Graphite Necks

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by dirk, Jun 14, 2002.

  1. dirk


    Apr 6, 2000
    Memphis, TN
    Can you tell me how graphite compares to maple. I've been kicking around the idea of a parts bass w/ a Black Warmoth P-Body, two MM pups and a Moses graphite neck w/ a Black pickgaurd. I like the idea of an all black bass, but wonder how the graphite would effect the sound. I like the sound of maple necks and fingerboards, so I would like to know the tonal differences and similarities of the two neck/fingerboard materials.

  2. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    I went from a maple neck 78 Precision to a walnut body carbon neck Status 3000 with a year overlap. It was some time ago but I don’t recall the Status being duller. There were a lot more available harmonics.

    I recently played a Modulus Flea bass previous owned by Randy Hope Whatshisname and it was a very bright bass. Theres a thread here re bright basses and my theory was the carbon graphite neck (in combination with the preamp) does this.

    My band supported another in May and the bassplayer had a Zon Sonus with an Eden WT and 4x10 cab. His sound as an observer had 'bottom and top'.

    Ironically as a die hard Musicman fan the only carbon fibre neck bass I didn't like was a Cutlass.
  3. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Was that the one at The Gallery in London - I noticed they had a bass matching that description for sale there on the web site... whilst perving bass porn at work :)

    They also have a Namm limited edition Stingray with graphite neck (and Sims LEDs). It looks gorgeous and I so want to try it out, but it costs £1,750!!!! :eek:

    Steve Lawson uses Modulus basses, he might have thing or two to say on this topic?
  4. CS


    Dec 11, 1999

    Yes it was the one in the Gallery. I've also played Steve's 4 string which is also fairly bright.
  5. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Brightness does seem to be a characteristic of graphite, I guess it's the density of it?

    My Fender has a graphite reinforced maple neck, but I wouldnt know it to be honest... they might have just conned me at the shop!

    I like the ideal of having something that doesnt change with the weather, humidity etc... but it can lack the warmth and feel of a wooden neck, from my limited experience
  6. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    I understand that the MIA Fenders have carbon reinforcement to stop dead spots.

    RE the lack of warmth I never had a problem even though I went to basses with minimal if any finish on the necks.
  7. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    dead spots...aaah.

    like i said i've only played a few graphite neck basses and only one of them i've played for any extended period of time (and it was a s**t one).

    before i buy another bass i'll definitley try graphite to the max.
  8. RealBK


    Feb 8, 2002
    "I recently played a Modulus Flea bass previous owned by Randy Hope Whatshisname (Taylor). My good man i now own that bass, bought it December last year. It really is a great bass, I just wish the gallery would list all there basses they have on sale! Nearly all the basses they have listed on there web site are all gone!!

    See ya!
  9. pd_5string

    pd_5string Admin: Accnt Disabled

    Jan 23, 2002
    Hi Dirk...

    Got to my website and hit the sounds page. All recordings were done with graphite necked instruments (Zon).


    No warping
    No bending
    No dead spots
    Very responsive
    Excellent harmonic sustain
    Excellent sustain
    (for some a benefit) no need for truss rod, or truss rod adjustment
    Doesn't come out of tune due to weather


    There is a TAD of mid range that is lacking in the sound of graphite necked basses. I don't know exactly where it is, but there is a certain subtle growl that is missing, but can mostly be made up in EQ.

    Some feel the lack of adjustability of truss rod is a con (however, I don't see this as an issue).

    Nickels sound best on them (SS are too bright).

    One more thing...graphite necks vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, i.e., they all don't sound the same. I have 5 Zon basses that all sound totally different than the other due to woods, and electronics. I find Zons to be "warmest" but that may be a function of Bartolini pickups.



  10. misterk73


    Apr 11, 2002
    Flagstaff, AZ
    Anyone know how flats interact with graphite necks? I assume they'd temper some of the brightness, at the very least...
  11. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Dec ay? Time flys. Nice bass.
  12. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    Ive played afew graphite necks, and I havent really found one that I liked the tone of. On the other hand they do have a great feel and are smooth as hell.+

    These include Zon and other high quality basses.

    It loses the warmth that wood necked basses have.

    The only reason I would ever get one is if I was going across the country giging. In such a case, graphite's stability makes up for any loss of tone.

    for instance, would you rather have a little less warmth, but play correct notes on a bass with a stable neck, or would you rather keep the warmth and play on a twisted out of tune bass.

    Sure you could just adjust the neck like mad, but its too big a pain.

  13. I like graphite necks better.

    No dead spots and so much more sustain!

    and the bass stays in tune for a much longer time no matter what temperature the room you play in has.
  14. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    Semantics:some feel graphite necks lack warmth, but I feel they have greater clarity. My Modulus Quantum has tons of clarity and sustain, and does indeed have no dead spots. The graphite-reinforced wood-neck basses I've played still had dead spots to some degree. (Not that dead spots are a huge deal, they're the nature of the beast. I love my wood-neck basses, dead spots and all.)

    Note that Modulus Quantums (and perhaps other models) made after '99 or so? have adjustable truss rods. Mine has the trussrod: I am happy with the factory relief (which never changes) but I do like having the option to tweak it if I feel like it.
  15. gfab333


    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I've played a few graphite neck basses, and the previous posts pretty much give you the straight story. There advantages and drawbacks to graphite. There is no disputing that graphite necks are more stable, and typically impart a punchy somewhat-compressed tone to the bass which can really cut through a live mix. They do lack certain tonal charateristics though (warmth, growl, low/high frequency response, etc.) that you get from a maple neck bass. It all comes down to personal taste. Try them out and seek out what's right for you.

    One other thing that was mentioned in this thread is graphite stabilizing bars in maple necks. I've owned basses which had maple necks with, and without, graphite bars. While these bars provide greater stability, they also change the tonal characteristics of the bass.
  16. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    This is probably the best description of the differences between my maple fingerboard MIA Jazz and my Moses graphite necked jazz. And Peter is right, it is a TAD bit of a mid drop (though I'd never put my finger on it till now - thanks, Peter!).

    My Moses has a truss rod, and it works quite well, FWIW.
  17. Graphite necks do offer a different sound, but that's good thing! I've owned Modulus and own Zons and love the how they are different than my "all-wood" basses. It is great to never adjust the action, but it takes all of 1 minute the once or twice a year that it's necessary to tweek my wood basses.

    Regarding dead spots, my Sadowskys have none. So, it's more wood choice and design quality than graphite vs. wood, IMHO.

    Also, my Sadowskys and my Fender Relic have a straighter board than my Zon - I can just get a piece of paper between the string and the fret (or fretboard) at the 12th fret (holding down the string at the first and last fret).

    I like 'em both! (Should have never sold that Modulus...)

  18. On the warmth issue for graphite, Joe Zon has started putting a "satin" finish on his necks. This is really nice. They feel warm, like wood and fast! I have a non-satin Zon and one that he just redid to satin. I'm sending him the other one soon.
  19. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    I think that the warmth that most of the people in this thread are referring to is the tone, not the feel.

    That said, ®'my Zon is the warmest sounding bass I own'.*

    *This saying is a registered trademark of Brad Johnson.
  20. pd_5string

    pd_5string Admin: Accnt Disabled

    Jan 23, 2002
    That "warmth" thing is a joke. Wood necks basically are able to add (or subtract) more complex harmonic structures. That being said, it isn't a warmth thing. Besides, many like Wenge necks which have very little resonance.

    I think graph necks got a bad wrap back in the days when Modulus basses came standard with EMG's. THOSE have a definite lack of warmth. Can't say my Zons do. WHile working with Zon at the 2000 NAMM all people kept say ing was, "Wow, I can't believe how clear yet warm these basses sound."

    I just got the FMT bass (see other thread) Am Del Fender, and my line coil Zons sound VERY close to the J. Zons aren't strung through body, but I wonder how much closer it would be if that were the case. In a recording, I would bet most bassists never mind most avid music listeners wouldn't be able to tell the difference that my Zon was played or a Fender J was played.