Neckthrough design and construction questions

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by A9X, Nov 6, 2004.

  1. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    I visited my luthier the other day to speak about the spec for the bass I want built. Because of some superb pieces of wood that I have, one option that came up is making the neckthrough 'blank' only about 1" thick. The NT blank would then be attached to the body, with the body coming around behind the NT section to give the required 1.5-2" body thickness.

    I've seen this type of construction used by others, and by reports sounds great, but my luthier has never done it personally so won't give an opinion on how it might sound, except that he beleives the body wood will have a larger contribution to the sound than it would in a more conventional 'Alembic' style NT assembly. The conjecture is based on the fact that the body is in contact with the neck assembly over a much larger area. We also have a couple of body blanks that could be used one piece (maybe with F/R facings) with a channel routed in them for the NT assembly to sit in.

    this pic gives an idea of what I mean, only mine would have a whole lot less laminates.

    Any comments on sonics, experiences or any other issues that might extend from this type of construction?
  2. LajoieT

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

    Oct 7, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    I think what you're talking about is also often refered to as Set-Neck construction. and is used by many fine luthiers (like D.Huff, but also a lot of Foderas. I've always wondered with set-necks how far the neck is typically set in the body. It sounds like yours would be set all the way through to the bottm of the body, but I think most of them stop right around the first pickup route. My assumption for this is that the pickup route will likely go deeper than the neck blank is deep so it will effectively be cutting off the blank anyway (even tho it is already laminated together with the body, so it's not going anywhere.) If I understand the generalizations of set-necks compared to neck-thru and bolt on, it is somewhere between the two.
  3. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    It's a good way to do it, used by e.g. Gary Watts (now retired, a great loss to the bassist community). And the impact of the body wood is no different than from an Alebic style neckthru: minimal :bag:

    However, the comment Lajoie about the pup cavity cutting off the neck is valid. Which may have an impact on your idea of styling vs. sound, but the actual impact on sound is quite minimal.
  4. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    I use this type of construction for my neck through models. I do it mostly because I can then use thinner neck blank which is much less expensive than a full thickness neck blank (we pay by the board foot....) and "build up" the middle section of the body using the same wood as the body wings.


    I also do a scarf jointed headstock. This combined with the above method also then generates much less waste, which is a good thing for exotic / expensive woods.

    For extra aesthetics, you can add thin accent layers between the neck blank and the center block of the body, along with accent layers between the body wings and neck blank, similar to this beauty from Darin Huff:

  5. teej


    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    Holy crap! That last pic is of one NICE LOOKING INSTRUMENT!!!!!!!
    Geez, seriously! Now I have to clean the drool from my keyboard!!!
  6. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    When I read this, I had one of those d'oh! moments. You're right that if it were built the way I said, and the pup routs go right through, then it's a set neck. I haven't been able to get back and discuss the luthier and measure it all up. IIRC, the board is wide enough so that I could make two neck widths, and have them laminated one above the other to make the required thickness through the body. We'll see.....
  7. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    Thanks. You have some beautiful instruments.
    I agree re the scarf joint and wastage, but there'll be no head on this bass.
  8. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    Your experience of the sonic impact between this style and an Alembic NT being minimal is a help. Another data point. Thanks.

    PS: did you ever build your shortscale traveller bass?