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Reinforcement Rods

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by TyKao, Oct 12, 2003.


  1. TyKao

    TyKao

    Jun 29, 2003
    So I've been shopping around for replacement Fender necks. I can't make up my mind whether to spend extra for a graphite/steel reinforced neck or not.

    I haven't had problems with neck warping with my one piece maple neck bass yet. Also, lot of good luthiers (like Sadowsky) don't bother with reinforcement and concentrate on good traditional or multipiece construction. I'm tempted just to get a traditional wooden neck from Warmoth, USA Customs or B. Hefner because it'd be cheaper and possibly produce a more organic sound.

    I do understand though that there are good reasons for wanting the extra weight and sturdiness though and am willing to pay more if the benefits are concrete. I've done a search on this topic before, but the threads center more on dead spots, weight, warping, and balance than on whether reinforcement colors the sound or not. From what I gather, the benefits seem to depend on whether you got lucky or not with your purchase.

    So, I'm looking to you all to help push me in one direction or the other. Do you guys feel like the rods make a good difference in tone? Is it something one grows to notice? Do you even notice a difference? Do you think it's crazy not to want steel or graphite rods in the neck? Would plunking down the extra money be worth it?
     
  2. I used to have a MIA Fender Jazz deluxe V with graphite rods, and the neck STILL warped because of the crap wood with a swirly grain that Fender used. I talked to two guitar builders about this, and both said they refuse to use graphite bars, that concentrating on the BEST quality piece of wood is far more important.
     
  3. My husband and I were talking about this just earlier this morning.

    I think this is a manufacturers new "catch phrase" to help them sell more newer basses!

    When you are purchasing any bass, play t, look at the neck and see how it feels. You can tell if a neck is starting to warp. You'll be lucky to find one out of 50 that really looks and FEELS right in your hands. If you find one, buy it!

    Rods to not "determine" tone at all.

    There you have it!

    [​IMG]
    Treena
     
  4. graphite reinforcement isn't a new idea- Ovation were using it on their Magnum bass in the late 70's, Vigier since the 80's. Status used it in all their wood necked basses (except the Groove bass).

    Rick Turner (ex-Alembic luthier) uses graphite rods in his basses, so does Lakland on their US models, Spector on all models from the Korean series upwards. Mike Lull uses it too.

    do Warmoth build bass necks without the steel rods in them though?

    I think the steel rods in Warmoth necks are the most likely to colour the tone- because of their weight.
    the neck on my warmoth P-clone hasn't shifted at all in nearly 3yrs since building it- sustain is excellent, but the tone probably isn't "organic", and it's heavy.
     
  5. TRU

    TRU

    Apr 12, 2002
    Northern Europe
    I'm building a bass and decided to use graphite rods because of some bad experiences with warping neck. The rods (from stewmac) are not really stable, you can easily bend them with hands. My opinion is that if the neck wants to warp, those rods are not gonna prevent it.
     
  6. Sadowsky dont need no stinkin' rods:D
     
  7. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    I don't think graphite (or steel) rods are meant to prevent warpage so much as to help prevent dead spots (which they do).

    Even ALL graphite necks go out of shape occasionaly and the ones with truss rods can still be adjusted, so if it flexes it can still warp.

    Although I like graphite rods, I agree with those of you who have stated that the "right" piece of wood may not need them.
     
  8. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    I mostly use graphite rods in my basses for dead-spot relief. They are a bit of insurance against warping as well. My latest bass has no grahpite and it's doing fine, though it does have a dead Db on the G string, like a well-behaved Fender jazz. :D

    TRU -you can't tell how stiff it will be by flexing the rod by itself. It ends up being an epoxy/grahite composite once you epoxy it into the neck. I do agree that you want to use good quality wood, and if you can, use quartersawn orientation as well.
     
  9. marc40a

    marc40a

    Mar 20, 2002
    Boston MA
    I gig with both, graphite reinforced and traditional, non-reinforced necks. I'm a fan of graphite bars for thin profile, jazz width necks and 5 strings.

    I'm not saying this because it's what I have.... My main bass is actually an unreinforced, thin neck. It's a great bass but it's a bit more tempermental, setup wise.

    I think that the addition of graphite to a well engineered neck gives you slightly more options for setup... be it high action or super low action, monstrous telephone cable flatwounds or super light gauge slinky strings.

    Unreinforced necks are a bit more finicky in response to climate changes and string tension. This is a generalization that assumes that we're talking about traditional, maple necks (no wenge, or multi lams.)

    I do agree with the others in the respect that a bad neck is a bad neck and nothing's going to help it.
     
  10. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    Well, they're not really supposed to. There supposed to help eliminate dead spots and increase overall response/sustain.
     
  11. Try Typo, I type 120 wpm, give me a break!

    [​IMG]
    Treena
     
  12. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    I guess that would be 119 wpm then. :D
     
  13. RAM

    RAM

    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    From what I've heard, Mike Tobias is back to using 1-piece necks. He believes the tonal loss from having a laminated neck is a bigger deal than the strength gained from it.

    I haven't had any complaints about those MTDs I've played...;)
     
  14. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    It's interesting how luthier's viewpoints change. Sometimes makes me think it doesn't really matter how you do it, just use good material.

    Although, lots of the old Italian doublebasses have pine tops, some even have knots, and the back and sides are whatever wood was of large enough size. . .:eek: :meh:
     
  15. DW

    DW

    Jun 22, 2000
    First, I don't think you can buy a "traditional" bass neck from either Warmoth or USA Custom, unless they have changed their policies recently.

    I don't think graphite reinforcement is a gimmick or a catchphrase, but like everything else, it has its proponents and opponents. For example, Rick Turner is a big fan, but Jack Read is not.

    Graphite reinforcement doesn't determine tone, but any change you make from a given starting point will affect tone in some way. Different style of truss rod, different profile, different headstock design, everything plays some part. You may hear a difference between a graphite reinforced neck vs. an otherwise identical plain neck, but you may hear an even bigger difference between two necks with different profiles, or two necks with different fretboards.

    As for what Mike Tobias allegedly may have said, that's just absolute nonsense. A laminated neck may sound different from a one-piece but there's no "loss of tone", just a different tone.
     
  16. Correct.......... again!


    Interesting point....:meh:


    [​IMG]
    Treena
     
  17. RAM

    RAM

    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I'm repeating what I've heard.

    For the record, I do not own a 1-piece neck instrument, but have several laminated neck instruments, and I'm happy with 2 of them. But, I can't say for sure that Mike Tobias isn't on to something...can you???
     
  18. DW

    DW

    Jun 22, 2000
    Yes, based on my experience I can say for sure that the statement is invalid, no matter whether Tobias actually said it.

    His primary motivation seems to be selling cheap imports which are the opposite of what he built back in the 80s. I have no ulterior motives.

    No one has ever come up with a shred of evidence to support any "loss of tone" argument.

    For the record, I'm happy with all my basses, one-piece and multi-piece neck, bolt-on, set neck and neck through. And I bought them because of their tone, not the number of pieces of wood in the neck.
     
  19. RAM

    RAM

    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    These are not his import basses that I'm talking about. These are his US made x35s.

    But...whatever.:rolleyes:
     
  20. DW

    DW

    Jun 22, 2000
    I didn't think you were talking about any of his basses in particular. Whatever. I've never liked any of his basses.

    I don't think people who make claims like this could even differentiate one-piece necks from multiple-piece necks in a double blind listening test, much less make consistent tone judgments in favor of one or the other.