Are graphite reinforcing bars really necessary?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by LutherHeggs00, Dec 6, 2007.

  1. LutherHeggs00


    Apr 11, 2006
    I'm thinking about saving up and purchasing one of these:

    but I notice that the 'bolt on canadian hard rock maple neck' make no mention of re-bars. I confirmed their absence with a Clover dealer.

    All the 5vers I've ever owned has had them, so I'm a little nervous about their necessity.

    Q - Do you think that not having re-bars will present future problems?

  2. fullrangebass


    May 7, 2005
    IMHO and IME I had no problems when graphite bars were present. When they were absent the necks were not as stable (esp when they were on the medium/narrow side)
  3. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Portland, OR
    If it's built well, there should be no problem.
  4. Possibly. It certainly allows for use of thinner necks.
  5. Dbassmon

    Dbassmon Supporting Member

    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    Necks with graphite are more rigid, the strings feel like they have less tension on them, vibrato is easier and strings are easier to depress to either the fingerboards (fretless) or fret.

    Are the necessary? no. Plenty of basses play wonderfully without them however, many basses could benefit from the added rigidity they provide to the neck.
  6. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Line™ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    a properly built 4/5/6-string neck does not require them ... but utilizing graphite or steel stiffening bars does open possibility to utilize a wider range of neck shaft woods and thinner profiles

    proper positioning of stiffening bars will also have significant reduction in the traditional 34" scale deadspots

    all the best,

  7. BassinCT

    BassinCT …still tuning… Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2006
    Connecticut, USA
    If a luthier has selected woods that are free of defects, properly sawn and seasoned, then that is a good start. Lamination is another tool to equalize the potential movement of the neck woods. The decision to use CF, as others have pointed out has much to do with how many strings, truss rod(s) and the ultimate structure of the neck.

    I think that the greatest benefit is the structural support. If you loosen the strings on a CF-reinforced neck, it will predictably return to its original shape. A neck bearing a great load from many strings and no CF will be more likely to fatigue over time and take on a forward bow after the tension is removed.

    in general, if the wood is good, stability shouldn't be a concern.
  8. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I know Roger Sadowsky says they aren't needed. Unless things have changed, Metros do not have graphite bars in the neck, and no one seems to think they are in any way bad necks.:)
  9. Maybe not neccessary, but on my custom J w/graphite bars, the neck feels more rigid, and the notes have a little more initial attack.
  10. I also forgot to add that they very helpful for a guy like me who lives in an area with ultra dry winters and very humid summers. :meh: The alternating climates can be very rough on keeping my stuff set up nicely.
  11. A9X

    A9X Inactive

    Dec 27, 2003
    I simply avoid graphite bars by wherever possible going for a complete graphite neck.
  12. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Oregon, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    Why would this be? I'm not saying it's not the case, I just can't imagine any reason why the rigidity of the neck would effect the tension, or even "perceived tension" (whatever that means). If anything, I would imagine it would be the opposite: a less rigid neck will flex as the tension is increased (e.g. when you bend a string), which would make it feel like there was less tension (though I don't think this flex would be significant enough to be felt at all).

    Could you elaborate on why this would happen?
  13. MyUsernameHere

    MyUsernameHere ?????????????

    Nov 3, 2007
    Lexington KY
    I think graphite reinforcing bars equaling decreased string tension is similar to when people say a string through body design gives a bass more sustain than a string through bridge. The string is deadened (meaning the vibration is completely nonexistent) above the nut and behind rollers on the bridge. There shouldn't be any energy transfer to those areas of the string. If there was, it would seem to me that it would lessen the amount of energy present in the area of the string that you wanted to vibrate. Just doesn't make sense to me.
    Similarly, a string tightened to a certain tension to achieve a tone should always have to be tightened to that same tension no mater what neck is used.
    Now, I personally prefer reinforced necks for the added stability. However, I think what some people perceive as lighter string tension is actually just the overall easier playability provided by a bass with a stable, well set up neck.
    I could be wrong though. If I am somebody please explain. I really don't know jack about bass construction.
  14. Bass4LifeRS


    Oct 18, 2005
    Graphite salesman, drywashes hands and says: "Yes, yes, let them believe it's true. More money for meeee nyah ah haaa!" :D
  15. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    My Lull has a one piece maple neck w/ graphite reinforcement. The Sadowsky Metro has a similar neck w/o. I've had no stability issues with either...yet. Let me run through a few more seasons and I'll get back to you.

    Let's have some fun and throw multi-lam necks into the equation. Are they inherently more stable than one piece necks and do they benefit from the addition of graphite rods?

  16. MyUsernameHere

    MyUsernameHere ?????????????

    Nov 3, 2007
    Lexington KY
    Let's have some fun and throw multi-lam necks into the equation. Are they inherently more stable than one piece necks and do they benefit from the addition of graphite rods?


    I think someone needs to build a bass with a three piece laminated industrial steel (not that p&%$y aluminum Hartke uses) neck with graphite rods and a carbon fiber fingerboard. Wouldn't flex at all.:meh:
  17. A9X

    A9X Inactive

    Dec 27, 2003
    It would weigh a bit too (my Kramer Al neck is heavy) and it doesn't make sense to me to use steel and CF, when the CF is lighter and more rigid anyway.
  18. MyUsernameHere

    MyUsernameHere ?????????????

    Nov 3, 2007
    Lexington KY
    Sarcasm....a lot harder to pull off in print evidently.:crying:
  19. A9X

    A9X Inactive

    Dec 27, 2003
  20. Turock


    Apr 30, 2000
    I have basses with and without. I see no advantage. Those sought after vintage instruments don't have it.