Laminated Necks, what's your take ??

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by topcat2069, Dec 26, 2013.

  1. topcat2069


    Dec 2, 2007
    Palm Springs
    Without tilting the pot one way or another, what's you're take on laminated (3, 5, 7 or more) necks ?? just wondering what other people think... I've had a couple and I want to see if my take is similar to others......
  2. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I think they're more stable.
  3. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    They're definitely more stable. That's the entire point. So are necks with separate fingerboards as compared to one-piece necks.

    They may (and probably do) have more consistent native resonances, but this is complex and hard to prove with repetitive testing.
  4. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005

    - georgestrings
  5. pfox14


    Dec 22, 2013
    Did anyone say Alembic. They sure do a good job with laminated necks.
  6. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    What exactly does "more stable" mean?
  7. Less likely to flex one way or the other due to temperature variations. If you have a neck that is adjusted to an exact amout of relief and low action the neck may have to be adjusted frequently if it is not stable due to variations in climate.

    If you have a very stable neck, like graphite or a well-built laminated neck, it may only need to be adjusted for major seasonal changes (or in the case of some graphite necks, never). I adjust my Carvin neck a couple of times a year - beginning of Summer and beginning of Winter. My Modulus - no adjustment possible or needed. Other basses vary.

    High-paid touring bands take techs with them so that their guitars and basses can be adjusted for every venue that they play.

    Rick B.
  8. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    So, the wood in the laminated necks does not swell and contract as RH changes? What is it about the laminations that changes the wood?
  9. Remus_Redbone


    Dec 27, 2010
    Western AR
    A couple differences between laminated layers of wood, vs. solid wood. #1. There is "less wood" present in a piece of laminate that is the same size a piece of solid wood. There's a significant quantity of glue present that, depending on the type, won't absorb moisture nearly as much as solid wood.

    #2 and also the big contributor to stability, is the variation in grain direction in laminates. Wood is not uniformly resistant to movement, that is, it will bend or bow in one direction easier than in another direction based on how the grain is oriented. Laminate can be a couple pieces sliced off the same chunk of wood, and glued back together with the grain in the opposite direction, or it can be multiple layers with different grain orientation in each layer.

    Recap; less moisture absorbed due to less wood & more glue.
    Less movement when moisture is absorbed due to a mixture of the "direction" of the wood grain in each layer, which counteracts bowing.
  10. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Ironically, my one laminated neck bass is the least stable of the stable. It moves if you look at it funny. However, I *do* attribute that mostly to the tung oil finish.
  11. Matthew_84


    Nov 7, 2010
    I like them a lot. I'd still buy a bass without them, but it is definitely another check in the pros column.
  12. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    So, you think wood glues are hydrophobic, and therefore absorb less moisture. Are you sure they are not hygroscopic?

    Also, what is your estimate of the volume fraction of glue in a typical laminated neck? Sufficient to influence the overall moisture uptake and release?
  13. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    It doesn't twist or warp, which a one-piece neck is somewhat prone to fatally do over the long haul, especially if poorly cured. Cap fingerboards also tend to prevent this.

    Previous explanation is more about "rigidity" than stability, though it's a similar issue. A laminated neck tends also to be stiffer, more "rigid," which means that it is less prone to flexing from whatever cause.
  14. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass **** Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    I've played both types of necks that were both rock-solid and suspect. A friend of mine had a six string Alembic that he ordered specifically with a very thin(front to back)neck and it required adjustments frequently, he had really small hands. I wouldn't call it unstable, it just required more attention than I would want to deal with. I had a Fender GL Jazz that acted like a wet noodle, it was a single piece of maple with a rosewood board. My old Dingwall is made from 9 pieces of maple with a rosewood or FP board and some graphite reinforcement and it never, ever needs adjustment, I've got several Fenders that are rock solid as well and they're old school with no graphite. Modern Dingwall necks aren't laminated any more and to my knowledge they are highly stable.
  15. Stable.
    Look cooler.
    Great for ERBs, cuz huge pieces of exotic wood for a huge neck is expensive.
  16. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    In all my years of owning and playing too many basses of all constructions, and defining stable to mean response to moisture, I have never had a neck twist or warp. My 62 J has the most "stable" neck I have ever seen, except graphite, which is equally "stable." Other necks of laminated or monolithic design require more frequent truss adjustment, like a couple times a year. Nothing I would call an issue. My <2c.

    Of course, I have been "convinced" by the TB sages that the material or construction of the bass doesn't matter for tone; so, I won't go there.
  17. topcat2069


    Dec 2, 2007
    Palm Springs
    Great answers... now my take; all of the Lam necks I've had or played on have had zero dead or "soft" spots and the feel is better (my opinion, YMMV) than any "regular construction*" necks I've played on or owned. I think I would rather have a multi lam neck (5 to 9 sections or even a three piece same blank) than graphite or even steel reinforcement bars.. (of which I've had a few...)
    I don't know the science, I just know the feel (for me)

    Other than no dead spots, the feel (subjectively) has a more wooden, natural vibe (than, say, steel reinforcement bars)... I have no idea if there is or would be a tonal change or if there was, would it be noticeable in a Band setting.

    * that would be one piece, one piece with a finger board regular truss rod.
  18. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    I have several laminated necks. Some neck thrus & one bolt on.
    One neck thru is extremely stable & I live in New England.
    For comparison I had a Fender Jazz years ago and that neck needed
    constant attention.
  19. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Unfortunately, different wood species...and even different cuts of the same a multi-lam configuration react differently to temperature and humidity dynamics. This is why "ridges" often appear on the back of the neck...the Warwick 3 piece wenge is the first to come to mind.

    Stability? I have yet to see anything conclusive.

  20. I have never need to adjust the neck on my Aria SB-1000. Without a doubt the most stable neck I've encountered. f2vss2.