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Old 09-29-2018, 08:09 PM
Jaden Jaden is offline
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Default Bolt-on vs set neck

What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of each on electric guitars?
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Old 09-29-2018, 08:36 PM
cuthbert cuthbert is offline
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What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of each on electric guitars?
The bolt on solution was developed by Leo Fender in order to make it easier to replace a bad neck without luthier's intervention, of course the sound is different and it Fenders usually have less sustain than Gibsons.

The ideal solution is of course neck through, a kind of construction common in high end instruments.

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Old 09-30-2018, 12:42 AM
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Originally Posted by cuthbert View Post
The bolt on solution was developed by Leo Fender in order to make it easier to replace a bad neck without luthier's intervention, of course the sound is different and it Fenders usually have less sustain than Gibsons.

The ideal solution is of course neck through, a kind of construction common in high end instruments.

Nice looking guitar; the bound headstock with torch insignia is great. I know over at the Les Paul forums there is also discussion of short vs long neck tenon; in one discussion someone quipped ‘yeah it’s interesting, but once the drummer shows up in the recording studio it doesn’t matter worth a hoot.’ Maybe the centre block construction of the Gibson es-335 and cousins offers some of the acoustic properties of the neck through. For certain, set neck guitars are much more delicate than bolt on.
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Old 09-30-2018, 05:08 AM
cuthbert cuthbert is offline
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Nice looking guitar; the bound headstock with torch insignia is great. I know over at the Les Paul forums there is also discussion of short vs long neck tenon; in one discussion someone quipped ‘yeah it’s interesting, but once the drummer shows up in the recording studio it doesn’t matter worth a hoot.’ Maybe the centre block construction of the Gibson es-335 and cousins offers some of the acoustic properties of the neck through. For certain, set neck guitars are much more delicate than bolt on.
This is my Yamaha SG2000, a guitar designed for Santana with the goal of increasing the sustain...it's a neck through and has a brass plate under the bridge.

And yes you will hear the difference with the drummer on.
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Old 09-30-2018, 08:40 AM
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Set neck/neck through:
Pros:
More sustain+resonance
Deeper bass

Cons:
More expensive to manufacture
Potentially too dark of a tone
If you have neck issues, repairs are much more expensive
Can't adjust the neck pitch or shim it


Bolt-on
Pros:
More treble+punch
Easier to manufacture
You can adjust the neck height and pitch
Bad neck? Get a new one

Cons:
Sometimes loss of bass, sustain, and/or resonance

That being said, there are no absolutes. I have bolt-on acoustics, electrics, and basses with amazing sustain. I have a few neck-through guitars/basses with plenty of punch.
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Old 09-30-2018, 10:33 AM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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The responses in the thread so far are what I read about the differences many years ago. They could be true in some contexts. "Until the drummer shows up" would be one such alternative context.

In that same era when I first heard of these differences, sustain was the leading rationale for the set neck. Sustain was considered an unalloyed--well brass is an alloy, and was often also invoked too (grin)--positive thing. As practical matter, once I plugged in through my Big Muff it didn't matter how the neck was attached, also I had ferocious finger vibrato at the time, and could sustain notes through that. Those days are gone, but the point remains, even those seeking extreme sustain can achieve it a multitude of ways without a set neck or neck through.

Over the years I've begun to wonder though. The difference between glue and multiple screws (or even true "bolts" into threaded inserts, which though rarer, exist) just isn't clear to me structurally. It's still two pieces of wood joined solidly so that I can't see how the vibration path should change so much. I can see how many other neck related things could effect the pure tone played at lower volume though a clean amp with no competing sounds: scale length certainly, the type and mass of the wood used, even the size of the frets more than I could see how they are joined.

I have guitars with both neck attachments. I enjoy them because they sound, look and feel different. When I'm looking to grab a guitar because the one I'm playing doesn't fit the track, I'm usually thinking pickups, hollow-body or not, or scale length more than neck attachment.

Of course I don't have the best ears, and even if I did, it wouldn't mean that your experience might not differ.
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Old 09-30-2018, 11:40 AM
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I own all three and I'll tell you what I really think:


There are a couple of basic electric guitar philosophies out there and they feature so many differences in construction that it is hard to nail sounds down to one characteristic. The two: classic Fender and classic Gibson.


1. Classic Fender: The new kid on the block. The Ford of the guitar world. The epitome of assembly line construction. Maple necks built on one assembly line, lightweight bodies built on another assembly line, electronics built into pickguards on a third assembly line. Single coil pickups are the signature and give the signature snap and bite that offers a whole octave of overtones more than the Gibsons. The neck was designed for easy assembly and replacement. Leo was the iconoclast who built zorchy guitars that looked like they were from Mars but took the West Coast by storm.

2. Classic Gibson: Gibson has a longer history in guitar making and has self-consciously pursued a classier image. From the start, Gibson guitars were marketed to appear upscale and classic. As a result they stuck with their dovetail neck construction that demands that the neck and body be joined fairly early in the assembly process and remain together unless major surgery is done. Rather than covering the body with a plastic pickguard they built the electronics into the guitar where they are more heavily influenced by body vibration. By the late-middle of the '50s they featured humbucking pickups that traded off an octave of overtones for drastically quieter operation. Between the choices and combinations of woods, pickups, and building techniques, classic Gibsons tend to compress the front end bloom of the note and give longer sustain.


And there are the problems with isolating neck joint as a singular factor: there are whole clusters of factors that all play into the sound of instruments that tend to move as groups. Neck joint, pickup type and mounting, tailpiece type, etc. You may see a pickup type change but several other characteristics are often maintained.


Bob
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Old 09-30-2018, 12:41 PM
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great post bob, i think you nailed it.

however, ZORCHY?? i had to look it up. street slang from the 50s meaning neat. learn something new every day.

jaden: make sure you get one of each.

play music!
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Old 09-30-2018, 04:36 PM
Jaden Jaden is offline
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Great post Bob, that whole octave of overtones you mention with regard to the Fender single coil puts it over the top for me. Keeping in mind Frank’s discussion of low volume straight into the amp clean and s2y’s succinct post with reference to possible problematic dark tone going the other way, having both a tele and strat at home with a acoustic guitar on the side covers all the bases for my purposes and then some. I’ll leave the set neck instruments to the pros.

Last edited by Jaden; 09-30-2018 at 07:06 PM.
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Old 09-30-2018, 05:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaden View Post
Great post Bob, that whole octave of overtones you mention with regard to the Fender single coil puts it over the top for me. Keeping in mind Frank’s discussion of low volume straight into the amp clean with full scale fretboard and s2y’s succinct post with reference to possible problematic dark tone going the other way, having both a tele and strat at home with an acoustic guitar on the side covers all the basses for my purposes and then some. I’ll leave the set neck instruments to the pros.
Same, although I do own a semi with hum buckers so I can "scratch that itch" from time to time.

I'm also convinced that all things being equal like wood, there's next to no difference in tone between a bolted in or glued in neck joint.
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Old 10-01-2018, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by cuthbert View Post
This is my Yamaha SG2000, a guitar designed for Santana with the goal of increasing the sustain...it's a neck through and has a brass plate under the bridge.
Always wanted one of these. I sort of look at it as the ultimate evolution of the dual-humbucker Les Paul.
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Old 10-01-2018, 06:04 PM
cuthbert cuthbert is offline
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Always wanted one of these. I sort of look at it as the ultimate evolution of the dual-humbucker Les Paul.
It's a great guitar, but it's not the ultimate evolution.

This is:



It's the D45 of electric guitars.
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Old 10-01-2018, 06:29 PM
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I can't see why a bolt on done well will not sustain less than a set design. I remembered this as a video, guess I was wrong.

https://www.cycfi.com/2013/11/sustain-myth-science/
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Old 10-03-2018, 03:47 PM
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Making the neck easily removable is really the only difference, which is an advantage of course.

Neck-through designs typically do not have a neck heel. So if you are into guitar shred and play notes up in the stratosphere all the time, a nec-through would probably be the most comfortable of all.

When it comes to “tonal” differences....totally subjectice issue.
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Old 10-03-2018, 06:30 PM
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i really dont even care about the pro and cons of either, ill take a bolt on neck- period, i like the fact its highly adjustable and replaceable
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