Dead spot or dissonance on G string 5th fret? DIY set up

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by morrisonhendrix, Jan 22, 2013.


  1. morrisonhendrix

    morrisonhendrix Supporting Member

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    Ok, so I'm not a luthier and have finally watched/read enough material that I thought I could do my own set-up. For the most part, I've succeeded. This is a brand new Fender Precision Special.

    I took some relief out of the neck to where the action was acceptable to me, raising the action on the E string a little so that it didn't buzz. I also tried to intonate the bass with my Korg rack mount tuner. I realize that I really should get a strobe tuner, but I think I'm very close.

    Anyway, the G string seems to have a dissonant sound on the fifth fret, as if it were a little flat maybe, but I don't think it's that. Maybe the frets aren't quite level? I really don't know. I suppose I'll have to take it to a qualified person to figure out.

    I'm really please with how it plays now, except for this issue.
     
  2. dtripoli

    dtripoli

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    Welcome to the infamous "Dead spot" club.
    A quick search on TB will result in numerous threads bemoaning this phenomena.
    I have 5 basses and 2 of them have dead spots right around the 5 - 7 fret, G string.
    Changing strings, setting up the bass and other fixes seem to only slightly improve the resonance for a few days.
    Some folks say the 'Fat finger' clamp, available online that adds weight to the headstock will improve resonance
     
  3. elgecko

    elgecko

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    Yup, that's the classic spot for a dead spot.
     
  4. morrisonhendrix

    morrisonhendrix Supporting Member

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  6. megafiddle

    megafiddle

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    I have the same bass. My G at the 6th and 7th fret is a little bit thinner sounding than
    the other notes. The fundamental (the low deep part of the tone) also seems to die out
    a little sooner on these two frets, leaving the overtones.

    Possibly the dissonance you are hearing is an overtone, if you have something similar happening. The strings supplied new on my bass are pretty strong on overtones. They
    are not my favorite strings for a P bass. Don't have any recommendations, though. Still
    looking myself.
     
  7. morrisonhendrix

    morrisonhendrix Supporting Member

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    Yeah, that seems to be it. The fundamental dies quickly.
     
  8. Bobster

    Bobster

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  9. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

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    Try a lighter gauge of strings. Always worked for me.
     
  10. morrisonhendrix

    morrisonhendrix Supporting Member

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  11. morrisonhendrix

    morrisonhendrix Supporting Member

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    Maybe. These are brand new factory Fender strings, and I really don't want to go lighter. I'll consider it. Thanks for the reply.
     
  12. bassclef112

    bassclef112 Supporting Member

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    This is the "dead spot" of legend. It is prevalent on Fenders because it's a direct result of the headstock shape. This holds for many brands that have a similar shape as well. Look for previous postings, but that's the deal. The shape creates a sympathetic frequency that cancels that fundamental to some degree. If you got it, no amount of setup massage will get rid of it - it's a function of the wood nature of the instrument.

    Many players just learn to play around it. If your style can accommodate that you're okay. When played on quickly and percussively in a lick it's not noticeable, but there's no holding notes on it. I've had basses with dead spots that were in the middle of the neck and I had to get rid of them. I couldn't work with it.

    Not every bass has it, but enough do (particularly Fenders) to make it a recognized condition and not a one-off. Typically adding mass will move it towards the nut. Fender has recently reissued the Fatfinger headstock clamp and I swear by them - I have 5 or 6 on different basses. It'll make a very annoying feature quite palatable. It might not eliminate it completely, but it'll put it in a place that's easier to deal with.

    Lot's of info on this.

    BTW, just so you don't feel bad - graphite necks can get them too, as well as Alembics and Sadowskys. It's in the wood and you don't know what you'll get until it's all done.

    http://www.sadowsky.com/pop/faq_answers/answer_014.html
     
  13. morrisonhendrix

    morrisonhendrix Supporting Member

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    Boy did you hit the nail on the head with describing it. Yes, I can play with it the way it is. However, a couple of things I've noticed:

    1. I can fret it with my 1st finger, with the rest of the fingers "upstream" from it, and it sounds pretty bad, unless I hit it quick as you've said.

    2. I can fret it with my third finger (ring finger) with the rest of the fingers "downstream" and it sounds pretty normal, if not normal.

    3. I bought a couple of magnets and placed them on the back of the headstock at the D, then G, tuners, and noticed a little improvement.

    I'm going to keep experimenting with it. I may get a fat finger and move on down the road.
     

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