Can de-fretting a bass cause or worsen Dead Spots

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by vHarmonic, Nov 27, 2012.


  1. vHarmonic

    vHarmonic

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2009
    Hey does anyone know if de-fretting a bass can cause or worsen Dead Spots?
    I de-fretted an ATK300 a while back and then found out it had some very annoying dead spots. I bought the bass specifically to de-fret it. And when I got it the frets where not in great shape so I pulled them out before playing with it much.
    I am think about buying another Bass a de-fretting it to replace this one but feel a little hesitant because I am not sure if the dead spots where there before I de-fretted it.
    Any feedback would be appreciated.
  2. EricssonB

    EricssonB

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2011
    Location:
    Buckley AFB, CO.
    *subbed to see what sort of subjectivity is implied by the collective*
  3. Kael

    Kael

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Location:
    Oklahoma City
    I've defretted several. From what I've experienced, defretting doesn't make the dead spots worse. However.... fretless generally has lower action and, once again IME, this leads to dead spots being more noticeable. When I've defretted basses with an existing dead spot, I almost always notice it more so once defretted as I have the strings lowered more.

    Keep in mind, I am no luthier. I am just a guy who's defretted/epoxied a half dozen or so basses.
  4. Beej

    Beej

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2007
    Location:
    Canadia
    Lots of things impact dead spots in a neck, often to do with how something is constructed, although it's hardly an exact science. I've found defretting both to have introduced new dead spots, and also to have removed them, so ymmv.

    I've personally found that a good setup, tightening neck bolts (if a bolt on), bridge and tuners up can all improve dead spots. I think one of the major going theories about dead spots is that they are a resonance issue - something in the instrument is causing resonance at that particular frequency (of the dead spot) and the instrument basically absorbs the vibrations at that frequency resulting in the dead spot. It's not just as simple as that though, otherwise, you'd have dead spots at every location of F2 or whatever note.

    Bottom line for me is that I've seen dead spots on all manner of instruments and construction styles and not usually in the "normal" places (4-7th frets) that seem to be more commonly noted. I'd give a new setup a try, adjust the truss rod and back, tighten everything that can be tightened on the bass and just play around. I've also had success in moving a dead spot closer to the neck or vice versa by adding or removing mass to the headstock (adding = closer to the nut, removing = further from the nut).
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  6. vHarmonic

    vHarmonic

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2009
    hey, thanks for those responses folks. That is really helpful. I will definitely play with the setup a bit more, I tweaked it a bit more last night and had a bit of improvement. I can get large improvements form using extra light stings but I don't like there flabby sound. But maybe I can find some middle ground.
    Does anybody have any more input on this? I am not ruling out replacing this bass. Maybe if I can find a bass that seem very dead spot free while it is still fretted I will have a good chance success.
    Thanks
  7. Beej

    Beej

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2007
    Location:
    Canadia
    One thing you can easily try is to add some mass to the headstock by clamping something to it. If you can move the dead spot to an area that doesn't interrupt your usual playing, it might be worth improving...
  8. reverendrally

    reverendrally

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Location:
    Sydney Australia
    I too have found deadspots to be more pronounced on fretless necks. I think the extra damping of your fingertips and wood (over metal frets) make them stand out more.

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