I want to BUILD A carbon BASS!

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by alexlotta, Jul 1, 2005.

  1. alexlotta


    Jul 1, 2005
    Hi people .
    I'm an absolute beginner ,italian.
    I'm so excited ai foun d a place like that for bass guitar.

    For serious problem on a shoulder i need a light bass ,6 strings.

    With a luthier friend of mine we began to project a 6 strings carbon bass.
    ANyone could give me some tips for the CArbon?There are mistake to NOT to DO ?

    or advice to give to the bass less "cold sensation",typical o carbon?

    1) in italy I DON't find enough resources for the parts,
    i would need a (possible not expensive) shop th. send parts to europe.

    2) i need advice on bridges , pickup and so on guys!!.

    I would like to use single coil configuration ,
    for a "ROCK-bass" ,and to put them on humbucking if i need it .
    What you think about (which brands? for example).

    I've heard about EMG-TW pickups th. are both single and dual coil inside ,but i did'nt hear the sound or comments about it .
    Could be that good for me?

    THANKS in advance GUYS ,and please forgive my poor english..
    in italian there are no valid resources for that kind of things .

    Pleaze help that enthusiastic guy!! :hyper:
  2. Worshiper


    Aug 13, 2004
    New York
    Wow..sounds like a great idea. I'm sure it would be pretty expensive though. it would be hard to find a piece of carbon that large. All the power to you though. Watch out for neck dive with that light body.. You might want to consider making the neck out od carbon too to avoid the neck dive. I'm really interested in teh project so keep us posted.
  3. for pickups, you could install a humbucker with a coil tap. It will give you the humbucking pickup when you need it, but when you need the single coil sound, just flip a toggle and boom, you're wired in single... or paralell if you choose!

    I suggest, for a humbucker, either bartolini or Seymour Duncan BassLines.


    The Bart is going to run a bit more in price, but to me, it's worth it due to more "bite" and "personality."

  4. ArtisFallen


    Jul 21, 2004
    I sure hope you know how to work with carbon fiber. the way i hear it it's supposed to be hell to form into any really feasable shape. i think what is normally done is baisically lots of sheets laminated together with epoxy. then i think you'd cut them out with a computer controled water jet cutting machine. sounds too complex for me: good luck
  5. I think the way the F1 guys do it, is wrap it wround a piece of aluminum and dry it out, which hardens it. I think as long as you keep the gelly stuff in good reach you can get good shape, by Ive never worked with it, so...

  6. Hurley


    Feb 12, 2004
    Cape Cod, MA
    I don't have much experience with CF (but, with some help, I am making a CF pickguard for my Jazz :D ). It seems like building a carbon bass would be a lot of work, much more than building a bass out of more conventional materials.

    Have you thought of buying a pre-built carbon fiber bass?
    They come in 6 string versions. Status Graphite.
  7. hey, you gotta post finished pictures of that CF pickguard, I bet that it's gonna look realy sweet!

  8. Rodent

    Rodent Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Regenerate Guitar Works
    deathbloomslife - you are possibly thinking of fiberglass and not the manufacturing methods employed by F1 teams who utilize carbon fiber parts on their racecars ...

    As one who works the composites industry, I will share what little I can (restraints imposed by my employer):

    You first need to know what your finished shape will be, calculate the proposed stresses, and formulate what ply stack-ups you will need in each specific fabric orientation based on the type of resin and curing process you will utilize.

    The curing process will assist in determining the types of resin you can use, and will also have a direct impact on the types of tooling (aka molds) you can use. If you are vacuum curing in an autoclave (a big oven), you will need to account for the way a tool will deform due to the heating/cooling cycle and build this into the mold shape so that your cured part comes out correctly.

    Next you will need to 'flatten' each of the plies to determine the correct pattern shape for each piece. If you plan to trim the outer edges or interrior contours, you will need to add excess material width to the edges. In some cases a ply will need to be spliced (cut into multiple smaller plies) due to wrinkling/tearing caused by the material conforming to the tooling surface. You may also need to dart (cut wedge shaped slits) into the edges of the fabric to relieve wrinkling/tearing. If you have a significant number of plies, you may also need to account for this in your ply splicing strategy. Make sure that your cutting tools are sharp, as the fabric is difficult to cut and easily pulls apart.

    Once all of the uncured plies are layed up on the tooling, you will need to add a vacuum bag and attach the tooling to a vacuum. This will compress the plies onto the tooling during the cure cycle in the autoclave and force the side against the tooling to form itself to your finished contour. The vacuum process (with correct vacuum) also assures that all of your plies are correctly compacted together (not too tight, as this will leave dry spots ... and not too loose as this will leave resin pockets) The rate at which a part is heated and cooled is also critical, and has a direct bearing on the properties of the completed part.

    There are literally hundreds of other things to consider ... things like what type of fabric weave, tow strand count, fiber strand thickness, carbon fiber material properties, resin out time (how long it has been out of the freezer), inert gas used in the autoclave vacuum cycle, etc ....

    This might be a great project to work on with a composite materials student at a local university, as they should have the ability to perform the necessary calculations and may also have access to a small autoclave that could be utilized for curing your parts.

    Best of luck on your project!

  9. alexlotta


    Jul 1, 2005
    THOUSEND THANKS for the tips guys.
    THE friend of mine made already a guitar (or better,he rebuilt a Parker guitar ,broken in 2 pieces ,like new !).

    Problem is he did'nt make any bass.

    For bridges and part like that?
    Any suggestion,not so expensive as 120 -130 € like i found?

    Thanks for the technical suggestion ,i will have to study how-to in deep(and understand the difficult words involved too,"my bad english").

    my liuther will use a cheap ultra weight wood to give ,and using it he will create the bass guitar shape.
    Then it will be covered by carbon.

    Still cant find other particular site selling parts at resonable price.
    Someone tried also those EMG pickups,model TW?
  10. Rodent

    Rodent Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Regenerate Guitar Works
    a follow-up to my earlier post:

    it is possible to use a dry weave fabric with epoxy resin to eliminate the requirement for an autoclave cure cycle. Depending on the resin used, you will get a varying set of properties (and cure times!) based on how well you control the room temperature.

    You will get your best results (either resin method) by utilizing a lay-up strategy that has the finish edge of your part layed-up against the tool. This will cause your finished surface to conform exactly to the tool surface. If you lay against a wood core, you will have waves at all of the places where your plies meet. If you then need to lower a high spot, your will be be removing material in a manner that will leave the fabric fibers exposed at the surface. These exposure points will be highlighted against the otherwise polished surface, and they will allow moisture/dirt to weep into the part along the fabric threads.

    All the best,

  11. alexlotta


    Jul 1, 2005
    thanks.It's a bit too Technical to me ,
    with a dictionary i will sort out i hope .

    i hope someone could give me links to where to buy also the different parts with ship in europe.
    THANKS for the tips ,
    you are all great!
  12. Rodent

    Rodent Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Regenerate Guitar Works
  13. alexlotta


    Jul 1, 2005
    GREAT resource .
    that's good.
    Can i gently ask about the other parts like bridge and accessories ,some link to not so expensive stuff?

    about 120 ,with shipping ,is a bit too much for me .
    Its obviously not important if is the "ultra famous " brands stuff.

    In the ebay link there was something ,too "cheap" to be good maybe.
    Anyway i'm looking for shop to buy bridge and pickups for that particular bass.
    Or i will have to build it also? :eyebrow: :smug:

    i believe that maybe on "not -famous-brand" i could find stuff not so expensive like on the "mainstream"(shaller /gotoh ) and so on , What ya think?
  14. fiebru1119


    Mar 2, 2004
    Orlando, FL
    I looked into making CF parts for my car a while ago.. heres a good place to get materials, and they also have tutorials/books/videos/etc..

  15. Rodent

    Rodent Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Regenerate Guitar Works
  16. Greg Johnsen

    Greg Johnsen

    May 1, 2005
    Hickory NC
    For pickups, I suggest Bartolini for more of a "Growl, and dark" sound, and if you want a punchy lighter sound, go with EMG. I suggest the HZ.
    for tuners, I suggest Sperzel, awesome tuners.
    and for the bridge, a curbow international petite would work (can you tell that I like curbow basses?)

    I can't wait to see this bass turn out, should be awesome.

    I'm also staring on a bass project!

  17. alexlotta


    Jul 1, 2005
    uao .
    I'm so glad someone here help me.
    Could you believe th. nobody in italy pointed me to an italian distributor?
    Now i will check the prices.
    For "teh":hope you sort out also cool things.
  18. alexlotta


    Jul 1, 2005
    unfortunali the "wilderdavoli" does'nt have prices .
    Its a catalog there to download,i'm checking it but is poor of information and above all,
    without prices.
    I hope they will answer my email..
    What i have to say is they have more stuff than allparts on the catalog.
    But without price is a bit tricky
  19. alexlotta


    Jul 1, 2005
    Just to let you know.
    ITALIAN dealer REFUSEs to give price if u don have VAT :eyebrow: .
    That's how we should deal here ...