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Graphite vs. Truss

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Bassism, Oct 21, 2003.


  1. Hey,
    On the 7 string I'm planning, I'm trying to decide what to do with neck reinforcement.
    My local luthier, who also happens to be my tech teacher, doesn't use truss rods in any of his instruments. However, 7 string basses aren't really his usual fare. I think that 7 strings would probably be too much tension without a truss rod, even if I used 2 pieces of graphite.

    What are your thoughts?
     
  2. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    Is your local luthier Wishnevsky ? Seriously, I would think twice about a luthier that doesn't use truss rods...In the case of a seven string you definitely want both carbon fibre and truss rods...
     
  3. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Do not have a bass made without truss rod(s) unless the whole neck is graphite. You should insist on 2 truss rods, whether you get graphite spars or not.
     
  4. His reasons for not using truss rods make sense when he explains them to me, but what you guys say makes much more sense.
    I was thinking of going with 2 truss rods and 1 reinforcement. I figure that oughtta be strong enough.

    Martain
     
  5. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Simply put, unless you are using a firm material like graphite, you HAVE to have a truss rod (or two) to adjust the releif of the neck for good playability. ANY wood is going to flex under tension, and that flex will change with different guages of strings as well. I'm curious to find out what your luthier has said to you . . . .
     
  6. DEVILMAN

    DEVILMAN

    Nov 24, 2001
    New York,NY
    Is this guy really a "luthier", or just some wannabe basement builder? Have you seen or played any of his instruments? Recommendation: Find another "luthier"...


    ~S~
     
  7. Well, from what I remember, he doesn't like truss rods because he says that they put an unwanted twist at the top of the neck. Now, I've never witnessed this firsthand, but it sorta makes sense to me. He says that he builds and reinforces the neck to have a slight backbow so that when strings are put on, it straightens out. Keep in mind that he mostly (completely?) builds acoustic and classical guitars.
    I think he probably builds a guitar once every few months, he mostly does repairs.
    I haven't, nor am I planning on getting him to build me anything, I'm really just getting general luthier lore from him, and using his shop. :D
    Anyway, I think I'm gonna use 2 truss rods, and 1 or 2 reinforcements depending on how things work out.
    On that note, can anyone vouch for the quality of the truss rods and reinforcements available at stewmac?
     
  8. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    I use the Hot Rods. They are the best of the few truss rods I have tried.
     
  9. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    A classical guitar does not need a truss rod, due to nylon strings. Low tension makes it unnecessary to correct relief.

    A steel string guitar does normally need some reinforcement, but only a few suppliers offers acoustic guitars with adjustable truss.

    Basses, and e-guitars, need truss rods, and are usually delivered with adjustable truss. Unless they are delivered with reinforced polymer neck.
     
  10. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
     
  11. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
    >>> Have you seen a Vigier? Thoughts?
     
  12. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    I've never seen one in person or played one. Maybe vigier has got it down. It looks to me like there is more than 10% graphite in that neck, but again, I've never seen one in person. He's been at it for 13 years, so it would seem that his technique is viable. But again, Vigier uses a center laminate of carbon fibre, not 1/8"x3/8" spars.

    As someone who builds wood necks, with or without carbon fibre spars, I would never dream of building a neck without a truss rod because 9 times out of 10 they require some adjustment before they set up to my liking. Maybe if I had access to thick pieces of fibre, I would give the 90/10 idea a shot (I'd probably opt for 80/20 ;).

    Do all Vigier basses have the Delta Metal fingerboard? I wonder if that does anything to help the stability of the neck.
     
  13. Interesting. If I had the money/time/skill to experiment with carbon fibre I might give that a try.
     
  14. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
    >>> Nope, Delta Metal is an option on
    fretless models..Never played one... Seems
    interesting though......
     
  15. DEVILMAN

    DEVILMAN

    Nov 24, 2001
    New York,NY
    I played Ron Thalls(www.Bumblefoot.com.) Vigier fretless guitar(brass fretboard)& it was very stable + resonant. Very tricky though...


    ~S~
     
  16. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
    Yeah, I would guess that this would be very
    tricky, probably a lot of trial and error
    to find just the right combination..It really
    goes against traditional and conventional
    wisdom, at least as I've understood it over
    the years anyway... Seems to work though....

    Thx
    Slug
     
  17. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    My experienc with vigier basses is that the system works but the neck relief does vary when you use extreme string gauges :(

    Remember that for example, Excess basses come stock with 40-95 strings...not that common ;)
    Stringing it with 45-105 or 50-110 and you'll see the difference!

    Also, I've came across some necks where the carbone rod had moved in the maple neck and need to be reworked (sanded and refinished).

    Matt, what vigier uses is not a center laminate! He saws with a circular blade a channel on the back of the neck and then inlays the graphite rod with epoxy. In fact the rod is still pretty tall but this is the way he does it.

    Peace, JP
     
  18. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Vigier truss is actually more than 10% of the neck. I'd say it's more like 25%. Which would lead to a probable content of approx 20%...:(

    Since it is not adjustable, you will find exactly what JP said: varying relief with varying strings (materials as well as gauges).

    Anyway, Vigier stuff is nice, with its original strings.
    I'd still use adjustable truss, though...
     
  19. schuyler

    schuyler

    Aug 5, 2003
    Atlanta, GA
    i just finished a 4 string fretless with a 2 piece wenge neck (quartersawn arrangment of grain). the neck is dead flat, and remains so with the strings in place (45-105). i'm glad i put a hot rod truss in, because i had to adjust the rod backwards to get a tiny amount of relief at setup. needless to say, i'm pretty floored by the rigidity of this wenge, but wouldn't dream of building a wood neck without a truss rod.

    just my opinion...