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Unread 07-05-2011, 08:05 PM   #1
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Guitars in humidity - thoughts of Graphite??

So for the past few years, I've been really looking into Graphite and CF guitars as an option.. The benefits of a guitar that never bows or warps is so appealing, especially considering I live on the east coast and have had warpage problems in the past (when I lived in Nova Scotia, which was like 20 min walk away from the harbour/Atlantic Ocean, was not a fun place for guitars! I do plan on moving back there in afew years)

Graphite instruments just seem the most stable, consistent and durable, all qualities I really want in a guitar.. Of course, the cost of such an instrument is insanely high and rare, as even just a Moses neck with stainless steel frets is in the realm of $550-600, while a comparative Warmoth neck is $200.

Although; for a maple-fretboard-enthusiast like myself, I do feel like I sacrifice a bit of feel for that benefit of strength..

Anyways, I began thinking about this a bit harder, and when it comes to cost and feel (being broke and pickier than ever) maybe I should just stick with maple necks and try to maintain them better (ie not leaving them on a guitar stand/outside of their case unless playing, routine-weekly checkups on the neck) ..

I also thought about getting some stability strips of wood to make a neck stronger and resist warpage, such as Wenge stripes down the back of the neck..

One thing that I've been wondering though.. What about if I ever got on like a cruiseship gig that travelled in the tropical areas; I assume that is where a graphite/CF guitar would REALLY benefit.. Anyone perform gigs around that area (Brazil, Dominican, maybe even lower Florida, etc) have any issues with guitar stability?

So, anyone else living in a very humid location have any issues with their guitars enough to make you consider other options?? Have any "tricks" to keeping your guitars stable??
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Unread 07-05-2011, 08:41 PM   #2
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I hear ya dude. When I moved to Florida a couple of years ago I started noticing strange things with my guitars. I had a Les Paul that suddenly developed a weird little bulge on the back of the neck. I also had a PRS whose finish starting turning hazy on a couple of spots (I can only assume moisture somehow got under the finish). I've since started keeping my guitars in cases at all times when not in use and bought a hygrometer to monitor the humidity in the room. If I notice the humidity getting too high, I turn on the AC as that dries out the air a bit. It's not a perfect solution, but that coupled with keeping the instruments in the case seem to be working now.
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Unread 07-05-2011, 08:56 PM   #3
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From my research so far; sounds like people think Wenge stripes in the back of the neck is the most stable neck-stripe option.. Particularily, a maple neck with 2 Wenge stripes (so a 5 piece neck overall) is what I am looking at

My issue comes with Flamed maple.. which is said to be the least stable and very easy to warp (I can attest to this, my only guitars to warp all had figured maple of some sort) yet its so damn nice looking. I wonder if it would be ok with a flamed maple fretboard, and standard maple in the back with the wenge stripes for stability.. hmm might be pushing it.
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Unread 07-05-2011, 09:32 PM   #4
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Honestly, I lived on Lake Huron for years, and currently live on lake ontario (and the humidity here is insane). Sure you need to make a lot more adjustments, but aside from acoustics instruments and the chances of your tops splitting, you aren't going to have to worry too much.

Quilt maple is the least stable, Flame not nearly as bad as quilt maple, and mostly through it generally being soft maple to begin with.

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Unread 07-05-2011, 09:39 PM   #5
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Graphite is good!

In lieu of fully graphite necks, some neck makes do actually make necks reinforced with bars of graphite running parallel to the truss rod--very strong.
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Unread 07-05-2011, 09:45 PM   #6
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vigier guitars have necks which are 90% maple and 10% graphite. they claim never to warp or need adjustment due to different string gauge or weather. also, all new vigier guitars come standard with stainless steel frets. I wish I had $2500 to through at a new excalibur supra

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Unread 07-05-2011, 09:54 PM   #7
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Carvin makes a 5 piece all maple neck option for their guitars. My next bass will have that.
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Unread 07-05-2011, 10:07 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by ev1ltwin View Post
vigier guitars have necks which are 90% maple and 10% graphite. they claim never to warp or need adjustment due to different string gauge or weather. also, all new vigier guitars come standard with stainless steel frets. I wish I had $2500 to through at a new excalibur supra

Vigier Guitars
KxK does graphite reinforcement rods as well, and their necks are incredibly stable.

I got my Sii-7 with a three piece maple neck and birdseye board at the end of 2007, did an adjustment a few months after getting it, and have not had to adjust the neck since. Pittsburgh is also not the most stable climate, with temperatures and humidity all over the place throughout the year. My DCii-6 has also not needed adjustment since I dialed it in the way I wanted it, and that's a three piece mahogany neck.

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Unread 07-06-2011, 09:42 AM   #9
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Carvin makes a 5 piece all maple neck option for their guitars. My next bass will have that.
My least stable neck, and drifts quite a far ways, is a carvin 5 piece walnut and maple neck which by all accounts should be pretty rigid as it falls in the time before they disco'd carbon fiber reinforcement on their basses.

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Unread 07-06-2011, 10:18 AM   #10
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Would storing them in a room with a dehumidifier work for you? I've got one that automatically turns on at a certain level and I don't seem to have any problems, maybe keeping them in cases in a small closet or room with it running? I can't comment on how similar or dissimilar the humidity of where your located is to chicagoland but I live right on lake michigan, less then a mile or so and it gets pretty nasty and humid here and i just keep that dehumidifier running on bad days.
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Unread 07-06-2011, 08:32 PM   #11
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Regarding necks with reinforcement versus an actual truss rod:

For years, Rainsong didn't have any instruments with an adjustable trussrod. I contacted them after I picked up my first Advanced series, which did have a truss rod, and let them know how great it was to be able to adjust exactly how much relief my guitar had.

Fairly soon after (probably a few years), the next big Rainsong change was adding a neck with a trussrod. I belief their ad copy praised the ability to adjust neck relief to a player's liking.

I've had the same conversation with Composite Acoustic (before their bankruptcy and buyout by Peavey), and although they maintained that their necks don't require a truss rod to maintain stiffness, they do acknowlege that if one changes to larger strings, the neck will bend further, and that there is no way to selectively dial in relief. Given that the neck is set, and there is only so much saddle one can remove, if you like a guitar to have lower action and relief, you'll be out of luck with CA.

At times there appears to be two different conversations going on about neck construction, one where people know they want to be able to dial in a particular relief, and one where builders insist that the neck won't warp... and avoid the ability to adjust relief entirely. It can be hard to get them to admit that relief will be determined solely by the string tension.

I vote with my dollars, but if you've never been faced with inability to adjust relief, you might not think that aspect through until you've already spent the money on something which you cannot return. For that reason, it's worth bringing up in the current discussion, especially since the claims of "no need for adjustment" have surfaced.

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There are quite a few builders of electric carbon fiber instruments at this point, although most of them go with a hybrid approach. Unlike the now discontinued Composite Electrics Blade, most composite electrics use a wood core with carbon wrapped around it. Flaxwood, Stratus, and others fall into this category, as well as Oni's carbon instruments.

I do love carbon fiber, and own more CF guitars than 8-strings. Imperviousness is its own reward.

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Unread 07-07-2011, 05:25 PM   #12
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My least stable neck, and drifts quite a far ways, is a carvin 5 piece walnut and maple neck which by all accounts should be pretty rigid as it falls in the time before they disco'd carbon fiber reinforcement on their basses.
Is it walnut with 2 maple stripes or maple with 2 walnut stripes?
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Unread 07-07-2011, 09:48 PM   #13
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To clarify my earlier statement, KxK uses graphic reinforcement rods to improve stability and stiffness but they also have an adjustable truss rod to allow dialing in neck relief. I'd have almost no interest in a guitar that I can't adjust the relief on
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Unread 07-07-2011, 11:15 PM   #14
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Is it walnut with 2 maple stripes or maple with 2 walnut stripes?
Walnut with 2 rock maple stripes, walnut is still a very hard wood though. They make necks out of alder, poplar, mahogany, etc. Walnut is stiffer than mahogany, and soft maple (most figured maple is soft maple, not hard or rock maple), but less stiff than rock maple (pretty much a given).
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Unread 07-07-2011, 11:24 PM   #15
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Walnut with 2 rock maple stripes, walnut is still a very hard wood though. They make necks out of alder, poplar, mahogany, etc. Walnut is stiffer than mahogany, and soft maple (most figured maple is soft maple, not hard or rock maple), but less stiff than rock maple (pretty much a given).

My Ibanez Prestige RGA321 is the most stable and reliable guitar I've ever owned (I've had over 100 over the years). A five piece maple/walnut sounds fantastic and is incredibly stable. Living in New England the humidity changes constantly and I found that I was tweaking all of my mahogany necked guitars all the time. I've since sold all but one and now only have maple and walnut necked guitars and I have very few issues these days.
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Unread 07-08-2011, 02:56 AM   #16
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Walnut with 2 rock maple stripes, walnut is still a very hard wood though. They make necks out of alder, poplar, mahogany, etc. Walnut is stiffer than mahogany, and soft maple (most figured maple is soft maple, not hard or rock maple), but less stiff than rock maple (pretty much a given).
They don't make alder necks anymore, and they don't make anything out of poplar.
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Unread 07-08-2011, 09:09 AM   #17
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Didn't mean Carvin in particular, I meant guitar necks in general. The point was relative stiffness of woods vs what is and has been used successfully. The H2 still has an alder neck though.

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Unread 07-08-2011, 09:24 AM   #18
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My UV7BK Green Dot has been through a multitude of climates over a relatively short period of time. I've moved from Arizona to Illinois, to Wisconsin. It's neck is a single piece, volute free, super thin, non-reinforced, and nearly unfinished piece of maple. I haven't had to do more than a handful of truss rod adjustments the whole time.

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Unread 07-08-2011, 04:56 PM   #19
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Any multi-piece neck will have plenty of resistance to warps. Having a multi-piece neck means that if each piece of wood is prone to warp in a certain direction - if wood's gunna warp, the way in which it'll do so is predetermined by the physical makeup of that specific piece - then using several pieces means the chance of them all warping in the same direction resulting in an actual warp is pretty low. That said, they can still warp, and as Max said single piece necks won't necessarily warp because of the fingerboard and truss rod. It's also to do with how much moisture is allowed into the wood, if there's a build up on hand goo on the wood or a thick enough finish and the wood's dried out enough pre build it'll probably stay pretty still. The fingerboard may still be some issue though...

More to the point though, the Ibanez RGD range uses titanium reinforcement in two strips down the neck.

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Unread 07-08-2011, 05:25 PM   #20
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Any multi-piece neck will have plenty of resistance to warps. Having a multi-piece neck means that if each piece of wood is prone to warp in a certain direction - if wood's gunna warp, the way in which it'll do so is predetermined by the physical makeup of that specific piece - then using several pieces means the chance of them all warping in the same direction resulting in an actual warp is pretty low. That said, they can still warp, and as Max said single piece necks won't necessarily warp because of the fingerboard and truss rod. It's also to do with how much moisture is allowed into the wood, if there's a build up on hand goo on the wood or a thick enough finish and the wood's dried out enough pre build it'll probably stay pretty still. The fingerboard may still be some issue though...

More to the point though, the Ibanez RGD range uses titanium reinforcement in two strips down the neck.
To add to this, if you ever find yourself cutting a 5 piece neck out of a single timbre, invert (end to end) the 2nd and 4th piece, as that creates the opposing grain pattern which will increase stiffness due to the wood 'fighting itself' as above.
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Unread 07-09-2011, 09:06 PM   #21
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Mutt Strat with a Moses Graphite Neck and SS Frets. I got it in a trade and it's super stable, has super even response all over the neck, sounds GREAT and has absolutely killer sustain! Nuff said?
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Unread 07-09-2011, 09:11 PM   #22
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My least stable neck, and drifts quite a far ways, is a carvin 5 piece walnut and maple neck which by all accounts should be pretty rigid as it falls in the time before they disco'd carbon fiber reinforcement on their basses.
Had problems with stability on several Carvins with the Graphite rods. NEVER had any issues with old Carvins with the maple necks and no rods though. The graphite rods also do something weird to the tone. They just sound I don't know sterile. I LOVE Graphite necks and I LOVE Carvins with out the rods but with them ---.
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Unread 07-09-2011, 10:53 PM   #23
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Interesting that you had trouble with reinforcement, as it is generally supposed to do the opposite. As far as sonic impact, I have a very hard time believing that is not a mental construct, as they ratio is too low to make such an impact. My bass sounds quite good.

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Unread 07-10-2011, 12:50 AM   #24
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Interesting that you had trouble with reinforcement, as it is generally supposed to do the opposite. As far as sonic impact, I have a very hard time believing that is not a mental construct, as they ratio is too low to make such an impact. My bass sounds quite good.
Should not be mental as I love Graphite necks and the early Carvins without the rods like my 1990 X220C. I have owned a BUNCH of Carvins and the newer ones with the Rods have something in the tone that I just can not live with!
My X220C that I have owned for many years.

Just part of the Carvin collection I once had.

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