Issues with string-through vs. stop tailpiece?

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Issues with string-through vs. stop tailpiece?

Postby Chad McCormack » Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:01 pm

Hello all.

I am considering a string-through design with a TOM bridge, but wanted to first use the MIMF as a sounding board to discuss potential disadvantages vs. a traditional stop tailpiece setup. Your thoughts, experiences, cautions and/or encouragement are all very welcome. On a side note, I'm happy to be building again and posting for the first time to the new site. Looks great!

Chad 8^)
Chad McCormack
 
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Re: Issues with string-through vs. stop tailpiece?

Postby Henrique Schneiter » Sat Jun 16, 2012 5:00 pm

If you have a considerable neck angle, you'll have to anchor the strings farther away from the bridge (so the strings won't touch the bridge back). It may become a problem, because the strings tend to create unwanted ringing and simpathetic vibration if they're anchored too distant. In my experience the "trigger" distance is around 6 cm - you'll be fine if you keep the distance below that. You still can use that setup though, if you find a way to dampen the strings. That's the reason many manufacturers use no (or little) neck angle and a recessed bridge location when using TOM bridges and string-through design.

The pro's are the lightness (and cheapness) of the string-through VS tailpiece setup, and the possibility to anchor the strings at different distances individually (at an angle, for example), thus tweaking the so-called "string-feel".
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Re: Issues with string-through vs. stop tailpiece?

Postby Chad McCormack » Sat Jun 16, 2012 9:13 pm

Thanks Henrique. That all makes sense. I'm still on the fence about going the string-through route rather than using a stop tailpiece. Guess I'll sleep on it.
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Location: Berwick, Maine

Re: Issues with string-through vs. stop tailpiece?

Postby julian gifford » Tue Jun 19, 2012 7:40 pm

I like the string thru setup because it's the cleanest looking besides a wraparound bridge. I've done quite a few this way. The less hardware/smaller bridge leave more of the face of the guitar for carving or artwork- which is why I prefer it.

The *PRIMARY* concern, is getting your neck angle correct (or recess). You want the bridge as low as possible. Also locate the bridge with care, to try and keep the bulk of the saddles to the rear and still get proper intonation.

I set the string thru at about 2.5 inches from the rear of the bridge. Checking a rule, it's pretty much 6 cm like Henrique stated.

I only build neckthrus, so I just plan my neck angle carefully. Jackson makes TOM string thrus with neck angle as well. It cracks me up to no end, I have a catalog that shows one with 3 strings hitting the back edge of the TOM, and the TOM is raised up pretty high... They didnt catch that, and put a close up pic in their catalog!
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Re: Issues with string-through vs. stop tailpiece?

Postby Terry Mashek » Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:10 pm

I've done both. I like both. Mostly I choose the method based on aesthetics for that particular guitar.

One thing with string-thru is you have to deal with getting the ferrels lined up on the back. I've yet to build a guitar where they are perfect. They're close, but not perfect and I notice.

So that's something to keep in mind.
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Re: Issues with string-through vs. stop tailpiece?

Postby Chad McCormack » Sat Jun 23, 2012 11:42 am

Thanks Terry. I'm going to go with a stop tailpiece for this one, and perhaps try out the string through on a *defect* body that I made a year or so back, just to test out the process.
Chad McCormack
 
Posts: 89
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:02 pm
Location: Berwick, Maine

Re: Issues with string-through vs. stop tailpiece?

Postby julian gifford » Tue Jun 26, 2012 12:29 am

If getting even spacing is an issue.... a couple tips.

1. Drill the top hole first. With a nice sharp drill bit- and go SLOW. Peck at it. Pull the bit out often to clear the chips from the bit and send it back in. Doing this will keep the small diameter bit going as straight as possible through the body, fighting grain direction instead of bending with the grain.

2. Drill the holes in the back. Even if the holes from the front do get off line going through the body, there is usually a bit of play so you can still line up the rear ferules in a straight line.

3. If you cant locate the holes front and back in a nice even spacing, carefully plan and measure the spacing, and have a machine shop use a CNC to drill the holes for you on a metal drill guide. *OR* cut apart a cheap tele and turn it into templates. (thats what I use for this- scrapped bodies from the factory that were cut into pieces, grabbing the section with the string through. I also have football jack, and headstock tuner templates) It *might* cost about the same getting a cheap tele to cut apart and give you spare parts, vs a machine shop making a template.... Something to think about though.
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Re: Issues with string-through vs. stop tailpiece?

Postby Romeo Suave » Tue Jul 03, 2012 10:40 pm

This is one of the reasons I have a center line and one edge parallel to the center line so I save cutting the outline of the body to be one of the last things. I lay out the top and the rear holes. I use a drill press, if the body is the same thickness and you align the drill press taple and check it that it is square with the drill bit, then drill half way from the top and the bottom, use a scratch awl to find the offset if any, use a drill motor to connect the two and it looks great top and bottom. Use smaller bits at first, connect them, finish them off to size
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