what are the pros and cons of a graphite neck?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ::::BASSIST::::, Mar 11, 2005.

  1. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    I am considering a moses graphite neck. What are the pros and cons of graphite?
  2. I have a Modulus.

    Pros: Consistantly stays in tune.. Consistant sound throughout the whole neck.. Reliable. Hardly needs adjusting. Endless sustain

    Cons: More expensive. Not a very "organic" sound. Very refined and precise (to me thats kind of a con.. I like a nice woody sound)

    I love my Modulus how it is. But, if I were to get another one, I would atleast get a wooden fretboard.
  3. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    No experience with Moses, but with Steinberger and Status. They're solid, extremely stable (temp/humidity), stays in tune, very tough and have a very wideband even tonality that lots of people will often describe as 'sterile'. I don't agree, but they usually don't sound 'vintage' either. Judicious EQ can make it close enogh for stage.
    The only instrument I really want would be Status Kingbass Artist which is a graphite neckthrough.

    Lots of instruments now have graphite reinforcement rods in the neck which stabilises them and still leaves them 90% wood, but these don't sound like all graphite necks ime. Whether that's good or bad depends on your opinion.

    There are also a number of different ways of making a graphite neck, and I guess they all sound different to some extent.

    Graphite and carbon fibre are terms that are usually used interchangably.
  4. sargebaker

    sargebaker Commercial User

    May 2, 2004
    Montreal QC CA
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    Pros: SOund if it's the sound you're looking for
    COns: Damn expensive! and I heard form 1 person (and 1 person only so take it with a grain) that they had alot of deadspots (Moses) likewise I've heard form a few who have disagreed
  5. I've heard a couple people that said they had deadspots on their graphite neck.. While I have never experienced it, Im sure it happens.

    My impression is a graphite neck has to be made CORRECTLY the first time.. If not, might as well throw it away. Wooden necks, there is a lot you can do to adjust it correctly (truss rod, wood working, humidifing it to get it back into shape {i'm not exactly sure what that process is called}). But, graphite necks have to be on the mark when they roll out of the assembly line.

    Go out and play a modulus, or any graphite neck, and see if thats the sound you want. Some people dig it, some dont.
  6. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    I have no experience with Moses necks. Supposedly, they sound 'woodier' than Modulus or Steinberger.

    I do have experience with Zon composite necks. I have had my Sonus Custom for over three years now. It is very woody and warm sounding, warmer than most of my wood neck basses. But it is also much more stable.

    The only time the neck has ever moved is one hot July day when we played in 105 degree heat. My basses were in the heat for 2 hours before we started playing, and 3 1/2 hours while we played. Both basses that I brought that day(Zon and Pedulla) sounded bad, and had very floppy B and E strings. Normally, these two basses have outstanding B strings. I was afraid that the Zon was ruined. Since the Pedulla had a truss rod, I knew that I could adjust it.

    The Pedulla moved a lot more than the Zon, but the Zon did move. Once I got the basses back home and in a reasonably cool climate, they were both fine.

    I have played outdoors with the Zon a couple of times sense, but haven't had the same problem. I have tried to minimize the amount of time it spends in the heat. But I now do that with all of my basses.
  7. This is not quite true. My Series 2 (neckthrough) has a rod for adjustment so does my Series 4000 fretless (bolt on).
    However none for my Zon Studio 5.

    The tone is quite amazing (IMHO). I am big slapper (did I mention that Mark King was the reason why I started playing bass in the 80s?) and those are great.
    Another thing that also stands out is that graphite responds quite quickly. I don't know how to explain it but it seems like all the wood neck basses I tried (oh my I'm gonna get flamed) are not fast sounding, like if it takes a while for the sound to be there... don't know maybe I'am a freak (wait... I AM a freak!)

    Graphite neck are fast to play as they usually are thinner.

    Finally, I was quickly adicted to one in terms of sound... Neckthrough tend to be quite cold sounding (no go for a jazz gig). But what a sustain (does it matter actually?)!!!
    Fretless is... not the best.
    Zon has its own specific sound... what a growl... the humbuckers are part of it.
    For more vintage sound, I play my double bass...
    Oh and yes, the bass is stable, no need to tune every song.

    Anyway, go for it... you'll like it (you guessed I was going to end this way, huh?)

  8. I'm talking adjustments that require more than a turn or two of the truss rod.. I'm talking about other issues such as warping from heat, crappy fretwork, etc...

    I've had my Modulus is 96 and have not had one problem, knock on wood (oh, wait, there is no wood) :)
  9. John Ruiz

    John Ruiz

    Oct 9, 2000
    Plano, Tx
    I had a Modulus, and I experienced much the same things that bobbykokinos did. The neck was very thin, stayed in tune so well it was unreal, and would definitely sustain as long as I needed it to. The sound was also very precise (which for me was a pro) and there was always somebody asking me what the heck the neck was made of at shows, which was kinda fun. :smug:

    I ended up trading it off because I just didn't enjoy the way it felt as much as wood. I almost regret it now, but it was my only bass and I really enjoy the organic feeling/sound that come with wooden necks.

    I may own another graphite necked bass one of these days, but only if I also have some wood-necked basses around.
  10. bigcatJC


    Jul 9, 2004
    I have experience with two Moses necks, and would buy another any time.

    Pros: Rock solid, no dead spots. Once I've adjusted the truss rod to my liking, I never have to adjust it unless I change brand/gauge of strings. On my Frankenstein Jazz, the sound is both deeper and brighter than the Fender wooden neck it replaced. Both my necks are fretless and they have mwah for days. As a plus, slapping on these fretless graphite necks (phenolic fingerboards) sounds very close to a fretted bass. Bottom line, a maintainence free neck with great tone that cuts through any mix I've been in.

    Cons: The tone may not be for you. Don't expect the same old school sound you can get with wood. You can get a deep woofy sound, but it's not the same as wood. Tone can be 'clanky' even with all highs rolled off.

    I haven't had any of the problems I've read from other people, like air bubbles or oddly-shaped heels. I say try them - they might be perfect for you, too.
  11. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    Pros: Stays in tune, tougher than wood, wont warp, dont gotta worry about keeping it clean (cept for the fretboard, of course), sounds great

    Cons: I havent found any so far.

    People say they are ass expensive? I got my Peavey G-Bass for $428, and its neck was made by either modulus or moses...

    Then again, it ahd been in the shop for years, they wanted to get rid of it, and apparently i was the only schmuck in town who didnt think glitter black was fugly :ninja:
  12. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    Are these graphite necks heavy? As in heavier than a regular jazz neck? I dont own a car so every gram counts.
  13. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
  14. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    The Steinberberger L2 was the first completely carbon bass, I beleive. My Status S2000 is a complete carbon monocoque and was made in 84. Looks a lot like this except 4 string. The bass pictured is the newer Stealth.
  15. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    The other day, I took off the plastic faceplate on my '88 Steinberger XL-2 to have alook inside, because a wire was loose/buzzing.

    One piece carbon-fiber. Looked really weird seeing one piece of molded carbon fiber without truss rods. I wish I had taken pictures.

    It's as good as the day I bought it new. I think it will last a heck of a lot longer than I will. It's never given me a single problem (until the loose wire -- easily fixed), stays completely in tune no matter what the temperature or humidity, and has ridiculous sustain. It's also a hell of a lot heavier than it looks, but I'm used to it. I still love the tone, and I'll NEVER sell it. :D
  16. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    Bartman, my Status is very similar in construction. No trussrod and no issues since I've had it, and also surprisingly heavy, maybe 11lbs. My brother left mine in the (black) car for a while during a recent move when it was nearing 40C outside; still in tune and played perfectly when I took it out. The guy who owned it before me loved it because it was so consistent and indestructible when he toured with it.
    I bought an XL2 new way back when, and stupidly sold it, something I wish I hadn't done ever since.
  17. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    I've got a Warmoth/Moses "deluxe 5".
    PROS: The neck is great with no deadspots. Moses necks are not "tinny" sounding and don't have the bright "scratchy" overtone that was associated with graphite since the mid 80's. The fit and finish of the neck was good. Looks cool with no script or fret markers..
    CONS: The sound lacks "flavour". I think it is even more important that the correct body woods and more importantly, the correct electronics are chosen becaust the neck will not add any real personality your sound. The neck took at least twice as long to get as originally quoted.
    BOTTOM LINE: I built this bass to do one thing only, and it does it well. The sound is super fat and super bright, it's just missing the colourfull mid variations that a wood neck would have.If I was building a bass I would not hesitate to purchase an aready made production Moses neck, but unless I wanted something very specific I would not custom order another..
  18. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    I bought a used late -80's Steinberger when my SR800 was forcibly removed from the back of my vehicle in '91. I'm not sure of the model number, it's the one that has a full-sized wood body. At the time, it was simply the nicest bass in the shop that I could afford. Now I believe that Divine hands guided me towards that bass. I find the sound rich and warm. I believe it does respond to transients faster than wood necks, and this may be some of the reason that it has a reputation for escessive high end even with the highs turned off. I haven't run it through spectral analysis or anything, so that's just a theory, but I like the sound of the bass anyway. The only time I have to tune it, even when stuffed in a gig bag, is when I change strings or play in a club with an out of tune piano, although that has to do with Steinberger's tuning system as well as the graphite neck. I wanna get a 5-string version to take over for my Warwick, I'm just not sure that modern Steinbergers have the same level of quality--does anyone own a 5-string Steinberger who would enlighten me? Anyway, I say buy graphite early and often.
  19. markorbit


    Apr 16, 2004
    In my experience a graphite neck will not influence the tone of a vibrating string as much as wood. This usually means that you have a wide and even frequency response that can appear metallic and sterile by default. Those high harmonics aren't getting absorbed and everything sustains forever. If you have the eq system that can control it, then you will have one studio quality bass tone. Graphite tends to be clearer too, all the way up the neck, from string to string.

    Of course, a graphite neck will usually be able to be setup to a much closer tolerance than wood - and with more chance of staying like it over time.

    My biggest worry would be whether or not I can lose that high end to warm the sound up whilst retaining definition.
  20. cdef


    Jul 18, 2003
    I have a bass with a one-piece maple neck/fingerboard. I love the immediate response (in preference to rosewood), and I also like solid-state amps better than tube ones because of the slight inherent delay in the latter. Do you guys think a graphite (Fender P) neck would improve the string response appreciably?

    Edit: I realize I'm asking for a time machine here.