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Discussion in 'DIY Strat Forum' started by Ian Ashdown, May 18, 2019.
I think it's a great idea worthy of a try. +1 on the SS frets and brass inserts. All it needs is pickup bobbins and flatwork made of authentic tone wood.
Gold Tone offered some carbon fiber composite banjo necks a few years back. I think I've seen aftermarket guitar ones from Asia on Ebay too. For the time it will take you to make a female mold, and tool up for VARTM or other, I'd seriously consider building a one piece guitar. Building in your garage, or can you use company space after hours?
Hmmm . . That’s a very good point I hadn’t really thought about. If the neck is stiff enough then a truss rod would have a hard time making it flex to adjust relief. We could make, say, three different necks, with slightly different neck relief . . .
We would use a finish that is heat cured and very tough. I don’t think it would be a problem but I’m always surprised how repetitive actions wear things over time.
We were involved with a CF Surfboard some years ago and initially being too stiff was a complaint. It didn’t flex like a GLass Fiber board. After analysis and a few adjustments we replicated the characteristics that the surfers like.
My background in Formula One tells me that the chassis cannot be to stiff, it can be too heavy though, and all the deflection are made with adjustable and controllable systems, springs, dampers etc. I believe these lessons can be applied to guitars too.
I recently closed my aerospace a Composite business so I don’t have the facilities any more, but I do have many contacts who can take this on. If it becomes big enough I’d re-establish the company, buy another autoclave etc. It’s really the only way to control cost and quality.
Sounds good. My experience is from the motorcycle industry and there is certainly an amount of flex that is desirable to make a bike handle well.
Most bikes use a combination of metal and composite so that the chassis flex can be adjusted to suit. I've seen various manufacturers make changes to their race bikes to actually introduce flex into a too-stiff chassis, for instance to reduce tyre slip under acceleration whilst leant over.
But who knows what relevance that has to guitars!
I'm sure CF is better than an aluminum neck.
I've had 2 different aluminum necked guitars (one was a Kramer Bass), and the moment they get hit by the heat of the stage lighting, they go out of tune.
How about those one piece ceramic guitars?
Gives some cool CF possibilities.....
CF definitely has that advantage over Aluminium, near zero CTE.
Hi, Ian. Very excited to see there is someone out there trying to produce Fender style carbon fiber necks as no one is currently doing so since Moses stopped earlier this year. My number one player is one I put together using an old Modulus Blackknife neck and a custom Warmoth Strat body of Black Korina with a Flame Koa top, Alembic PUs and electronics, and a Babicz full contact bridge. I LOVE this guitar, especially the neck. I also have a couple of Moses necks. As I understand it, the Modulus is hollow, while the Moses is solid. The Modulus feels better to me. One issue with the Modulus is that the headstock is a little thicker than standard Strat. As a result, I had a lot of trouble finding tuners that fit and none with locking tuners. Speaking of tuners, my favorite these days are the Hipshot Grip-Lock Staggered.
I think I remember a small company called Modulus Graphix that made some bass and guitar necks that were fairly reasonable boutique items. For example, you could buy a stratocaster or telecaster neck.
I have a carbon fiber strat neck that I bought 30ish years ago. It’s bolted to a heavy ash Warmoth tele body that I was given. I don’t know who made it. The fretboard is a synthetic slab with a hint of grain that looks vaguely like ebony, but I don’t know what it’s made of.
I keep the truss rod just tight enough to keep it from rattling. It is totally superfluous (strung with 11s, I think). MAYBE a double-acting rod could budge it - maybe.
I also have an Emerald CF travel guitar, and while it does have a truss rod, I think the neck may be somewhat hollow.
The nicest-sounding CF guitar I’ve played was a “hybrid” Rainsong (glass and carbon) W (deep GA body). That one really had me pondering how to grow a few spare kidneys ....
For both acoustics and electrics, I think the trick with CF is designing it to flex just enough to be “resonant” but damped enough to avoid any sharp peaks.
Parker guitars were made of this. Of course, it was just a shell ontop of basswod, but functionally it would be the same. Very strong, did not even require a truss rod. However, the frets needed to be glued in place instead of the traditional tang method.
You might want to look into those. They also used stainless frets which is what I would recommend, because refretting or epoxying would not be fun. The fretboards were SUPER smooth, almost too smooth for me.
The frets on my mystery neck actually have tangs. The board, while still composite of some sort (phenolic???), seems slightly softer.
CF over basswood with an ebony board might be interesting ....
Welcome to the nut house.
Carbon fiber bolt-on necks seems like a great place to start, IMO. I like the idea of being able to shim the neck, if necessary. After you've built one and played (with a few different string gauges) you'll be in a much better place to judge whether it needs a truss rod.
I'd suggest lightweight tuners, though, rather than lockers. If the only heavy thing in the guitar is the tuners, it's going to suffer from neck dive.
How's it gonna take the neck screws? Will the threading in the holes ever strip? I must say that I am very sceptical as to if anybody actually want them. How many of us like the traditional way to make a guitar? Of course they said the same thing about Steinbergers.
High end Fender Bass guitar necks have twin Carbon Fiber inserts to stiffen them.
The truss rod still works, and you can still pull the headstock for tremolo effect.
Simply use inserts.. just like so many use on wood necks and bodies..
Cool project. Ned Steinberger's all-carbon designs are still underrated IYAM. Looking forward to seeing how this works out, from the other end of the aerospace world (former flight test guy here).