Guitar Neck Mounting Myths

Guitar Neck Mounting Myths

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Bolt-On or Bolt-In Necks Have Gotten An Unfair Bad Rap
by Ed Roman


Custom Quicksilver Body Designed By Pete Kupershmid
Pete Is Joan Jett's Producer & Owns At Least 10 Of Our Guitars.

Neck Mounting Myth #1
Many players assume that to build a good guitar it should have a glued on neck. I for one definitely do not believe that. Just because most companies charge extra for that option I think people just assume that itís better because it usually costs more. I am going to debunk that myth. In fact I personally think that a normal set neck is the absolute worst way to construct an electric guitar!

Bolt on & Bolt in necks have gotten unfairly bashed !!!
Why?
1,  Because Most Of The Corporate Guitar Builders Just Don't Do The Job Correctly.

2.  Our Younger Population Are Being Systematically Dumbed Down By The Magazines & Big Box Stores !!!

It actually costs less to glue in a neck than to bolt one in correctly. Gluing up a neck is pretty basic. You apply glue inside the neck joint, slide the neck in and clamp it down. A bolt in neck requires a lot more work, there is no room for a sloppy fit like on a glue in neck. The cost of stainless bolts and press fittings are far higher than the cost of a little glue. The labor factor requires 4 or 5 holes drilled & countersunk. The tolerances are extremely tight on a good bolt on neck where the tolerances are far less important with the application of glue. If you make a mistake and drill incorrectly itís time to throw away the body. On a glued up neck there are no holes to drill and less chances of a mistake.

I know, I know itís been done that way for 60  years! why change now? Why not keep our heads buried in the sand & continue thinking like we did in the 50ís & 60ís ?
That's The Gibson Mentality !!!!

Any luthier will tell you that the neck breakage occurs more on set neck guitars than all others combined.
The fact is I have repaired less than 15 bolt on necks in 32 years. I have repaired well over 3000 set necks and at any given time there are probably at least 6 of them broken in my shop.

First of all there is absolutely nothing wrong with a bolt on or bolt in neck as long as itís done right.
I must stress the part about it being done right !!!!!


The glue between the neck & body of a guitar will prevent 60% to 70% of high end tone transference. For example, try to get a funky nasal ducktone twang on a glued in neck guitar. It wonít happen.  This is very obvious even to a beginner or novice.

Bolt on necks originally got their bad reputation during the 70ís when companies were making them with ill fitting or loose neck joints. A loose neck joint causes instability and detracts horribly from tone quality. A loose neck joint will also cause tremendous loss of sustain. Some companies in the 70ís were mass producing guitars as fast as they could and were simply not paying attention to the neck joint! The necks were not fitted correctly and in many cases the strings were actually hanging off the edge of the neck.
A lot of criticism is leveled at the 3 screw neck mounting plates of the era. Personally I like the concept of the tilting neck which of course is only available with a three bolt neckplate.

Thanks to modern machinery and woodworking techniques neck joints are a lot better & tighter today. We now know much more about guitar construction than we used to. Guitars in general are a lot better today, even the Mexican ones are better than some of those USA guitars from the 90ís. A tight neck joint equals a good guitar !!!

The neck joint is the heart of the guitar, If the neck joint is set up properly the guitar WILL always sound better.

 

In my shop we make it a rule to mount each neck so tightly that itís almost a force fit. The technician should be able to physically pick up the guitar by the neck so that the body is suspended and the fit alone should be enough to hold the body to the neck.

 

 

My sure fire test is to take a thin guitar pick and try to slide it between the neck and the body. If I can get the pick into the crack then I know the guitar will be lacking in tone & sustain.

You Can Purchase An Ed Roman Neck for Many Different Guitars
Click This Link To See Them

 

Synopsis
Bolt On Vs. Bolt In
Don't Bolt It On,  Bolt It In !!!

Both ways work very well as long as you get a tight neck fit. The bolt in like the Quicksilver is superior because there is no protruding flange to bolt the neck onto. The neck actually bolts in through the back of the guitar. Consequently you get better stability, even more tone & sustain and as an added bonus you can reach higher up the neck. More notes, more better sounding notes !!!!
 

The Quicksilver goes one better !!!! The Quicksilver actually incorporates the rhythm or neck pickup right into the neck joint. To my knowledge no other company affixes one pickup directly to the tongue of the neck and the other one directly to the body. We have been doing this modification to PRS guitars for more than 20 years. It really works well on a PRS the difference is noticeable even for a novice player. The modification is completely invisible and you cannot tell it has been done except by listening to it. We do it to set neck models and to Bolt In models. Personally I think it works best on a Bolt In Model but even a novice can easily hear the difference on a set neck version of a PRS.

   Quicksilver Guitars  employ 2 piece adjustable Tone Pros Bridges 


 

Bolt-on neck is a method of guitar (or similar stringed instrument) construction that involves joining a guitar neck and body using wood screws as opposed to glue as with set neck joints. The term is a misnomer, introduced mostly by Fender whose guitars traditionally had "bolt-on necks". Real bolted joints (i.e. using bolt coupled with a nut) are uncommon in guitar production. However, some aftermarket manufacturers offer a replacement for Fender neckplates and screws which uses captive nuts ó embedded in the guitar body by means of an external self-tapping thread ó and M4 bolts. This is claimed to permit a higher fastening torque than ordinary woodscrews, and hence a better coupling between neck and body.

This method is used frequently on solid body electric guitars and on acoustic flattop guitars. In the typical electric guitar bolt-on neck joint, the body and neck cross in horizontal plane, the neck is inserted in a pre-routed "pocket" in the body, and they are joined usually using 4 screws. As screw heads damage the wood and could put extra stress on it, typically a rectangular metal plate or a pair of metal plates are used to secure the joint and re-distribute the screw pressure evenly. Such a plate is usually criticized for making playing on top frets uncomfortable, so, manufacturers sometimes employ some kind of more intricate method to hide a metal plate, smooth the angles and make access to top frets easier. However, a visible metal plate is usually considered as a part of "vintage" style and they are a popular place to emboss manufacturer's logos, stamp out serial numbers and put other artwork.

The typical acoustic guitar bolt-on neck as popularized by Taylor guitars is not as advantageous as on an electric guitar. Electric guitars tend to sound better when they are bolted together using threaded inserts and providing for a very tight neck joint. Acoustic guitars don't sound as good because it makes them too bright and sometimes tinny sounding. 

Luthiers and guitar players cite both advantages and disadvantages of bolt-on neck construction. Note that most of these views are highly subjective and relative. It is not easy to measure most of the claims objectively or even compare objective factors, as guitars differ considerably

 

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