Can a bass be made with no dead spots?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by stuntbass77, Jan 2, 2016.

  1. okcrum

    okcrum in your chest

    Oct 5, 2009
    Verde Valley, AZ
    RIP Dark Horse strings
    Stratus is word. Maybe you won't hear the oft-mentioned decaying fundamentals that Fenders and other bolt ons can have, but the frequencies of the notes and the dimensions of an electric bass guarantee there will be interference issues even with string through construction. Whether they are audible or not is really what's being debated here (aside from psychoacoustic and ear damage issues, I suspect ;) ). How many of us can hear one or two missing partials out of maybe a dozen with audible artifacts? That's what you should get from each note on a perfect bass. Interference with higher note harmonics may not be consciously discerned, but I'd say it influences any bass' inherent tone as perceived by the player.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2016
  2. interp


    Apr 14, 2005
    Garmisch, Germany
    Well put.
  3. Clef_de_fa

    Clef_de_fa Guest

    Dec 25, 2011
    No headstock, carbon fiber, NT construction all helps a lot moving the possible dead spot somewhere that will be unnoticeable
  4. birminghambass

    birminghambass Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2002
    Birmingham, AL
    A dead spot is when the resonant frequency of the neck matches a note on the fretboard. It's not a flaw, it's a characteristic. Most, if not all, traditional wood basses have them to some degree. If your bass vibrates, it will have hot/dead spots. I've owned hundreds of basses, only 3 have been free of deadspots to my ear. 2 G&Ls, 1 Modulus. Also, out of hundreds only a few had a dead spot so bad that it affected my ability to use that bass.
    Many high end builders have addressed this issue. Some have tried to get around it (headless, non-wood necks, etc) while most just accept it.
    VWbug likes this.
  5. KJMO

    KJMO Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2015
    I had a bass with a dead spot, and I put a tort pickguard on it, and no dead spots. But seriously, any note on my bass can be a dead spot with my inconsistent fingers. Plus, if every note sounded exactly the same it would sound like an electronic drum "machine gunning", which wouldn't be pleasant. So is complete consistency for every note played really a worthy goal anyway?
    anavar likes this.
  6. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    I have not seen a bass with no weaker spots at all and don't mind.
    Working around those is do-able and playing the weaker notes a lot can improve the situation somewhat too.
    And sometimes those weaker spots are not a lot weaker than the rest of the notes on the neck.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2016
  7. darwin-bass

    darwin-bass Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2013
    Salem OR
    Yes, you can make a bass with no dead spots. You'll need a very heavy non-resonate neck (concrete, perhaps) with something similar at the bridge / body end. Though I'm not sure you could call such a contraption a "bass".

    My G&L LB 100 is a bit dead at the 7th fret G string. Today in church it got in the way of the music as that D would not sustain. Conversely, my Warmoth with steel bars has little if any dead spots in that region. I used the Warmoth at practiced on Wed but this a.m. used the G&L since I prefer the sound. For that one song I missed the Warmoth.
  8. Maiden Bass

    Maiden Bass Inactive

    Feb 11, 2007
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2016
  9. Honch

    Honch Guest

    Sep 7, 2006
    I am not convinced that neither the OP or some of the posters knows really what a dead spot means. It is clearly evident in the subsequent posts/answers. Dead spots are most annoying if they're pronounced in a way that whatever fret you're pressing and listening to the note, it immediately sounds like you could as well have played the note one octave above the one it's supposed to be. But the next fret after it, sounds alright. Or that that particular dead spot has a decay (sustain) way shorter than any other fret on the bass. Basses that mitigates or removes dead spots are:

    a) Headless
    b) Graphite neck.
    c) different scale length than the usual 34 ".
    d) Even short scale 30" basses can remove dead spots (Alembics et al).

    All the above combined in one bass, and you have hedged your bets pretty well! Mostly, combining a) and b) should be more than sufficient on a scale length bass guitar.
  10. Honch

    Honch Guest

    Sep 7, 2006
    It's time for this one again. For you to read. How FENDER did remove its dead spots... but the resulting desing was... a headless.. and the prototype that be, wasn't to be sold. They flipped out, the high brass. Remember it was in the CBS days.

    Fender Headless Bass

    And no, it's nothing I think one should put up with these days, accepting flaws like that, since it has been fixed and everybody knows how to get rid of it, these days. Especially on mid to high end basses. Mind you that Steinberger with its headless, didn't think of this at all. It came as a fringe benefit, and since the neck was of graphite, they THOUGHT it was that that killed the dead spots. Now, how something already dead can be killed...;)
  11. Smooth_bass88

    Smooth_bass88 vaxx! Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2006
    North AMERICA, USA
    My Laklands are very even across the entire neck. I've had basses (if I mention their names I will get chastised) that I sold due to either dead spots or weak sounding G or D strings.
  12. Planespotter


    Oct 11, 2015
    Dead spots are just the nature of the beast. I have 2 P basses, and on one the classic 7th fret on the g string dead spot is very pronounced. On the other it is barely noticeable. Now my '70 EB-3L is actually a collection of hot and dead spots. It has the most uneven note to note response of any bass I've ever owned. Still a great bass though.
  13. Tony In Philly

    Tony In Philly Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2007
    Filthydelphia, USA
    Sometimes I have noticed dead spots show up with a given bass on one amp, but not with the same bass on another amp.
    VWbug likes this.
  14. Jefff


    Aug 14, 2013
    I have a 95 Pbass, the original Rosewood board had the standard unwell spot at C# on the G. I replaced the neck with a rosewood MIM J bass. Not a single dead, or moderately under the weather spot anywhere on the neck. It was an unexpected bonus.
  15. Michael B

    Michael B

    Dec 16, 2015
    Lowell, MA
    I have the same bass. Now just like looking at a car wreck I am compelled to obsess over this. !!!!!!
  16. Jefff


    Aug 14, 2013
    I got the neck on Amazon for 100.00. I had to raise the bridge saddles and cut the nut. If you don't have the tools you might have to take it to a luthier.

    Also past performance is no indicator of future success. I may have just gotten really lucky.
  17. joel406


    Dec 27, 2013
    I probably have one. I just can't find it.
  18. GretschWretch

    GretschWretch Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2013
    East Central Alabama
    While it is true that it is possible to make a bass with no dead spots, I do not believe it is possible to make a bass that can be guaranteed to have no dead spots. That depends entirely on luck, even for the high end makers. More pertinent questions are, how much does the dead spot bother you, and to what extremes are you willing to go to deal with it? For me, a headless bass is just too far.
    VWbug and birminghambass like this.
  19. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    I'm not sure all posting in this thread are talking about the same thing, nor whether the OP question is specific enough to avoid herd of cats discussions.

    When I think of "dead spots," I tend to think of what the upright world calls "wolf tones;" which are notes on the instrument where some aspect of the setup or physical construction of the bass produces a sympathetic resonance which is destructive to the note being played, the result being a note that is significantly degraded from the rest of the notes on the instrument. Of course, what constitutes "significant degradation" is partly in the mind of the player; but, generally when an instrument has a significant wolf most players will notice it. To me, that's a "dead spot." Inconsistencies in note character, such as timbre, sustain, etc, happen noticeably in wooden instruments due to idiosyncrasies of the wooden elements; but, I would not tend to refer to those as "dead spots." Such characteristics are simply part of the aspects that make individual instruments differentiated.

    Some bass guitars do have wolf tones. Many Fenders have one to varying degrees on the Db on the G string. Again, some basses will have a noticeable difference, some will have a very slight difference, some will have an actual wolf where the note just won't ring out. Of all the Fenders I have played, only one or two had a response there that I found unacceptable. The rest just had "character spots." JMHO/E
    Lo-E likes this.
  20. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    Compare the headstock shapes-
    Symmetry (or not) of weight, angle of string pull, and distribution of string pull.
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