The Acoustic Guitar Forum  

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > General Acoustic Guitar Discussion

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 05-06-2010, 11:11 PM
poorbs poorbs is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: East Texas
Posts: 1,098
Default Bolt on neck vs. dove tail or other.

What's the deal with the way a neck is attached to the body of a guitar? Are there significant differences in sound or playability between bolt-ons and others, or maybe more or less expensive to build?
__________________
1974 Martin D35
1974 Ibanez AE300
2006 Lowden F25C
2006 Seagull S6+CW Folk
2006 Goodall AKSC
2010 Charis SJC
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 05-06-2010, 11:23 PM
AZLiberty's Avatar
AZLiberty AZLiberty is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Arizona
Posts: 3,527
Default

Bolt on is significantly cheaper in terms of labor. Done properly, a bolt on neck should sound as good as a dovetail. A bolt on is also significantly cheaper to do a neck reset than a dovetail if a guitar ever needs one.
__________________
Larrivee OM-03RE, D-03R-12, LS-03 (IS/MH)
Martin D-35; Guild D4-12; Tacoma Roadking
Breedlove American Series C20/SR
Rainsong SFTA-FLE (AGF Shorty)
Taylor GA3-12, Guild F-212

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/markhorning
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 05-06-2010, 11:47 PM
Jeff M Jeff M is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Not where I thought I was going, but probably where I need to be.
Posts: 22,333
Default

Re; affect on tone, you will see some who feel that only a dove tail neck maximizes a guitars acoustics.

Others point out that there are many world class killer guitars out there with variations of a bolt on neck.

My own take is the most important thing is the design and how well it is implemented.
There are some shi**ty dove tail guitars out there same as any other design, and many great bolt on design guitars by high end builders.
__________________

"Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best."
Henry Van Dyke


"It is in the world of slow time that truth and art are found as one"
Norman Maclean,
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 05-07-2010, 12:02 AM
gcconspiracy gcconspiracy is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 66
Default

correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Taylor's are bolt-ons (and I've never heard anyone accuse Taylor's of being second-rate guitars!)
__________________
Simon and Patrick Woodland Cedar CW GT A3T Dread
Squier Deluxe Stratocaster (Pearl White Metallic)
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 05-07-2010, 12:05 AM
Andromeda Andromeda is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Under the Bodhi tree
Posts: 13,799
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by gcconspiracy View Post
correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Taylor's are bolt-ons (and I've never heard anyone accuse Taylor's of being second-rate guitars!)
Yes, Taylor's are bolt on necks and they certainly are not 2nd rate guitars.
__________________
http://foleyfunfilmfacts.wordpress.com/
http://europeanroyalhistory.wordpress.com/

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. ~ Buddha
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 05-07-2010, 12:09 AM
warfrat73 warfrat73 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Milwaukee
Posts: 892
Default

"By the way, there's an urban myth that bolt-on necks don't sound as good as dovetailed necks. If you can hear the difference, you have better ears than Ricky Skaggs. The trick is to get a good, solid neck fit, whether the neck is fastened with glue or with bolts. You'd be surprised how many makers use the bolt-on neck design." Dana Bourgeois as per Pantheon/Bourgeois Website
__________________
"What have I learned but the proper use for several tools" -Gary Snyder

2014 Martin Custom Shop D-18 (Adi & flamed hog)/ 1999 Bourgeois DR-A / 2005 Northwood M70 MJ / 1970s Sigma DR-7 / Morgan Monroe MNB-1 Banjo / 1980s Fender Japan Strat "E-series" / 1982 G&L F-100
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 05-07-2010, 12:09 AM
Jeff M Jeff M is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Not where I thought I was going, but probably where I need to be.
Posts: 22,333
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by gcconspiracy View Post
correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Taylor's are bolt-ons.....
Yes they are.
But if you hang around the forums a few years you will find die hards who are not thrilled with Taylor guitars and bring up the bolt on design as one of their issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by warfrat73 View Post
"By the way, there's an urban myth that bolt-on necks don't sound as good as dovetailed necks. If you can hear the difference, you have better ears than Ricky Skaggs. The trick is to get a good, solid neck fit, whether the neck is fastened with glue or with bolts. You'd be surprised how many makers use the bolt-on neck design." Dana Bourgeois as per Pantheon/Bourgeois Website
Definitely.
And you can add Bill Collings to the list of world class builders who uses a bolt on design.
__________________

"Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best."
Henry Van Dyke


"It is in the world of slow time that truth and art are found as one"
Norman Maclean,
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 05-07-2010, 12:22 AM
pbankey pbankey is offline
Geeeetar Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 371
Default

I personally believe it extends beyond the tonal characteristics of the guitar and incorporates a more broad, distinct identity of an instrument. I mean, when I think of neck joints (or design in general for the matter),I associate Martin with dovetail and Taylor with bolt-on. Of course that's an extremely limited focus of thinking, but I suppose my point is that I identify more than just the tone with the neck joint for an instrument.

I'd feel pretty weird playing a dovetail Taylor because they're known for their innovation with the neck joint being one of those things. If I played a bolt-on Martin, that would be weird too even if it sounded the same because part of what I associate with a Martin is that building characteristic.

As far as tone goes though I don't necessarily believe there is a fundamental "better" sound with either one. It just contributes to a different voice, not a better or worse voice.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 05-07-2010, 12:23 AM
keyshore keyshore is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Goa, India
Posts: 940
Default

I am firmly in the bolt on neck camp.

There are simply too many advantages using bolt on necks and I must confess that my hearing is not that good to hear that special tone in a dovetailed neck!!

Keyshore
__________________
1991 Ovation 1719 Custom Legend
2005 Takamine EF400SC 12 string
2007 Bourgeois Vintage OM Madagascar with Bone LB6
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 05-07-2010, 12:34 AM
247hoopsfan 247hoopsfan is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Posts: 463
Thumbs up

There is something about knowing my Larrivees have hand-fitted dovetail joints that makes me think the detail that goes into making them is 2nd to none.

I don't know if there is a difference in tone between bolt on or dovetail, but they sure do sound great!
__________________
1972 Yamaha FG200 My 1st guitar
1998 Yamaha DW5S
2003 Yamaha LL500
2007 Larrivee JCL 40th Anniversary Edition
1998 Larrivee OM05-MT All Mahogany
1998 Larrivee D10 Brazilian "Flying Eagle"
1990 Goodall Rosewood Standard

"It is good to praise the Lord to the music of the lyre and the melody of the guitar"- Psalm 92:1-2
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 05-07-2010, 12:56 AM
MCanup MCanup is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: DodgerTown
Posts: 281
Default

I don't think either one is better. Richard Hoover and Chris Martin will give you a variety of reasons why a neck should be dove-tailed, and they have the amazing guitars to support their claims. Dana Bourgeois and Bob Taylor will give you excellent guitars with bolt-on necks. I would neither buy nor not buy a guitar because of the way the neck is attached.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 05-07-2010, 01:51 AM
CoffeeGuitar CoffeeGuitar is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 1,007
Default

if the guitars or of middle to low quality then it really wont make a difference but when you get into the best of the best then i personally dovetail comes out on top for sound
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 05-07-2010, 02:05 AM
AZLiberty's Avatar
AZLiberty AZLiberty is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Arizona
Posts: 3,527
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by MCanup View Post
Chris Martin will give you a variety of reasons why a neck should be dove-tailed
At this point the majority of Martins (in terms of pure number built) use a mortise and Tenon joint that is glued and bolted, not a dovetail. You have to get to the 18 series and higher to get a dovetail on a Martin these days.
__________________
Larrivee OM-03RE, D-03R-12, LS-03 (IS/MH)
Martin D-35; Guild D4-12; Tacoma Roadking
Breedlove American Series C20/SR
Rainsong SFTA-FLE (AGF Shorty)
Taylor GA3-12, Guild F-212

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/markhorning
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 05-07-2010, 02:13 AM
harvl's Avatar
harvl harvl is offline
AGF Sponsor
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 1,583
Default

I like to think of myself as somewhat of an expert on neck joints....in fact my reputation hinges on them...(pun intended)

In 1972 I started with dovetails and then moved to a doweled mortise and tenon in 1980, then to bolt-on. In my experience any one of them properly executed will allow for no tonal loss, which is really the issue right? I built my first bolt-on neck in 1988 and I have never looked back. The only difference I have ever seen from one to another is that the side benefits of the bolt-on far outweigh those of any of the others: ease of construction, ease of alteration and being able to finish necks and bodies separately.

Then there's Voyage Air....

The joint on Voyage Air is essentially a bolt-on, the hinge really doesn't do anything once the neck is in the playing position, in fact string tension is necessary to fully mate the 2 halves of the fretboard. You would think that this would cause some loss of signal but if anything the Voyage Air neck seems to apply more energy to the top than my standard bolt-on guitars. I think it has something to do with the fact that, by design, the tension of the strings is directly applied to the fretboard and not spread out over the entire heel. Thom Bresh has his Voyage Air set up so that the bolt is about 2 turns loose for his preferred string height (a ridiculous .050 under the bass strings...) as he travels he can adjust the the string height if he's somewhere that the climate raises his action. Even with essentially no heel contact until the fretboard there is no loss.

I'm not advocating one over the other though. Despite the benefits to the bolt-on there is something very cool about a well executed dovetail. Keeping a tie with the original craft of guitars is a worthy endeavor and let's face it, there are instruments made with dovetails that have been around a long time.

Of course... a folding dovetail would not be a good thing.....
__________________
Harvey Leach

H.G Leach Guitars / Cutting Edge Inlays

http://www.leachguitars.com/

http://harveyleachinlays.com
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 05-07-2010, 02:55 AM
donh donh is online now
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Ohio
Posts: 2,033
Default

I have both.
I love both.
A good guitar is a good guitar, regardless of the details.
Harv speaks truth :-)
__________________
-donh-

*everything* is a tone control
Reply With Quote
Reply

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > General Acoustic Guitar Discussion

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Loading

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:34 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=