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Goremasher
Metal newbie

Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 8:42 am
Posts: 167
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 10:44 pm 
 

Well I'm not rich but I want new guitars. Set and neck throughs are supposed to be so much better. But I can't pay over a grand for a guitar just because it has a set neck supposed to a bolt on. So should I go bolt on, or no new stuff.

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Immortalhero
Metal newbie

Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2010 3:51 pm
Posts: 44
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:45 am 
 

This is a pretty subjective area of guitar preference. A lot of people hate on bolt ons because they're the cheapest to make and aren't as cool looking. To me, though, bolt ons have the hardest "bite" to their tone. Set necks are kind of in-between bolt on and neck thru. I would say it has less bite than a bolt on but more body and shape to it. I probably did a terrible job describing this but I hope it helps.

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doktersatan
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2010 12:42 pm
Posts: 228
Location: Amsterdam
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 5:21 am 
 

nah I think you're pretty accurate, Hero.

also it's much easier (and cheaper?) to get a replacement neck if bolt-on.

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the_empyreal_lexicon
Captured in Eternity's Eye

Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2005 5:54 pm
Posts: 231
Location: United Kingdom
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:28 am 
 

I have a neck thru BC Rich nj assassin it is a korian handmade one from 99. I think it cost about 700£. I think the neck through gives it more sustain and i like having a painted neck feels nicer on the hand.
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Chainsaw Omega
Metal newbie

Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2011 1:43 pm
Posts: 108
Location: United States
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 7:04 pm 
 

Well, here's a rundown from my experience of owning all 3 kinds, and multiples of all 3 at that.

With a bolt-on, you will have less sustain than either a set-neck or a neck-through. It will make your tone a bit more biting because there are a lot of spots where resonance is terminated.

A set-neck offers a few things that neither guitar do. A set neck has great sustain, with the added benefit of the option of using a different piece of wood for the neck than the body. Say your have a mahogany neck on a maple body. The maple will give you a sharp tone, since it is a dense wood, but you will get the sustain from the mahogany and the fact that it is set-neck.

Neck-through is something I see as a specialty thing. neck-through guitars are generally a long plan of wood for the neck and center of the guitar, and then 2 fins are glued onto it to complete the body. The reason I say it is a specialty thing is that wood matters much more here since the bulk of your sounding board is 1 wood, and in most cases, so are the fins.

In all cases, I have found set-neck and neck-through guitars to be vastly superior to bolt-ons. The biggest reason for this is not tone, but balance. Most bolt-on guitars use a hard wood such as maple for their necks, and a more porous wood, such as basswood for the body. Basswood is great for low-end sounds, but it is very light. The result is a guitar that is very neck-heavy. They have a tendency to not balance properly when standing, and in some cases, even sitting. Playing live with them is a chore, and if the instrument can't stay where you want it to, then it doesnt matter how it sounds.

Set neck and neck-through guitars are becomign much for cost-effective these days. BC Rich, Schecter, and ESP-LTD all make pretty solid neck-through guitars for a good price. I can't really stress the balance issues enough. I had a bottom end Jackson Kelly and my friend has an old Platinum edition BC Rich Ironbird, and both guitars are nearly unplayable due to their balance issues.

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infinitenexus
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2008 2:35 am
Posts: 1939
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:54 pm 
 

Realistically speaking, if you took three guitars that were the exact same except for the neck joint construction, none of us would be able to hear a difference. Steve Vai and Joe Satriani both play bolt on guitars, and they don't seem to have any lack of sustain. Conversely speaking, Pat o'Brian's guitar tone has plenty of bite.

That being said, if you play a lot of solos, it is more pleasant to solo on a set neck/neck through guitar. Personally, I don't like the heel being there in my way. I have been playing for nearly twenty years now, and I've had close to two dozen guitars (of all neck constructions) and that's my only real complaint about bolt-on necks, the heel is annoying (sometimes).

I build my own guitars now, and I build all mine as neck-through. I like the way it looks and feels. I built one with a bolt on neck and noticed no difference in tone or sustain. It sustains for days, has a great warm tone, and holds it's tuning rock-solidly. Chainsaw omega touched on a good point though, many bolt on guitars will have cheap bodies made of basswood. Many set neck and especially neck through guitars will be made from superior materials.

If you handle your guitars roughly though, a bolt on can be a life saver. You can't replace the neck on a neck-through guitar. Set neck, sometimes.
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infinitenexus
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2008 2:35 am
Posts: 1939
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 2:04 am 
 

And just to add one more thing (because I'm not done posting until I've typed out a novel!) -

The best sounding guitar I have is one that I built. Neck through body construction, 25" scale, 3 piece neck, mahogany body with a bubinga top, purpleheart stringers, seymour duncan JB in the bridge position. THe second best sounding guitar I have is an old Ibanez DT250 from 1984. Basswood body, bolt on neck, and it sounds fucking fantastic. So in the end, go play a bunch of guitars and see which ones you like most. See which ones inspire you to play. I had a gibson SG once. Beautiful guitar, but it just wasn't me, I never really played it. Get one that makes you want to play - regardless of neck construction.
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AlbertHickman
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:31 am
Posts: 1
Location: Olympia
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:49 am 
 

Thanks a lot infinitenexus, for your advice, even I am planning to get guitar, so your tips will definitely help me a lot!!
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kingnuuuur
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2008 3:35 pm
Posts: 2143
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 6:27 am 
 

It all comes down to quality of construction; a good bolt-on will be miles better than a shitty set-in and neck-thru.

But generally speaking, neck-thru, set-thru, and bolt-in are regarded as the top dogs of neck joints, used almost exclusively on high-end guitars.

infinitenexus wrote:
I build my own guitars now, and I build all mine as neck-through.

Man, I've always wanted to build my own stuff. How many guitars have you built? What equipment do you use? How much time did it take you for each one? How costly is it?

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infinitenexus
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2008 2:35 am
Posts: 1939
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 8:37 am 
 

I've built about a dozen. I'm in the military, and most military bases (larger ones, at least) have decently outfitted woodshops, so that helps big. Mostly I use a table saw, bandsaw, router, drill press, and a thickness sander. It can be cheap or costly, depending on how you make your guitars. My two main guitars cost me roughly $500 each in parts and wood, and I've built another one that was around $100. You can see my main flying vee on my band blog page. I have two guitars in my head that I want to build in the future, then I'll probably stop, as I simply have too many guitars, hahaha.
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Gelseth_Andrano
Veteran

Joined: Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:22 pm
Posts: 2692
Location: Dekalb, Illinois
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 4:44 am 
 

infinitenexus wrote:
I've built about a dozen. I'm in the military, and most military bases (larger ones, at least) have decently outfitted woodshops, so that helps big. Mostly I use a table saw, bandsaw, router, drill press, and a thickness sander. It can be cheap or costly, depending on how you make your guitars. My two main guitars cost me roughly $500 each in parts and wood, and I've built another one that was around $100. You can see my main flying vee on my band blog page. I have two guitars in my head that I want to build in the future, then I'll probably stop, as I simply have too many guitars, hahaha.


A good custom guitar can sell for a hell of a lot of cash. The nicest guitar I ever played was made from scratch at some guitar expo and cost like $6000 or something ridiculous like that. Are you making your own necks as well?
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infinitenexus
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2008 2:35 am
Posts: 1939
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:35 am 
 

Yeah, I build my own necks. That's actually the only part of building a guitar I don't like, building the neck (and fretting, too).
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Gelseth_Andrano
Veteran

Joined: Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:22 pm
Posts: 2692
Location: Dekalb, Illinois
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:25 am 
 

Well yeah, I could imagine. Not much wiggle-room on measurements of fret placement.
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elf48687789
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2009 2:03 pm
Posts: 1634
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:50 am 
 

Chainsaw Omega wrote:
In all cases, I have found set-neck and neck-through guitars to be vastly superior to bolt-ons. The biggest reason for this is not tone, but balance. Most bolt-on guitars use a hard wood such as maple for their necks, and a more porous wood, such as basswood for the body. Basswood is great for low-end sounds, but it is very light. The result is a guitar that is very neck-heavy. They have a tendency to not balance properly when standing, and in some cases, even sitting. Playing live with them is a chore, and if the instrument can't stay where you want it to, then it doesnt matter how it sounds.

Yes, you are right, but basswood is more common in cheaper guitars, not that you can't get any cheap guitars made out of heavier wood, although even some mid/higher priced Ibanez guitars are made out of basswood.

Also, especially in some of the "weird" shapes, even if the wood is heavy enough, one or both of the strap buttons is put in a place which makes the guitar neck heavy.

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