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Tele: String Through Or Top Load?

Do You Top Load?

  • String Through Only

    Votes: 46 73.0%
  • I Like It On Top

    Votes: 13 20.6%
  • Huh?

    Votes: 4 6.3%

  • Total voters
    63

gkoelling

Member
Messages
17,342
Which do you prefer and why?

I'm using top load due to arthritis in my hands. It makes a big difference in playability and I don't hear a difference in tone. It's still a Tele.

Whatcha think?
 

dachshund

Member
Messages
802
I've had both that I have enjoyed. I'm not really sure what real difference it makes (although I'm sure one exists)
 
Messages
624
I like string through, simply because it feels more solid for some reason.
There are plenty of pros that get damned good tone from toploaders, so I really don't think there's too much tonal difference, if any.
 

Tommy Biggs

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,605
I voted string through, but whatever works is my motto. I wouldn't think that top loading would be a mortal Tele sin...
 
Messages
2,944
I have never played a top loader but would love to. Jim Campilong is a hero of mine. I think I'd like the spongier feel, but prefer what I am used to in the end. What top loading telecasters are out there? Was it only the 59 and CS reissues, or are their bridge swaps and smaller builders that offer these options too?
 

Marris Otter

Member
Messages
727
I have both and I'm pretty agnostic about the matter, provided the bridge has brass barrels. The Am. Std style saddles are a bit of a pain to top load.
 

rhinocaster

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
23,735
The traditional string through is my preference (no tonal reason) but having a Tele top load isn't ever going to keep it from sounding like a Tele...the only time I really dig the top loaders is when the end of the strings are connected to a Bigsby!
 

cap10kirk

Member
Messages
8,835
I've had both, on the same Tele, and I preferred the string through. It seemed to have a little better sustain with the string through, although overall there wasn't a huge difference.
 

Whiskeyrebel

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
30,733
String through on my Peavey Reactor. Bigsby Palm Pedal on the "Tele" half of my doubleneck - I guess that's sort of top loading.
 

sshan25

Supporting Member
Messages
4,129
l prefer an extremely low tension feel on my guitars. l like top loaders.
 

Ilduce

And now for something completely different!
Messages
4,593
I dig string thru, but only cause I'm a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to Tele's, 3 barrel bridge and whatnot. I will say this, that if I picked up a Tele and I loved the way that it played and sounded I wouldn't let the fact that it was top-loaded keep me from getting it!
 

gkoelling

Member
Messages
17,342
I have never played a top loader but would love to. Jim Campilong is a hero of mine. I think I'd like the spongier feel, but prefer what I am used to in the end. What top loading telecasters are out there? Was it only the 59 and CS reissues, or are their bridge swaps and smaller builders that offer these options too?
Glendale, K-Line and Wilkinson offer after market bridges that give the options of string through and top load. I have the K-Line on one Tele and Wilkinson on another. I also have a Tele with a Glendale that is string through only.
 
Messages
2,944
Glendale, K-Line and Wilkinson offer after market bridges that give the options of string through and top load. I have the K-Line on one Tele and Wilkinson on another. I also have a Tele with a Glendale that is string through only.
@gkoelling thank you. I searched a bit after reading this and found the Rutgers modern vintage-style Tele bridge, and noticed it will not only give me a vintage bridge option for my '99 American Std. Tele, but is routed for string-through or top loading. It's on my short list for gear- / GAS-related buys.
 

dazco

Member
Messages
15,303
Through if you want total tele snap and top load for a smoother less snappy sound thats more middy. It may be subtle but thats what i hear. Feel wise top loading is slinkier. I never tried it, but i bet using a bridge that has both and loading the wound strings through and the plains top might be a good thing. Most snap in the wound strings and smoother middier plains.
 

kludge

The droid you're looking for
Messages
7,104
I love top loading. I don't hear a tonal difference, but the feel is significantly different (my #1 Tele can be either top-load or traditional through-body). Top-loaded Tele feels much more relaxed to me.
 
Messages
5,180
I owned an 80s Japanese Fender Rosewood Telecaster which had a bridge allowing either string through or top loading. I tried both methods and couldn't hear any difference in tone, nor could I detect any difference in playability or feel. String tension remained the same because basic physics demands that it does.
 






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