The Neckthru Myth

Discussion in 'Standard Guitars' started by FortePenance, Jul 27, 2007.

  1. FortePenance

    FortePenance New Member

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    Hi guys. k, so here comes probably a long rambling paragraph so if you're lazy just skip it. :D

    I've always liked the neckthrough construction of a guitar. Always thought they looked super, felt nice and sounded good. This led to me selling my older bolt-on guitar and buying a spanking RGT (tbh I never really abuse the added sustain but whatever >.>). Hurray. Yeah, so since I came to ss.org, I've read various posts by certain peeps saying that in a neckthru guitar, the main tonewood will be what the neckthru is made of, in my case 5pc maple/walnut, because the pickups are seated in those woods. If that's true then I have to ask:

    Why guitar manufacturers will bother with mahogany wings or some other heavy wood as wings if the main tonewood is going to be maple/etc? Wouldn't it make more sense to just have a fairly lightweight wood if it's not going to really affect tone (unless it's for asthetics but my guitar is black anyway)? Or do the wings still have a noticeable impact on the tone/sustain/whatever? Or are guitar manufacturers not in on the secret. If so would I be better going to darker sounding aftermarket pickups? I haven't had the chance to really play the guitar through a decent rig (just a Microcube) but I did notice it was bassier than my Washburn X30 but not as much as my Ibanez SZ.

    so in short, if you haven't been assed to read that (i probably wouldn't have been 8D):

    In a maple-necked through body guitar, why do they use heavy woods like mahogany wings if the main tonewood is maple?

    thanks all.
     
  2. OzzyC

    OzzyC :ubersquint:

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    Quite simply, because it still affects tone. Maybe not as much as if were a mahogany body with maple bolt or set neck, but it would be different none-the-less.

    BTW, everything affects tone, right down to type of metal in the screws to your control cavity. :) (A change only Eric Johnson may claim to recognise, but it's still a change whether you notice it or not. :p)
     
  3. newamerikangospel

    newamerikangospel Tonight.......you

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    Anything that is attached to the guitar will change the tonality a bit. In all theory, the pickup mount rings, the mass of the headstock, and the strap system (buttons, or the difference in straplocks) would effect tone. If it can vibrate, it can take away/add/change tone.
     
  4. FortePenance

    FortePenance New Member

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    Hmm, I figured, thanks guys so far. :D

    How noticeable is the tone change? Like, would it be very noticeable if it was a maple/walnut 5pc neckthru guitar w/ an ash body (like the RGT220A) pitted against something like my RGT42 or the RGT220H? I've never tried any non-mahogany bodied neckthru guitar in my memory so I wouldn't know.

    Sorry if I'm asking lots of questions. '^^
     
  5. JJ Rodriguez

    JJ Rodriguez SS Contributor

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    Personally I prefer the tone of stainless steel screws for my truss rod cover, and aluminum screws for the trem cavity cover :lol:

     
  6. jacksonplayer

    jacksonplayer The Fusion Guy!

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    It would definitely make a difference, but it wouldn't be totally different. You also have to remember that two different pieces of the same species of wood will also sound very different; they come from different parts of the tree, trees of different ages and from different locations, etc. Even two of the same type of guitar can sound strikingly different--and that's almost as true of neckthrus as it is of bolt-ons, though maple tends to be somewhat more consistent than other tonewoods, in my experience.

    I've always thought of the "neckthru myth" as being that neckthrus have more sustain, which is absolutely not true. They tend to have a very precise sound, which is great for high gain and not so much so for clean sounds.
     
  7. zimbloth

    zimbloth Nick // Axe Palace

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    With neck-thrus, the body wings just color or compliment the tone, but the neck clearly dominates the sound overall. This is probably why the best way to go is a set-neck or set-thru guitar if you're looking for the body woods to make a huge impact. Many top luthiers swear by that method anyways.

    Since I like the tone of maple, the usual maple neck-thru configuration doesn't bother me. I do love all mahogany as well though :)
     
  8. mrp5150

    mrp5150 Call it.

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    I much prefer bolt on or set neck guitars. I honestly don't like neck thru that much at all. I hate having 1/3 of the body being made from maple, and I think they sound dull compared to bolt on guitars, which have more snap IMO. I always laugh when people say neck thru's have more sustain as well. They clearly have never played a nice bolt on with a good setup. :lol:
     
  9. Groff

    Groff Medicine Chief/RHLC©

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    My neck thru gibson SG was the best sounding, guitar I've ever owned, and had the best chord definition and clarity over any bolt on i've ever played. But it's preference.
     
  10. noodles

    noodles <font color=#FF0000><b>I'm your huckleberry</font>

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    The body wood has much more of an effect then many people realize. My KxK with mahogany wings significantly differs from Mike's Soloist with alder wings. This led me to dump the JB bridge pickup in favor of a Custom5, because the brightness of the alder just stomped all over everything I did. True, the effect is less than it would be on a bolt-on or set neck, but it is there and it is NOT subtle.
     
  11. NiCkMiLnE

    NiCkMiLnE 7>6

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    tone specifically in the wood is from the density, weight and finish.

    with neck thru, you want to use stronger woods for the neck portion, as they are tighter for the tone usually and reduce mud, as well as give the neck stability.
    then if you use somthing like mahogany for the wings it gives the tone that girth, as the resonance of the body also affects how the pickup will magnetise the string.

    good combinationm and you will see is very common is maple laminates with magohany wings.
     
  12. Kakaka

    Kakaka I am with Jesus!

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    When luthiers and guitar players say that neck-thrus have more sustain than any other neck joint, they don't mean any neck-thru... it's likely that a Krappy custom neck-thru will have less sustain than an Universe.

    And I strongly disagree that the greater sustain in a neck-thru is a myth.

    It's a plain physical fact:

    The sound we listen to is the result of mechanical waves propagation, which doesn't occur without the presence of a material mean.

    All particles in a body hold a certain amount of energy, which allows the matter to keep it's properties.

    All particles in a body have a certain region upon which their positions may vary. The stronger the bond a particle has toward another one, the more smaller that region will be, thus yielding their geometry (display in space) to be more rigid.

    Waves are basically energy travelling across space. When a wave hits a body, part of it's energy can be converted into work such as temperature raise or mechanical vibration.

    Now, this is a generic wood particle electron in a normal day:
    :wavey: (normal oscilation range)
    Then, one day Hoshino Gakki Inc. chops it's tree down and builds a LACS Xiphos for Muhammed.
    And the particle goes like (with an ENGL Powerball):
    :scream: (wider, energized oscilation range)

    What happens is that when that particle was struck by the sound wave, part of it's energy was retained by the particle and raised it's energy level causing it to shake harder(!).

    Tip: The higher the density of a wood is, the better it's sound wave transmission is, because it's particles are strongerly bound, causing very small wave attenuation or absorption.

    In a neck-thru body, the continuous link of many wood particles provide a true free lane for the sound waves that pass all the way through it up to the pickups and hardware.

    In a bolt-on, the non-natural bond of bolts introduce an abrupt mean shift for the waves, causing some of the sound waves to be absorved by that separation surface and some to be reflected back into the neck.

    Of course we should take the refraction phenomena in account, but that would only give the neck-thru some extra points.
     
  13. Groff

    Groff Medicine Chief/RHLC©

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    :woot: GREAT explaination... You get a cookie!
     
  14. 8string

    8string Grande puta de gear!

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    say what??? :lol:
     
  15. Kakaka

    Kakaka I am with Jesus!

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    With oat flakes and raisins?:yum:
     
  16. Rev2010

    Rev2010 SS Contributor

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    What I'd like to know is:

    On an electric guitar it's the electromagnetic field of the pickups detecting the vibrations of the strings and sending it to your amp which then converts it into audible sound. How does the wood density and vibration get carried by an electromagnetic pickup designed to pickup vibrations from metal strings? In other words, how exactly does body tone get transferred to the pickups?

    I know tone is a fact, you can hear the differences easily. I'm just curious as to the way the wood tone is transferred. Any explaination would kick ass!

    *EDIT - Wait... I just thought on this for a second. I'm guessing the wood has an effect on the nuances of the string vibrations?


    Rev.
     
  17. OzzyC

    OzzyC :ubersquint:

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    :agreed:

    It's all EQ.
     
  18. Atomic_gerbil

    Atomic_gerbil SS.org Regular

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    Every wood on the guitar is going to affect tone in some way, on levels of severity. In fact, I just ordered an RGT42FX not 2 days ago, because I myself liked the neck through and the awesome fretwork of the RGT's. (rivals Prestige, IMO)
     
  19. Kakaka

    Kakaka I am with Jesus!

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    Way cool question.

    The thing is that we have waves at different frequencies and wavelengths.

    See, we usually talk about low, mid and high frequency sounds.

    The way the wood can affect the tone is through absorving (attenuating in physics) some waves of certain frequencies more than others, so there won't be much energy at that especific frequency for the pickup to 'pick'.

    There's too much complex physics in this, like studying ressonant frequencies of matter but summing it up:
    - high density woods tend to have richer harmonics, because their attenuation rate is low. That's why neck-thrus are usually very bright sounding.
    - low density woods ten to absorb more harmonics and higher frequencies, with noticeably higher attenuation rate. It allows some Les Pauls to have a 'warmer' sound, which is basically a more pronouncedly middy voice.

    IMPORTANT:When the original sound sources are perfectly periodic, the note consists of several related sine waves (which mathematically add to each other) called the fundamental and the HARMONICS, partials, or overtones.

    So, the wood affects tone by 'reaping' some frequencies more than others, leaving less energy at some frequencies to disturb the pickups magnet electromagnetic field, which is the main cause of METAL!!!


    http://www.gojira-music.com/audios/thelink/Gojira-Remembrance.mp3
     
  20. 8string

    8string Grande puta de gear!

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    Interesting thread, me like! sucking this up like a sponge....

    Now get a thread like this on pickups and I'll be a happy camper..
     

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