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thru neck basses

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by alanjones, Nov 3, 2013.

  1. alanjones


    Aug 21, 2012
    I am wondering what people's opinions are on the way the neck joins the body on basses.
    I mainly play electric guitar and a bit of bass also.
    Any of the guitars I own have either a bolt on or set in neck, but I have heard people say a thru neck gives the best sustain as body and neck are made from same piece of wood?
    The reason I ask is that I am thinking of building my second bass from one of the DIY guitar kits you can buy on the web.
    This one is a 6 string fretless:

    If you look at the second picture (shows back of the bass, it looks as if it is one piece of wood, but I can't tell for sure) Could it be that it is really 2 pieces of wood and they are very carefully joined?

    The reason I ask is that if I found the thru neck setup to have less desirable sustain than a bolt on job, do you think it would be possible to un-join the neck and fit a bolt on one instead? Or is this just a crazy idea, ad should I just leave it as it is?
    haven't bought it yet, but would appreciate any thoguhts before I buy, but it does seem like a very good price for what I see in the picture.
    Let me know...
  2. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    I prefer thru neck designs because the area where the neck meets the body is thinner than a bolt on, and I find it easier to access the higher frets. They do seem to offer better sustain, from my experience.

    I would also imagine that it could be converted to a bolt on, though the original neck would most likely be destroyed in the process.
  3. I have both types and my longest sustainer is a bolt on. I think it just depends on the individual bass.

    I do not think it is possible, or at least not economical, to change a neck through into a bolt on, but that is not an informed opinion just a guess.
  4. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    1. Thru-neck = longer sustain is not a given.
    2. Longer sustain = better tone or better musically is not a given.
  5. BawanaRik


    Mar 6, 2012
    New Jersey
    It seems that the neck through weighs a bit more. Is that accurate or just my imagination?
  6. Gopherbassist


    Jan 19, 2008
    I have a neck through bass. The neck heel feels really great, and top fret access is unsurpassed by any other bass I own. It has much longer sustain than my other basses, but it's not what I'd consider usable sustain. Once the note reaches the point that you think it's going to die, it keeps going. But this creates the illusion that there is going to be another note soon, and that expectation is distracting.
  7. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    Through necks have a better neck heel IMO. They can also have thinner bodies since you don't need lots of meat to attach the neck.
  8. lbridenstine


    Jun 25, 2012
    It says thru neck in the title, so I would assume it probably is.

    I like neck thrus and set necks best for comfort, aesthetics, and it somehow feels more high end, like it's made out of better woods and has more craftmanship to it, but maybe that's just me.
  9. Splods


    Oct 7, 2012
    Adelaide, SA
    I've ordered that bass before. It is a thru body. I currently have removed the neck from it, and am in the process of turning it into a bolt on neck.
  10. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Sustain is the most overrated aspect of any instrument, how long are people letting notes ring out? I don't have a bass that wont sustain a fretted note for at least 30 seconds.
  11. Gopherbassist


    Jan 19, 2008
    But how long and clear are those notes? How long do they stand out when competing with other instruments or noises in people's ears? I think that's what's at issue when people discuss how well an instrument sustains a note. That's why I mentioned usable sustain in my post, because my neck through has no more usable sustain than any other instrument I own, even though a note will ring longer and sustain is one of the brand's main bullet points in advertising.
  12. There are so many different designs out there its kinda silly to generalize. Yeah some bolt on basses have awkward neck joints. Ever play a conklin? They have a huge neck joint that's but the body wood under the neck is a lot thinner so it feels more like a neck through. For me I've had a couple issues with neck through basses. Particularly the neck bowing near the neck joint where a trust rod adjustment is no help. That said if i was to build a bass myself i would order a neck through neck and attach wings to it. Much easier then trying to get a tight neck pocket in the garage. But i do strongly believe bolt ons are more durable and aren't as effected as bad by temperature and humidity changes if you travel for gigs. As for sustain yeah neck through might add a little. But for me that's a non issue. After all how much sustain do you really need? A decent bolt on bass has more than enough sustain.

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