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Neck-through or Bolt-on?????

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Chris Brodowski, Apr 4, 2002.

  1. Bolt-on with fretted, Neck-thru with fretless

    74 vote(s)
  2. Neck-thru with fretted, Bolt-on with fretless

    21 vote(s)
  3. Both bolt-on

    146 vote(s)
  4. Both neck-thru

    175 vote(s)
  5. It totally varies....

    186 vote(s)
  1. I am curious on what percentage of TB'ers prefer neck-through basses to bolt-ons, or vice versa. I used to like bolt-ons, but I think i might be leaning towards the "full" sound of a neckthru.

    Overall, I slightly prefer neckthru construction on fretted basses and the opposite on fretlesses. (I feel a lot of neckthru fretlesses simply "muuuuaaaahhhhh" too much for my tastes; I like a little more bite)

    Please tell me why you chose what you did. Thanks. :)

    B.T.W. -> I apologize to whom polls bother. I just really was curious about this question.
  2. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    Totally varies. If it's a good bass, it's a good bass, no matter in what way the neck is attached to the body. I like the practical aspect of bolt-ons: you can replace the neck if it breaks or otherwise needs changing. Not that easy to do with a neck-through.
  3. Bolt on..

    iirc..generally Bolt-on basses have more sustain, where neck-thru's have smoother sound..
  4. not ever having owned a neck through I really don't feel qualified to answer. All the basses I've ever owned, or had for any length of time, were bolt ons. I'd like to get a neck through, and when/ if I get a custom, it will be neck through.

    The neck through basses I've played in the past have been very nice, but also very high end.
  5. Jeff in TX

    Jeff in TX Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2000
    Lone Star State
    I've owned both. I think it has more to do with the execution of the total design instead of just how the neck connects to the body.

    Based on the little I know about production and manufacturing, I would think that a consumer would be more likely to get a bass of higher overall quality in a bolt-on design than neckthru for under $1000 just based on the difference in labor requirements. Neckthru designs are more labor intensive, so costs would have to be cut somewhere. I think it becomes more difficult to tell the difference in higher end designs.

    So for me, it doesn't matter as long as the complete design gives me the tone and playability I want.

  6. I have 2 bolts ons, 1 set neck and 2 neck-thrus! I like em all, but lately I've been playing the neck thru's more than anything else.

    AllodoX - you mention bolt ons have more sustain, my basses must be weird, the two bolt ons have the least sustain, the set neck has a lot and the neck thrus are maybe marginally better that the set neck!

    I'm strill planning on a getting a fretless soon - as it will be a cheaper bass, it'll probably be a bolt on (MIM Fender Jazz).

    However, that's the preference at the moment - I still am unlikely to part with my bolt ons!!!! They are aftyer all other tools in my toolbox!
  7. AllodoX, I'm with Johnny on this one - my neck-through sustains forever. Okay, not quite forever, but a long friggin time, and no bolt-on I've ever played has come close to matching it.

  8. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Generally speaking, neck-thrus are known for more sustain. Bolt-ons are known to be more punchy with less fundamentals. There are a bunch of exceptions.

    I have no preference... I like basses that play nice and sound good.
    bass nitro likes this.
  9. shirojiro


    Jan 24, 2001
    San Francisco
    I actually prefer bolt-on for the reasons stated above. They have less sustain, and the sound seems a bit more immediate to me. There's something about the quick transients and fairly quick decay that I like in the bolt-on sound.

    And of course, there are lots of exceptions to these generalizations - like my Ibanez ATK which just stains forever. I roll the volume off at the end of tunes so that I'm not ringing out after everyone else.

  10. Jeff in TX

    Jeff in TX Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2000
    Lone Star State
    Has anyone seen a study where the ONLY variable was neck thru vs. bolt on? Everything else is the same?

  11. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I haven't seen one, and don't know how much you can totally isolate these factors as the only variables. Accomplished luthiers, such as Mike Tobias, believe that 2 pieces of seemingly identical wood, cut from the same tree, will have different sonic characteristics. That, alone, is enough to spark big differences.

    Then again, I suppose you could create a neck through, record it, cut off the neck and turn it into a bolt-on using the same neck, and re-record it. I just don't know anybody who's willing to go to those lengths to gain little insight over what we already seem to know.
  12. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    Sounds like some good questions for the luthiers forum here, surely some of them have constructed basses where the only variable is the neck joint.

    Personally I used to be of the (wrong) opinion that neck-thrus were of superior quality than BO's...
    I don't really feel that way anymore. I own a few of both configurations, and they each have their appeal.

    I like the feel/ergonomics of most NT's better. Just feels good to me. Many times setnecks approximate this feel though.

    I like the punch of some BO's. The fact that they usually have less sustain than NT's contributes to this perception. Might be felt to 'cut thru' better in some situations.

    I like them both though and no longer shop with either type in mind. I've found very satisfying examples of both types of construction, and both seem to have their own +'s and -'s. Guess that's why I like some of each.
  13. What you said about the differences between bolt-ons and neck-thrus is pretty much what I've heard to. I'm just gonna take the opportunity to ask what is meant by "fundementals"?. I've heard this term used a lot, and I have been only able to guess at what it means.

    By the way, I tend to prefer the sound of a bolt neck. They really do seem to be punchier. I could definately see using one as a fretless though.
  14. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    You forgot the best option - set-neck :p
  15. I hate sounding stupid, but what's a set neck?
  16. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    The neck is glued to the body, e.g. some Foderas or Le Fay's basses.
  17. Balor


    Sep 24, 2000
    Montréal, Québec
    The fundamental is the lowest possible frequency for a given note. The fundamental of the low E is 41.2 Hz, now the sound you hear playing that note is not sololy composed of that frequecy, her comes the harmonics... http://www.novaxguitars.com/techinfo.html
    go check this url, it goes into some lenght about harmonics content of the high E over different scale lenght in the guitare world... interesting read none the less.
  18. I own only Bolt-ons. I have owned a Neck-Thru Warwick SSII and now own a Bolt-On Streamer LX and there was a definite difference in tone, the NT WAS smoother. I however prefer the BO construction.

  19. True, a good sounding bass is really all that matters, but, I just happen to like the sound of a bolt on. The growl. I'm not closed minded though.

    Mike J.
  20. My concern about neck-throughs is: what if something really bad happens to the neck, like say, a truss rod breaks, huh? Do you need a new bass? If something happens to a bolt-on neck, you could call up the Warmoth people for a new neck and presto.

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