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Modulus Necks: old vs. new

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by duke2004, Feb 24, 2005.


  1. duke2004

    duke2004 Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2004
    Cambridge, Mass.
    I have an early 90's Quantum 5 that has amazing tone, no truss rod. I have heard some say that the old ones sound better due to perhaps there being more material in the neck, since there obviously needs to be a pocket for the newer models with truss rods. I have also heard that all models have a scalloped cross section hollowed inside. Anyone know? Whats your opinion on tonal variations in their necks?
     
  2. andysvec

    andysvec Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2004
    Guam
    Great thread, I'm interested in this too. I've had my '92 Q5 since new and has always been my main bass. I'm in the market for a Q6 now, and have asked myself this same thing. I didn't even know they started putting trusses in them until I read some posts here. I've never had any problem with mine with no truss, and I live on Guam so you can imagine the temp extremes it's been through from an ice cold ac banquet room to a beach gig in the hot sun and humidity. But I am curious on the tonal variations of these different necks, new Mod vs old Mod.
     
  3. I have a 1996 (without truss rod).. Ever since they starting putting the truss rods in, they just dont feel or sound the same to me.
     
  4. Szipmonk

    Szipmonk

    May 11, 2004
    NYC
    I've played old Quantums without truss rods and compared them to the Quantum I own with a truss rod. To be honest, I really couldn't hear a difference. I like the idea of having a truss rod even if I never use it. Insurance, if you will.
     
  5. My understanding is that all Modulus necks are hollow inside, so if anything I expect the truss rod models have more material inside the neck because of the truss rod channel.

    I had one of the older ones without the truss rod many years ago, but I haven't compared the two types side by side to know if there are really any tonal diffeerences.

    Mike
     
  6. BruceWane

    BruceWane

    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    The necks are definitely hollow. I've had some of the tuning keys out of my Q6, and the head stock material is 3/8" thick or less. I would guess that perhaps the material gets thicker as you get closer to the neck heel, since there is more stress there, but they're definitely more hollow than not. I wouldn't say it's scalloped out, it's way beyond that; it's essentially just a shell of carbon fiber. That's all that is neccessary due to the strength of the material, and besides that, a solid carbon fiber neck would weigh a ton. It's got about the same weight density as fiberglass, so you can imagine how much a solid stick of the stuff would weigh.

    Since their truss rods are not designed to bear any of the stress placed on the neck (relief adjustment only), I'd guess that the truss rod necks have a little more overall mass than the non-truss rod necks. That will affect the tone to some degree, although the difference may be so small that average ears won't hear a difference. I've never had my Q6 (no truss rod) next to another to compare, but I'd bet that you'd probably get more variation in tone from different pieces of wood used for the bodies.

    I have heard that the non-truss rod necks are a little thinner front-to-back than the truss rod necks. I don't think that they neccessarily added the thickness because of the truss rod, more than likely they just thickened them up to be a little closer to average dimensions - the non-truss rod necks are very thin by any standard.
     
  7. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    It's technically not a truss rod. Modulus likes to call it something like a "relief adjustment".

    I have had 3 Moduli and they all lacked the rod. I loved em. I have not even played one with a rod, but I'd imagine the tonal difference would be nominal. The graphite keeps the tone pretty clean and clear, so most tonal difference would be caused by the body wood and the qualities that it posesses.
     
  8. Basshammer

    Basshammer

    Feb 25, 2005
    Florida, USA
    I have two Modulus Q5's from 96 and 97, which do not have truss rods. I briefly had another Modulus Q5, with a truss rod, and it also had a Granadillo fretboard. I didn't notice much difference in playablity or weight, and even with the wood fretboard, the sound was still pretty close to the other two.

    What I'd really like to know is how do those old neck through Moduluses sound compared to the bolt-on's.
     
  9. I've played a couple of those, and they almost seemed like a different animal--very "deep", if that makes sense. I really liked them, even better than the bolt-ons.

    Mike
     
  10. duke2004

    duke2004 Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2004
    Cambridge, Mass.
    my question about the cross section of the old non truss rod necks was about the amount of graphite material. i cant say for sure but a piece of metal is likely not going to add to the tone even it there is technically more material in the neck. but from above posts it seems that the cross section and sound of non truss rod necks is similar to new necks. I can believe that, since the graphite sound is rather the dominant tonal influence, rather than a few mm more or less in graphite thickness.
    What seems interesting is the observation that even a wood fingerboard may not effect the tone as much as the difference in bolt on vs. neck thru. I would like to hear more comments about the neck thrus...again im a little skeptical that it makes a big difference. I mean how much more sustain and fundamental can you get..or use or want, above what the bolt on neck gives you?
     
  11. BruceWane

    BruceWane

    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Well, consider that no matter how stiff the neck is, approximately 25% of the overall load bearing structure is the body. While most of the body is considerably thicker than the neck, the neck pocket is relatively thin. So you've got some compromise there in the overall stiffness of the structure.

    It's not a very big difference, but it is there.

    My Q6 is a neck through (these were called TBX models; the bolt-ons are called SPI's), and unlike every other bass I've ever played, you feel pratically no vibration in the body or neck when you play. Nearly all the energy of the vibrating string remains in the string. It's especially noticeable with the low B string - my 5's all resonate a lot more on the lowest notes. That means that some of the energy of the vibrating string is being transfered into the neck and body of the bass where it dissipates instead of remaining in the string to be sensed by the pickup. That's not necessarily a bad thing - the various frequencies that are absorbed and damped by the structure of the bass are what gives different woods and construction methods their signature tones.

    With the stiffness of a structure that is all carbon fiber, practically no frequencies are damped or absorbed by the neck or body, so when you pluck a string it's "all there". Technically speaking, if you had an EQ with a bazillion ultra narrow bands, you could emulate practically any bass sound you wanted to. I recall reading that this was Ned Steinberger's original intention for his carbon fiber basses.

    Anyway, my neck through Q6 is the deepest sounding bass I've ever played, and I think that is due to the ultra low frequencies not being damped by the structure of the neck or body. It has a depth and clarity that my Genesis 5 and my Dingwall AB1 do not. The AB1, with the extended scale length, does have really great focus to the pitch of the low notes, but it's still a different thing from the TBX. The Genesis has a resonance all it's own, too. I don't consider these basses to be any less than my TBX, just different. The TBX is fretless and the others are fretted, so aside from the different basic tonalities, they serve different purposes.

    The neck throughs are extremely rare though, and from what I've heard Modulus has no intention of making them again. I've heard a few times that there were less than 100 made. So if you want one, it's gonna be a long search. They are different, but they're not that different, so I wouldn't go too far out of my way or pay a ridiculous price to get ahold of one. I just happened to run across this one on e-bay, and got it for what I felt was a reasonable price ($1900). It's loaded, coca bola top, Bart quad-coils and preamp, and in nearly perfect shape, so I think it was a fair deal.
     
  12. NV43345

    NV43345

    Apr 1, 2003
    I have a 1990 Q4. The only Bass like it I ever got to really sit down with and play A/B is my freinds Genesis 5. I liked the
    tone from my Bass better. But that is just me the Genesis 5
    was really a nice playing Bass.
     
  13. Halftooth

    Halftooth Supporting Member

    Nov 24, 2002
    Tri-Valley, NorCal
    I have owned several Q5s over the years with and without the relief adjuster, and I even owned one of each at the same time and did this comparison. The sounds difference between the two was minor, and at the time, I attributed the differences to the top woods rather than anything else. The playability between my two however was different. The older models without the relief adjustor seemed to have a slightly thinner neck and to me played better. Overall, I tend to prefer the older models better, but that doesn't mean that a newer model with the relief adjustor isn't as good.
     
  14. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    I'd have to guess that's because of the EMGs on yours. I like the Genesis, but I am not a Bartolini fan in any respect, so I have had trouble convincing myself to get one. But really, the Genesis and Qs sound a lot different, even if similarly equipped (barts, 3 band, etc).
     
  15. NV43345

    NV43345

    Apr 1, 2003
    The built in relief is just perfect for me also. I like my action as low as I can get it without buzz. I do love those EMG's. :)
     
  16. rickreyn

    rickreyn

    Jun 16, 2000
    Lutz, Florida
    I am amused at the trade overtures that specify a Q5 with a truss rod. You will be searching a long time.

    Mine's a vintage '96 with I am told the "precision-like" EMGs. I also have a 2Tek bridge that not only makes the bass a bit heavy, but allows you to play an open string and go out for coffee. :smug:
     
  17. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Every one of the Mod's that I've checked pickups on (pulled them out) had the P series from the factory. I eventually put some DCs in and the tone was noticeably thicker.

    I have no idea what the Barts are and how the coils are structured, but as for a Genesis comparison, those are J's. P vs J? Big difference! If you dug your bass tone more, I'm guessing you like a meaty, thick tone.
     
  18. duke2004

    duke2004 Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2004
    Cambridge, Mass.
    Brucewane,
    thanks for that analysis of the neck thru. it all seems to make sense. sounds like your fretless was a great find. I know Mike Gordon has played the neck thru in recent years, and his tone is as big as the grand canyon..although $30K in amplification doesnt hurt your tone either.