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Why can't I play neck-through basses? w/ Poll

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Treebeard, Mar 10, 2018.

  1. I play exclusively.

  2. I'll play them / doesn't make a difference.

  3. I will not play them.

  4. I'd prefer a NT.

Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. Treebeard


    Jun 5, 2016
    Fuquay, NC
    Bear Light Symphony, TimepeaceNC Band
    I've been playing bass for 12 years now, and started on cello 17 years ago. I mention the cello, because that's a set neck, and you wanna talk about tone wood... BUT every neck-through electric bass I've ever picked up has really and I mean REALLY disagreed with me. This is no matter what the headstock or price tag said. I'd appreciate your thoughts and/or anecdotes! Cheers!
    Ellery likes this.
  2. JGbassman

    JGbassman Supporting Member

    May 31, 2011
    I have a few neck through basses, and if anything, they are easier to play because the heel joint is blended with the body, making the transition smoother. Any other time playing (which is most of the time) it just feels like a regular bass neck. The action is a little bit closer on a couple of mine, which is also not a bad thing.

    So what is it you don't like about a set neck or neck through compared to a bolt on?
    iceboxbass, LowBSix, gebass6 and 9 others like this.
  3. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    These three agree with me just fine.

    70BA661A-A52D-4D7C-B77A-AF96323FDD19. 83661357-558E-4142-8541-103CCADD769E. 70DA613E-0594-4866-B342-45D6EE697928.

    I will say that one downside to neck through construction is that repairs can be hairy to impossible, if something goes wrong with the neck.
    EddieV, NoBucks, SCOTT_GROVE and 26 others like this.
  4. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    I also never end up keeping neck throughs. The ones that lasted longest were a Spector and a Warwick, but I definitely prefer the way the lows are shaped with a bolt on.
  5. Treebeard


    Jun 5, 2016
    Fuquay, NC
    Bear Light Symphony, TimepeaceNC Band
    I really can't put my finger on it! They just feel drastically different. Maybe it's the way the neck vibrates with the string in the lower register...
  6. seamus bass

    seamus bass

    Oct 23, 2007
    my house
    No issues, but I will add my conklin has a neck that blends right into the body, best of both worlds?
    Treebeard likes this.
  7. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    There just aren't as many to choose from, and of the ones that are NT, they're always weird basses like Ricks (I own two), Alembics, and Warwicks.
    Treebeard likes this.
  8. tfer


    Jan 1, 2014
    Your bias is showing in your poll.

    It needs an “I prefer through neck basses” option.

    The lack of a heel joint makes it much easier to play above the 15th fret.
    Snaxster, edervjo, NoBucks and 7 others like this.
  9. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    I didn’t vote because you don’t have an option for “I prefer bolt on but can make it work on an NT”. Usually need to cut some deep lows or use an HPF and control excess sustain.
  10. cableguy


    Jun 4, 2009
    North Bend, WA
    I play both. Although I prefer the tone of my Spector. I assume that has more to do with the Haz pre than the neck.
  11. the_home

    the_home Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 14, 2005
    Pensacola, FL
    I regularly play both. I've never noticed anything about neck-thru construction that made a bass feel weird ergonomically, although there have been basses of both kinds that I've not bonded with because they felt weird to me ergonomically (the neck-thru was a Rick and the bolt-on was a Roscoe, so both enjoy generally strong reputations).
    bassista6, gebass6, Loring and 2 others like this.
  12. guitarflinger

    guitarflinger Not all who wander are lost Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2013
    Front Range, Colorado
    Pedulla MVP 5. Neck through. Mic drop Pedullas.JPG
  13. Afc70

    Afc70 Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2004
    Northeast Arkansas
    Ive owned a couple neck thru ken smith’s & they were very nice, but i greatly prefer bolt on’s, i didnt notice any playability differences, but tonally i prefer bolt on’s for sure.. i ended up with a bolt on Smith & i found it resonated better, and just sounded snappier & livelier to my ears.. My Ken Lawrence, Modulus Quantum & almost all the rest of my basses are bolt on. The only exception is my Status Empathy, which is similar to a neckthru design, & i do enjoy the Status also.
    Treebeard likes this.
  14. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    i don't own any neck-throughs at present. i have played them in the past (i thought they looked cool). i don't ever recall thinking that they played differently, but they were fretted, so i wasn't really a fan anyway.

    i don't need more instruments, but if i did: i wouldn't hesitate to consider a NT.
    Wisebass and Treebeard like this.
  15. rmayer

    rmayer Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2008
    Boynton Beach, FL
    fullsizeoutput_2c. Add Epiphone and Gibson Thunderbirds to the list of "weird" basses. Also, Ibanez, PRS, and ESP to name just a few and some of those are in the moderately priced range. Then you always have the upper end boutique basses. I happen to play both neck thru and bolt on basses. I didn't vote because my neck thru is my Fodera Monarch Elite, and it's the sweetest playing bass I've ever played. The flat neck up in the higher frets does make it easier to play than most bolt ons. So, to me anyway, it does make a difference. But I still like my bolt on Sadowsky and G&Ls (an LB100 and a JB). They do have that more vintage sound to me.
    Edit: I just realized that comparing this neck thru to my other bolt ons might be a little like comparing a Ferrari to a VW Jetta (apologies to both owners, and yes, another annoying car analogy). But the truth is, I'd rather be playing the neck thru over any of my bolt ons. On the other hand, tone-wise, the bolt ons do have sounds that are more usable for a rock/blues style.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2018
  16. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    I checked "will" but as it happens I don't at this time own any and the basses I'm intereste in someday owning are bolt-on. Also after my first experience having a custom neck made (35", 1.75" nut, shallow profile 4 sting) for my jazz I appreciate the repairability and upgradability of a bolt-on.

    That said, a Carvin LB75F was my main bass for about 5 years. I moved on since then, but it was my tastes changing, not any defficiency in the instument which played and sounded very good.

    As years go buy I'm more skeptical about supposed differences in tone but even the best bolt-ons don't match the visuals of a neck through. I'm open to owning another someday, but I don't play high enough on the neck to get any notable beneift from a neck through and I'm not interested in paying an upcharge for it.
    Treebeard likes this.
  17. joebar


    Jan 10, 2010
    You don’t hear players from the violin family complaining wishing they had bolt ons.
    No big difference really other than the fact that a NT is likely more expensive and take longer to build. And they look cooler.
    But I can go either way.
    Loring and Treebeard like this.
  18. St_G


    Jan 22, 2013
    Memphis, TN
    My least favorite bass I've ever owned was a neck-thru, but the fact it was an NT wasn't why I didn't like it.
    TrustRod and Treebeard like this.
  19. TheBear

    TheBear Bergantino Artist, Vibe9 IEM Artist Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2008
    Austin, TX
    I don’t have any neck-through basses currently but have owned one in the last. Kinda wish I’d kept it but I was moving and needed the money. The neck-to-body construction has never been a huge factor in my liking a bass or not.
    craig0316 and Treebeard like this.
  20. flam


    Sep 20, 2010
    Tempe, Arizona
    I have a heavy preference for NT, and the only two basses I've ever owned that I would be happy with for life were NT. I think it has more to do with how close the fretboard and strings are to the body than the neck pocket/heel area.

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