I’ve been messing about with Graphite the last few days (as well as sorting out some exciting things for the blog in the next few weeks). More specifically I’ve been playing with a Moses graphite neck on a 4 string jazz bass. A good lesson in the effort required to customize a bass. A process best left to a professional (if you know any good bass luthiers, let me know).
As it happens, it all went very smoothly. The bass is still shiny new, but now with added punch, sustain and power. Moses make a range of replacement necks for basses (see electric bass necks on their site). They have been used by a fair few players over the years.
Swapping necks is pretty straight forward:
- Remove/unwind the strings (good time to change them).
- Remove the machine heads (if you need them for the new neck).
- Unscrew the old neck.
- Attach the new neck, with machine heads.
- Restring and tune the bass.
Graphite necks are stable across temperature and humidity, which is a big win in some parts of the world. They tend not to need any truss rod adjustment – It is just as well, as adjusting that wonderful piece of metal that keeps the neck (just about) straight is a pretty fine art.
A number of manufacturers use graphite in the construction of their bases - probably the most famous of these is Modulus Guitars in the US and Status Graphite in the UK (Status also make graphite replacement necks for a range of basses). I had a Status Graphite S2 for a while and loved it. I believe that Zon Guitars also make use of graphite (very distinctive in fretless instruments, if you’ve heard Michael Manring).
Graphite is one of those love-it or hate-it things when it comes to bass. Whatever you feel about it, you can’t argue for the benefits of its properties. About half of my basses have at least some graphite in the neck, even if it is there just to add stability.