Jump to content
wintoid

Graphite (Steinberger vs Status)

Recommended Posts

On 16/08/2020 at 17:27, BassBus said:

I wonder if it was a dead spot. Graphite produces them as well as wood. I have  a dead spot on the open D on my S2. I can understand how that would drive some people crazy but in a way I quite like it.

It was like a dead spot, but every note on the E string was affected.  Just one episode in  a lifetime odyssey of  annoying niggling faults . You can read about  them all in my forthcoming book , Zen And The Art Of Bass Guitar Maintenance. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Misdee said:

Regarding any perceived shortcomings in the overall design of the original Steinberger bass, I think it's fair to say that Ned got far more right than he did wrong. The  innovative  thinking involved in creating such a revolutionary design is quite breathtaking when you consider how basses looked and sounded in the late 1970's. It's not really fair to  say that the Steinberger L/XL  isn't worthwhile because it isn't perfect.  NS  added to the palette of tones available to bass players , and  created a bass that was both beautiful and functional. 

Let's face it , Leo Fenders  designs were not without their idiosyncrasies, but they are still superb instruments that in many ( most) ways have never really been bettered. Depending on who you talk to. 

I've owned virtually all the bass 'varieties' in my time (except for a Warwick) and the XL design is the closest to perfect (as long as you can handle the look aha ha ha) as I've ever experienced. Ultramodernism in action!

One caveat is that I owned one which had a neck bow which was a bit of disaster. One expert assumed it had been left in a hot car which had given it a warp. They can apparently be heat-treated to reset the carbon weave and solve the issue but the bass didn't have the famed straight neck and lovely low, buzz free, action.

My next XL2 (now owned by Roger on the board) was just a beauty and I miss it.

Would be nice to see Steinberger crack a cost effective moulding process and pop the cute little dub machines out at a reasonable price. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 18/08/2020 at 11:47, Cairobill said:

I've owned virtually all the bass 'varieties' in my time (except for a Warwick) and the XL design is the closest to perfect (as long as you can handle the look aha ha ha) as I've ever experienced. Ultramodernism in action!

One caveat is that I owned one which had a neck bow which was a bit of disaster. One expert assumed it had been left in a hot car which had given it a warp. They can apparently be heat-treated to reset the carbon weave and solve the issue but the bass didn't have the famed straight neck and lovely low, buzz free, action.

My next XL2 (now owned by Roger on the board) was just a beauty and I miss it.

Would be nice to see Steinberger crack a cost effective moulding process and pop the cute little dub machines out at a reasonable price. 

I've  also had most basses except a Warwick! I remember when the Bass Centre ( best shop in the world ever)  started distributing them in the U.K.  Whenever I went in to the shop , Barry Moorhouse  always seemed to be pushing them to a pro bass player who I didn't quite recognise but who was obviously someone quite important. 

I too would like to see Steinberger  back in business, but I don't necessarily want a cheaper bass if it means compromising the quality. I want a proper L/XL, just like they used to be, and I don't mind paying for that. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Guy Pratt has just posted a video about his work with Kirsty McColl, and he's playing a bass discussed in this thread:

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, bnt said:

Guy Pratt has just posted a video about his work with Kirsty McColl, and he's playing a bass discussed in this thread:

 

Ooh, handy, thank you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Guy famously owned a Steinberger L2 which got nicked and he revealed on here he still hadn’t got it back, thinks it’s in France somewhere.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe Ned and Rob at Status could get together and make a graphite Radius Bass there could be an all graphite version or one with just a graphite neck - they would sing no ?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An idea I'd like to pursue is a good quality wooden fretboard (Ebony? Pau Ferro?) On a graphite neck. 

I guess no one's done it because the expansion rates and moisture absorption of carbon fibre/ graphite and wood are probably vastly different,  and the board would either warp or lift off in places (?)

I think it might imbue an all carbon instrument with just that smidgen of warmth..

  • Like 1
  • Confused 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, Lfalex v1.1 said:

An idea I'd like to pursue is a good quality wooden fretboard (Ebony? Pau Ferro?) On a graphite neck. 

I guess no one's done it because the expansion rates and moisture absorption of carbon fibre/ graphite and wood are probably vastly different,  and the board would either warp or lift off in places (?)

I think it might imbue an all carbon instrument with just that smidgen of warmth..

I think that Rob G has made a few special commissions with wood board on a graphite neck but can’t remember if they were early incarnations of the resin/paper composite.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, dmz said:

Maybe Ned and Rob at Status could get together and make a graphite Radius Bass there could be an all graphite version or one with just a graphite neck - they would sing no ?

The very last run of Steinberger wooden bodied/ bolt on graphite necks used Moses Graphite necks with the actual blend modified in collaboration with NS. Moses are not doing musical instrument parts any more so there was a push by somebody (not necessarily Gibson connected- can’t remember!) to persuade Rob Green to start offering Steinberger compatible guitar and bass necks  some prototypes were made but the project was halted, again from memory, by Rob for whatever reason.

1 hour ago, Lfalex v1.1 said:

An idea I'd like to pursue is a good quality wooden fretboard (Ebony? Pau Ferro?) On a graphite neck. 

I guess no one's done it because the expansion rates and moisture absorption of carbon fibre/ graphite and wood are probably vastly different,  and the board would either warp or lift off in places (?)

I think it might imbue an all carbon instrument with just that smidgen of warmth..

Thing is, my Steinbergers and for that matter my Status already sound full and warm. Could it be that the full frequency hi fi aspect of these instruments just doesn’t suit the sonic goals of a lot of players? And if so, would they not be just as happy with an old Precision with flat wounds and a reduced frequency capability amp setup?

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, EMG456 said:

Thing is, my Steinbergers and for that matter my Status already sound full and warm. Could it be that the full frequency hi fi aspect of these instruments just doesn’t suit the sonic goals of a lot of players? And if so, would they not be just as happy with an old Precision with flat wounds and a reduced frequency capability amp setup?

I think it is a function of my playing through headphones and generally not using any fx or amp/cab sims.. it is a very revealing but unrelenting set-up.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Modulus has offered the chechen fingerboard option for their CF necks since 1990's. Modulus combined wood (back of the neck and the fingerboard) and graphite (the neck spine) in their Genesis range also in the late 1990's. At this time MG produced all necks with trussrods.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
45 minutes ago, itu said:

Modulus has offered the chechen fingerboard option for their CF necks since 1990's. Modulus combined wood (back of the neck and the fingerboard) and graphite (the neck spine) in their Genesis range also in the late 1990's. At this time MG produced all necks with trussrods.

So not completely dissimilar to Vigier's 10/90 neck system,  then?

Truss rods (or lack of) are an interesting concept in graphite- necked instruments. 

On the one hand,  they offer relief adjustment. I suppose that they require a little attention, but mainly due to changing player preferences rather than climatic concerns. 

Does the presence/ absence of a truss rod affect the sound, and if so, how?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I would only be comfortable with a neck without a truss rod if the manufacturer could guarantee ZERO movement, even when switching string gauges or tunings. 

030-090, as many slappers prefer, is quite a difference in tension compared to a 050-110 set when both are tuned to E. And obviously changing the tuning does a lot too. My 5-string Status S2 Classic neck definitely straightened a little when I changed the tuning from low B to A for a doom metal gig. 

Edited by LeftyJ
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Lfalex v1.1 said:

An idea I'd like to pursue is a good quality wooden fretboard (Ebony? Pau Ferro?) On a graphite neck. 

I guess no one's done it because the expansion rates and moisture absorption of carbon fibre/ graphite and wood are probably vastly different,  and the board would either warp or lift off in places (?)

I think it might imbue an all carbon instrument with just that smidgen of warmth..

Most Gus guitars and basses have wooden fretboards, although they also have a cedar core to the neck underneath the carbon fibre skin. Mine have either ebony or cocobolo.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, BigRedX said:

Most Gus guitars and basses have wooden fretboards, although they also have a cedar core to the neck underneath the carbon fibre skin. Mine have either ebony or cocobolo.

Now I think of it, The US NS EUBs (acronym hell!) Have concentric alternating laminates of carbon & wood. They have Ebony fingerboards.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, LeftyJ said:

I would only be comfortable with a neck without a truss rod if the manufacturer could guarantee ZERO movement, even when switching string gauges or tunings. 

030-090, as many slappers prefer, is quite a difference in tension compared to a 050-110 set when both are tuned to E. And obviously changing the tuning does a lot too. My 5-string Status S2 Classic neck definitely straightened a little when I changed the tuning from low B to A for a doom metal gig. 

My Vigier Passion s3 didn't apparently move at all when I changed from 35,55,75,95,120 to 45,65,85,105,135.

Patrice reckons the necks don't move. I'm inclined to believe him.

  I suppose if you engineer a neck to remain stiff under the heaviest set of strings + a further 25%, it'll stay put. That's what I'd do. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Lfalex v1.1 said:

So not completely dissimilar to Vigier's 10/90 neck system,  then?

Truss rods (or lack of) are an interesting concept in graphite- necked instruments. 

Does the presence/ absence of a truss rod affect the sound, and if so, how?

If you compare MG's necks to Vigier's, they are different. Patrice has an idea of a wooden neck with CF bars. Genesis has a carbon spine, that carries the string tension and attaches to the body. Materials are similar, constructions not.

I have had few instruments with and without trussrod and the biggest difference is if the rod is loose and resonates. Other than that I can not hear the rod nor its effect. What I like in a stable neck, is that it needs no adjustment no matter the weather. All CF necks I have or have had (MG Quantum, Genesis, and Vigier Passion II), are super stable.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Clover carbon neck-through active 6 string, number 020 (Amsterdam’s area code)  

Due to the carbon they could develop a very slim neck (without truss rods) and it has a killer roaring B.

These babies have a 36” scale and are very light for a 6-string (my baby weights +/- 4,2kg) 

EFEA6E82-432A-4591-A9BB-9E071DD7A6B0.thumb.jpeg.aca00664a463362b665e5f83f146c8cd.jpeg7DD24494-FEB6-4277-845B-F52E85344262.thumb.jpeg.fb76d9657b5c9fda493f9db8c343e6e7.jpeg

Edited by musiqman
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 19/08/2020 at 13:57, bnt said:

Guy Pratt has just posted a video about his work with Kirsty McColl, and he's playing a bass discussed in this thread:

 

I've really enjoyed all these Guy Pratt lockdown videos.

I bet if Status had made the Streamline back in the 1980's they would have sold a shed load of them. Every time I see a Streamline I am struck by what a beautiful design it is, and they look even more impressive in the flesh. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There seems to be a 5 string XL2 on that auction site at the moment.  Wondering if anyone has any opinions on condition and/or value?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you're talking about the two on Reverb. The bass that's been through Jeff Babicz' hands will be of the highest quality. Whether I'd pay £3100 is another matter. The other one looks OK and he is open to offers so might be worth offering something lower. That would be you choice.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, BassBus said:

If you're talking about the two on Reverb. The bass that's been through Jeff Babicz' hands will be of the highest quality. Whether I'd pay £3100 is another matter. The other one looks OK and he is open to offers so might be worth offering something lower. That would be you choice.

No I meant the one on eBay which is in the UK. Wasn’t sure if linking was appropriate :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

This is a subject that is of considerable interest to me as I've been fascinated with the old but hi-tech instruments since I was 15 and discovered Stuart Hamm. I've owned and played quite a few of the instruments that are notable in this field. 

When I was 16, I bought a white 1989 Kubicki Ex-Factor (I later also owned a red 1989 model). Both were stamped with the Fender Custom Shop logo on the back of the headstock, though both were 18v models (with the original preamp which was, IIRC, 6 position). There is a lot of misinformation about these basses out there that has persisted for years, so as a quick summary:

Phil Kubicki had never sold his company to Fender. He was an ex-Fender employee, having worked in their R&D department in the 70's (he worked on some very interesting projects for them in the 70's, worth reading up on if you want to know how forward-thinking a seemingly conservative company like Fender could be with their prototypes). At the end of the 80's, he went into a deal with Fender and the 'Fender era' began. There was obviously some crossover between parts as both my old basses (#1777 and #1859) were 18v models. The deal was effectively a distribution deal, as it allowed Kubicki to get their instruments into the Fender dealer network and removed some of the logistical and sales burden from the Kubicki workshop. The preamp was simplified to 9v at one point and IIRC two modes were removed - probably ones that Phil had found were rarely used. The original preamp architecture was reinstated when the Fender era ended in 1994. I personally only ever used the bass in two positions for 95% of the playing I did on them, usually active/flat or active/mid scoop for slap.

Phil had chosen the multi-laminate neck after concluding that graphite was too expensive to work with. There was a brief deal with Moses Graphite to produce carbon fibre replacement necks, though few were made and they were expensive. I saw the other day that there is one for sale on Reverb right now. The profile was really smart, being a round C at the nut that will be familiar to any jazz bass owner, moving to a slightly thicker feel in the middle and transitioning to a flat-backed 'D' at the higher end. It was a really smart, fast neck to play on. 

I could writer chapter and verse on the Kubicki design, suffice to say it remains to me the absolute masterwork of ergnomic design in the bass world. All of the hi-tech solutions and ideas that Phil had were well implemented and well reasoned. The tone is just utterly exceptional to me, completely unique. Nothing else has ever replicated the sound of a Kubicki. They were and are easy instruments to own. Phil himself was always on hand back in the day to offer advice via email or telephone and StewMac.com carried loads of replacement parts including the bridge springs and clips. Today, they are still in production even though Phil himself died a few years ago. 

In my next post, I'll talk about my experience with Status Graphite. 

Edited by Chris2112
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Chris2112 said:

This is a subject that is of considerable interest to me as I've been fascinated with the old but hi-tech instruments since I was 15 and discovered Stuart Hamm. I've owned and played quite a few of the instruments that are notable in this field. 

When I was 16, I bought a white 1989 Kubicki Ex-Factor (I later also owned a red 1989 model). Both were stamped with the Fender Custom Shop logo on the back of the headstock, though both were 18v models (with the original preamp which was, IIRC, 6 position). There is a lot of misinformation about these basses out there that has persisted for years, so as a quick summary:

Phil Kubicki had never sold his company to Fender. He was an ex-Fender employee, having worked in their R&D department in the 70's (he worked on some very interesting projects for them in the 70's, worth reading up on if you want to know how forward-thinking a seemingly conservative company like Fender could be with their prototypes). At the end of the 80's, he went into a deal with Fender and the 'Fender era' began. There was obviously some crossover between parts as both my old basses (#1777 and #1859) were 18v models. The deal was effectively a distribution deal, as it allowed Kubicki to get their instruments into the Fender dealer network and removed some of the logistical and sales burden from the Kubicki workshop. The preamp was simplified to 9v at one point and IIRC two modes were removed - probably ones that Phil had found were rarely used. The original preamp architecture was reinstated when the Fender era ended in 1994. I personally only ever used the bass in two positions for 95% of the playing I did on them, usually active/flat or active/mid scoop for slap.

Phil had chosen the multi-laminate neck after concluding that graphite was too expensive to work with. There was a brief deal with Moses Graphite to produce carbon fibre replacement necks, though few were made and they were expensive. I saw the other day that there is one for sale on Reverb right now. The profile was really smart, being a round C at the nut that will be familiar to any jazz bass owner, moving to a slightly thicker feel in the middle and transitioning to a flat-backed 'D' at the higher end. It was a really smart, fast neck to play on. 

I could writer chapter and verse on the Kubicki design, suffice to say it remains to me the absolute masterwork of ergnomic design in the bass world. All of the hi-tech solutions and ideas that Phil had were well implemented and well reasoned. The tone is just utterly exceptional to me, completely unique. Nothing else has ever replicated the sound of a Kubicki. They were and are easy instruments to own. Phil himself was always on hand back in the day to offer advice via email or telephone and StewMac.com carried loads of replacement parts including the bridge springs and clips. Today, they are still in production even though Phil himself died a few years ago. 

In my next post, I'll talk about my experience with Status Graphite. 

Thanks Chris, all this is very useful to me.  Looking forward to the Status chapter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



×
×
  • Create New...