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Are Soloists true neck through or smooth set?

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  • Are Soloists true neck through or smooth set?

    I have seen more than one transparent finish Soloist that looks like the neck is a smooth set - laminated to the body thickness. As I understand neck through the body and neck are a single unit for the width of the neck and laminated only on the sides, or is this just the way some manufacturers do this? From the feel perspective no difference, but from a construction standpoint is it bending the rules of what neck though means?


  • #2
    Here's a previous discussion:

    Originally posted by shreddermon View Post
    "Full depth" is where the wood blank they use for the neck and center piece of the body is the full depth - front to back - of the body itself. On the neck side, that obviously wastes a fair bit of wood. (Which is roughly only half as deep.) In the 90s (I think), they started using a shallower neck blank, and glued in another piece of wood for that center piece on the back of the body. You can see this showing on trans finishes near the back strap pin, as the maple neck piece usually shows through the trans finish lighter than the alder or mahogany body wood does.
    Below is an illustration of shreddermon's explanation of the shallow neck blank.

    From the 2013 Jackson catalog, page 20-21 of 80 (, we can see a transparent KE2 with the half-depth neck terminating at the heel of the guitar. The maple neck is bright green (matching the bright green of the figured maple top) in sharp contrast to the darker green piece of alder that is under it (as well as the darker green alder body wings).


    • #3
      Most of the soloist necks are made from 3 pieces if you take into consideration the scarf joint. The upper part of the neck and at the body the under part of the neck that is laminated to the bottom and then the headstock that is scarf jointed. Then the 2 wings are jointed to the sides and the top if there is a top. I have seen some soloists that are 1 piece and the scarf joint SL-3 for example. But basically the neck runs through the whole body. If you would call it a set neck it would be a set neck with a thru body tenon i guess.

      That picture of NOTPs post shows what i am trying to explain here.
      Last edited by ed; 07-04-2020, 07:49 AM.


      • #4
        Also, when a Floyd is routed on a neckthrough guitar, the route is a gaping hole spanning the entire thickness of the body, thereby "interrupting" the continuity of the neck blank that existed from headstock to butt. Would that violate the technicality of the guitar being called "neckthrough"? For me, no, because the neck wood still runs the entire length of the guitar from headstock to butt and it doesn't matter what bridge is destined to be installed on the guitar. Just because a Floyd is installed doesn't suddenly render it non-neckthrough, while installing a TOM bridge or hardtail bridge "preserves" the neckthrough essence just because they're not interrupting the neck blank with a giant hole.

        It's an interesting discussion, but at the end of the day, I don't really mind how many laminations the guitar has as long as it's well-made and feels good to play.


        • #5
          @Priest (amazing user name btw) In regard to your last sentence I fully agree apart from the semantics of "neck through" and it's traditional association with higher price point. I have seen other manufacturers use similar construction to this (like Schecter) but they also make headstock to butt end neck throughs, with distinction. All that said, I own both types from Schecter and prefer the one with a deep, smooth set neck. more akin (but not exact) so what Jackson is doing here.


          • #6
            I can only speak to the US models. Not imports.

            Jackson makes neck thru.
            The older ones were true neck thru guitars, where it was one block of wood 2 inches thick (body thickness). And then "wings" would be glued to the sides to make it a guitar.
            Newer ones, however, use a 1 inch thick (neck thickness) piece of wood. Sometimes it is slid into position on a body that was carved out. Sometimes a 2nd piece of 1 inch thick wood gets glued to the neck to make it as thick as the body, and then the 'wings' would be glued to the sides.

            As previously mentioned - technically, those "half the body thick" pieces get cut off at the neck pickup. All of them get cut off with a FR cavity.
            But that shouldn't change if it is a neck thru or not.

            But let us make sure to mention -
            A set-thru is different than a set neck sanded smooth.
            For example. Look at the Gibson Les Paul. It's a set neck. Everyone knows that. But if I were to sand down the joint to make it a smooth transition, it is still simply a set neck but it has been sanded smooth.
            Whereas a set thru is a set neck, but there is a portion of the body that is part of the same piece of wood that is the neck. So, sort of like a neck thru but it doesn't run the length of the body. Maybe it only goes as far as the neck pickup (as example). The body ends up being 90 percent body and 10 percent neck. Vs a neck thru where the body is more like 60 percent body because the entire middle section is the neck.


            • #7
              Here is a close up from my mahogany Soloist


              • #8
                Originally posted by CaptNasty View Post
                Here is a close up from my mahogany Soloist
                the only issue I have with this is the fact that it was made as a visible-wood guitar.
                we don't know what they did differently knowing that the wood would be visible.

                but it is definitely a good shot of everything we talked about:
                neck piece. neck thicken body piece. side pieces.
                Last edited by pianoguyy; 07-05-2020, 10:12 AM.


                • #9
                  Priest has a valid point in that the floyd route cuts through the neck piece of ANY neck through. The pickup routes do as well (as someone else mentioned) In this construction method as the neck route will cut entirely through it. That essentially makes it deep set neck, and in a cork sniffing level means that a true neck through may mean continuity of wood from fretboard to the back surface of guitar's butt end- still broken buy any routed trem. If there's a debate as of solid wood vs glue makes a difference in tone/sustain it might warrant a different nomenclature for this construction. If feel is all the matters, then a Les Paul Axcess is neck through?


                  • #10
                    Does a true "neckthrough with no interruptions in the neck blank" even exist? Is there even an existing guitar design that satisfies both the below conditions?

                    1) The bridge is surface-mounted. This one is probably easy. There are a number of hardtail bridges that are surface-mounted via screws, require no massive routing, and the strings aren't anchored through the depth of the body.

                    2) The pickups are surface-mounted. I can't think of any. All pickups I've seen require cavities for direct-mounting, mounting with a pickup ring, or being mounted on a pickguard.


                    • #11
                      just to be contrary:

                      this would be true neck thru... yes, the trem route goes all the way through. but the center piece is wider than the trem, so there is still connectivity the entire length.

                      *please note - this guitar is a bolt on. but i have see the same kind of "wide piece" on neck thru models. i just couldn't find the images at the moment.


                      • #12
                        If we pretend that above guitar is a neckthrough (and not a bolt-neck), with the body portion of the neck blank being wider than the trem route and wider than the width of the fretboard, then that REALLY wastes a lot of neck wood as the excess wood is carved away to arrive at the final fretboard width. This would be in addition to the wastefulness of carving away the neck itself to arrive at the proper thickness/depth which certainly is a fraction of the depth of the body. To save wood, it's no wonder the "shallow neck blank" is used, as already highlighted earlier in this thread.


                        • #13
                          these are neck thru guitars without shallow neck blanks.
                          Jackson did this in their older models. To my knowledge, Carvin still does (one of these is a Carvin).


                          • #14
                            I can't find a picture example. but when you order 3-piece laminated neck construction (no scarf joint), you'd get a 'true' neck through construction guitar.