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Carbon vs Graphite?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Suntory, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. Suntory


    Jun 8, 2012
    Would someone please explain the difference between Carbon Fibre and Graphite. Feel free to really dumb it down. I have a friend that has a MM Stingray with a Graphite neck, I don't like it, just isn't slippery enough for my taste. I know it's all about stability with Graphite.
  2. I think the graphite is embedded within the neck to give it strength. Same with carbon fibre. The feel of the neck shouldn't change as a result, maybe you just didn't like that neck. I could be wrong though.

    - Jimmy Rage
  3. Graphite is a stacking of monatomic layers of carbon (graphine), it's what a pencil lead is.

    Carbon fibre is a composite where you make a weave of material from (generally) graphite, mold it into place and set it in a polymer resin.

    Though I doubt any of that helps describe the difference in application as a bass neck :p
  4. Smilodon

    Smilodon Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2012
    It depends on what you are actually talking about.

    A "graphite neck" is usually a neck made from weaved carbon fibers.

    Some may call a neck reinforced with carbon fiber rods a graphite neck. In that case the neck will look and feel like any neck. It just have rods to make it stiffer. (Less prone to bending and warping)

    In any case, you don't feel the actual carbon fibers (Graphite). In CF necks the CF is buried in epoxy (Some are also lacquered just like normal necks). If there are stiffening rods they are also buried in lots of wood and (probably) lacquer.

    What you are describing is the finish of the neck. It have nothing to do what the material it contains. Very glossy necks may often feel a bit "sticky" while necks finished with a more matte surface will feel smoother. If a neck is vaxed, for example it may feel less sticky.
  5. jim777

    jim777 Tarantula Lobbyist

    Aug 7, 2006
    South Jersey
    Get a $3 can of Finger Ease and spray the back of the neck. Problem solved.
  6. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    FYI, every single "graphite" necked bass is just carbon fiber. It's a misnomer.

    They should all be called carbon fiber.
  7. AuntieBeeb


    Dec 12, 2010
    Yeah. Real graphite wouldn't cope too well with string tension - remember that it's used as the "lead" in high-quality pencils!
  8. I dunno, I've not looked at the numbers but I suspect it would be ok with the string tension. Wouldn't want to drop it though!
  9. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Strength would be waaaaaay more than fine, even if being in bending would not be ideal. But it would be fine. Just very heavy. And pointless.
  10. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    If you like the bass otherwise then a few minutes work with some very fine sandpaper or steel wool will tame the stickiness of the glossy finish on the back of the neck. As least that is what many others here on TB report. I've never had an issue with glossy necks so I don't know from personal experience.

  11. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    Pencil "lead" is ground graphite, mixed with a binder that's strong enough to hold it together, but not so strong that it can't shed particles when dragged across some other material. Soft "lead" has weaker binders, hard lead has stronger.
  12. iiipopes


    May 4, 2009
  13. Suntory


    Jun 8, 2012
    Don't mean to flog the post, my questions — I think, have been answered. My friends Music Man has the same look as fleas Modulus neck, it's not woven but layered? Very pretty actually.

    Attached Files:

  14. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    Carbon fiber's main characteristic (for it's use in necks) is rigidity. It resists bending.
  15. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    That would be a MusicMan Cutlass, a very rare and, to some, desirable bass. ;)
  16. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    Megafiddle is correct... it's the weigh-to-rigidity ratio that makes carbon fiber components a great choice on things like race car bodies and some structural components.

    Most of what I've seen in the bass realm of carbon fiber is sheets of woven composite in epoxy. Smilodon is correct, you can't feel the fibers, just the epoxy it's imbedded in.

    And, in the automotive and hobby industries, carbon fiber and graphite tre terms commonly used interchangeably, if not exactly correctly.
  17. Modulus graphite applies the same finish, it's carbon chips but actually purely asthetic. Underneath you would find a woven carbon cloth potted in resin.