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Would a bamboo neck be feasible?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by cdef, Jul 30, 2008.

  1. cdef


    Jul 18, 2003
    Back in the 1960's I once saw an Asian-built electric guitar that had a neck made out of laminated strips of bamboo. Now, I wonder if any luthier in recent years has investigated this material for bass?

    Bamboo grows very quickly, and was used for bicycle frames over a hundred years ago because of its lightness and structural strength. So would there be any inherent disadvantages or difficulties in using, say, epoxied bamboo strips in neck construction?
  2. Marcury

    Marcury High and Low

    Aug 19, 2007
    Mid Hudson Valley, NY
  3. I think I read somewhere that the FirstAct custom shop does a laminated bamboo neck ...wasn't there a thread about that with pics and everything recently?
  4. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    I'm actually talking to a supplier, thinking of prototyping one. Standard countertop material is 1.5" thick, and looks something like this:


    The material *should* be stable enough for both body and neck (or contiguous neck-through)
  5. Arx


    Jan 22, 2008
    Just cut the whole bass out of a single slab. :)
  6. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    That's what I meant by "contiguous neck through"... body and neck one giant laminate. You could probably even laminate a strip of bamboo on as the fingerboard. That stuff is supposed to be pretty tough, with the treatment they've given it.

    It could help put the "tone wood" theory to bed, if it worked out. :bag:
  7. powerbass


    Nov 2, 2006
    western MA
    If you used carbon fiber stiffening bars and low tension strings, maybe a thickish FB and a double action truss rod it should probably be OK. I made a neck out of red cedar, epoxied aluminum bar stock for stiffeners and a double action truss rod. It can only handle low tension strings but it is super light and plays great - smells nice too.
    As for the picture of the bamboo counter top, it looks like it is constructed the same way plywood was originally made - a core of quatersawn solid poplar w/cross veneers on top and bottom etc. They used to call this "Lumber core" and was a great product.
  8. Arx


    Jan 22, 2008
    I wouldn't be at all surprised if it's strong enough as is. You should be able to use normal strings, and I don't see why you'd need a double action rod. Stiffening rods probably wouldn't hurt, but I'd try without them just to see how it works.
  9. pilotjones


    Nov 8, 2001
    I agree that bamboo seems stiff enough for neck use. But that's an unqualified impression. Does anybody know an MOE or a density for the bamboo laminate? I was also thinking this was a cool idea, but the weight of the lam-bamboo cuttings boards I've seen seemed really high.

    Yamaha's got an acoustic guitar with a bamboo body, but I'm not sure about the neck.

    There's a patent for using bamboo in guitar construction. I don't recall whether it was in relation to bodies or necks.
  10. pilotjones


    Nov 8, 2001
    BTW the "dark" lam-bamboo is steam treated to darken it, but it has decreased strength.
  11. eleonn


    Aug 24, 2006
    Lima - Perú
    Bamboo bass

  12. Mr. Majestic

    Mr. Majestic Majestic Wood Supply Supporting Member

    Dec 3, 2005
    From Louisiana/In Arkansas
    Majestic Swamp Ash
    That's cool. It couldn't be called a "tone wood" since it's actually not wood. Reckon you could call it a "tone stalk"?:D
  13. "Tone Grass"
    Copyright 2008
  14. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    How do they get bamboo flat?

    Cut it in tiny strips or heat press it?
  15. Planers and Jointers.
  16. ehque


    Jan 8, 2006
    I think this bamboo is close to a "composite" material than simply strips of planed bamboo glued together. I'm not sure. Seems less work to completely render bamboo into toothpick-sized wood then glue it up together, rather than plane and join larger planks. I might be wrong.
  17. You are correct.
    Planers and Jointers, AFTER strips are laminated together. Sorry, I was unclear.
    Even Timber bamboo is only so thick...
  18. My question is, will the musician playing the bamboo bass be overcome with a desire to play "Tiny Bubbles" every time he or she picks up the bass?
  19. duckbutter


    Mar 30, 2005
    Pretty, how does it sound?
  20. eleonn


    Aug 24, 2006
    Lima - Perú
    Have no idea!!! I googled the pic :D
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

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