Can Dead spots be corrected?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by TampaBlues, Aug 7, 2004.

  1. TampaBlues


    Oct 28, 2002
    Tampa, Florida
    Is it possible to correct or improve upon dead spots on the fretboard? :confused:
  2. ZZMorgan


    Sep 6, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I have found some things that help compensate for them somewhat:

    1. Know exactly where they are so you can chose alternate locations for the same notes if you need to hit one of them with a long sustain.

    2. Adjust your playing style for that area of the neck to get your tone as even as possible all the way up.

    3. Fresh strings help some.

    4. The total answer is graphite necks, but then you are changing your whole sound.

  3. the GT Fatfinger brass clamp thing adds mass to the headstock, which changes the resonant frequency of the neck and hence moves the deadspot position, and might even eliminate them.
    do a search and you'll find discussion on it.

    Billy Sheehan's been using one, also Roger Sadowsky says it works on his site.

    the Gallery have them in stock for £20. I might try one out.
    I've experimented with a C-clamp , and found where you put it on the headstock makes a difference to the result.

    also the 2-Tek bridge was reputed to eliminate deadspots (Hamer offered one its Cruise Bass, also warwick on the Fortress flashback) -
    however fitting one involved routing a hole through the body, and it also added quite a bit of weight.
  4. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Based on my experience I'd say no. Sure you can avoid playing those notes and experiment with varied EQ's but the dead spot doesn't go away. Most are due in some way to the internal routing and installation of the truss rod(s) and you're better off just getting another neck or bass. I've owned over 30 basses and I only had 2 (Fender Jazz and MM Sabre) that had serious dead spots that were very noticable. Those basses are long gone!
  5. TampaBlues


    Oct 28, 2002
    Tampa, Florida
    Thanks for the advice, I am going to get one of those fatfingers and I will let you know if it helps. ;)
  6. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Yep, try the Fat Finger. It won't eliminate the dead spot "completely", but in most cases it'll reduce the deadness to an acceptable level.
  7. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii


    I have one and have had good luck with it.
  8. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I had a MIM Jazz with a horrible dead spot where most occur: the C on the G string.

    I took it to a local repair shop who told me they could fix it by levelling the frets. I thought their idea was a load of crap since there was no fret buzzing and nothing indicating it was a fret issue...I only let them work on it because they said it was covered under Fender's warranty (it was new at the time).

    Sure enough, they cured the dead spot!
  9. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    Can somebody please explain "dead spot" to me? I thought it was a high fret closer to the bridge than the string you are hitting that sort of mutes the note. Sorry for the stupid question .......Tom
  10. rockindoc

    rockindoc Daily Lama

    Jan 26, 2002
    Bonham, Tx
    I wonder if what Roger REALLY wanted to say was, if I were you, I'd buy a Sadowsky :D . I'd take JOEMEE77's advice and get a trade-in. Or just settle for the Clothespin Fatfinger Thingy.
  11. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    There's several interpretations of a dead spot, one of which you describe, which was my experience with my old MIM Jazz.

    Most people, however, tend to think of a dead spot as a note at a frequency cancelled by the resonant frequency of the neck.

    In the end, it's a note that is mainly attack and has little or no fundamental behind it...the note just dies.
  12. weldon


    Jan 3, 2003
    Denver, CO
    If you play every single fret on every string of your bass, you'll get a feel for the sustain across the neck - the length of time the note is audible until it dies out. Some basses will have a "dead spot" on the neck where there is little to no sustain at all. I used to have a c.1980 Fender MIJ Precision that had a terrible dead spot on the fifth fret of the G string, or "C". I hated it so much that I couldn't play that bass another minute as soon as I had the money to buy a new one.

    When buying a bass, it's a good idea to check the neck for dead spots. ;)
  13. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii

    That is the typical spot, the 5th to 7th fret area on the G string, especially with Fenders.
  14. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    my fender MIM jazz has a semidead spot on the D (7th fret) of the Gstring. it doesnt last aslong as the notes around it but still lasts long enough for me.
  15. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
  16. TampaBlues


    Oct 28, 2002
    Tampa, Florida
    Very interesting, thanks for the link. I will try the washer solution first and see if that helps before I do the fatfinger thing. +1.
  17. In my experience

    A decent bridge,
    A really good setup by someone who knows wot they are doing
    good fret crowning and leveling

    All help reduce deadspots but they are alwaus going to be there in some form ...get a Graphite neck if u want to get rid totally ....

    but other than that is the quality of the timber and the quality of the neck and fretboard that have the biggst contributing factors
  18. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    I did all that when putting this bass together, but I was still dealing with a stock (no graphite) Fender neck. I'm not sure how much of the credit can be given to my metal ring/washer idea, but they're still on the bass, and if I close my eyes the response I'm feeling and hearing is very comparable to my neck-throughs.

    I've also now done a couple of recording sessions with this bass and the studio owner, engineer, and session artist all raved about it's tone (and my playing, of course :p :rolleyes: ;) ).
  19. knarleybass

    knarleybass Commercial User

    Apr 6, 2005
    Tustin, CA
    Owner of Ulyate Instruments
    I purchased a Sadowsky Metro Five string, and low and behold there is a dead spot on the seventh fret of the G string. I got the GT Fat Finger and it did help somewhat, but does make the bass more neck heavy. I emailed Sadowsky about it and asked if there was any way to repair the problem. I got an email suggesting that if I can't live with the problem I should consider getting another instrument rather than putting money into fixing the one that I have. Also he said that the NYC basses are now made with two graphite strips in the neck and the headstock is a little thicker than the Metros. So I am guessing that the only real fix for dead spots is to make the bass right in the first place.
  20. ehque


    Jan 8, 2006
    dead spots (bar too-low action, too straight neck problems, which should be solved in other ways) are caused by the neck resonating at that particular frequency, eating up the energy from the string. some physicist did some experiments on in. this is why the similarly dimensioned (and sized) necks of the fenders tend to have the same dead spots, it isnt a fretting issue.

    changing mass, density, stiffness, will all change the resonant frequency, such that new tuners (mass), steel rods/graph rods (density and stiffness) will all affect the resonant frequency. if you manage to "push" that resonant frequency off your fretboard, you wont have dead spots. pushing it to a note between notes also helps - ie. a note smack in the middle of G and G#...