Neck Through Versus Bolt On

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by jbacolyte, Sep 12, 2019.

  1. jbacolyte

    jbacolyte SS.org Regular

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    So I’m on the hunt for my first 7 string and curious what the general opinion is on neck type whether bolt on is good enough or just different compared to a neck through construction

    Appreciate all the feedback
     
  2. High Plains Drifter

    High Plains Drifter ... drifting...

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    Since "first seven" I would put comfort above the type: set/ thru/ bolt on. Prob much more valid opinions out there but for me, I think it should come down to comfort of the neck... width, radius, fret-work, upper fret access and comfort, finish preference, etc. If you play a lot of solo stuff above the 12th fret then you might genuinely appreciate a set or thru neck more than a bolt on but for my style of playing I don't find that how the neck is attached at all as important as those other factors. Everyone's different so see what feels good to you. I guess that some ppl don't feel as if the tone or resonance is as "lush" with a bolt on but I've never had a sharp enough ear to ever put any of my guitars higher than any of my others regarding that aspect of construction.
     
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  3. Pseudonym

    Pseudonym Member

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    Neck through will give you more sustain and body resonance, sometimes a whole lot more, than you would get from a bolt-on job. I have heard some people claim that bolt-on necks are "brighter", and in my own experience they do tend to be a bit more present in the upper-midrange, and less so on the very bottom end.

    The biggest benefit of a bolt-on neck is that it can be replaced if damaged. Neck thru may as well be a doorstop if the neck gets twisted up.
     
  4. MrWulf

    MrWulf SS.org Regular

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    Neck thru for me. I've been a sucker for neckthru and almost every guitar i've owned are neck thru. I love the heel, the construction, and the tone coming out of it.
     
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  5. cardinal

    cardinal F# Dive Bomber

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    I prefer bolt ons but really just look for quality. A poorly built neck through will pale compared to a well built bolt on and vice versa.
     
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  6. DudeManBrother

    DudeManBrother Hey...how did everybody get in my room?

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    Every guitar is different. The woods and construction methods are just a part of each unique instrument. Don’t sell one or the other short. I’ve had bright snappy neck thru guitars and dark, rich sounding bolt-on alder body guitars.

    Just go play as many as you can. Buy the one you like best, within your price range.
     
  7. jaxadam

    jaxadam SS.org Regular

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    I fell into the trap that bolt-ons were inferior years ago, but I didn’t buy it and actually prefer them now. Like another person said, a quality bolt-on will be better than a crappy neck thru.
     
  8. trem licking

    trem licking SS.org Regular

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    only thing that differentiates really is how the neck and body joint feels. neck thru will always feel better playing solos up high on the neck... otherwise not really any different
     
  9. aesthyrian

    aesthyrian SS.org Regular

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    I prefer bolt on. Always.
     
  10. Karmaic

    Karmaic SS.org Regular

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    I like the look of a neck through. Neck thru/bolt on all sound the same to me. Pick the one that looks the best. Its the wood that makes the difference.
     
  11. Nlelith

    Nlelith Motion Designer

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    Bolt on is better in every way in my experience.
     
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  12. Merrekof

    Merrekof SS.org Regular

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    I have both, bolt-on and neck thru and personally they both work perfect for me.
    Some state that thru is easier for solos because of the smaller neck heel, but then you have Ibanez with their AANJ wich is almost as good for that. There is no real "this is better than that", just personal preference imo. I also owned a glued neck but I didn't like that guitar very much. Not because of the glued neck, but just the overall guitar.

    If it is possible, try some guitars out. Pick whatever feels good to you.
     
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  13. c7spheres

    c7spheres GuitArtist

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    Bolt on for me. I find they have more sustain than a neck thru. The opposite of what many people think. Also, they can be shimmed and perfectly adjusted for angle, unlike a neck through. They are less prone to warpage over years of time and can also be replaced. Most pro's that can play whatever they want seem to choose bolt on too for some reason. Usually on most production guitars the neck thru also have less upper fret access when getting to the high frets around the low strings (the neck gets thicker sooner than a bolt on) in most cases. Just look at the neck thickness around that area and it's usually true, not always though.
     
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  14. Wolfhorsky

    Wolfhorsky Regular idiot

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    I also find that high quality bolt-ons tend to have more sustain than high quality nech-throughs. Soundwise - my darkest sounding guitars are bolt-ons. One of them have maple naeck and fretboard. Wood is organic, so different pieces of wood sounds different. I don’t want to start $hitstorm here, but the wood itself is one of many factors affecting the overall sound of the guitar. It is not the most important one, by any means.
    Regarding question: if You play solos, i would look for ntb or bolt-on with the comfortable neck joint. The most important things are: the neck profile, fretjob, inherent sound and the quality/price ratio.
    Edit: And yes, the bolt-ons have faster attack (snap). If You play fast and technical riffage, then it would be more prefferable.
     
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  15. Aumann

    Aumann SS.org Regular

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    Heh, that's funny though. In general bolt ons are "known" to be brighter but have less sustain. That's what the general populace seems to say at least.

    In my experience: It doesn't matter, there's so many factors that dictate the sound and sustain of a guitar that one bolt on can sound much darker or brighter or whatever.

    I just prefer bolt ons because if anything happens to the neck, i can replace it. I love the feel of neck throughs but somehow they make me paranoid.
    In the end, i don't really care though, i'll just look at how the guitar plays and sounds and the upper fret acces being ok and that's it
     
  16. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    I believe that historically most cheaper guitars were bolt-on since it’s easier to produce, your manufacturing doesn’t have to be as accurate since the neck can be adjusted more after manufacturing (shimming to adjust angle or compensating for bridge placement), and if there is a defect with either the body or the neck, only half the guitar needs to be thrown out or reworked.

    Neck through requires longer pieces of wood, and is less adjustable so your manufacturing tolerances need to be tighter. Probably also take longer to make.

    Because of this the pool of low-end guitars is probably populated with mostly bolt-ons, and few neck-thrus. Whereas the pool of high-end guitars is where most neck-thrus are gonna he found.

    Add to this that most comparisons between the two are far from ideal... comparing two guitars made to the same specs are going to have differences, but most of the time if someone is comparing a neck-thru to a bolt-on, they’re comparing completely different guitars with other different specs. I could compare my bolt-on Mayones Setius to my neck-thru Mayones Regius, but there are so many other spec differences between these guitars to render the comparison worthless.


    TL:DR, bolt-on and neck-thru sure are two different ways to assemble a guitar, and both work great. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, for the manufacturer and for the player.

    Bolt-ons often are more adjustable (can’t neck-shim a neck-thru), more replaceable, but may have worse high-fret access (but not always), and are one more thing to adjust, thus one more thing to mess up for someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing.

    Honestly I would pay more attention to almost any other aspect of the guitar before looking at the neck joint.
     
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  17. Lorcan Ward

    Lorcan Ward 7slinger

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    I like the directness or instant response to a note with a bolt-on. It’s always my choice for 7 strings. I find it’s fine until around a C where that instant response and cut off is really needed for fast technical rhythm work. I found my set-neck guitars just didn’t have the response I was looking for. It’s not something you can really emulate with gear but with modern guitar editing construction is irrelevant.

    My bolt-on guitars do have more sustain but it’s only been my lower quality guitars where that has ever been a problem really.

    For playability a really slim heel is nice but you can get used to a big blocky heel when you have to. A neck-thru has the bonus of having no obstructions to the high frets when done right.
     
  18. A-Branger

    A-Branger SS.org Regular

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    search for a guitar that:

    1- you LOVE the look of it. If you dont like it, you are never going to pick it up to play
    2- Feels great to play. IF you dont like how it feels, then you wont play it long enough and eventually put it down forever
    3- One that sounds great. But you can change pickups to help this part

    so go a grab, test, try everything. Find the one with the specs you like the most (scale lenght, fretboard radius, bridge type) and more importantly, its in your budget

    and happy days




    oh yeah, neck joint....... mmmm... who cares?.... but seriusly, pick the one that feels great in your hand. If both feel great and are out of the way, then who cares. Also look fo set-necks and set-troughs.... in other words, look for any guitar that meets your needs and refer back to point #1 and point #2 for the neck joint


    also as for the "I like bolt-ons because I can replace the neck" argument everyone loves to trow...... how many times you ahve seen anyone replacing the neck of their guitar?

    ?

    "oh yeah I break mine once a year....."
    "I change the neck every couple of string changes"

    seriusly.

    only advantage is that you (or a good tech/luthier) can fix the neck pocket and neck angle for a better settup, if the guitar comes really bad in that specific part. But if you buy a good guitar from the start, then who cares

    unless you want to buy a Strat and buy any Fender replacemetn neck our there and build a part-caster. The whole "replacing the neck" thing is a lie. Its what people tell themselfs to justify their purchase

    ^ so much YUP... thank you
     
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  19. aesthyrian

    aesthyrian SS.org Regular

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    I remove the neck from my bolts on probably once a year for maintenance, adjusting neck angle and such, or just to switch necks around on my guitars. Just because you've never done something doesn't mean it's invalid or non existent. I've never driven a race car, but they exist and many others have driven them.
     
  20. jbacolyte

    jbacolyte SS.org Regular

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    Lots of good feedback here. Appreciate the responses. I learned a lot about luthiery from working on my strat. I even made a full pocket sized tapered shim that really changed my neck angle to make it perfect.

    reading about the whole attack and snappiness makes me want a bolt on if its true as I am definitely looking to be the technical riffage person a la john browne lol. Anyone ever check out his tutelage website riffhard? im thinking of signing up for it.
     
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