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Why are the strings on top of the tailpiece?

You may have noticed in some of the photos of our products that we top-wrapped the strings over the tailpiece. Why? Because we thought it looked cool for the pictures. It has a kind of retro, throwback feel to it that I like. But does it do anything for the tone or playability of the guitar? Few topics can bring about such a fierce debate on the forums, so instead of arguing for it one way or another, I'm just going to give you the basic theory behind it and let you decide for yourself.

Most agree that for the strings to transfer their vibration to the wood of the guitar most efficiently, the tailpiece needs to be screwed all the way down on the body. On most Les Pauls this causes the angle of the strings coming from the tailpiece to be quite steep over the saddles of the bridge. Theoretically, this increases string tension and makes notes harder to bend. It could also contribute to string breakage at the point where they meet the saddles. By wrapping the strings over the tailpiece, the angle is greatly reduced. This should reduce string tension and eliminate them snapping at the saddles. Some even argue that resonance is increased because the strings contact the tailpiece in two layers.

But how much of this is really true? I've tried it both ways and I honestly can't say one way is better than the other sonically, and I don't play hard enough to break strings, but I do know this: There's a certain vibe that comes from playing a guitar that's set up the way you like it. It instills confidence that frees you to focus on your playing because you believe your instrument is a fine-tuned machine dialed in for peak performance.

So should you top-wrap? Try it and see! That's the only way you'll ever know for sure.