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carbon fibre neck stiffening rods (DB forum thread)

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by bassmanbrent, Oct 25, 2013.

  1. Hi all,
    I am curious to know if many TB'ers have had these installed on their basses, and if so, what the results were. Or if any luthiers have opinions they'd like to pass on, even better. I've searched a fair bit here and not found much information...

    I have a bass that suffers from higher than average string tension and am wondering if the cf rods might help reduce it somewhat.

    I know there are plenty of lower tension strings that'll help too but I'd just like to know if the cf rods might do the trick. Thanks in advance everyone!

    BTW has anyone specifically tried/installed this product?
  2. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Hi Brent, I don't see how a stiffer neck is going to alter the string tension of your instrument.

    I've installed 1/4" x 1/2" rectangular carbon fibre bars into double basses, guitars and mandolins. They all react similarly with cleaner highs, a more complete set of partials and a quicker response. They also have very straight, stiff necks! ;)

    The 'Neck Beam' is full of air, and as many people have heard me say, air is not a tone wood.

    Here are the 'Search' results that eluded you: http://www.talkbass.com/forum/search.php?searchid=22453338

    Happy reading!
  3. Thanks Jake! BTW I guess I should have mentioned that the neck on this bass is quite thin. And the fingerboard isn't super thick either. I'll put a straight edge on it in the morning to check for curvature.

    Unfortunately your link above seems to be dead... I have a feeling I may have read what it refers to though:)

    I appreciate your thoughts on this matter and the 'neck beam'. Cheers!
  4. I've yet to install CF rods in a bass neck, but we put it in the mandos we make where I work. We install two rectangular rods (something like 3x9mm) in a slot, fill it with West System epoxy thickened with their high density filler and capped with a maple strip to plane flat.

    I believe that Robbie installed one of the Gemini neck beams in an old bass at the Oberlin workshop...perhaps somebody who attended will chime in.
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  5. Phil Rowan

    Phil Rowan Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    bassmanbrent, if your bass feels stiff/tense it might be worth looking into having a raised saddle installed (this is something I'm considering having done on my hybrid bass.. the D and G especially feel pretty stiff).
  6. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    I'm obviously doing something wrong with the URL transfer BUT - if you type 'carbon fiber neck' into the Search window on the Setup & Repair Forum you'll get a ton of results including these:



    Tension's a whole different story - give me a call if you want to talk about it.
  7. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
  8. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    New Mexico. USA
    I think that if your bass' neck is thin and flexible, this can be contributing to a feeling of tightness. A lot of the energy you impart to the string will be usurped by the floppy neck, causing you to fight harder to make the bass sound. Also, I would bet the neck is bending and your fingerboard camber is excessive, causing you to squeeze rather than apply your arm weight. The fix would be to reinforce the neck with a CF rod (as you mentioned in the OP) and put a new ebony fingerboard on the bass. Your luthier may also need to heat-straighten the neck when he/she removes the fingerboard.
  9. Thanks Arnold! You are right on all accounts. The neck is bending a little and there is a lot of relief on the G string side of the board. It looks like I know what needs to be done now. I really appreciate your, and everyone else's, input on this matter. Cheers!
  10. klyph

    klyph Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2009
    I had CF rods, a thick ebony FB and a 3/32" maple shim installed on my Kay (plus block reconstruction and angle reset,[new bridge,endpin, etc.], natch) done on my 50's C-1 by a Boston guy... whole different experience than a stock Kay. I ain't talkin' ballpark, I'm talkin' league. It's kind of shocking how much vibrational string energy the stock Kay neck/block absorbs, and how much of that translates to wasted effort on the part of the player...
  11. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc

    I have this conversation almost every day with Kay owners that come through my shop. 90% of them keep thunkin' away at factory spec and complaining about not getting the sound they want and telling me how thier left hand hurts.....the other 10% are blissful about their rebuilt beauty that they can play all night long!

    I've come to realize that when I think of a vintage Kay, this what I'm thinking about and talking about- one that has been corrected to overcome some of the original design issues. If they had built them like this from the beginning, there would be a whole different demand for them today.

  12. 360guy

    360guy Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2006
    Lansing, MI USA
    How was it uncomfortable?
  13. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
    most times i come across "higher than normal string tension" is when customer doesn't realise they have an extra long string length. Just saying. What's yours Brent?
  14. Hi Matthew. The bass has a string length of 41 1/8". I don't think it's the cause of the problem in this case. Thanks for your interest in this situation though!
  15. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
    ok, well its not that then!! And if your neck is not straight, yep Arnold's analysis is likely correct. you feel like there is too much tension in the strings cos you have to pull them down too far. good luck!
  16. david Kennedy

    david Kennedy

    Jun 28, 2017
    Here's one for ya.
    I have a seagull mini jumbo with a maple neck......no lacquer on the neck or fingerboard.
    I have a zero glide nut....it's a zero fret built into the nut. New tuners.
    It changes tuning as the humidity rises and falls.....I can turn the air conditioning on and watch it go sharp....turn it off and watch it go flat....all the strings.
    The new tuners have lower posts which increased the string tension. I'm going to go back to the old tuners...the posts are 3mm higher.
    The nut is not causes it.....it's only a string sitting on a zero fret. The tuners are locking.
    My guess is that the neck is flat sawed....not quarter sawed. They put the higher tuner posts on it to reduce the tension ....which probably lowers the effects of humidity.
    Great intonation with the zero fret.....if you can play the song and retune. ;)
    I'm wondering if lacquering the neck would keep the humidity out for longer periods of time. Any suggestions on how to stiffen the neck? bigger fret tangs??? but then I lose my adjustment on the truss rod.
  17. Might want to consult the bass guitar side of the forum, not sure much information can be gleaned from the double bass side in reference to your neck.
  18. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    I have them in my neck, it seems to be a somewhat standard thing now for neck replacements/repairs. I got a new neck a few years ago, and it is a very solid neck from Germany and they put the rods in, one in the heel and one under the fingerboard.
    I am not sure how much I feel/notice it except to say that my neck is incredibly solid! My bass became a whole new instrument after that.
  19. JohnDavisNYC


    Jan 11, 2008
    Brooklyn, NY
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar, D'Addario
    I'm getting my bass back from the shop on Monday after having exactly this same thing done to it... the next on my bass is on the thin side, and I've been feeling that it's getting harder and harder to play in 1/2 and 1st positions... turns out the neck was significantly warped from the string tension...

    so it's getting some carbon fibre stiffening rods and a new extra thick board, and that way I can keep the original neck and scroll and have solid mechanics too...

    i'll report back once i have it on monday!

  20. robobass


    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    Just curious. Who is doing the work?

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