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 Neck Through series Features and Specifications

GW Neck Through Basses are the ultimate in feel, balance, tone, and quality

I gave a great amount of time, energy and thought into the design of my neck through basses, drawing inspiration from many other great designs from other builders that I had seen and played. Ultimately, I had to design a bass that I would want to own and play. There were so many things to consider... I decided to approach the design process from what things would I want in a bass if I could have anything I wanted? Full access to the entire fingerboard was one must have. Sure, most of us bass players don't use the upper end of the fingerboard that much, but when we do we should be able to access it without hand strain or bulky neck joints to content with. So the lower horn had to be cut deep enough to give full access to the upper frets. Going along with this is a very smooth neck to body curve that fits in your hand just perfectly with no strain on your hand or wrist.

The Neck

A full 24 fret fingerboard on top of a comfortable, hand carved neck that is instantly familiar and all day or night playable for those long studio sessions or live performances. The edges of the fingerboard are slightly rolled over just a bit to give it that broken in feel. I also like a large volute where the headstock meets the neck, so I've done a bit of an oversized volute for comfort and that "home position on a dark stage" feel.

Again borrowing inspiration from my old favorite bass, I start with about the largest fretwire you can find. After I install the frets, I shave a good portion off of the top of the frets and then slightly recrown them for what is referred to as a "school bus" fret crown, for that smooth, almost fretless feel of a well broken in bass and very low action.

The neck profile from front to back has a slight taper from the headstock down to the heel. It starts out at .875" under the first fret to 1.125" under the 24th fret. This gives the neck the ability to react to the string tension and truss rod like a "fishing pole", with the majority of the relief occurring between the nut and about the 7th - 8th fret. Lastly, I put a bit of a "fallaway" on the last 6 or 7 frets to give the strings a bit more room to oscillate and allow the action to be set extremely low if desired.

The final detail to my Neck Through necks is my use of the same wood for the headstock as for the body wings. This contributes more of the body wood sound to the overall sound of the bass by anchoring the strings in this wood at the headstock. Also, and simply put, I like how it visually connects the body wood to the headstock.

I like a nice, large, curvey volute

Headstock wood matches body wood
Headstock wood matches body wood

Comforable neck heel, full upper fret access, excellent comfort and balance

Full access to the upper end of the fingerboard thanks to the deeper lower cutaway, the very smooth neck to body curve for when the desire to blow a mean solo takes you! The combination of the upper horn extending all the way to the 12th fret, the offset upper body wing allowing for moving the other anchor for the strap towards the neck more, and the addition of Hipshot Ultralight Tuners makes for excellent balance with no neck dive whatsoever.

The final details for comfort and playability are the forearm and "belly" contours. They are ergonomically placed to allow the bass to sit perfectly against your body whether playing sitting or standing.

Neck Heel
Smooth neck heel transition

Upper fret access
Lower cutaway allows full, comfortable access to the upper register

Upper Horn extends to 12th fret
Upper horn extends to the 12th fret for excellent balance

Offset upper body wing and forearm contour
Offset upper body wing and forearm contour

The Best Electronics & Hardware

I use only the highest quality electronics and pickups for superb tone, flexibility and dependability. Bartolini dual coil pickups begin the signal chain followed by the Aguilar OBP-3 three band preamp system setup in either the 9V or 18V configuration, and all top quality potentiometers and other electronic hardware for worry free playing year after year.

The OBP-3 is Aguilar's most flexible onboard preamp design, providing +/-18dB of cut and boost at 40Hz, +/- 16dB of cut and boost at either 400Hz or 800Hz and +/- 16dB of treble cut and boost at 6.5 kHz. My standard wiring of the OBP-3 includes a volume, blend, treble boost/cut, midrange boost/cut, bass boost/cut and a mini-toggle switch for midrange "Q" frequency selection, and due to customer feedback I've also started putting in a second switch to go from active mode to passive mode.

Aguilar OBP-3 Specs

  • Bass control: plus/minus 18 dB @ 40 Hz
  • Mid control: plus/minus 16 dB @ 400Hz or 800 Hz. User selectable frequency center
  • Treble control: plus/minus 16 dB @ 6.5 KHz
  • Input impedance: 1 meg ohm
  • Output impedance: 100 ohm 9 or 18 volts operation. Additional 6dB with 18 volts
  • Distortion: .019 into 10k ohm load
  • Noise: -95 dBm unweighted
  • Battery life: 324 hours
  • Low noise discrete FET input stage
The pickups are placed at the first harmonic and 3rd harmonic for the most versatility in tone. The neck pickup gives all the deep, smooth low end thump and rumble you could ask for and then some, while the bridge pickup gives plenty of warm clarity and definition without being harsh. I then install threaded brass inserts for the pickup height screws and use hardened steel allen key machine screws to adjust the pickup height for durability and ease of adjustment.

To shield the bass from hum, I start with a copper plate in the bottom of the control cavity. This plate also adds support to the wood of the top of the bass as well as shielding the bass from hum. Copper tape on the sides adds to the shielding, and foil tape on the control cavity cover finishes it off. The wires for the pickups and Aguilar Preamp are grouped together, and left a little long just in case you ever need to replace a potentiometer years down the road.

Bartolini Pickups
Bartolini dual coil pickups

Control Cavity
Aguilar OBP-3 preamp with fully sheilded control cavity

Hipshot Model A Bridge
Hipshot Model A bridge in solid brass

Hipshot Ultralight Tuners
Hipshot Ultralight Tuners

Details, details, details....

Attention to detail is everything, right? I couldn't agree more and simply couldn't cut any corners. From the fully shielded control cavity that starts with a copper grounding plate to threaded brass inserts with allen key pickup height screws, every detail has been painstakingly seen to and taken care of

The controls are easy to reach but out of "strike zone" so you can slap away or even bang out chords with a pick and not worry about hitting a knob. They're also laid out in an intuitive pattern for ease of use and a familiar feel, and with the midrange "Q" frequency select switch, the passive active switch and the 3 band EQ, the variety of tones available to you are limitless!

threaded inserts for control cavity cover
Threaded brass inserts for the control cavity cover screws

threaded inserts for pickup height screws
Threaded brass inserts used for allen key pick height screws

Control knob layout
Control knobs laid out within easy reach but out of the way

Image of control layout
Tone control layout

Neck Through Series Price List

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