#1
So far this is all I know about these 2

Bolt on:
Easier to repair
Easiest to make

Neckthrough:
Harder to make
Even harder to repair, and more expensive to repair
More likely to have more sustain
Looks cooler


Do they sound any different though? I heard rumors that the neck through sounds brighter, but I also heard this is a bunch of malarkey.
Last edited by zomgguitarz1234 at Jun 2, 2010,
#4
Set-neck, bolt ons, and neck throughs all have enough sustain when done right. Quality of the build is what determines the quality of the sustain, not so much with the type of construction. Different constructions have different feels and tonality, and that's where the only important difference between them are (besides repair and whatnot)
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#5
you can build a cheap bolt on cheaper then you can build a cheap set neck or neck through.
That's about it.
High end guitars use both. It comes down to preference.
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#6
Through necks can often make it easier to reach the higher frets as there is no heel, but then a set neck would be the same, just the bolt on that has a bit of a heel for the bolts.
#7
Quote by The Dr!
Through necks can often make it easier to reach the higher frets as there is no heel, but then a set neck would be the same, just the bolt on that has a bit of a heel for the bolts.


Depends on the bolt on.....I present my Pacifica 921 with virtually no heel..



how the neck is attached resulting in no heel:

#8
Quote by webwarmiller
Depends on the bolt on.....I present my Pacifica 921 with virtually no heel..



how the neck is attached resulting in no heel:



Oh nice dude.
#9
If the bolt-on is an AANJ, it'll have the same access as a set net or neck-through. The biggest factor in hindering your playing will be the lower horn. But there are tonal differences. Glue will affect how certain frequencies are transfered from the neck to the body. That generally means that you'll lose some brightness. Neck-throughs have the most glue, but they're traditionally made of maple so it retains a lot of brightness. The body wood of a set-neck will affect the tone more than a neck-through. A mahogany set-neck body will sound darker than a neck-though version of the same guitar. The bolt-on transfers the most frequencies. I find it to be somewhere in the middle of a set-neck and neck-through in terms of brightness. It also should be noted that price range does affect these. Most cheaper bolt-on necks aren't that great. Set-necks and neck-throughs tend to be better in the lower price-ranges. It really depends on the company and actual guitar.
#10
Quote by JELIFISH19
If the bolt-on is an AANJ, it'll have the same access as a set net or neck-through.


You'll have a touch less than a set-neck or neck-thru, depending. I just looked at the back of the new Schecter Damien Elites, and they're similar to this AANJ (the super strat shape has more fret access than the LP shape), but they don't quite match the fret access of a set neck or neck-thru.

Much better than the average square plate bolt-on neck access, though and at least the Schecter Damien Elites have no space between the neck and neck humbucker.
#11
Neck throughs will usually sound better, because necks are usually made out of maple. The way it sounds depends on the woods used. A through neck's sound will depend much more on the neck's wood than a bolt on will.

There is also a matter of comfort. On one hand neck through's are generally much easier to play and have much better upper fret access. On the other hand, a very large percent of all neck throughs have painted necks, so take that into account as well.
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#12
The bit about neck-thru's being brighter is semi-true. Neck through construction allows the neck wood to be more of a factor in the overall tone the guitar. Most neck through guitars have maple necks which produce a bright sound but if one was to use mahogany for the neck it would result in a warmer sound.
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#13
I personally find MOST neckthroughs easier to play than bolt ons... The exceptions are guitars like Webwarmiller's Pacifica
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#14
Bolt-ons get most of their tone from the neck and fretboard wood; set necks get most of their tone from the body wood; neck-throughs get almost all of their tone from the neck wood (excluding the fretboard).

The whole thing about neck-through sustaining better or being brighter comes down to one simple factor: most neck-throughs are made with rock maple as the neck/body core, and rock maple is one of the best sustaining and one of the brightest-toned woods out there. The neck-through construction actually works against sustain and bright tone because the body wings are just glued right on and that's not exactly a clean, secure joint - there's a lot of glue for the vibrations to get through.


If a neck-through guitar is made with the very highest quality wood at its core, preferably rock maple, northern hard ash, high-grade mahogany, walnut or ebony, it will sustain better than almost anything. However, finding such high quality wood in a piece big enough to runt he length of the guitar is rare. A bolt-on guitar can take its wood form two different pieces, giving a better chance of getting the highest quality wood. The bolt-on join is also much cleaner, so when made right there is more direct wood-to-wood contact.


Long story short: neck-through is good if the quality is high, but the second you start to skimp it goes right down the shitter. Bolt-ons have a problem of their neck pockets often being made poorly on cheaper guitars, but get the neck pocket right and make the body and neck from the best quality woods possible and it will sustain better and have a much purer tone than any neck-through. Set-nesk sit somewhere in the middle, easier to get right than either a bolt-on or neck-through but their potential is more limited too.
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#15
In my experience, bolt-on guitars have a stronger attack and a punchier tone than set neck guitars. All but one of the guitars that I've tried have fit these "stereotypes".

However, this may also be due to the wood used. Bolt-on instruments often take design cues from fender and are made of Alder, Ash or Basswood. Set-neck instruments often, but not always, feature mahogany bodies and sometimes mahogany necks.

I'm not sure if the wood affects the tone more than the construction. I've found it hard to comapre directly.
There are very few mahogany guitars with bolt-on necks. I've tried neck-through guitars with alder bodies (although not many) and they didn't have quite the attack of a bolt-on.

That's just my experience, though.
#16
I'd have to agree with the last couple of posters that the biggest difference between the three is mainly tonal differences over sustain. Each changes the sound of the guitar in a different way. LEs Paul believed (& of course this is debateable and subjective) that set necks coloured the sound less than bolt on necks do. I certainly don't know because every bolt on I ever owned , including my MIA 93 Fender Strat (Plus) have longer scale than my LPs so that also colours the sound too.
One thing I am sure of is I like the feel of a angled set neck neck vs straight set bolt on neck. There's something about the room between the strings and the guitar top where you pick/strum that feels better to me!
Moving on.....
#17
Quote by KenG
LEs Paul believed (& of course this is debateable and subjective) that set necks coloured the sound less than bolt on necks do. I certainly don't know because every bolt on I ever owned , including my MIA 93 Fender Strat (Plus) have longer scale than my LPs so that also colours the sound too.

How would you define "colours the sound"?
Every aspect of the guitars construction affects its tone in some way or another. There is no "neutral" tone that other tones can be compared to. They can only be compared relative to one another.
#18
Quote by sashki
How would you define "colours the sound"?
Every aspect of the guitars construction affects its tone in some way or another. There is no "neutral" tone that other tones can be compared to. They can only be compared relative to one another.


I'm quoting Les Paul's comments directly here! So it's not my definition you need to ask about but his. Unfortunatley he's not here anymore but if you read some interviews from the man the impression I gleened from his statement was "least amount of colouration". EDIT Of course in his day I believe neck thru guitars weren't even around so this opinion would be based on Bolt on vs Set neck I think)
Seriously the internet is a wonderful (but questionable) source of information but people need to go back to reading from other sources as well. While I certainly don't think Les Paul's theories are beyond question, you are talking about someone here who influenced modern recording beyond most other guitar players and was a significant performer in his day.
Too many people these days are anxious to quote some nobody from the internet with no pedegree simpy based on the fact that they could effectively post their opinions on the web.
Something to think about I guess.
Moving on.....
Last edited by KenG at Jun 2, 2010,
#19
Quote by KenG
you are talking about someone here who influenced modern recording beyond most other guitar players and was a significant performer in his day.
Uh, he influenced modern recording more than any other person in the last hundred years, let alone "most other guitar players". If it wasn't for him we wouldn't have multi-track recording or sound-on-sound. He was also an important, influential and just plain great guitarist right up until his death too (though I do think him beating Joe Perry for the '06 Grammy award for Best Instrumental was kind of bullshit, his track blew. Sorry Les, but it did).
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#20
i think when it comes down to it, there are so many factors in a guitar tone (if you listed every one i bet it could fill up a full page single spaced) that classifying such things are inaccurate.

to walk into a guitar store and say "oh, cant have the neck through, too bright, cause thats how they are made" is dumb.

with so many factors, your cables, picks, amp, wiring, acoustics in the room for god sakes, strings your crappy playing.....every guitar will sound slightly different in somebody elses setup and hands.

i thin its safe to conclude its more down to the individual guitar and the overall feel of the instrument. if a player picks up a strat, and the heel is unstatisfactory, he will go to a neck through (or a heel-less design). if a les paul tone is the goal, well heck les paul have pretty darn bad upper fret access. just about the worst i can think of.

....but still one of the most played guitars.
#21
Quote by MrFlibble
Uh, he influenced modern recording more than any other person in the last hundred years, let alone "most other guitar players". If it wasn't for him we wouldn't have multi-track recording or sound-on-sound. He was also an important, influential and just plain great guitarist right up until his death too (though I do think him beating Joe Perry for the '06 Grammy award for Best Instrumental was kind of bullshit, his track blew. Sorry Les, but it did).


You said it better! Some people are blissfully unaware of his contributions period and I shouldn't have limited his acheivements against all others as just a "guitarist"!

Cheers.


EDIT: And oh yah, Joe Perry is cool and a great player! Always has been, always will be. I grew up on Toys in the Attic and Rocks.during the 70's!
Moving on.....
Last edited by KenG at Jun 2, 2010,