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Thread: Hello and an initial query - bolt on or set neck?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2019
    West Oz

    Hello and an initial query - bolt on or set neck?

    Hi all,
    I'm about to embark on my maiden building journey and have a couple of initial queries.

    First a bit about me : I'm from Perth WA and have always enjoyed tinkering in the shed. In particular, I've always loved working with wood. I've built a few pergolas and decks as well as a few smaller bits and pieces (cutting boards, cigar boxes, rocking horses, dolls houses etc.). I'm not very good at any of it, but I enjoy it.

    I've always played the guitar (badly) and over the years owned a few cheap knock-off electric guitars, basses and more recently a couple of nicer acoustic guitars and ukuleles.

    I'm looking to get an electric guitar and thought the build option would be a reasonably cost effective way to start, as well as something I'll enjoy doing.

    I'm looking for an electric to play plugged into the ipad/computer through headphones - so I can play quietly while the kids are asleep.

    Anyway, onto my questions.

    1) Bolt on or glued (set?) neck?

    - I'm looking at either a GS-2Z or a TL-1HA and want to know if I'll have issues building either. As far as I can tell, a bolt on neck give you a bit more wiggle room if there's a stuff up (filling the holes and starting again). Any other thoughts.

    2) What upgrades are worthwhile at the start of the build?
    - e.g. will changing out pickups or pots be super painful later on - what about locking tuners?

    Anyway, I'm looking forward to picking a kit and getting going.

    P.S. Can I visit Pitbull? I work just up the road from them and I'd like to touch / see / smell any kit before I buy (although this isn't a show stopper...)


  2. #2
    Overlord of Music Fretworn's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Hornsby Area, Sydney, NSW
    Welcome leguman. Thatís a question everyone has to weigh up at the beginning. I went with bolt on, because I felt more confident that I could pull it off. But F-style guitars tend to be my thing, so I had a natural inclination towards bolt ons anyway. Really there are risks either way.

    And I donít know if you will be able to visit PitBull. It is not a shopfront, itís a side gig for the guys who work for it. The kits are generally pretty good, and Adam provides excellent after sale care if there are any issues. Most of us regulars are repeat purchasers and Iím confident that you will have a good experience with PitBull.

    First Act ME276 (resurrected curb-side find)
    Scratchie lapsteel
    Custom ST-1 12 String
    Scratch Lapsteel
    Meinl DIY Cajon
    Cigar Box lap steel

    Open D/Standard Double 6 twin neck

  3. #3
    Welcome leguman.

    I'll have a go...

    1) - I'd steer you towards a bolt-on neck for a first build. Yes, they are bit more forgiving in some ways but, IMO, they can also help you understand the geometry of a guitar better and the relationship of the critical parts thereof. A "TL" kit is a great option. (again just IMO)

    2) With a TL kit changing pickups and pots post-completion is no big deal. Of course doing it at the same time is less mucking around, presuming you already know what you want for electronics.
    Tuners can go either way. Some brands will "drop in" others require a little bit of extra work. That said, I've found the PBG kit tuners to be pretty OK. They're not Schallers or Klusons, but not horrible.

    For me (and this is only me) when I buy a kit, it's primarily for the neck & body. Everything else I customise to my liking with preferred hardware etc. It's not that you can't get a good result with the supplied gear, I just choose otherwise.

    This is why I started building in the first place. To get an instrument just the way I want it!

    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by leguman View Post
    I'm looking for an electric to play plugged into the ipad/computer through headphones - so I can play quietly while the kids are asleep.

    G'day. Yes it's the only instrument I can play without a background of slamming doors.

    I would go with what type of guitar you prefer. There are plenty of informative folk around that have preceded any/all issues.

    Only reason I don't have a 'set' neck is that the particular models have be discontinued.
    (LP SG junior).

    cheers, Mark.

  5. #5
    Member ILRGuitars's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    1. I agree with McCreed about understanding the geometry. Getting the neck aligned and setting the bridge are the most important steps of the process. For your first build, keep it simple and learn to understand how it all fits together. A TL kit is an excellent to starter.
    2. Upgrading parts on pretty much any solid body is easy at any time. Semi and Full Hollow body guitars is a different story. Try doing the kit then see what needs to change for your preferences. I would however, get the locking tuners while you have the chance.
    3. Get in contact with Adam about visiting the shop. He is usually pretty accommodating but might be hesitant after a break in and theft a while ago.
    4. Don't think that this will be your last guitar build. We have all fallen under the spell of GAS (Guitar Acquisition Syndrome).
    5. Have fun and good luck!

  6. #6
    Moderator Brendan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Perth, WA
    Personally - bolt on for a first - one less thing to work through at the end of the build.

    In terms of upgrades - I've not yet needed to upgrade tuners, but have generally upgraded pots, caps and wires.

    As indicated, Pitbull isn't a shop front and as such can't be visited.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2019
    West Oz
    Thank you all for the replies and the advice. I have a few things to mull over, but I feel like I'm heading in the right direction.

    I feel a TL kit in my future...

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