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Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by thehurlatron, Sep 21, 2005.

  1. From what I've read in searches I did, people seem to think that neckthrough is better than bolt-on. But, alot of high end basses are bolt-on, so if it's that much "better", why don't all high end basses go neckthrough?

    And also, with a neckthrough, what are the differences between a 1,2,3,5,7,13 ect piece neck? Is one any better than the other?
  2. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Neck-thru is not "better", it's simply different.

    I usually prefer bolt-on basses... but note that you can't say "neck-thru sounds like X, bolt-on sounds like Y, and set-neck sounds like Z" because there's plenty of overlap.

  3. In your opinion, what are the differences tone wise? (sustain,ect)
  4. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    +1 Fuzzbass.
    I generally prefer NT's, but it's certainly not definitive.
  5. Also, there is "set-neck".

    Bolt on is bolted on, set neck is a glued joint, and neck trhough is where the neck extends into the body.

    I don't know about "better" - there are a lot of pros who use bolt-on basses, and I love my bolt-on bass, although in the world of guitars I certainly prefer set necks.

    The general consensus is that set neck and neck throughs give more sustain. (But my bass sustains awesomely also). It is usually better to have a one-piece neck.

    Sorry for bein' anal on the neck designs, I've just talked to too many people who don't know the difference between set and through necks.
  6. quallabone


    Aug 2, 2003
    They're just different approaches to building. Neither is better.

    My opinion is that Bolt on's are better for me. In my experience the bolts that i've owned/played have more punch and sustain than the neck throughs.
  7. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    I have a feeling there are LOT's of threads on this topic if you do a search.

    Briefly, neck throughs, from what I understand, take more time and work to make, hence they cost more. All other things being equal (which of course they never are), neck throughs are considered by many people to have more sustain and a stronger fundamental note, while bolt-on's are quicker with more punch. I have a feeling that this is somewhat of an artifact of years of people comparing Rickenbackers (neck through) with Jazz and P Basses (bolt-ons) with Alembics (neck throughs) with Music Man (bolt-on), etc. etc. There are so many other differences in those basses besides the neck designs, that it's hard to separate out the effect of the neck.

    I personally like the simplicity of the bolt-on design, and in my own biased way hear them as a little quicker than neck throughs. I am VERY happy that higher end manufacturers like Michael Tobias (MTD), Jerzy Drozd, Fodera, etc., etc. offer premium quality instruments in bolt-on versions.

    As far as neck laminates go.. .again, lot's of threads. I think the conclusion from a recent thread on this topic is that it's not the number of laminates that make a neck stable, it's the quality of the wood itself. The most stable necks I've ever owned are single maple quarter sawn, or three piece maple. I had multilam 5 piece necks that moved all over the place. Again, all things being equal, a few laminates are supposed to add stablity and reduce deadspots... but all things are never equal
  8. Yeah me too.
  9. LajoieT

    LajoieT I won't let your shadow be my shade...

    Oct 7, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    Nothing's better, just different. There is a lot of previous discussion on the topic. My feelings is that all other things being equal, there will be a mild audible difference between the two which can be described by any number of positive (brighter, more focused, etc) or negative (shrill, muddy, etc) depending on the underlying predisposition of the person spouting the opinion. The laminate (i.e. 5 piece, etc) necks use laminates of several different types of wood to blend their sonic properties and stabilize the neck, or sometimes several pieces of the same wood in opposing direction to add that same stability to the neck.
  10. LajoieT

    LajoieT I won't let your shadow be my shade...

    Oct 7, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    I had thought so also, and while you guys were responding (there were no responses when I started) I ran a search so I could link to some of the discussions, but after about 20 pages of posts, nothing stood out. IIRC there are a lot of discussions about the topic, but Neck-thru and Bold-on show up in so many threads it's very difficult to find the discussions instead of people describing their basses.

  11. Thank You!!
    If people READ my post they would notice I said
    AFTER SEARCHING. People just assume that if someone is asking about a word like "neckthrough", it was allready beat to death with a stick previously. I honestly did not browse through the 1600 or so posts that contained the word neckthrough. Sorry. I'm done.
  12. I've been doing a lot of thinking about this subject, and for me it's feel more than anything. To me I could play basses blindfolded and tell if it was a bolt-on or neck-thru. I really don't think the neck-thru has more sustain, but I do feel it in my left hand, the resonance of the note in the hand. By the way I really do prefer neck-thru in case you haven't figured it for yourself. I had a Ric years ago and that got me started.
    Or maybe I'm just crazy. :) LOL
  13. dave120


    Jun 27, 2005
    Central Florida
    Having 2 bolt ons and a nice neck through, here's my take:

    The neck through seems to have more sustain (on open strings especially) although I don't know how much sustain you really need on a bass anyways. The neck through makes it a lot easier to play on the higher frets. (I'm comparing that to the bolt on versions of the same body style at the local music store more than my other basses I own btw).

    Overall I don't really care for one over the other. What I care more about is the action and the neck shape rather than what kind of joint it has.
  14. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Depends on the bass.
  15. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
  16. Pennydreadful

    Pennydreadful Goin out West

    Jun 13, 2005
    Arlington, Texas
    I prefer bolt-on, myself, then set, then neck-through. In that order.

    Something about knowing that the kneck is a part of the body just makes me feel like it's gonna be really stiff, even if I play it and I know it's not. Just kind of a quirk I have, I suppose.
  17. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    I'm lucky... I prefer a nice bass. Don't really care how it got there;)
  18. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    +1 I also agree with pretty much everything KJung has said on the topic. I was a long-time neckthrough fan, but I've more recently come to love certain bolt-on's, too. At this point, I am convinced that it's all about the individual instrument, and very, very difficult to generalize. For instance, I've heard many people say that neckthrough's have more sustain. I used to believe this myself, but then I played Skjold and MTD basses, and they have sustain for days!

    If I had to chose which construction method to go with from a given luthier who was willing to build me either a neck through or a bolt-on for the same price, with all other components being equal, I would tell the luthier what tonal characteristics and what feel I was after, and let him/her decide which approach would work best for the bass that they were going to build.

    Fortunately, we have some great options available in both camps.

  19. It all depends as usual for the bass you're searching!
    You'll perhaps play two basses, same brand, same woods and love the bolt on and not the NT??....
  20. Moo

    Moo Banned

    Dec 14, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    In my unscientific opinion I don't think most of the tonal differences are related to the neck joint. Take for example a 5 string jazz bass with an alder body. If you built an identical one except for being neck through you would likely more than triple the amount of hard maple in the bass and a large part of the bodies alder would be replaced with hard maple. In my experience making a bolt on with a hard center block in the body gives the sound of a bolt on neck.