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Why a bolt-on neck? Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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Why a bolt-on neck?

This is kind of a general question as to why a bolt-on might be preferable to a through neck or a set neck, but more specifically for this guitar:

https://www.ibanez.com/usa/products/...652ahm_02.html

it's billed as a shredders guitar, and it's pretty pricey at over £1300.

I would have thought that a bolt on would reduce sustain and upper fret access - would seem like a sub-optimal feature on a no-expense-spared shredder.

But Ibanez know a thing or two about these types of guitars, so I assume I'm missing something...
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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Well, their top shredder, the Jem, is a bolt-on as well. Vai designed it that way.

Most shredders are based on the Fender Strat design; they're "SuperStrats". One of the Strat's identifiable features is the bolt-on neck, and that seems to carry on through. Although there were others, I think the idea of a Super Strat for shredders came from Van Halen's mongrel, and kind of followed that asthetic as people built their own, and then companies finally caught on and began issuing their versions.

Some SuperStrats (like my Hamer Chaparral) aren't bolt-on, they're glued-in or neck-through. Tonally speaking, the difference is vanishingly small; so many components go into the tonal recipe that it's hard to isolate just one. I personally haven't cared much for any neck-thru instrument I've played, except one: the Gibson Firebird. But it is its own beast, in a lot of ways.
Old 1 week ago
  #3
In early 1960's fender catalogs they mentioned "accident? Replace the neck, not the entire guitar".
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grannis View Post
This is kind of a general question as to why a bolt-on might be preferable to a through neck or a set neck, but more specifically for this guitar:

https://www.ibanez.com/usa/products/...652ahm_02.html

it's billed as a shredders guitar, and it's pretty pricey at over £1300.

I would have thought that a bolt on would reduce sustain and upper fret access - would seem like a sub-optimal feature on a no-expense-spared shredder.

But Ibanez know a thing or two about these types of guitars, so I assume I'm missing something...
Isn't "shredding" pretty much the sonic antithesis of sustain ?
Bolt on is rumored to have more spank, so perhaps more useful in shredding than sustain ?
Old 6 days ago
  #5
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With an (ultimate) shredder guitar, you don't want a Les Paul-like tone when you strum acoustically. A sensitive fretboard (for tapping, picking very fast with a light touch...) is relatively loud and even eq response (not sweet but not acoustic guitar-like either) when strummed. The term "attack" is used often to describe this balance (can be used for pickups too).

The stronger the bond with the neck and body (glue, set-neck), the more they share vibration. The tone gets sweeter as the highs are lessened and volume drops a bit. It may sound nicer traditionally but response to hands change.

After these requirements are met, then it comes to quality for more sustain. Notice they don't come with super-hot humbuckers but in reality most of the sustain you hear benefits from a lot of amp gain or a boost pedal of some-sort. Despite the floyd type bridge (which is a sustain killer) they do sustain well enough, just don't expect something typical to a heavy guitar.

But if one still wants a relatively sweeter sound than typical ibanez, mahogany is used on higher-end Jackson/Ibanez guitars. I own an old RG3120 which has a thick maple-cap, its sort of my optimal balance as I love shred but enjoy low-gain tones too. Definitely not a Les Paul alternative, but not embarrassed when compared either.
Old 6 days ago
  #6
A bolt on is easier and cheaper to manufacture but also offers more options for fine tuning your action to your string set, playing style, and tuning.
Old 6 days ago
  #7
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Bolt - ons are better for shipping and travel as well. I regularly ask that sellers to remove the neck when shipping a guitar to me when possible. I've flown coast to coast with a strat in a carry on - well back in the 90's anyways.

And they're user changable --rather have 12" radius instead of a 7.25 ? go for it.
Old 6 days ago
  #8
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Mikhael's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cooker View Post
With an (ultimate) shredder guitar, you don't want a Les Paul-like tone when you strum acoustically. A sensitive fretboard (for tapping, picking very fast with a light touch...) is relatively loud and even eq response (not sweet but not acoustic guitar-like either) when strummed. The term "attack" is used often to describe this balance (can be used for pickups too).

The stronger the bond with the neck and body (glue, set-neck), the more they share vibration. The tone gets sweeter as the highs are lessened and volume drops a bit. It may sound nicer traditionally but response to hands change.

After these requirements are met, then it comes to quality for more sustain. Notice they don't come with super-hot humbuckers but in reality most of the sustain you hear benefits from a lot of amp gain or a boost pedal of some-sort. Despite the floyd type bridge (which is a sustain killer) they do sustain well enough, just don't expect something typical to a heavy guitar.

But if one still wants a relatively sweeter sound than typical ibanez, mahogany is used on higher-end Jackson/Ibanez guitars. I own an old RG3120 which has a thick maple-cap, its sort of my optimal balance as I love shred but enjoy low-gain tones too. Definitely not a Les Paul alternative, but not embarrassed when compared either.
You have a lot of what I feel are misconceptions in this post. Glued-in neck joints are not always stronger than the bolt-on; this varies from guitar to guitar, though. The bolt-on can be problematic, but relatively easy to fix (certainly easier than a glued-in one!). Depending on the wood, neck-thru guitars have a lot of sustain, but can sound thin; they don't filter the highs out. And a Floyd Rose maintains greater contact than a standard non-locking vibrato, when set up correctly. Thus it will allow greater amounts of high frequency information to pass, and sustains well. This is why many think they're "thin" sounding, though the truth is they have more treble (IF set up right).

Anyway, these are my deductions based on building/modifying/setting up a bunch of guitars over the years.
Old 6 days ago
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikhael View Post
...
Since you're experienced with building guitars, try a standard bolt-on first (recording would be better) then narrow the neck pocket area for a tighter fit to the neck and you'll notice the change on the highs (among other things like sustain). Thats what I mention when commented "stronger bond". Kind of like in this video;



A free-floating floyd system will resonate itself (just hit a chord and touch the bridge to feel it) counter to the string which is a bad thing for sustain. That said, dive-only or locked Floyds (how I like them) doesn't have such problem.

But ofcourse every combination of material will bring variety to the result of a guitar sound, thats why its not easy for me to generalize so simply.
Old 6 days ago
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cooker View Post
Since you're experienced with building guitars, try a standard bolt-on first (recording would be better) then narrow the neck pocket area for a tighter fit to the neck and you'll notice the change on the highs (among other things like sustain). Thats what I mention when commented "stronger bond". Kind of like in this video;



A free-floating floyd system will resonate itself (just hit a chord and touch the bridge to feel it) counter to the string which is a bad thing for sustain. That said, dive-only or locked Floyds (how I like them) doesn't have such problem.

But ofcourse every combination of material will bring variety to the result of a guitar sound, thats why its not easy for me to generalize so simply.
I agree totally with the last statement; it's VERY hard to judge the individual effects of hardware/wood/etc., as it's all one system when assembled.

I understand a floating Floyd will resonate, but so will any other floating vibrato (which was the basis of my comparison). And the Floyd, by virtue of the locks, has a greater amount of vibration transfer (and thus, less suckage) than most floating vibrato systems. Oddly enough, one of the best I've used in that aspect was the Washburn WonderBar, although the action was stiff as a board...

The neck pocket I'm not so sure about. In some cases, tightening the bolt-on pocket (shimming the sides) has changed resonance, but in others, it has made no difference (probably because the bolt joint was as snug as possible to begin with). That's another of those difficult to measure things. Other stuff (wood type of neck and/or body, body shape and composition, flatness of the neck pocket floor and neck tenon, etc.) may come into play, making it more complex than it first appears.

There's some science to support construction techniques of a solid-body guitar, but it seems there's an awful lot of "art" to it as well. And every luthier has their own beliefs they go by (and rightfully so, until proven otherwise).
Old 5 days ago
  #11
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VirusAndSpamBin's Avatar
 

Sloppy hands.
Old 5 days ago
  #12
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As many have said above the 'advantage' of the sound theoretically of a bolt on neck is quicker attack especially in the high end giving you a snappier response which is probbaly a good thing for shredding, a jazz guitar porbably not but a shredder is meant to be brighter and have more clarity than a les paul, most of the superstrats were originally all bolt on.
Old 5 days ago
  #13
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I happen to rather LIKE my bolt-on neck!
.
Old 5 days ago
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimijaymes View Post
...
Yeah, and the electric parts filters out the very highs (fretbuzz highs).

As my guitar got older, I swapped pots/jack input/wires with quality parts and while it did sound nicer on lower-gain tones the added highs became something to be dealt with cause of the slight increase.

Simple stuff like change of pick, strings, tone pot lowered from boost pedal etc. was enough to handle that but if it got more highs than what it is I'd probably have to change pots or PU's. Too bad you can't just get everything from the same guitar
Old 5 days ago
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grannis View Post
why a bolt-on might be preferable
bolt-on is never preferable. It was merely a design by builders like Leo Fender to make guitars modular and easy to build as well as to make them easily reparable. For instance a Fret Job is 2x as much as a new neck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by grannis View Post
shredders guitar, and it's pretty pricey at over £1300.
guitar players will play anything their guitar heroes play, you can't blame Ibanez for price gouging in that regard.
Old 5 days ago
  #16
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audioforce's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrischoir View Post
bolt-on is never preferable.
What if someone wants that bolt-on neck sound?

[Here we go now]. : )

This reminds me to start a thread about my glorious, long lost Stratocaster.


Stratospherically,


audioforce
Old 5 days ago
  #17
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grannis's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrischoir View Post
bolt-on is never preferable.
that was my opinion - or at least, it can be preferable if it turns into a cost benefit for the buyer. I've heard some interesting counter-arguments in this thread but nothing that would make me buy one for £1300

That's not to say there aren't some great bolt-on guitars, but a bolt-on is not a good reason for paying more.
Old 5 days ago
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grannis View Post
...
Or is this about a shredder guitar being that price instead of bolt-on guitars in general?

Edit; Stumbled on this video, might be a good example. Set-neck Tele


Last edited by cooker; 5 days ago at 02:51 PM..
Old 5 days ago
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by cooker View Post
Or is this about a shredder guitar being that price instead of bolt-on guitars in general?

Edit; Stumbled on this video, might be a good example. Set-neck Tele

I have a set-neck Telecaster here. It's the Jim Adkin's arteest model.

It's Gibson red, a pair of P-90's, Gibson bridge and tailpiece and a Gibson neck angle. 4 knobs and a toggle, like a Les Paul Special. The neck is mahogany and the hollow body is figured ash.

Yes, it's awesome.
Old 5 days ago
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
...
I'm sure it nice but does it sound not like a Tele at all like the one in the video?
Old 5 days ago
  #21
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Mikhael's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrischoir View Post
bolt-on is never preferable. It was merely a design by builders like Leo Fender to make guitars modular and easy to build as well as to make them easily reparable. For instance a Fret Job is 2x as much as a new neck.


guitar players will play anything their guitar heroes play, you can't blame Ibanez for price gouging in that regard.
[1] Never preferable? How about all the famous guitarists who play Strats and Teles (not to mention Suhr, Ibanez, etc.), when they could afford something much more expensive? It works for them. Period. Many actually came from a Gibson or some such, to the bolt-on world.

[2] Ibanez makes some fine instruments. Even the goofy looking ones, like Vai's Jem, play incredibly well with a nice variety of sounds.

Those two are way too broad of a statement to hold water, sorry.
Old 4 days ago
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikhael View Post
[1] Never preferable? How about all the famous guitarists who play Strats and Teles,
Think about it this way, back in the 50s and 60s at the dawn of Rock and Roll and Pop music there were 4 brands: Gretsch, Rickenbacker, Gibson and Fender. Gretsch and Rickenbacker models were 90% hollow or semi hollow. So for solid body you had to choose between Gibson and Fender. Gibsons were high quality and very expensive. a 58 Les Paul retailed for over $400. A 58 Flying V was $500. In 1950s money !!! Strat and Teles were $150-$200. They were more accessible. Mom and pop music stores could not afford to stock Gibson so they only stocked cheapo models like Strats/Tele.

Equate it to buying a car. You are on a budget, you want the Lamborghini, but you have to be realistic so you buy the Toyota Corolla. You buy it not only because it is cheap, but because there isn't a Lamborghini dealer in your town. Make sense???

So rock musicians in the 50s and 60s played Strats and Teles since no one sold Gibson's in there town and they had no money real anyway. Who had $400 extra cash in the 50s?? They could only afford Teles and strats. A small handfull of these same peeps later became famous, they recorded lots of hit records, they scored lots of groupies. Fans bought their hit records, they idolized and romanticized about these rock star peeps !!! And one day.... these fans became musicians themselves. They not only copied the playing of their idols but they used the same gear to make sure the next generation of fans would accept them, just as they accepted their idols years before. Fast forward to present and that's why people still play Fenders. It's not because they sound good, it's becasue the buyers are sheep. Not to mention Fenders are still cheap$ and every store sells them in very town across the world. Walmart sells them now. You will never see a Les Paul in walmart.

As far as quality, it is well documented that Leo Fender's idol was Henry Ford. Leo set out to built the cheapest most affordable modular assembly line made product he could. The tele was his Model "T".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikhael View Post
when they could afford something much more expensive? It works for them. Period. Many actually came from a Gibson or some such, to the bolt-on world.
It's habit forming in most cases. People know smoking is bad for them but they still do it anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikhael View Post
Ibanez makes some fine instruments. Even the goofy looking ones, like Vai's Jem, play incredibly well with a nice variety of sounds.
Vai is good but he has a thin sound. Granted not as thin as a Fender tone but close. He uses lots of pedals and effects to get a decent sound.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikhael View Post
Those two are way too broad of a statement to hold water, sorry.
If you really think about what I am stating here it really does hold water. It actually makes perfect sense.
Old 4 days ago
  #23
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^^^^ 4 Shark thread designation [learned pretty much entirely by preceding post]. Almost 5.



Stratospherically,

audioforce
Old 4 days ago
  #24
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I had the opportunity to play this guitar

it is a custom Tele built to Danny Gatton's specifications

one of the customizations was the addition of machine threaded stainless steel bolts instead of screws. I am only a casual guitarist, but even I noticed a real difference in sustain.
Old 4 days ago
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
I had the opportunity to play this guitar

it is a custom Tele built to Danny Gatton's specifications

one of the customizations was the addition of machine threaded stainless steel bolts instead of screws. I am only a casual guitarist, but even I noticed a real difference in sustain.
Swamp ash is really dense and heavy. It'll probably makes for more sustain than the more customary alder.

If by "threaded steel bolts" you mean machine screws through the neck into threaded inserts in the body, people do that sometimes when they want to make a long-term habit of breaking a guitar down and packing it in a suitcase. It works, but since you can't use lock washers because they'll create space between the neck and the pocket, you have to stay vigilant or the screws will loosen.

Last edited by Brent Hahn; 4 days ago at 03:37 PM..
Old 4 days ago
  #26
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grannis's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by cooker View Post
I'm sure it nice but does it sound not like a Tele at all like the one in the video?
i agree - goes a long way to answer my original question - great post!
Old 4 days ago
  #27
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Mikhael's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Swamp ash is really dense and heavy. It'll probably makes for more sustain than the more customary alder.
Swamp Ash generally weighs LESS than Alder - you might be thinking of Northern Ash, the stuff they make baseball bats out of. THAT is heavy; it's the wood the original Peavey T-60 body was made from, if you remember how heavy THOSE buggers were.
Old 4 days ago
  #28
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KevWind's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrischoir View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by grannis View Post
why a bolt-on might be preferable
bolt-on is never preferable. It was merely a design by builders like Leo Fender to make guitars modular and easy to build as well as to make them easily reparable. For instance a Fret Job is 2x as much as a new .
Just to clarify preference is subjective .......While a completely valid personal opinion and preference . Completely invalid as an objective declaration of fact.
Old 4 days ago
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikhael View Post
Swamp Ash generally weighs LESS than Alder...
Really? In general you may be right. But I have a swamp ash Tele and my son has an alder one (a Squier), and mine weighs significantly more. And it has more sustain, with no real hardware differences between the two. But that's just two guitars.
Old 4 days ago
  #30
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Pindrive's Avatar
Both have benefits & drawbacks. If you are buying, I'd say get your hands on both & go with the one that speaks to you. Always buy a hardcase.

As far as getting those classic guitar tones goes... I wouldn't buy a bolt on LesPaul. Nor would I buy a neck through Tele or Strat.

Digging in deep, Bolt on neck theoretically has less sustain. Thats why you want a nice tight pocket fit.

A neck through, or glued in, is connected as one piece to the body. All vibrations are transferred into the, Hopefully, symbiotic body wood of choice.

Now, it sounds like "hell yes" I want all the sustain i can get!!!! But, you really need to know why those two parts (neck & body) were designed the way they were, or what the tonal result is. Bolding in a neck is easier & less expensive to build. That doesn't always mean it is going to be the optimum choice for your sound. IE: Stratocaster & Telecaster guitars are highly sought after instruments.
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