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Carbon fibre bass?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by jtlownds, Sep 30, 2005.

  1. jtlownds


    Oct 3, 2004
    LaBelle, FL
    Does anyone out there know if anyone has ever produced a carbon fibre bass? I have seen an aluminum bass, which sounded like a dumpster with strings, and recently saw a fiberglass bass in a music store. I don't know who made it.

    The reason that I ask is that for my birthday last year, my wife bought me an Adamas Melissa Etheridge Signature model (6 string guitar). The top plate consists of .030" thick sheet of birch (strange choice of tone wood) sandwiched between two .005" layers of carbon fiber. The eveness of tone across the entire range is unbelievable. This guitar has replaced my carved arched top (Heritage Sweet 16) as the instrument of choice for my guitar gigs. I have been playing guitar for 56 years, and have played everything from a $10 Silvertone to a $50,000 Benedetto Cremona, and believe that this is probably the finest guitar that I have ever played. I realize that comparing basses and guitars is comparing apples and oranges, but this instrument has made me a believer in carbon fiber technology. Given the variability (and shortage) of wood, there just might be a place for it basses.
  2. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    There's a few companies that do, the only problem seem sto be that they run pretty much what a good carved bass does. Starting around $6K.
    Look here.

    Oops, start at $7K. If you travel a lot, I imagine you could get by with just using that weird Kolstein hard-but-not-a-flight case since all you need is to make sure the bridge doesn't get shoved around.
  3. jtlownds


    Oct 3, 2004
    LaBelle, FL
  4. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    I've heard directly from Don Robertson that carbon basses can sound good even though the carbon violins sound like crap. My own teacher has shared with me that the carbon basses he heard at one of the ISB shows sounded like cannons!

    If those basses ever came down in price I would not hesitate to buy one for their durability and resistance to climate changes even if they didn't sound quite as good as a wood bass...but I wouldn't spend 6 grand on a bass no matter what...that's my loss if anyone else has the bread to burn more power to you
  5. When I was visiting luthiers in Paris with TB's Olivier, we came across one. He might remember who made it. It was a Shakesperean experience. [Much Ado About Nothing]
    Tone was OK, but without nuance or character. Projection was weak. Not worth the cost.
  6. Look here:



  7. It might have been one of those basses. I've never tried one myself, so I can't provide any useful comments, but the consensus around here is similar to Don's observations.
  8. PB+J


    Mar 9, 2000
    arlington va
    Objectively it seems to me--and I am NOT a luthier--carbon fiber makes a ton of sense. What do you want from the top of a bass? You want a high stiffness to weight ratio, and among the various woods, spruce has the best stiffness to weight ratio--the same reason it was used to build airplanes. The advantages seem clear--durable, resistant to weather changes, uniform.

    In practice, I imagine that carbon fiber would seem to lack "character." I've played some carbon fiber guitars (rainsong), and thought that they seemed over bright and a little bland, but I bet a birch/carbon sandwich would sound pretty good. If someone played one without a spruce topped bass in mind as their target sound, I bet they could makle some beautiful music

    The biggest barrier, I suspect, is that the stuff is not plesant to work with--it doesn't carve, or make nice smelling dust, or respond to hand tools very well. Instead you're using smelly epoxy resin and tool blunting carbon fiber fabric. It's more like making surfboards than traditional luthierie

    I'd still love to try one and I suspect that can be made to sound great--I believ you about that adamas
  9. I see he's playing in 6/4. :)
  10. :p

    OK, I admit it: I spent the last 10 minutes looking very hard at the picture. Then I finally got the joke. :meh: