Graphite Necks

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Intrepid, Nov 14, 2001.

  1. Intrepid


    Oct 15, 2001
    I was at the Status webpage and the thought of graphite necks accured. I wanted to place a graphite neck on my future Geddy Lee wannabe Warmoth bass instead of a wood neck, but is there anywhere I can get a light colored fingerboard(idealy looking like maple) with black, block inlays? Is it possible? Does the fingerboard need to be made out of graphite or can it be made out of maple or would that defeat the purpose!! This is why I hate all these high tech advancements in basses!!!!
  2. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania
    I've seen Modulus Q4's with seemingly rosewood (or possibly pau ferro) 'boards on them. It seems quite possible.

    Now, for the price of it... Who knows? :)
  3. leper


    Jun 21, 2001
    fingerboard doesnt have to be composite...modulus offers composite (my fav), and i believe pau ferro and maple fretboards. as for the black block in lays that may end up having to be a custom job as ive never seen one.
  4. Steve Mosher

    Steve Mosher

    Oct 23, 2001

    My name is Steve Mosher of Moses Graphite.

    Our necks fit various Warmoth body models, including Fender-style and Gecko.

    Although we do not offer non-stabilized woods as fingerboards, I can provide you with the correct custom graphite neck (probably J-bass model MJ-144) having a gorgeous Bird'sEye Maple Diamondwood stabilized wood fingerboard. This is an unusual and specialized wood for our fingerboards, but we just happen to have some at present.

    For our standard products I would suggest that you speak with one of our dealers. However, for this custom neck, a 4-string will cost you $505.00 from us.

    Diamondwood is actual wood impregnated with resin under heat and pressure to stabilize it from 0-300 degrees Farenheit. With this process it gains even density, and is also very hard. This, along with the graphite shaft, contributes to tonal evenness, along with sustain, growl, complete harmonic development, etc.

    We do not use regular woods. By doing so you end up with a fingerboard that wants to move when effected by heat and humidity, battling a graphite
    neck shaft that does not want to move.

    I can't think of a good reason for setting up these non-required internal stresses in a great neck. So, why not instead make the whole thing consistently stable?

    Anyway, should this interest you, call us at 541-484-6068, west coast US, between 8-4:30 M-F.


  5. Steve Mosher

    Steve Mosher

    Oct 23, 2001
    Oh yes.

    Forgot to mention that black dots on the Bird'seye board just fine.

    Steve from Moses:D
  6. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    Steve, Gard from Bass Central here. Nice of you to pop in! :cool:

    One thing: Intrepid was looking for black BLOCK inlays, not dots. Is that something you could do??
  7. Steve Mosher

    Steve Mosher

    Oct 23, 2001
    Heh Gard and others:

    I need some reading lessons , eh?

    We do not do block inlay, except as a custom job, and then only on our graphite boards, not the Diamondwood.

    I'll try to be more perceptive in the future.

    Steve :D
  8. geoffzilla


    Oct 30, 2001
    Nashville, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar Amplification
    Steve, why would this be any different than a traditional truss rod? Do you think that this holds true for necks with graphite reinforcement as well? I'm not saying you're wrong, as you most likely know much more about this than I do. I've never owned an instrument with any sort of graphite. I'm just trying to better understand your explanation.
  9. I know that having a graphite neck means that it wont warp and will have more consistency in tone across the fretboard. But, what does the graphite neck do to the tone of the bass? does it change at all? Basically what are the advantages and disadvantages of having a graphite neck?? Thanks, nate
  10. I've just recently bought a Modulus VJ with the all graphite neck/composite fretboard.I know for a fact that I don't have to tune my strings as often as I used to(the Fall and Spring in Virginia has temps that fluctuate as amuch as 30-40 degrees on some given days.) The tone is definitely not as warm as a neck/fretboard that is made of more wood.However,the preference of either materials depends on the player and what he/she is requiring of a particular instrument.
    My Modulus sounds somewhat bright and midrangy when it's unplugged and plugged into an amp.All the notes are even and articulate.These types of basses can be fully appreciated in a band setting,that is where they really shine and cut through the mix.I can honestly say I am totally satified with my new acquisition.I know I'm not nearly as knowledgeable as Steve,but I hope this helps.
  11. bassboat


    Sep 27, 2001
    I had tried a Modulus VJ Fretless for a few days last year. It did sound great in the mix! But very hard to listen too when I was practicing. Very clanky and mid-rangy.
  12. I've actually seen data from differences between a wooden and composite bass neck. It was a group project for some Mech. Eng.'s at school. They made a jazz neck out of kevlar honeycomb and C-F outer layers. Then they tested the resonance and freq. response of the two different necks. Where the traditional neck had a big spike on the low end, then a gradual taper twoards to upper range, the composite neck had a much more even response through the freq. range. Basically had a small peak at the lows, then had an almost linear response from there. Just down a little in the mids...but still higher than the traditional neck. Very cool project.
  13. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania

    I'm certainly not trying to steal Steve's thunder.
    However, graphite reinforced necks and graphite necks are significantly different. I just wanted to clarify that. It kind of seemed (to me) that you're assuming they're one in the same.

    What I believe graphite does is create tonal equalization (which kind of gives it more of a methodical touch), it isn't neccessarily better. It's more a matter of if it's *your bag* or not.

    I've heard the graphite tone described as being "sterlile" before.
    To me, a Sterile tone's more of an extremely high mid tone (some might even call it treble), like 1.4k... However, that's trivial. :)

    Finally, graphite doesn't move nearly at all, if you tune extremely high, or extremely low, it shouldn't make much of a difference as far as "bowing" of the neck. Same goes for climate, the neck won't warp/move because of climate changes. So if you use wood with graphite, you have to expect the wood to move, and the graphite not to let it.

    I think that's the purpose of them only using graphite boards or extremely hard maple.

    To the poster, who wants inlays... I believe there's places that will do custom inlays for you. Possibly DP? I'm not sure.

    I wouldn't be very concerned with inlays though, if that's all that's missing from your "perfect" bass. :)

    ...That's my $.02...
  14. Steve Mosher

    Steve Mosher

    Oct 23, 2001
    That is a really perceptive and great question.

    Without getting really technical, here are some thoughts for your consideration.

    Preliminarily, consider this. Take a neck beam, and look at it from a cross section, as if it is sliced through. For simplicity, let's say that it looks like a half of a circle. At the top is the radiused fingerboard. When a neck is tensioned by strings, the fingerboard surface is in compression. Conversely, the material in the curved back of the neck is in tension. At a point within the neck beam, more towards the fingerboard than the back (and basically at the center point of the mass of a solid beam), the forces of compression and tension are equal. In this nuetralized position, the compressive and tensile forces are not having any effect on each other. As you go from this point towards the fingerboard, the compressive forces are increasingly greater than the compressive ones, and towards the back from the neutral point, just the opposite is true. This is why, with a given material compostion, a tube has such a higher stiffness to weight ratio than a solid rod of the same diameter and length.

    Anyway, now check this out:
    Consider the relative position of a fingerboard, a truss rod and graphite re-inforcement when placed in traditional locations within a neck beam.
    A) The fingerboard is way on one side (that of compression). When it begins to move against the will of another material, (let's say a wood or graphite neck shaft), it is in a position of leverage. The fingerboard is essentially adjoining the outside 'skin' of the beam, kind of like the outside wall of the tube. It is truly in a position to produce change when it moves. If the shaft behind the fingerboard does not want to move at all or atleast not at the same rate, there lies the battle. We have actually repaired wood and phenolic fingerboards on some other graphite neck manufacturers necks that have peeled off the graphite shaft.
    B) In order for the truss rod to function, it must be to one side or the other of the center of stiffness, (the point where tension and compression cancel each other out as noted above). In traditional necks, it is placed towards the back of the shaft. In a Modulus Genesis neck the opposite is true. However, these rods still not on the outside skin of the neck, but within the neck. Therefore, the wood (or graphite) around them is moving, (although truly not applying equal force around the truss rod). Regardless, we all know that atleast the wood necks move around despite the setting of the rods tension.
    C) Graphite re-enforcement is generally placed below the fingerboard, and sometmes just to the left and right of the rod. However, properly placed it allows for the rod to still be behind the center of stiffness, thus allowing the rod to function. The ability of the graphite re-enforcement to stabilize the neck in this case is dependent upon the relative stiffness (quality and quantity) of the graphite fiber, working against the power of the wood around it to move. I believe that graphite re-enforced necks are just fine, but indeed there is generally a battle going on there too.

    So, what I am really pointing out is two things:
    1) First that the 'battle' is far greater when the moving force is on either the fingerboard face (or the back of the neck).
    2) Second, if a wood (or traditional phenolic) board is trying to move relative to a stable neck beam, the builder is relying on the adhesive to keep it together.

    As an aside, traditional phenolic is not stable. Just try putting a piece under a 60 watt light bulb. You will find that it curls up very quickly, and when it cools off, it does not flatten back out. It is stiff, but has no memory. In contrast, if you bend a graphite rod, upon release it will fully return to it's pre-bent position; it has memory. It is my thought that traditional cloth fiber based phenolic was choosen because it was black, hard ,and cheap. However, despite it being hard, it wears incredibly fast (especially under use of roundwounds) when compared with our specially formulated graphite boards (we have a low friction additive). Phenolic is also 'hydroscopic". This means that the fiber layers that are impregnated with the phenolic resin suck/wick moisture. That is why you begin to see those whitish lines running more or less parallel to the strings as the board ages. This discoloration is due to the moisture contacting and absorbing into the layers of fiber that were exposed when the board was radiused. A maintenance 'cure' for this is to wipe the board with WD-40; it works because is displaces moisture.:D
  15. Steve Mosher

    Steve Mosher

    Oct 23, 2001
    Here's is my two cents about advantages and disadvantages of graphite necks.

    1) First consider this:
    Graphite is a fibrous material. In a neck beam, it is quite often used in groups or ribbons of linear tow, kind of like threads. If not encapsulated with a resin, it is really flimsy, and will actually break quite easily when sharply bent.
    Since graphite is just a raw material, the question then arises "what shall I do with it?" Different graphite neck manufacturers have answered this question in different ways. This raw material is used, along with other materials (like phenolic, graphite and wood fingerboards for instance), acheiving different results.
    It is useful to understand that not all graphite necks are alike. You can no more accurately group all graphite necks into the same sonic nor technical catagories, that you can say that all wood necks are the same. Just as players understand that a solid ebony neck (bad idea), a mahogany neck, a maple neck and a balsa wood neck (another bad idea) sound and operate very differently, so do various 'recipes' of graphite necks. This is also true of different wood fingerboards. The folks at Modulus like to tote the use of tone woods in their Genesis necks, a perfectly good idea. However, all woods, including the traditional ones used in neck beams are woods that effect tone, and are thus tone woods.
    Properly designed and produced graphite necks exhibit increased sustain. This results in more complete harmonic development of the notes, far greater stability from heat (and of course humidity, and evenness of notes throughout the board. Different graphite necks also provide various kinds of clarity and tone. Clarity does not necessarily mean thin nor trebly. Our necks have clarity coupled with a quality of warmth that some associate with high quality hardwood necks. This clarity is highly dependent on the recipe (in part the postion of the graphite fiber alongwith other interior materials). Additionally, our necks ( and to various degrees some others) have a strong fundamental and full rich tone.

    I believe that since not all graphite necks are the same, it is as important for a player to determine for themselves the tonal contribution of each style of graphite necked instrument, and match this tone to the application in their music. Sometimes warmth with clarity is most appropriate. But at other times, especially in more agressive styles of music, perhaps a different sound is best. I emphasize that graphite necks do not all sound the same. Just find the one that is right for your music.

    Good music to you.:D
  16. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    Indeed! I also play a Zon fretless, and am fascinated by the differences in tonal qualities and even the "feel" of different "formulae" of neck. I can feel a distinct difference between the Zon and Modulus necks, for example. I don't believe there's a definite better one for every application, but I do believe the Zon feels and sounds better FOR ME.

    I am lucky, I get to sit and noodle with a lot of different basses every day at work (including a few equipped with Steve's necks), and it's interesting to read some of the more technical information behind the feel and sound. Thanks Steve.
  17. Intrepid


    Oct 15, 2001
    So how much would it cost me to buy one of your graphite necks with that diamondwood maple fingerboard and then get a custom block inlay by someone else? Also can you laminate the top of the headstock with maple...this really needs to be a traditional looking bass...Also how does the tone of your graphite necks sound like? I like alot of bass, low mids and highs and almost no hi mids....does anybody actually like hi mids? SOund awful
  18. geoffzilla


    Oct 30, 2001
    Nashville, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar Amplification
    Thanks Steve!!!!

    I have been enlightened. It's woderful that you have taken the time time to explain in detail, not only your product, but neck behavior in general. I really feel that I better understand "what's going on". At the very least, I know that I will have to try out a Moses neck. I've been looking into a graphite replacement for a jazz neck that has been troublesome at best. i'll check the website to find out the beat way to demo your company's product. Again, THANK YOU!
  19. That sure was a plethora of information.You make me proud(gloat) of my VJ.This is the first bass I've bought that used an all graphite neck.I can honestly say I've invested well.(more gloating...)
    My Roscoe incorporates graphite rods for reinforcement.I must say my LG still has a warm round and punchy tone.(continued gloating...)Both basses definitely have distinct tones and I use them for certain situations.I couldn't be happier(ending tangent statement/endorsement and final gloating remark...)
  20. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania

    I'm your anti-christ. I only boost around 1.4k. Which some would consider treble, it's more of an untra-high mid, though.

    Most high mids just sound nasal and bad, 1.4k seems to do it for me, it's pretty much solid punch with little growl (which is what I aim for), with that set aside, relatively sterile sounding.