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Old 12-08-2013, 10:42 AM   #1
britishlaw
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set-in neck versus bolt-on neck

What are advantages/disadvantages of each?

thank you
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Old 12-08-2013, 10:47 AM   #2
monwobobbo
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bolt on comes off and can be replaced if needed that is the only real big difference. if properly done there isn't really any big advantages sound wise. set necks often allow greater access to the higher frets.
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Old 12-08-2013, 11:12 AM   #3
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My preference is actually neck-through. Done well, these usually have the best upper fret access, a smooth transition into the body of the guitar, and no excuses for lacking sustain.

After that, I like set necks -- they've traditionally been on the higher-end guitars. There are no issues with shims or bolts, and I've never needed to replace a neck on any guitar for any reason (knock on wood). Set necks *can* be removed and reset if necessary, but it's a process akin to re-building the guitar. Sustain depends on how well the construction was done and how dense the body is.

And at the bottom of my personal list are bolt necks. These are difficult to produce with a smooth neck-body join; those bolts have to go somewhere. Sustain depends, again, on the quality of the construction and the density of the body, not on the style of neck join itself. Leo built guitars this way because it was cheaper (fancy high-priced bolt necks notwithstanding).
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Old 12-08-2013, 11:39 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dspellman
My preference is actually neck-through. Done well, these usually have the best upper fret access, a smooth transition into the body of the guitar, and no excuses for lacking sustain.

After that, I like set necks -- they've traditionally been on the higher-end guitars. There are no issues with shims or bolts, and I've never needed to replace a neck on any guitar for any reason (knock on wood). Set necks *can* be removed and reset if necessary, but it's a process akin to re-building the guitar. Sustain depends on how well the construction was done and how dense the body is.

And at the bottom of my personal list are bolt necks. These are difficult to produce with a smooth neck-body join; those bolts have to go somewhere. Sustain depends, again, on the quality of the construction and the density of the body, not on the style of neck join itself. Leo built guitars this way because it was cheaper (fancy high-priced bolt necks notwithstanding).


I own all 3 styles. bottom line is always how well done any of them are. a neck thru can use a dead piece of wood and not sustain all that well. a set neck can not line up perfectly and have issues and a bad bolt on can really suck. it's been proven that none is tonally better provided a good job is done on the guitar in ?. set necks are becoming more prevalent on cheaper guitars (agile etc) so you may encounter more issues same with neck thru but not many cheapies with that style yet.
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Old 12-08-2013, 11:48 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monwobobbo
bottom line is always how well done any of them are..

that.
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Old 12-08-2013, 11:56 AM   #6
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I was a firm believer that bolt necks sounded horrible and transferred zero tone throughout the guitar. This came from a combination of what I had read and also because my best guitar was a MIM Fender Strat. (Defend MIM Strats all you want but believe me, this one was a hunk of junk. I just didn't know any better.) Then I bought a used 1993 Gibson LP Studio(set neck). This played worlds above the Strat. This was my only comparison.
I now have a Fender American Deluxe Tele and Bolt On neck or not, this guitar is amazing. I have sustain and tone and the S-1 switching gives me lots of options.

The bottom line............ Quality.
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Old 12-08-2013, 12:14 PM   #7
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i would say that i generally find many bolts ons to have a snappier tone. this is most likely due to the fact the standard construction is of the strat style, alder and maple - very bright woods that POP more.

being able to replace or even upgrade the neck is a huge advantage. you cna go in warmoth and transform your guitar completely. also if it breaks. this is huge i would think, especially for a career musician on the road.

but yes, i also find set necks to allow better upper fret access aside from some very cool designs with bolt ons like ibanez S series, parker flys, etc. modern 4,5 bolt low profile joints.

however, generally those negate the replaceable type thing, as you would probably have to custom order a new neck form the maker, warmoth cant help you there.

...and lets get real here. we are gear crazy. if sonething like that broke....many of us would say "screw it! timeto go shopping for my next GAS guitar!". i would. thats how i feel about pedals. i never ensure my pedals. a broken pedal is an excuse to try a new brand!!!


my guitar has a set neck because the style of guitar i want only comes in set necks. also, i do not believe a strat type bolt on would make me happy with upper fret access. i dont go up there often, but i built my guitar with the mindset of "ultimate comfort / playability platform". i wanted a model that did not hold me back for any reason. not one thing that makes me go "hmmm. thats annoying. wish i could change it."

my carvin does that almost perfectly. i am REALLY picky. there are still 3-5 things i wish i could change. but aside from going 100% custom luthier, is about as good as it gets.

long story short, i prefer set necks for my style, looks, and upper access.

if i got a bolt on, it would because i wanted a strat style, or i bought an ibanez S series or a music man, which i also want
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Old 12-08-2013, 03:17 PM   #8
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Bolt on necks are replaceable. There isn't much of a sound difference other than the set neck would have a bit more sustain.
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Old 12-08-2013, 04:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dude475
There isn't much of a sound difference other than the set neck would have a bit more sustain.

Nope, not a set in stone fact at all.
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Old 12-08-2013, 11:20 PM   #10
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The bolt/set/neck-through debate has been going on for decades. Here are a few of the confounding variables in comparing them. Set neck guitars tend to be made primarily of mahogany (Les Pauls/PRS/Hamer,etc. - bolt guitars are more often made of alder, ash, and maple. Set neck guitars are often heavier than bolts (Les Paul vs. strat). Set neck guitars often use a TOM type bridge, a lot of bolts have trems. More set neck guitars are short scale; more bolts are long scale. A lot of set neck guitars are hollow or semi-hollow bodies. Most bolts are solid. Set neck guitars often have 3x3 angled headstocks vs. 6-in line. More set necks use humbuckers than single coils.... Of course these are all gross generalities, but I think they hold pretty true.

So do these things make a difference in tone and sustain? Some probably do, some don't, some, it depends... The point here is that it is pretty hard to compare two guitars and say one has more or less sustain or tone because it is a set neck or bolt, because there are usually a lot of other differences between the two guitars as well. Apples/oranges.

I prefer set necks primarily for aesthetic reasons. To me they look more finished and elegant, but two of my favorite guitars are bolts.
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