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Advice from the Legend


DetroitBlues
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Honestly, I started top wrapping because I saw an old video of ZZ Top and Billy was playing a Les Paul that was top wrapped and I started doing it ever since.  
 

I did do some research on the subject before I actually started doing it but I didn’t know about it until I saw it on Billy‘s Les Paul.

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1 hour ago, brentrocks said:

Honestly, I started top wrapping because I saw an old video of ZZ Top and Billy was playing a Les Paul that was top wrapped and I started doing it ever since.  
 

I did do some research on the subject before I actually started doing it but I didn’t know about it until I saw it on Billy‘s Les Paul.

This guy did also. 

Duane guitars.jpg

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I never top wrap my strings but here are a couple of good reasons to consider it, if top wrapping is your thing...

1) If, like Bonamassa,  you want to use heavier strings (in his case 11-52s) the top wrapping decreases the break angle over the bridge and lengthens the string thus decreasing the overall string tension.  So in JB's case, 11s feel like 10.5-10 ish gauge.  If you use a lower gauges like 9s and top wrap, I have heard that because of the less break angle and less tension the strings can pop off the saddles when bending like the issue on Fender Jazzmasters & Jaguars which were intended for heavier strings back in the 50s.

2) If the neck angle of your guitar is way off and you can't get the strings to pass to the stoptail without hitting the back of the tuneamatic bridge and don't want to raise the stoptail WAY off the top of the guitar to compensate.  Personally, I hate having the stoptail more than a millimeter or two off the top of the body so I just use Faber locking ABR-1 bridges and locking stoptails.... problem solved. 

Wildcard: I have heard very conflicting and subjective opinions on a tonal difference of top wrapping making guitars sound thicker and beefier... this is up for you to decide.   

So Duane playing a lot of slide guitar wouldn't have the strings popping off the saddles, and Billy G used heavier strings (before BB King set him straight) and probably liked the slinkier feel of top wrapping.

YMMV

Edited by Kuz
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