Neck Through or Bolt On for First Build?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by gjbassist, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. I am in the planning stages of my first build. I have done several mods and built basses from parts, but am wanting to do my own body now. At this point I won't be building my own neck. I will probably get one from Carvin with the paddle headstock and finish it myself. So at first I though I wanted to do a bolt on body but now I'm thinking I might want to go with neck through. It seems to me that doing separate body wings would be easier than cutting out an entire body and routing a neck pocket. What are the pros and cons of both types?
  2. gbarcus

    gbarcus Commercial User

    Jul 20, 2008
    Minneapolis & St.Paul, MN
    Owner of Barcus Basses
    Nice thing about just doing just a body is that you can purchase a nice block that is the right thickness and the only thing really complicated is getting the neck pocket to line up.

    Neckthrus have a lot that has to line up just perfect and requires a few more tools such as a jointer big enough to get your neck flat and squared. Then there is the frets...i hate putting in frets. My least favorite part of the build. You'd think I'd make more fretless basses. :)
  3. Like I said, I'm not worried about the frets because I'm not doing my own neck at this point. So why couldn't I just match the thickness of the body wings to the neck before I glue them together?
  4. Big B.

    Big B.

    Dec 31, 2007
    Austin, TX
    I havent looked at the carvin stuff in a while but I think the neck blank you are talking about already has the fingerboard and frets installed. I think it would be a good bit easier to attach wings and go with a neckthrough than to try to route a body for a neck. Normally, as GBarcus said, a neck through from scratch can be quite difficult but lining a neck and body up and getting the right neck angle can be quite tricky as well. The trouble with a neck through is that if your alignment is off you cant unbolt the neck and adjust it. With the carvin blank most of the crucial alignment is already taken care of you. Good luck. :bassist:
  5. I started with neck through, it is hard to have things "not line up". I do bolt on and set necks now and prefer building that way. You really should give a go at building a neck. I was really worried about it, so I Googled it. I found videos on Youtube of Will Ramirez building and it gave me knowledge and confidence to do it. It is easier than you think.
  6. rythman6969


    May 29, 2007
    which ever one you do, the NEXT ONE do the other way. then you will be able to do both.

    oh, and do the neck yourself. you'll love it.

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