What's the deal w/graphite? How come we don't all play Modulus?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Slaphappy, Jun 26, 2001.

  1. I'm just looking for some insights, the pros and cons if you will, of graphite. I've never tried a Modulus, or other graphite neck. It's not supposed to warp, nor ever need adjustment, just straight, stable and light. Sounds great!

    So why don't we all play graphite basses? Do they sound 'cold?' Is the feel weird in some way? Are they a problem to refret? Let's hear some opinions!


    PS (Mods, I wasn't sure if this should be here or in Misc :) )
  2. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Some people don't play them because they don't like the sound.
    Some people don't play them because they don't think they'll like the sound;)
    Some people don't play them because they don't like the feel.
    Some people don't play them because they don't think they'll like the feel;)

    Etc, etc, ...

    Graphite or composite necked basses get lumped together. There are differences. If I had to guess I'd guess most people haven't had a chance to play a good graphite necked bass... so hearsay is the rule of thumb.

    I've found I don't like the sound of stainless steel strings... but especially on graphite. This IMO contributes to the "cold" or "sterile" sound that some note. I use nickel on my Zon and Clover and they don't sound that way at all. I also generally prefer the feel and sound of Zons over Modulus and others. YMMV (if you try one).
  3. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I don't like the one's I've tried:Zon and Modulus.
  4. I just don't like the feel (oops, almost said I don't like the Fieldy !). I like the feel of wood.
  5. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I find that Graphite (or carbon fiber, or what have you) being "sterile" is almost a good thing. I mean, if it's dead flat with no tone, then you're wide open to using pre-amps, pedals, amps, cabs, ect. to get a sound that might otherwise be "tainted" with a "warm" bass. I personally like the graphite necks. Might get one later in life...

    I also think that while yes, they do have advantages, i.e. no warp, stable, ect, they also have some misgivings, like tone, which is a big deal to so many people. But, if you like that sound; hog heaven man. I'd snatch up a Modulus or a Zon in a second.

    Just my .02
  6. eric atkinson

    eric atkinson "Is our children learning "Is our teachers teachin

    Feb 4, 2001
    Zon and Clover and they don't sound that way at all. I also generally

    Wait did you say clover? Can i see a pick of it? I played one a few years back and loved it! I tried to find the co. and had no luck! What do you think of it and how much do they run?
  7. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Slaphappy, I'm in the process of moving right now, so I won't be able to play much for a few days... you could probably stop by and borrow my Modulus, if you'd like.
  8. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    i just don't like finished necks, be it wood or graphite.

    if someone made a graphite neck that had the feel of unfinished wood i'd be all over it, because i like how they sound.

  9. How come I didn't choose Modulus? The Flea bass was pretty good sounding with a nice shape to the neck. It did sound a bit cold compared to other basses like the one I bought. Simply put, I thought the Sadowsky jazz sounded better.
  10. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    We don't all play modulus, because Zon basses kick ass. Steinbergers are good too.

    Just because Graphite is great sounding doesn't mena we should throw wooden basses away. It's all a matter of personal preference.
  11. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Graphite bass necks never bend or warp: False.
    I have one from 1990 and it has a bow in it that could be fixed easily with a truss rod, but it doesn't have one. Things have changed over the past 11 years and that doesn't happen too much any more and if it does, the companies will right their wrong.

    Graphite basses are cool FOR ME because I can treat them like dirt and they'll still play sweet and stay in tune. I like the sound of them and they fit MY needs. A decent amount of players will agree with me on these issues.
    I also will confess that I love my Warwick, which is the company that is all about wood. It is also sturdy and stays in tune after being treated poorly.

    I have both of these basses to cover a spectrum of sound from super-crispy highs and deep bass to the low mids and warmth.
    Ya dig?

    Also, we don't all play them because some people are stuck on the classics. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
  12. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Rojo: If your neck has a warp that's not repairable, email Modulus, they'll mail you a trussed neck free.
  13. Luis Fabara

    Luis Fabara

    Aug 13, 2000
    Ecuador (South America)
    Audio Pro - Ecuador
    What about the Modulus Neck-Thru?
    Thats not exchangeable either.

    I still want a Modulus Quantum 6 With Bartolinis.
    I spent my savings for the Modulus on the DP Custom.

    There is something that for me is a big plus.
    The Action. I believe that no matter how good a wooden bass is made, they will never match the perfection of the graphite Neck + Phenolic fingerboard.
    Wood never ceases to move, so perfect low action is not achievable as in a graphite necked bass.
    For example...
    My Cort Curbow has a Phenolic (Ebonol) Fingerboard and the action is very low thanks to the uniformity of the fretboard.
  14. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I have tried quite a few graphite-necked an even all-graphite Status basses - over here in the UK. They have an extensive range and I've tried just about every one. So the range varies from all graphite at one extreme,to just graphite re-inforcements in the neck of what is otherwise all-wood.

    I know from playing these basses for a few hours in the Bass Centre in London, that the more graphite there is, the less I like the sound of the bass and the more maple, the more I like the sound.

    As I never use effects on bass and go for as clean a sound as possible, the tone of the bass is very important to me and I can definitely hear the difference. I love the way that the graphite basses I have played felt and the playability has almost convinced me to buy one; but the sound is just not there for me.
  15. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    I've tried a Zon Sonus recently. I always wanted to. I had more trouble with body-string spacing in the area I play with my right hand. I don't think it had anything to do with the materials. I thought it would be great for fingerstyle or tapping, but that's not my main schtick. I thought the tone was very bright but I liked it. It was a huge change from my Warwick, but if I were to have two basses, I would prefer them to be as dissimilar as practical. Otherwise, what's the point? I could have fallen in love with it if I could slap it better. It's just the way I play. Some things just weren't meant to be.
  16. Well, there is the Modulus Genesis bass.. the neck is a graphite core with a wood shell, so you get the best of both worlds.
    And, there's Curbow (the real ones, not Cort.) He uses rockwood for the neck.. it's as stiff and stable as graphite, but it feels like the smoothest satin-finish neck you've ever felt, times 10.
  17. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    I've owned several Modulus basses, a Steinberger, and a Zon, too. Most of mine were Quantums, and while I loved the sound, consistency, and reliability, I couldn't get happy with the body shape for some reason...just didn't fit me very well. The Zon that I owned had some problems and I just sold it before I had to deal with it. I did own an older Modulus that was a P/J shaped 4-string, with the Fender-style neck and headstock. Great bass, but probably the heaviest bass I've ever owned.

    If someone made a graphite-necked bass that was as comfortable to play as my Laklands, I'd buy it in a second. However, I'd still have to have at least one traditional wooden-neck bass for the simple fact that there are times when you can have too much sustain, resonance, and overtone.
  18. dgce


    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    I think one of the reasons many of us do not own graphite neck basses is do to the cost. Zon, Modulus, real Steinbergers, etc.--what am I, made of money!!! Also, if you live in jerk-water US/Canada, its hard to find nice basses like those above even if you can afford it.

    Peavey now has a 35" scale graphite neck bass in the mid-price range that has gotten some pretty good reviews. Regardless, I still haven't seen one at any of the Peavey dealers around my way.

    Regarding the warping necks, I was shocked when I found out for a guitar tech that old graphite necks did this. Now makers have the sense to install truss rods.

    I think hybrid necks may be the next big thing. There's the Genesis as one of you have already mentioned which is wood but has graphite core. Then there's the Parker Fly which is the other way around with a wood core and graphite skin.

    The hybrid may turn out to be an excellent idea in that the bass makers can utilize non-traditional neck woods that would normally be too soft to use for a neck, but due to the graphite component, it can handle the tension of the strings. Instead of tapping out maple, mahogany, and other traditional neck woods, they can utilize woods that are more plentiful and domestic (like basswood which is plentiful and cost effective). Also, as the argument that straight up graphite necks are too "cold" and "sterile" the combo of real wood (in theory) balances out things.

    The scary thing about these hybrids is that we just don't know how well they'll stand up 10, 15, 20 years from now. I know there are a bunch of Moses and Modulus necks out there from the late 70s and early 80s that are totally unusable now; and if you have a neckthru bass, yr screwed.

    Reckon, time will tell.

  19. I dont like them because they are very expensive. There are no $300 graphite necked basses.
  20. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    I don't play a Modulus because I play a Zon ;)!!!

    As was pointed out by some others, graphite necks aren't immune to doing odd things, they're just far less likely to do so than wood ones. Not all graphite neck makers are putting truss rods in, Zon for example doesn't (and don't need to IMO :) ). Also, my Zon is far from being "cold" or "sterile", and I use stainless steel strings, so that is a fallacy.

    I do own several wood necked basses, and will never part with them, but for me, gigging on my electric will now always be Zon (and my NS EUB, which is all maple...couldn't swing the $6K for the composite one!!! :eek: ). Next up: Sonus Studio 5 :D