Set-through neck

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Set-through neck (or Set-thru neck) is a method of joining the neck and the body of guitar (or similar stringed instrument), effectively combining bolt-on, set-in and neck-through methods. It involves:

  • A pocket in the instrument's body for insertion of neck, as in bolt-on method. However, the pocket is much deeper than usual one.
  • Long neck plank, comparable to the scale length, as in the neck-through method.
  • Glueing (setting) the long neck inside the deep pocket, as in the set-neck method.

The result is usually told to have combined advantages of all these methods, mostly eliminating their disadvantages. Luthiers frequently cite:

  • improved tone and sustain (due to deep insertion and body made of single piece of wood, not laminated as in neck-through),
  • brighter tone (due to set joint)
  • comfortable access to top frets (due to lack of hard heel and bolt plate),
  • better wood stability.

The main disadvantage is relatively complex construction that leads to higher manufacturing and servicing costs. Another cited disadvantage is the inability or relative complexity of adding a double-locking tremolo to the guitar, as the routing for cavities would interfere with deeply set neck.


Set-through necks are relatively uncommon, and few manufacturers produce such neck joints. Sometimes, especially if neck extension inside a body does not fill full scale length, such neck joint is marketed as an extended pocket set-in neck or deep-set neck.

David Thomas McNaught claims to be the first who proposed a modern version of set-through neck joint. "Set-Thru" is a registered trademark of McNaught Guitars in United States since February 25, 2003.[1]

Despite the trademark, some other companies use the term to describe their products. ESP Guitars offers several models with set-through necks:

  • ESP MH, and variants
  • ESP Alexi Laiho LTD
  • LTD BB-600B (Ben Burnley signature model)
  • LTD DJ-600 (Dan Jacobs signature model)
  • LTD F-400
  • LTD AX-400
  • LTD AX-401FM
  • LTD V-401FM
  • LTD H-1001
  • LTD H-401
  • LTD H-351NT
  • LTD H-308
  • LTD M-401
  • LTD M-1000FM
  • LTD MH-1000FR
  • Edwards Forest Series
  • Grassroots Forest Series

Ed Roman Guitars offers the following guitars with "deep-set tenon neck joint", which is a version of set-through neck:

Samick JTR (John Thomas Riboloff):

Elvira EV20, EV30
Sylvia SV20
Veronica VN20

B.C. Rich guitars offer so-called "Invisibolt Technology" since 2006[1], which is effectively also a version of deep-set neck, bolted underneath the pickups. As of 2007, B.C. Rich offers 3 models in SE series with Invisibolt Technology:

  • I.T. Beast
  • I.T. Jr. V
  • I.T. Warlock

Toone Guitars has offered multiple "neck-into-body" options since 1993, including an asymmetrical sliding dovetail joint:

  • Dove
  • Orchid
  • Starfish

As opposed to popular neck-through designs that emphasize the neck as one piece of wood and the body wings as (laminated) separate pieces by using transparent or semi-transparent finishes and contrasting woods, there's no such trend for set-through guitars. Usually, it's hard to determine if the guitar has set-through neck or neck-through body judging only the general outlook. B.C. Rich's Invisibolt Technology is one notable exception that uses black ("shadow") body and contrasting light neck wood. A second example would be Toone Guitars' deliberate emphasis of the neck joint as an aesthetic choice, in particular the exposed asymmetrical sliding dovetail joint.


  1. ^ "Set-thru" neck trademark information, serial number 78014000, registration number 2690889 at US patents office server.