw then pushed down on the front of the saddles. The tone and sustain suffered. And buzzed.

    One of the members of this forum pointed out an offset aftermarket bridge. I have not used it, but looking at it, you could see it was superior to the stock bridge.

    I wound up drilling the stock bridge through the body and used telecaster ferrules which made it, duh, a string thru guitar. It helped tone and sustain and eliminated the buzzing of that poorly thought out bridge design.
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