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Graphite necks!

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by jay_t, Mar 9, 2006.

  1. Is moses the only place to buy a graphite neck? I have a request to make a bass with a graphite neck but I would like to be able to design the headstock still.

  2. I believe Status sells graphite necks as well. I could be wrong though.

  3. Hmmm. I didn't even think of those guys! I'll check it out.

  4. Darn. They have the same thing as Moses. I was really hoping that you could send in a drawing of your headstock shape and have them crank one out for ya. Neither of these guys seem to offer that. It must be expensive.

    Thanks again!
  5. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Line™ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    molds and tooling for a one-off composite part would be prohibitively expensive

    all the best,

  6. Well... All I can do is show this guy the configurations he has available and see if he still wants to do it.

    Fins with me. I'm a fan of wood anyway.
  7. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Line™ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    too bad one of the companies doesn't offer a paddle type headstock that they will machine to spec for a fee. it would be expensive for the machining, but definitely a ton cheaper than creating molds for a sinlge neck.

    if you are near a major university (even better - a U with a large aerospace program) you might be able to find some of the composites students willing to do some engineering/manufacturing for a bargain price if you're willing to supply the molds. creating a mold for 'home use' would be significantly more cost friendly than having a big company do it for their commercial use ... and it would be a fun project.

    I was going to send you a link on the process/requirements for creating a mold yourself ... but the server is down. I'll try to remember to link this later ...

    all the best,

  8. Thanks Rodent.

    I think that might be a little more involved than I care to go into right now. I need to build a few instruments more before I can make that much effort into setting this up. I thought I had remembered seeing Moses or someone advertise customer shapes for $100 or something. If only they made more friendly shapes for customs than Fender and Musicman styles.
  9. Keith Guitars

    Keith Guitars Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2004
    Woodstock, NY
    Builder: Martin Keith Guitars, Veillette Guitars
    Hi Y'all...

    Just a thought, but if you're *really* committed to the
    concept, you could modify a commercial neck such as the
    Status to your new HP shape...

    Basically - you could use a combination of hacksaw
    (or jigsaw w/ metal cutting blade) and sander
    to cut off both sides of the headpiece, leaving a "point"
    projecting up the middle. Either fill the tuner holes first
    with dowels, or cut them completely off.

    Next, epoxy some wood on either side of your "point".
    Wood that matches the body might be nice. Flare the
    front and back faces in to the original planes.

    Finally, veneer the front and back with your material of choice. Again, matching body wood would be cool.

    I use this method for making a headpiece that matches the body...see picture for an example.
    (Note...the picture is not that great...sorry!)

    hp back 2 SM.

    HOWEVER - :eek: :eek: :eek:
    Sanding and machining graphite makes VERY BAD DUST.
    Wear LOTS of protection and treat it with kid gloves.

    Moses might make a 'paddlehead' neck, but some members
    of this board have had unsatisfactory experiences with their

  10. That is a very interesting and intriguing idea. How bad is the dust? Obviously you don't want to breathe it in. Is it a skin irritant too? Do I need to be concerned about sealing off my entire face with a serious mask to work with it?

    Any suggestions on what glue to use? Gorilla glue would be my first guess. That or epoxy.

  11. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Line™ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    jay_t -

    carbon fiber dust is way worse than any nasty fiberglass you may have encountered

    you'll want to use an epoxy ... and you just may need a primer/etcher depending on what 'stickum' you choose to do your dirty work

    all the best,

  12. All right....

    I'm throwing in the towel for now. I was already curious about KTM-9 as it's more environmentally friendly that nitrocellulose. Now I'm just asking for trouble with this stuff. It just does not sound like something I want in my garage.Maybe this customer will let me try some of Larry's acrylic impregnated fingerboards instead. Otherwise I think he's SOL.

  13. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    How about a neck made as a horizontal-lamination sandwich, with acrylized fingerboard and rear face board. Semi-synthetic, and still lighter than an all-composite neck.

    Or, you could talk to Scott Ambush for advice, he has his necks made custom, I think by Status.

    Jack Read made a headless, I think with a custom Status also. Website is gone, though.
  14. Keith Guitars

    Keith Guitars Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2004
    Woodstock, NY
    Builder: Martin Keith Guitars, Veillette Guitars
    Hi all,

    The Ambush necks are almost certainly made by Moses.

    Scott usually shows his basses at the Moses booth at NAMM
    every year, so it's a pretty safe bet.

    Graphite dust is pretty nasty. I would think it's equivalent in
    toxicity to the solvents in some lacquers, albeit for different reasons.

    In my (limited) experience, the acrylicized woods are actually somewhat
    heavy. A well-constructed all-graphite neck can be noticeably lighter than wood.

    If you're looking for a really lightweight "composite" neck, the
    best approach would be in the Parker style...a relatively stiff
    wood core (quartered spruce, red cedar,...?) with a graphite
    "skin". This is not all too difficult to do if you have a vacuum
    bag and the willingness to experiment.

    An excellent resource for all things composite is Jerry Dorsch
    at Graphite Guitar Systems...a search on TB should turn up
    a way to contact him. He makes the graphite necks for the
    current G.Gould instruments.

    Best wishes,
  15. Thanks for all of your responses! I've got some thinking to do. Not sure how far I want to get into this. I'm just building a shop now so I'm not quite up and running yet.

    I like the suggestions you guys have all provided. Never ceases to amaze me how many intelligent people play bass... I mean music! :smug:

    Can you get carbon fiber strips suitable for building your own neck? I'm thinking about using wood stringers and graphite or graphite stringers with wood as a possibility as well. I don't mind going through extra steps to make sure that the leftovers don't make it into the sewer system and whatnot and are disposed of properly. I will look into that. If I find anything I will post here for all to see!

    Thanks again!
  16. ehque


    Jan 8, 2006
    or maybe build a normal wood neck with crazy amounts of stewmac carbon fiber rods installed? i know someone managed to do 5 carbon fiber + 2 truss rods. im not sure how many strings that was tho, i believe it was jean's JP 12 string.
  17. Definitely check out Status and Parker regarding stellar composite construction and laser-fast necks. Status has some VERY cool Jazz and MM necks:

    Happy Hunting! ;)

  18. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Solemn word of advise: unless you have access to a very high standard shop, with very efficient evacuation system, donät even think about cutting graphite enforced polymers.

    Not only do they emmit a lot of dangerous gases when wamred up, the short pieces of carbon fibre that is produced is a real killer. Litteraly, if you breath it in. Semilitteraly, if it gets to (and subsequently through) your skin.

    For normal 'home shops', I say forget it.
    For professional workshops, with all kinds of protective measures taken: OK, just be careful.