Topwrapping reduces high end?

MiniB

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Hello All,

I know there's been plenty of discussion on the effects of top wrapping a stop tailpiece on string bendability, but this is more a tonal matter. On my recent USA Les Paul Standard, since the neck angle/bridge height is more than a Historic's I've either had to hike the stop tailpiece up or top wrap. Even with the tailpiece pretty far up, there was still a sharp break over the rear of the bridge with the strings just barely clearing the back edge of the bridge. The guitar felt very stiff to play, as if it had .011's or even heavier instead of .010's...but there was nice chime and top end clarity. So of course I did the top wrap, and playing improved almost night and day. MUCH easier to bend and play with a lighter touch, much less drag when moving up and down the neck. Also lubed both the nut and saddle slots, very important. You can see here that it's essentially the perfect angle over the rear of bridge, and it matches the 17˚ pitch of the headstock......




....only....it doesn't quite have the same high end brilliance it did before, and this is with brand new strings. I actually noticed something similar on my ES-335, that's why I decided to stick with a raised tailpiece and regular string-through.....




I found that to sound the best on that guitar. Taipliece is aluminum and studs are steel on both guitars.


So I'm wondering if others have noticed the same with their guitars when top wrapping. I wouldn't be surprised is the extra compliance of the strings (easier to bend) also affects them when vibrating a bit....like a tad more 'floppy' in comparison to the stiffer feel/response of a sharp angle behind the bridge. I really want to keep the top wrap because not only the angle but the little added string length behind really helps the feel of it. And I like the '59 Tribute humbuckers that came with this Wildwood-Select LP Std (although they both read at 7.29K for some reason). I might try taking the covers off the pickups or just settling with the raised tailpiece like with the ES-335, but on the LP it will really be high upon there to match the same string angle as the top wrap.
 
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VictorB

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Maybe you hear a top end loss due to the angle of the tailpiece when top wrapping? I put a tonepros locking lightweight tail on my R7, I’m not hearing any high end loss.

429834A1-CACF-44DB-8482-3846CB733E02.jpeg
 

MiniB

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Maybe you hear a top end loss due to the angle of the tailpiece when top wrapping? I put a tonepros locking lightweight tail on my R7, I’m not hearing any high end loss.

View attachment 481732
Was considering that as well. I actually have the Faber steel tailpiece studs with interchangeable bottom washer, and you can even go with no washer to get it physically down on the guitar. Didn't really like them on another guitar way back, but may give those whirl. Also have some Gotoh stop tailpieces which have a tighter fit in the studs, but only has brass studs not steel.

ETA: also realized that I have a set of steel studs from I believe RS Guitarworks that are a very tight fit on the tailpiece flanges. Really no tilt whatsoever and actually a tight squeeze to get in on some tailpieces. Going to try them first.
 
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MiniB

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Wow.....


Talk about little changes making big differences.....

I started out with the RS Guitarworks Steel studs...really tight fit in both the tailpiece flanges and the mounting holes, no tilt whatsoever.



It didn't increase the treble or brilliance so much as bringing up the mids and making the attack a little harder overall. Not bad and it does help it cut though more, but that harder mids thing is why I usually tread lightly with all-steel parts because you lose a little bounce/warmth.


Then I tried the Faber locking studs with medium thickness bottom washers. Raised the break angle a tiny bit in comparison...



....and it had pretty much the opposite effect of the RS studs. The strings felt even more flexible, there was even less treble (softer) and less firmness on the low end, especially in the neck pickup. It sounded like a completely different pickup. It actually made the Les Paul sound more like my ES-335 in some respects.


So this reminded me of trying an Alnico 5 magnet, and then an aged Alnico II magnet in a pickup. I think I might try just going back to raise tailpiece and string through on next string change, or just back to the first version of studs and slight title to tailpiece as a 'middle ground'. Crazy that these things make such a difference.
 
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nac

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I notice that your strings aren't pulled all the way through on your tail piece when you top wrap. I'm assuming that's because of the string wind but I can't help but think that is part of the equation. I top wrap as well, and use Daddario strings but I pull them all the way through and then around the tail piece. Have you tried that?

EDIT: after a closer look I can see that you have extra ball ends on the strings. I'd still try it without them to see if there's a difference.
 

MiniB

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Hah....stupid me.....

I just realized that the guitar had modern wiring! Switched it to 50's wiring and HOLY TREBLE BATMAN!

Whoa is all the high end back....I'm actually going to work to tame it back down now. No wonder the volume tapers were so long. I might even try 300K pots or even brass studs...but anyway...solved the high end issue. :lol:

EDIT: after a closer look I can see that you have extra ball ends on the strings. I'd still try it without them to see if there's a difference.
Yeah I put extra ball ends on them to move the break angle up away from the 'knots'. Been doing that for a while when I can.
 

MiniB

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Okay so update for anyone interested or for future research....


After getting back all the high end I'd ever need....for like the rest of my life (!)....i decided to try and tweak it tonally, and have settled on brass tailpiece studs. I've found this to be my ideal combination on Les Paul's before....aluminum tailpiece, brass studs instead of steel. Takes away a bit of the edge/hardness and just sweetens the high end. The low strings are a little less firm, but still plenty of definition and I like the voicing.

Again, crazy how just those things make such a noticeable difference, at least to me it does. Still somewhat like changing magnet types. And here I thought this was a dark sounding guitar....well it was with modern wiring.
 

efstop

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Reset the neck to 1 degree, change to narrow single coil pickups, replace the TOM & tail piece with three steel barrel saddles on a metal plate... Hell, just get a Tele :jam: :cheers2::D
 

efstop

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I've never had top wrapping do anything tonally.

I *have* had it scratch off chrome and/or gold plating.
Fender Bullet strings and top wrapping is the shit. If you can find the strings. Who cares how they sound?
 

moreles

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No generalization applies. As the OP recognizes, wrapping (or not) is only one of a cluster of related adjustments, fittings, and angles involved, so expecting a particular result is unwise. Personally, I find the variation in stud fitting to be so wide -- some wiggle, some are firmly in place -- that I would think that, alone, would ace out many other elements. Ditto for bridge height, bar height... I have one good LP and one great SG. One is top-wrapped. The other isn't. So all I can say is that I prefer top-wrapping except when I don't. Or, put it this way: sometimes, it sounds and feels better. (Othertimes, it doesn't.)
 

MiniB

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I keep several pairs of steel and brass tailpiece studs of various fitting tightness to help 'tune' a stop-tailpiece Gibson. As I'm sure many have experienced, it's usually easier to tame brightness than to add it.
 


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