Bolt On more punchy than Neck Through?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Mario Lewis, May 8, 2002.

  1. Mario Lewis

    Mario Lewis

    Jul 6, 2001
    Clinton, MD
    For a long time now I've heard that Bolt On basses are better for "punch" whereas neck throughs are better for sustain. Removing subjective matters such as the wood, the brand, and the set up (not to mention the player and rig) is this generally true?

    I have had a neck through (a Peavey Cirrus) and it was punchy as all get out!! Of course the eq settings and my technique had something to do with it as well, but I got PLENTY of punch from that bass. Now I have a Ken Smith Bolt On 6 that while it also is punchy as heck, it also has the same ringing sustain that the Peavey had. (Same rig)

    Now I know that there isn't a real comparison to be made with a Ken Smith and a Peavey, but for the most part, they are totally different instruments that I was able to get similarly good results from. The differences that folks make between neck through and Bolt On was not evident to me.

    The same applies to other basses that I've tried from an Alembic Set Neck that was not all that punchy to an Ibanez neckthrough that was simply not all that great in ANY department. (Just my experience, YMMV).

    So what have been your experiences?
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Those generalisations are just that, generalisations.

    BOs can have endless sustain and NTs a killer punch.

    Overall (read: when looking at a huge number of different NTs and BOs) NTs <b>tend</b> to have longer sustain and BOs <b>tend</b> to have more punch. There are exceptions of this rule of course.
  3. JohnL


    Sep 20, 2000
    Grayson, GA
    Exactly, I think BO's are PERCEIVED to have more punch, because in general, you won't get as much of the fundamental as a NT.
  4. If you look at the scientific angle of it..

    Bolt-Ons have screws that transfer the vibration from the neck and headstock to the body. thus they influence the sound. if the screws are made of iron and nickel ( most basses have these ), your sound will have a little more punch and highs in it.
    if these screws are made of brass or copper, the sound would have more punch and mids in it. unfortunately the human ear is inferior, and most humans will barely hear the difference between iron and brass screws.

    neck-thru's have no bolts to transfer the vibration, and thus will sound warmer.

    just try it.. replace all the iron screws in your bass with brass ones.. your bass will sound different.. tried it with my p-bass and it sounds really different now.. much warmer..
  5. Mario Lewis

    Mario Lewis

    Jul 6, 2001
    Clinton, MD
    I've never heard of this concept before. It's worth a try. I'm always interested in low cost fixes!!
  6. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    AllodoX, you're going to have to PM me that one....and any other low-cost fixes you know ;)
  7. neptoon


    Jul 25, 2000
    summerville, sc can really notice a difference by changing the screws out? that's worth checking out....maybe instead of having multiple basses, you could just have several sets of screws lying around ;) makes sense, though
  8. Mario Lewis

    Mario Lewis

    Jul 6, 2001
    Clinton, MD
    Anyone got a source of supply for brass screws? (I'm a fix it clutz, you're probably going to say Lowes or Home depot or something like that.)

    But are the screws that are used in the neck joints the same for ALL basses? I"d imagine no. So I guess I'd have to take one out and take it with me to the store, huh.

    Why does that make me nervous?

    Are these put in to with a certain amount of torque? My instrument is a Ken Smith that rings in over $3K. I don't want to screw this thing up. (pun intended)
  9. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    But they have to be screws made before 1965 if you want it to sound REALLY warm :D
  10. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    I've got a line on some screws made from melted-down cymbals that were once played by Bonzo. Heavy! The bidding starts at $400 each.

  11. JohnL


    Sep 20, 2000
    Grayson, GA
    Be forewarned: although many new basses use a 5-screw neck/heel joint, Jaco only needed 4! ;)
  12. Jontom


    Mar 11, 2002
    New York
    Get Screwed! Huh-Huh...
  13. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    I've got the screws from a '52 P bass that I will let somebody have for $250. Amazing punch! They just don't make 'em like this anymore.
  14. James S

    James S

    Apr 17, 2002
    New Hampshire
    I think I'm beginning to get it!

    So if I use one srew from a '64 Jazz, and another screw from the '53 P bass, and the third from my old '60ish Epiphone, and the fourth and final screw (I only want 4 like Jaco.) I take from my '94 Pedulla, I will have 271 years of aged screws. Right? (I don't have a calculator in from of me.)

    WOW! That's even a more aged sound than my upright.

    Or do you think that might be too much? :)

    Jim Stinnett
  15. nanook


    Feb 9, 2000
    Frankly, I think bolt ons come up short in every way when compaired to a neck through.

    I have both kinds and have played a lot of both kinds, so I have no point to prove. Neck throughs are just better overall.
  16. Mario Lewis

    Mario Lewis

    Jul 6, 2001
    Clinton, MD
    I personally PREFER Bolt Ons for the funk centered stuff I play with tons of slapping and just overall appeal. Neck throughs are comparable, but I think Boltons are better FOR ME! Neck thru's never really gave me the wiggles like a good funky, thumpy, punchy, cave in yo chest, bolt on.

    A lot has to do with the construction of the instrument. Alembic neckthru's feel different than Ken Smith neck thru's, and The Peavey Neck thru I'd say is comparable to an Ibanez neck thru with subtle differences. But a Peavey Bolt on will NEVER be a Music Man, and a Fender 5 Jazz simply doesn't comapre to any Ken Smith bolt on that I've ever played. So give credit to the Luthiers that make the fine instruments for finding a way to stand out against all others both superior and inferior.

    I never played a Gibson anything that I liked. Just thought I'd throw that in, and I will never play or own a Ric, whereas there are those that live by them. Don't aks me what this has to do with the topic at hand. The Keyboard took over.......

    I Digress. Granted, Nanook, you say neck thru's are better, I say they're better for you. To each his own. But for, say, a novice looking for that first instument, to steer them towards a neck thru because one thinks they are better would be a half truth. Each brings it's own uniqueness to the table.
  17. Newsted


    Jun 24, 2001
    i think that its not polite to make fun of some one you acting licke a banch of kids :mad: