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Carbon fiber? or steel rods?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by pgurns, Feb 5, 2005.


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  1. pgurns

    pgurns

    Dec 26, 2003
    Northern, IL
    I noticed that Warmoth uses, and touts steel rods as providing more rigidity and less "dead" spots than carbon fiber. Any thoughts or firsthand experiences?
     
  2. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    There are many Qualities of Graphite. That's why K-Mart sells Graphite Shafted Golf Clubs for $19.99 and the Golf Pro Shops sell name brand quality from $299.-$599.

    We buy our own design High tollerance Graphite fiber rod from an AeroSpace Company. We have tested the rods from some Guitar suppliers but they fall way short of our Quality standards.

    Graphite Carbon Fiber has very Good Memory.. If your Neck bends with string tension, the Graphite wants to pull it back. This helps to avoid permanent twists and warpage. Graphite also raises the resonant frequency to help eliminate dead spots by evening things out tonally.....

    Metal, Steel, Aluminum.. Bends on Command...... It is stiff but has a weak memory.. Truss Rods can be Twisted like a Pretzel.. Try that with Graphite if you can.. And watch it break.. Cover your Eyes, Nose and Mouth.. It's a dangerous test..

    Steel or Aluminum or any other metal is a cheaper, but less effective way to strengthen a Neck and a poor attempt to stabilize it for the long run...

    You get what you pay for.. Most of the time that is.. If it sounds too good to be true.. It probably is...... "Penny wise and pound foolish".....
     
  3. rubo

    rubo

    Aug 25, 2003
    Ken is there a chance you can post AeroSpace contact info, so others can order from them as well. Do you buy in sheets or pre-cut already?

    Cheers
     
  4. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    You want my Source?.. You're kidding.. right??

    It's a 4k-5k minimum order... They don't sell single pieces.. We buy every year or two as we need stock... Sorry.. you will have to do you own research or recute some Spys!!!

    Go ask the US mint where they get their paper from because you want a piece to make a 10k bill.. I'm sure they will answer you promptly... lol.......
     
  5. rubo

    rubo

    Aug 25, 2003
    I see can we at least find out the exact material they use?

    Cheers
     
  6. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    sorry rubo, but i find that request even more absurd than the first one. I think that if you get to the point where you can tell a difference in the end result of your project, based on what materials where used in your carbon fiber rods, then you'll probably have your own suppliers too. I think that for most of us, standard materials from those guitar suppliers will get us through just fine.
     
  7. rubo

    rubo

    Aug 25, 2003
    Are you kidding me, they're here to help, isn't it? Then what's the point of inviting these master luthiers to this board unless we learn something from them. I'm not asking him his complete process of making a bass step by step or to reveal his master technique. Why is it when someone asks about certain type of wood and where to get is it ok, but when it comes to graphite bars, it's not ok. I don't see any logic in your debate.

    Cheers
     
  8. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Who are you?.. Fill out your profile like you should..

    I NEVER tell anyone where to buy wood unless they want to buy it from me.. I am not a free service.. I come here IF I feel like it.. Ask the other Worldwide KNOWN Professional VETERAN builders these questions.. IF they come up here.. If not, email them... good luck....

    This is why I don't post as much as I used to... And why I will post even less in the future.. Except in the DB side...
     
  9. Trevorus

    Trevorus

    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Alright, let's stop the argument here... I have the solution.

    http://www.graphitestore.com/

    That should give you what you need, rubo. They have .375 inch by 48 inch round rodes. That should suit your purposes well. I would love to hear your findings.

    Hey, Ken, thanks for your contribution. I appreciate seeing your posts around here, and I think it is spectacular that the owner of a major reputable bass creator (note I didn't say manufacturer, 'cause you can't manufacture art) come here to give us some expert advice. Keep up the great work.
     
  10. pgurns

    pgurns

    Dec 26, 2003
    Northern, IL
    First off I want to thank you , Ken, for your input and second what Trevorus said. I do appreciate the input.
    I never really thought about there being a big diffeence in carbon fiber but now that you mention it does make sense that there would be.

    Since wood is a naturally ocuring and therefore limited in supply and quality I can see someone not wanting to divulge there source for quality wood and while I personally don't see what difference it would make letting othes know where you buy your carbon from, I respect your decision.

    Thanks to Ken and everyone else that contributes to me and the forum.
     
  11. :crying:
    I really am disapointed on the behaviour of some of the more established luthiers (or should I say, 'company owners'). Having talked before with some well established luthiers who were very willing to share and help with all questions that I had (not in a forum, but personally through email) it's just sad to see someone behaving as if they are the be all end all of electric basses. Personally, I would rather deal with someone who is a little more humble.

    I can only imagine that he doesn't deal directly with customers. Either that or he sucks up to the customer and treats us, beginers and/or hobbyists, like crap.
     
  12. i hope this isnt pointless i read in ken's frist post about the memory of steel. iam a metal worker u were right and wroung there's so many different types of steels and Aluminum's if u get the right type of alloy and do certin things like harding u can make the metal so its alot stiffer.
    iam just haveing a hard time wording it.

    about ken not saying were he gets his Graphite. its like asking nestle were they get there coco.or wat typ of milk do they use.
    iam 19 and i under stand u need to keep things under rap. cause if ur doing something better then soem one else thell try to do the same
     

  13. If all he cared about was money, he wouldn't have responded to your original question with such an informative answer. He took time out of his schedule to offer up some advice. Regardless of if you think he is being an ass, show some appreciation for his educated input.
    He answered your question. It is not his duty to tell you where to go get materials from. Him being nice enough to drop in an answer here and there to our questions does not mean that you can demand information about his suppliers. He runs a very well respected business, and has assets to protect. No one in his position would randomly just give away information on relationships that they have worked to obtain with suppliers.
    Like Ken said, he does not tell people where to go buy wood, but offers to sell some if requested. Perhaps you should have politely contacted him privately about obtaining some graphite from him. Even if he would have said no, it never hurts to ask.

    And to try and help you out a little (so that I'm not just jumping into a pissing contest)- some people use the graphite rods sold by Stewmac (www.stewmac.com).
     
  14. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    This thread is borderline surreal.

    I think the US mint gets some of their paper from Crane, which is in Pittsfield MA where I grew up.

    If anyone is planning on printing a $10,000 bill, that is.
     
  15. rubo

    rubo

    Aug 25, 2003

    SkGuitars - please read my last post carefully, its not that the replied or didn't it's the attitude that he brings, and it's not the first time he does it. Also don't forget, how many US Mints do you know? And how many bass makers do you know, or how many government owned bass making companies do you know. I think there is a slight difference here, it's not like no one else uses graphite, and he's the only one that uses it, there for by telling his secret supplier he'll loose his business. If you're confident in your skill and the quality of the product you put out, then you would never worry about sharing some of that info. A true master builds his reputation on his skill.

    Cheers
     
  16. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    Mods, can we get someone to delete this whole thread? I think it has gotten out of hand and off topic. :mad: :rollno:


    I would also like to apologize to Ken(I hope you will continue to enlighten us). I feel honored to have such great builders in our presence. If some of you didn't realize it, he gave an EXCELLENT answer to the original question.

    sorry to pgurns too, this is a good question that deserves some answers.
     
  17. I dunno. I perceived Ken's responses as definitely disrespectful. If it wasn't for people like us TB'ers (and obviously others) he wouldn't be as successful as he is. Did he need to give answers to Rubo's questions? Of course not. Did he need to be condescending in the process? Definitely not!

    I have spoken to Bill Conklin numerous times via e-mail. When talking about having him build me a bass, and also to request info on a Conklin I found on e-Bay. Each and every time we "spoke" he was nothing but polite and helpful, even when he had absolutely nothing to gain, and possibly something to LOSE if I bought an e-Bay instrument over a Conklin custom.

    If Bill responded in a similar way to Ken's response, I immediately would have looked elsewhere for my instruments. Look at all of Carey Nordstrand's posts on here. He has the utmost respect for everyone on TB. I have no doubt that is one of the many reasons he is so successful (besides the fact that his instruments are some of the most incredible I have ever seen). I have also recently spoken to Jean Pierre from JP basses regarding possible having a bass built for me. Again, nothing but polite and respectful.

    I have no doubt Ken Smith basses are excellent instruments. I am not a fan of the styling however. This of course is personal preference. If I was in love with the styling and considered ordering one, the posts on here would shy me away instantaneously. Just my 2 cents.
     
  18. LajoieT

    LajoieT I won't let your shadow be my shade...

    Oct 7, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    Well I don't read ANYTHING in Ken's response that warranted that sort of backlash. It's clear from your misunderstanding of Ken's early posting about wood supplies that you feel some ongoing issues with him. I've read a LOT of his posts and I always give them the weight they deserve. They are the opinions of a very inteligent man who deeply believes in the things he does and the ways he does them. His build philosophy seems very traditional, which is often at odds with some of the newer builders, but it's his philosopy and I respect his dedication to it. I have often felt quite strong disagreement with his views, but he also know FAR more than I do, and even if we were equals his opinions would be just as valid. As far as his sarcasm in his response, as is said often in online forums, take a step back and read it from the lighter side. Too many people like to put the worst tone into a response instead of giving it the light-hearted tone it was likely meant as. This is the #1 cause of many a flame war.

    I for one greatly appreciate ANY input by Ken and any of the other luthiers out there and if your post has any negative impact on Ken's willingness to share his ideas and opinions then I would hold that firmly against you, and as for your original post, I think your language and tone FAR exceeded ANY (even irrational) misinerpretation of Ken's tone, as well as falling far over the lines of respect dictated by the Owner and Mods of this forum. I can clearly see a case for at least a short vacation for you, but I see no justification for any sort of action agains Ken.
     
  19. LajoieT

    LajoieT I won't let your shadow be my shade...

    Oct 7, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    :confused: :confused: :confused: :confused: :confused:

    I'm not exactly an expert on The History of Bass Builders (Ken, however is incredibly knowlegeable on the topic, but It wouldn't surprise me if he decided to stay out of this thread from here on out) but I'll venture to say that Ken was EXTREEMLY sucessfull LONG before TB was even technically possible. Granted this is a GREAT forum and I'm not putting it down in ANY way, but get some perspective, TB will NOT make or break ANY manufacturer. Case in Point: Wish has built and SOLD over 400 instruments.
     
  20. rubo

    rubo

    Aug 25, 2003
    Eric my thoughts exactly. I think the only reason Ken is on those forum is to gain fame more then give advise. Other builders as mentioned by Erick, never come off as begin better of smarter then anyone here and never rub it in your face. Too many people are way soft this forum to confront such disrespectful behavior. If you say he should stay out of it, then stay out of the forum for good, otherwise you'll be confronted every single time for your bad attitude. And if he wanted to prove me and others wrong, then he would respond to my comment and not hide behind his keyboard. And yes lots of new and upcoming luthiers became known purely form Talkbass, obviously Ken was known before TalkBass, but I'm sure his bases become more known and more popular with a help of Talkbass. That's why I insist we don't delete this thread, so people can see the bad side of him as well as the good side - which ever it is.

    Cheers
     



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