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The ultimate bolt-on versus set-neck versus neck through thread

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by tekhna, Nov 13, 2004.

  1. tekhna


    Nov 7, 2004
    I am not sure I know enough to have a strong opinion one way or another, but all my basses are either 4 bolt or 6 bolt bolt ons, and I have not had any issue with any of them. And to be honest, set neck and neck throughs really haven't made that much of a difference for me.
    Yours guys thoughts on the eternal debate?
  2. Stevious G

    Stevious G

    May 5, 2003
    A bass is a bass. If it feels good, and sounds good, then stop makin'such a big friggin'deal aboot it. I prefer the look of a set neck/neck thru bass, but I'm not "too good" for a bolt-on. And neither is anyone else, no matter what they tell you.
  3. mark beem

    mark beem I'm alive and well. Where am I? Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    There have been many ultimate bolt-on vs. nek-through threads already.
  4. In my opinion, neither is better than the other. They both have their own characteristics, and both have pros and cons.

    Neck-through designs typically have more sustain due to the tuners and bridge being connected by the same slab o' wood. Less variables to lose vibrations and string energy. This usually comes at the price of some punchiness. Neck-through designs do tend to look more "high-endish" than their bolt-on counterparts.

    Bolt-ons (my preference) typically have a more punchy sound to them at the cost of sustain. The sustain issue can become more noticeable with poor construction/quality control. Also, if you ever warp/snap/break/whatever a neck on your precious bolt-on, it's a fairly straightforward fix, either for you or your tech. You break a neck-through neck and it's "UH-OH"! I play custom Conklins and if I EVER totalled a bass due to a neck problem I'd be completely crushed!!!

    Everyones got a preference and no one is "better" for having one over the other. Do your homework, play different designs, and get what's right for YOU.
  5. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    although there have been a lot of threads on this before, i think this new one would be good reading so i'm going to set it free with my blessings :)
  6. I just wanted to weigh in with something that I haven't heard mentioned in a lot of bolt on vs. whatever threads. Im picky with set-ups, and beyond that I like to do whatever I can to my instruments in hopes of learning more or making said instrument play a little more to my liking.

    With a bolt on the option to change neck angle and adjustability through shimming is a big plus, especially when it comes to lower priced instruments where that adjustability can make the difference between a playable instrument and something you won't really pick up because it's just not "there."

    Just FYI that's not the only reason I like bolt ons, but I don't often get to compare neckthroughs/set necks vs. bolt ons often as I only own bolt ons.
  7. Sonorous


    Oct 1, 2003
    Denton, TX
    Do neck-throughs have truss rods?
  8. Stevious G

    Stevious G

    May 5, 2003
    Yes, neck thrus have truss rods. Unless they're made stupid.

    And a properly constructed neck-thru or set neck will have a neck angle to it. Albiet it's one that you can't ALTER, but regardless, if it's done right the first time, you're set.
  9. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    This reads "Wishnewsky".

    I want nothing but neck through on my basses. It's just the way it is. I love neckthru design. It makes sense to me.
  10. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    i have found myself to prefer a bolt on - they sound bolder to me for some reason.
  11. Dirty Dave

    Dirty Dave

    Oct 17, 2004
    Boston, MA
    After purchasing my first neck-through, I sold all my bolt-ons and bought more neck-throughs. I just love the feel of them. Don't think I can go back to bolt-ons now.
  12. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    For some reason alot of the neck-thru basses I've played have kind of a rubber-band sound to them. Nice sustain, but kind of twangy/boingy with not much oooomph. I know this isn't the rule for neck-thru's so I'm not making a generalization, just an observation.

    On the other hand, there's something to be said for more sustain and no deadspots, which seem to be the traits of the neck-thru basses.

    I've never tried anything with a set-neck. I've heard they're a good compromise.

    The Alembic sound seems kind of exemplary of neck-thru to me -- they're terrific, but they don't give you that bolt-on punch. You can EQ the crap out of them, but you can't reproduce that certain Fender-esque low-mid you find in bolt-ons.

  13. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    After taking the infamous "Stambaugh twins" as well as a pair of "Hannewinckel twins" for a test ride, I can honestly say I like both. For those who don't know, the twins were the same basses, made with identical woods and electronics, the same everything, except that one was neck-thru and the other was bolt-on.

    The neck-thrus had more fundamental present in their tone, making each note a little stronger. The bolt-ons had more harmonic content in their notes, resulting in a little more trebly definition to each individual note.

    While I noticed these differences, I had played each one over 1/2 hour through a Glockenklang/Accugroove rig to notice these subtleties.

    When people speak of "sustain" or "punch" in relation to these two construction methods, I'm totally confused. I never noticed any significan difference in sustain or punch.

    BTW: I currently own 2 basses, both neck-through. If I had do it all over again, I'd have one of each, instead.;)
  14. mark beem

    mark beem I'm alive and well. Where am I? Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
  15. Ozzyman


    Jul 21, 2004
    Neckthru's don't show any tone of the body wood (or wings) but bolt-ons really bring out a wood's characteristics.
    Neckthru's fell way better higher up the neck.
    You can bend the neck for a whammy bar effect easier on a bolt-on.
    Neckthru's have more sustain.
    I don't ever notice a difference in punchiness, but I actually think that neckthru's feel like they have more authority.
    B strings to me sound sound better on neckthru's.
    That being said I own two basses, one bolt-on and one neckthru.
  16. lbanks


    Jul 17, 2003
    Ennui, IN USA
    I don't notice which until much later.
  17. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    For a long time it was automatically assumed that neck thru was better. Some people still feel that way. I don't.

    I think a great bass is better and whatever route it takes to get there is cool with me. They each have their own vibe and I tend to see that as a positive rather than a negative.

    Most of my current basses are some form of bolt-on. I also have several neck thrus.
  18. Rapscallion2112


    Apr 21, 2004
    Honistly, I'm not concerned over whether a bass is a through neck, set neck, or bolt on. As long as the bass sounds good then its fine with me.
  19. Matt Call

    Matt Call Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
  20. KeithPas


    May 16, 2000
    I have never been able to tell a difference in the sound of bolt on's and neck through bases. There are so many variables that it is hard for me to pinpoint any one thing. I like the ability to swap out a neck in the event of damage or an accident, or for modification, that is obvioulsy more complicated with a neck through.