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Neck through or bolt on

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by dj4016, Dec 12, 2005.

  1. dj4016


    Dec 12, 2005
    Hey gang justa newbe here, by the way great forum. My question is can someone tell me the difference in regard to a neck through vs. bolt on style of bass. Advantages/Disadvantages, thanks DJ :meh:
  2. ClassicJazz

    ClassicJazz Bottom Feeders Unite!! Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2005
    Delray Beach, Florida
    There are many long threads on this subject allready. Just do a search and you'll find plenty of info....
  3. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Hello! This is an often discussed topic, so you might find some good info by doing a search.

    From my experience and from reading all the posts and threads concerning this topic on TB, there are no 'back and white' answers. However, here's some differences that I've noticed and that other's have commented on:

    Bolt on necks.....
    - less complicated construction, so usually less expensive
    - Some mention that a bolt-on is the 'safer' option since it can be replaced if damaged. This is such a rare situation that I wouldn't put too much emphasis on that.
    - Some say a bolt-on neck is a little 'quicker' with more 'snap' and richer in overtones.

    Neck through....

    - Usually a less intrusive 'heel' if you like playing 'way up high', especially on a 24 fret instrument
    - Some feel neck throughs have more 'fundamental' to the note.... a little 'fatter' sounding.

    My feeling is that the quality of construction, pickup choices, woods, preamp, etc. probably overwhelm the inherent differences between neck throughs and bolt ons. That being said, I've grown to really like the simplicity and look of bolt-on basses, and given my playing style which uses slap technique on occasion, I like the 'snap' that seems to come from a bolt-on neck.... although per above... I've experienced that sort of 'snap' on neck throughs on occasion.

    So... the key is to just play a bunch of basses and not 'prejudge' based on a particular bass being neck through or bolt on.
  4. klocwerk


    May 19, 2005
    Somerville, MA
    Absolutely agreed.
    Sure it makes a difference if everything else is the same, but when you're comparing two different basses it's but one of the MANY variables to take into account.

    (That said, I find neckthroughs WAY easier to get up high on, so if you play above the 12th fret a lot it's definitely something to consider.)
  5. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    What KJung said.

    I'll just add that neck-thru basses are often thought to have more clarity and sustain, whereas bolt-ons allegedly have better punch and note definition (due to less sustain). In my experience this is sometimes true, but not always!

    Because you're a newbie, my advice is to just play as many basses in your price range as you can, and don't worry about whether they're neck-thru or bolt-on. The most important thing for a beginner is to find a bass that plays well. Good luck!
  6. Definitely spend time checking out both styles. They are different enough that you might regret buying something in haste. My current bass in a bolt-on and I like it for what it is. My next bass will be a through-neck because it has the other sound that I'm looking for. In other words, my current plan is to keep the bolt-on also.

    Paul Mac
  7. dj4016


    Dec 12, 2005
    Ok gang - thanks for getting me in the right direction!! I appreciate the quick replies and I will contuinue my research on the matter. DJ :cool:
  8. rok51

    rok51 Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2002
    Crawfordville, FL
    I'll chime in here. As mentioned repeatedly, it's more of the quality of the instrument on the whole than a simple design issue. I have three neck-thrus and four bolt-ons. Every time I think I have a favorite, I pick up one of the others and...so much for that thought!
    One of the features that I personally like about the neck thrus is that I feel the note in my gut...through the vibration of the body. Although some of the bolt-ons with really tight neck joints seem to mimick this sensation quite well. If you play up above the 12th fret, you will notice the heel issue. Not to say that that either design is doomed because of it. Choosing a bass, or any other instrument/tool, is such a personal decision, that you, alone, will know when you get it right.

    Good luck!

  9. Neck-thru - problems
    1. Can't replace neck if broken
    2. Can't do neck adjustments
    3. Can't swap necks
    4. Usually more expensive

    1. Looks cool
    2. Suppose to give u more sustain
  10. OK...so you can't shim the neck angle - but of course you can make truss rod adjustments to the neck on a neck through.

  11. Bad Brains

    Bad Brains Banned

    Jan 7, 2004
    Detroit, michigan
    I agree
  12. Son of Magni

    Son of Magni

    May 10, 2005
    Builder: ThorBass
    While it's a much bigger job on a neck through, it's not true that the neck can't be replaced. Just cut the body wings off and glue them to a new neck. Of course most people wouldn't be able to do it in their garage...