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Thread: No string thru on the Bongo?...

  1. #1

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    No string thru on the Bongo?...

    Hey y'all! I've been really enjoying the Bongo that I got about a week ago, but I have a question that I wasn't sure if anyone knew the answer to or not. With the Bongo being one of the high end basses on the market, what's with the lack of a string thru design on it? From what it seems, that's generally the superior way to install strings on a bass. Was there some sort of reason that Ernie Ball decided to not go this way with it? Or was it possibly just a cost cutting decision?

  2. #2

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    I won't pretend to have any insight into EBMM's decision-making process for the Bongo (or anything else) but the merits of stringing through the body have been debated to death, without any particular consensus. Just do a search on TalkBass. Some people prefer it, some don't. I do prefer it, but not because I think it sounds better, I just like it. I've never had the opportunity to do an A/B comparison with two otherwise identical basses, though.

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  3. #3

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    Of the current EBMM offerings, only the Stingray Classic and Old Smoothie have the string through body design.

    Fodera basses also are top loading only. Same with Alembic basses. Same with Spector basses. Same with Sadowsky. The list goes on.

    Which custom/boutique level basses are all about through body strings?

    I know Carvin / Kiesel was big on that, but it also allowed them to use cheaper bridges that they could just drill holes though. They weren't "bad" bridges, but the Hipshot B style were never "top of the line.". Then they moved to the A-style and something proprietary.

    The Bridge on the EBMM Bongo is bent hardened steel, with steel saddles. It is secured by three wood screws and two anchor bolts on the sides, which are attached to large brass bushings sunk into the body.
    Last edited by tbonesullivan; 12-02-2019 at 01:17 PM.
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  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by tbonesullivan View Post
    Of the current EBMM offerings, only the Stingray Classic and Old Smoothie have the string through body design.

    Fodera basses also are top loading only. Same with Alembic basses. Same with Spector basses. Same with Sadowsky. The list goes on.

    Which custom/boutique level basses are all about through body strings?

    I know Carvin / Kiesel was big on that, but it also allowed them to use cheaper bridges that they could just drill holes though. They weren't "bad" bridges, but the Hipshot B style were never "top of the line.". Then they moved to the A-style and something proprietary.

    The Bridge on the EBMM Bongo is bent hardened steel, with steel saddles. It is secured by three wood screws and two anchor bolts on the sides, which are attached to large brass bushings sunk into the body.
    Wow, I didn't know Fodera and Alembic make top loading only. My Bongo is definitely the best bass I've ever played, and I figured a company like Music Man would know what they were doing. I was just curious if anyone here maybe knew why they went with top loading with this instrument as they do string thru on a couple others. The only real advantage I've noticed with using string thru is there's near to no chance of scraping the paint job when restringing the bass. I'm also just used to seeing upper end basses with a string thru design. I've seen a few EBMM employees on the forums, so I wasn't sure if they may have had any input about it.

  5. #5

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    Superior way of installing strings on a bass? Yeah sure, superior for breaking them, sure. Superior if you like a tauter, stiffer feel of the strings (yup, I A-B'ed the same pack of strings both ways on 1 instrument, there IS a different feel to them). To me, it's absolutely an inferior way of stringing, no contest.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by hachikid View Post
    Hey y'all! I've been really enjoying the Bongo that I got about a week ago, but I have a question that I wasn't sure if anyone knew the answer to or not. With the Bongo being one of the high end basses on the market, what's with the lack of a string thru design on it? From what it seems, that's generally the superior way to install strings on a bass. Was there some sort of reason that Ernie Ball decided to not go this way with it? Or was it possibly just a cost cutting decision?
    I don't really like broad statemensts like "the superior way to install strings on a bass", but I guess you have had a bass or two with string through body that you liked, so ok
    I think the string through is more of an emotional thing than actually "always better" (or worse for that matter), and as you own a Bongo I think you'll agree that it's not lacking in the sound (or sustain) department?
    As for cost cutting, you are dealing with a company that manufactures every part of the basses themselves, so clearly Ernie Ball is totally focused on bringing the best possible products to the market, and I can't see they'd cut costs if they felt there was any benefit to string through on the Bongo.
    bovinehost: Yes, I do agree with that, but if there's nothing wrong then there's nothing wrong.
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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by strummer View Post
    I don't really like broad statemensts like "the superior way to install strings on a bass", but I guess you have had a bass or two with string through body that you liked, so ok
    I think the string through is more of an emotional thing than actually "always better" (or worse for that matter), and as you own a Bongo I think you'll agree that it's not lacking in the sound (or sustain) department?
    As for cost cutting, you are dealing with a company that manufactures every part of the basses themselves, so clearly Ernie Ball is totally focused on bringing the best possible products to the market, and I can't see they'd cut costs if they felt there was any benefit to string through on the Bongo.
    Exactly! That's why it was kind of blowing my mind that EBMM went with a top load design. My main Warmoth that I've been using for 10 years has been a string-thru design, and I had it in my mind that it was a definitely superior design...enter the Bongo, and it's honestly the best bass I've ever played and it definitely challenged that perception I had about it. The playability is a little different yet still close enough, but the overall sound and versatility of the Bongo is just so much better. And yea, the reason I mentioned "cost cutting" is just me thinking pragmatically about EBMM being a business that has to clear a bottom line, you know. I'm not saying the Bongo is a cheap bass...anyone who's ever picked one up understands that, lol.

  8. #8

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    EBMM bridges are bolted and screwed to the body so they are going nowhere. The bridges construction it’s self is one heavy piece of steel. Maximum resonance.
    I have only one string through body bass. It’s a reputable brand, it has the option of top loading it but i wouldn’t waste a set of strings trying it

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  9. #9

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    I have bongo 5s, a stingray 5, cutlass, caprice. They are all straight through bridge and sound and feel amazing.

    I have a stingray classic 4, through body string and it sounds and feels amazing. I honestly believe you wouldnt notice a difference if you blindfolded yourself and played them.

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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by hachikid View Post
    ..................
    what's with the lack of a string thru design on it?

    From what it seems, that's generally the superior
    way to install strings on a bass. ..................
    Might as well ask "what's with the lack of
    a NECK thru design on it? that's generally
    the superior way ........ "

    In either case, there's plenty players that
    would huuuuuugely disagree about what
    would be "superior".

    Personal take on it:

    Neck thru cannot be adjusted by shimming.
    I'm kinda fussy about my set-up.

    String thru is incompatible with quick load.
    If I would ask to improve the MM bridge I'd
    ask for it to be quick load. As you express
    concern about scratching the finish when
    restringing, you would prolly like a quick
    load bridge.

    Also, string thru is unfriendly to tubular
    string spacers:
    -
    No string thru on the Bongo?...-bass-spacers-0691-wms-jpg
    Last edited by Golem; Today at 07:04 PM.
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  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Golem View Post
    Also, string thru is unfriendly to tubular string spacers:
    Those are somewhat interesting. What's the purpose of the spacers? Trying to get the fabric windings closer to the nut?
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