What do you want to know about graphite necks?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Steve Mosher, Nov 19, 2001.

  1. Steve Mosher

    Steve Mosher

    Oct 23, 2001
    I have fairly extensive knowledge regarding graphite necks.

    Should you have any questions, please feel free to ask here.


    Steve from Moses Graphite

  2. Freakapotamus9


    Jun 20, 2001
    how do they do that!? ;) :p :D
  3. I know this will be a dumb question, but since I'm really new to bass and there aren't any bassists that I can get in touch with aside from this site...

    ...what's so special about a graphite neck?

    (Fellow_Musician readies a shield so that he may block any virtual lettuce, apples, or tomatos hurled at his head for his ignorance)
  4. coyoteboy

    coyoteboy Bongo destroys villages and does my laundry Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Sactomato, CA
    Hey there Mr Mosher! Nice to see ya here on Talkbass. That Jump Bass is really neat.
  5. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Central Texas
    Now THAT's an understatement! Welcome!

    How difficult is it to adapt your manufacturing process to different scale lengths, such as 32"?
  6. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    What advantages does a graphite neck have over say... a train, which I could also afford. J/K ;)

    But seriously, I think it is great when guys with lots of technical knowledge of the bass can get their input in here.

    My main question about the graphite necks would be, are all the great things I've heard about them true? Faster? No dead spots? No warping at all (clearly less than wood at any rate)?

    If so, I think I have to try one. Do you guys make any more "conservative" basses other than the Vertical Jump Bass. Mind you that bass has the BEST NAME EVER!!

  7. Specifically, I would like information on the weight difference between a graphite neck and an equivalent maple/rosewood neck. Would a standard fretless Fender J-bass neck weigh more or less than an equivalent graphite neck?

    I would love to get my hands on a fretless Jazz bass with a graphite neck, but there doesn't seem to be any dealers around here. Its something I am very interested in, but the price is prohibitive to the point of making me wary of purchasing one without being able to try it.

  8. Blackbird

    Blackbird Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Ok, here's one for you, Steve:

    Are 35" scale 5 string 24 fret necks available as replacement for Fender style basses? (Yes, I know the bridge would have to be moved) Are any 35" scale 5-string necks available?
  9. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    If you did a fretboard that overlapped the body, would you need to move the bridge?
  10. Peter Parker

    Peter Parker Inactive

    Jun 10, 2001
    You actually don't have to move the bridge. The neck will be physically longer. The problem then would be balance. The bass would be doing some serious neck dives. If you kept the neck the same lenght and added a fingerboard extension overhanging over the pick guard near the neck p/u then you would have to move the bridge. But also you would have to shave the lower horn cutaway so that you could reach the higher frets. A 35" scale 5 string neck is available as I've bought one from him before. He made me a custom 5 string 35" scale neck that would fit & feel exactly like a Ken Smith Chuck Rainey 5 that I used to have. It was a fretless neck and the bass and neck sounded great.
  11. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Steve, do you have experience with composite hemp necks, as opposed to composite graphite?

    Miller Guitars does them, but I haven't heard or played one yet. Sounds interesting though.


    And what do you think about Basslab?

  12. j.s.basuki

    j.s.basuki Supporting Member

    May 14, 2000
    Hi Steve,

    How long will it take to make 1 graphite neck?
    What is the total cost of material for 1 neck.


  13. Steve Mosher

    Steve Mosher

    Oct 23, 2001
    Moses produces a 35", 24 fret (and fretless) versions of the MJT-5 direct replacement neck for Fender 5-st basses. Because the heel pocket is set in a finite location in the Fender body, we have to not only have the neck extend a little further out at the headstock end, but additionally provide the upper frets as a fingerboard (cantalever) extension over the pickguard. FYI: we cannot do this on our American standard graphite models (which have an integrated fingerboard), it is done on our beautiful Diamondwood fingerboard models only. The Diamondwood models have a graphite neck shaft. Check with one of our dealers, listed on our website, to find the best deal. Notably, one in Florida and one in Seattle sell and send worldwide. If no luck, give us a call for pricing.
  14. Steve Mosher

    Steve Mosher

    Oct 23, 2001
    Moses makes necks at 32.125" scale. Realistically you would not know the difference form a 32". If you measure the actual string lengths of an intonated bass, you will find that it is rare for any of the strings to truly be vibrating at the supposed scale. Often the actual active string length is longer.

    32" scale necks we produce generally end up on custom instruments, although the Stu Hamm Fender is also an option
  15. Steve Mosher

    Steve Mosher

    Oct 23, 2001
    Well, I actually did try this out. I found that although hemp is very durable and cool in many ways, it basically stretches alot. The beauty of graphite is that especially when pre-tensioned, this material stays put and effectively does not creep (stretch) over time like wood or hemp.

    It can provide tonal warmth; however this is not a problem in our current neck style.

    So, we have not pursued use of Hemp materials. :D
  16. Steve Mosher

    Steve Mosher

    Oct 23, 2001
    As long as the distance from the nut to the end of the neck heel stays the same as the original neck along with maintaining the same scale, the instrument will continue to be intonatable at that scale. So, if you want more notes in the upper register, and do not mind having the fingerboard overhanging the body, it is entirely doable.

    Considerations may include:
    1) Will this portion of the fingerboard be in the way of your styoe of playing.
    2) Are the pickups in the way.
    3) It is likely that the notes on this extension will not sound the same as those on the solid part of the neck shaft. Is this acceptable?
  17. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Thanks Steve!

    That might explain why there's no reference to their hemp models on their website anymore.

    Seems, they now do composite graphite only, too.
  18. Steve Mosher

    Steve Mosher

    Oct 23, 2001
    The weight of composite necks which include graphite can vary widely. Traditionally, Stenberger necks seemed quite heavy in themselves; these necks used the Les Paul way of producing tone and sustain, basically loading the neck with mass. This does actually work quite well. Within the entire design of the Bergers, proper balance was not an issue.

    As an aside, there are two basic issues that are critical to proper balance in a bass:
    1) Overall instrument weight
    2) Distribution of weight.

    It is quite possible to have a overall lightweight with improper distribution of weight that will be neck heavy. Of conversely, as with some Steinberger models, it is possible to have a heavy bass that is very comfortable to play.

    There are graphite necks that are hollow (chambered) to various degrees. There have traditionally been problems associated with providing acoustic chambers in the neck beam. Resonances can be problemative. In the history of stringed instrument making, the acoustic chamber has been in the body.

    Additionally, there is a perfectly good theory that one can overcome the need for mass with stiffness. This is true in many ways, but not necessarily for production of tone that is pleasing to the ear. After all, our ears are trained by centuries of listening to the sound of wood. There are graphite necks produced by some companies that are a little heavy in the high frequencies, and therefore percieved of as thin. This is generally due to a design of the interior neck beam structure that lacks mass in appropriate places.

    At Moses, we have endevoured to diminish weight, only as far as we can while maintaining the warmth in tonal quality that we feel is pleasiing. We have been successful in this.

    Our necks weigh about the textbook wight of a maple neck with an ebony fiinberboard.
  19. Thanks Steve. I appreciate your taking the time to answer :D

  20. Steve Mosher

    Steve Mosher

    Oct 23, 2001
    Regarding the fast neck question:
    A fast neck shape really varies by player personal taste and perception. However, the neck shaft surface finish can make a huge difference. A sticky finish simply puts the brakes on being able to slide move up and down the neck. There are some graphite neck manufacturers who use a Polyester Gel coat on the neck surface. This can be quite sticky when the hands sweat, unless properly addressed.

    Moses uses a satin finish that has a graphite additive that is low friction, and is fast no matter what the playing conditions.

    Wood necks are of course well-known to warp at times, as well as change adjustment due to heat and humidity. For graphite necks that especially do not have untreated wood on the fingerboard, humidity is not an issue.

    As for temperature, all materials will move, but when depends upon the particular material. Graphite neck manufacturers generally choose materials that will not move atleast within the temperature range that is appropriate for storage, travel and playing of the instruments. At a certain point the temperature will be too high or low for protection of the bodies finish, or the pickups might melt. This will generally happen before the neck is affected. The bottom line outcome is to have a neck that is not effected in the range of performance temperatures, and to have materials that have memory (come back to their original position if indeed they do change due to extremes of temperature.

    Regarding deadspots:
    A graphite neck beam can be designed to contribute to 'no dead spots'. However, critically keep in mind that all materials at and between the nut and bridge are important to the overall success of the bass. In a neck through body bass, there is entire control over the beam design. This is where graphite is most successful. In a de-coupled, bolt-on situation, the separate body is a variable that will effect the outcome. A 'good' body will not necessarily match a 'good' neck, whether graphite or wood. A good neck will not necessarity fix a 'bad' bodies contribution relative to deadspots. In essense, the information passed along the vibrating string length and ends up at the bridge saddles and nut. Everything that is in the beam below, makes a big difference.

    So, whereas generally, graphite necks solve dead spots, they are not an absolute panacea for getting rid of every deadspot.

    I have attached a more concervative looking Moses neck through body bass model, the Starhawk for Ding2 to look at.