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Esquires mostly top-loaded?

cg

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,937
Most of the recent custom shop Esquires I have seen lately are top-loaded. Is that consistent with the originals or is it just coincidence that the ones I've seen have been top-loaders?

Is is easy to convert a top-loader to a string-through design? What are the differences in tone between the two?
 

Caretaker

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
3,215
Fender did the top load in late 58 through 59. They switched back in 60. More meat to the sound with the regular bridge string through IMO. It is a nightmare to convert. The holes rarely line up exactly. Of course, if you have the proper drill press and measure accuratelyi it can be done. Most I`ve seen with normal power tools have been catastrophies at best.
 

John Phillips

Member
Messages
13,038
It is a nightmare to convert. The holes rarely line up exactly. Of course, if you have the proper drill press and measure accuratelyi it can be done. Most I`ve seen with normal power tools have been catastrophies at best.
+1

If you were ever going to do it, you must use a drill press and preferably make a jig for the back - or measure and mark extremely accurately... which is harder than it sounds. Go through to halfway from each side with a slightly undersize drill, then join up the holes with the full size, and only then enlarge the back ones for the ferrules. If you don't do this, you will get enough drill 'wander' - even with a drill press - that the holes on the back don't line up properly, it will look a mess and you might not even be able to get all the ferrules in.
 

zombywoof

Member
Messages
4,555
Caretaker called it - Fender went to a top loader sometime in 1958 (my March '58 Tele is string through body while a friend's Aug. '58 Tele is a top loader). However I think they went back to string through body in late 1959. You will see Teles and Esquires made after that with bridges drilled for both. Apparently, Fender produced a ton of top loading bridges and rather than toss them simply redrilled the existing stock.
 




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