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Can strings minimize the effect of dead spots on the neck?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by DLM, Mar 22, 2005.


  1. DLM

    DLM

    May 25, 2004
    California
    ...or is trying different strings a waste of time?
     
  2. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    I don't have an answer for your question, but I've got some other stuff to say. The fat finger thing (I think that's what it's called) - the weight that you clip onto the headstock, gets rid of dead spots. I've seen one in action and it bewildered the hell out of me... I didn't believe adding weight to the headstock could do anything of the sort, but it totally illiminated some pretty nasty dead spots on a friend of mines old P-bass.

    That being said I must mention that I just learned strings play a far greater part in sound than I previously thought. Everybody's got their taste and I don't believe what works for one will necessarily work for another - but there are some strings on the market that are just plain crap. I got a bunch of strings in a promotional thing and I have to say that they are useless. I thought something was terribly wrong with my new BOngo because it seemed all the sound got sucked out of it - and it wasn't until I realized it was the free strings that it got better. It was a clear and defined difference. I even checked them string to string. Had a new set of the free ones on and changed them one at a time decent ones. It like life and death. I won't mention the brand cuz I feel bad that they gave me so many as a promotional thing... they're real cheap though. You can buy em now for the price of guitar strings.

    Ernie Ball is my new one and only. Nothing yet has sounded as sweet as the original strings that came with bass.
     
  3. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    You never know. I have heard of some pretty random things elminating, or at least moving deadspots. Someone around here has claimed the removal of a deadspot with the replacement of one tuning machine. So whow knows, maybe you'll get lucky. (I wouldn't count on a consistent solution however.) Try clamping a big piece of brass to the headstock ;) .
     
  4. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    ahh, joe beat me too the headstock weight thing. :spit: oh well...

    Joe, do I smell hartke strings??
     
  5. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    it wouldn't be nice of me to say that was the case if they gave me a years worth for free, now would it? i assume their hopes were that i'd like them and tell everyone how great they were. Uhh... i did so happen to recently make a Hartke purchase that had a great deal attached to it though.
     
  6. Basshole

    Basshole Banned

    Jan 28, 2005
    This is easy. Of course changing to different strings can change/move/affect the dead spot(s).

    Why? Simple. Lighter gauge strings will lessen the tension, and you'll have to loosen the truss rod(s). Heavier gauge strings will have more tension, and you'll have to tighten the truss rod(s) to compensate.

    Any time you adjust the truss rod(s), you change the tension and thus the resonance of the neck.

    My guess? Tightening the truss rod(s) is more likely to help eliminate a dead spot. Try heavier gauge strings first.
     
  7. My experience was that strings do make a difference, but my problem was the opposite of yours - I had a boom on one fret on one string only (over several sets of strings).

    I changing from Rotosound to Ernie Ball, and the problem disappeared. Both string brands were the same gauge.
     
  8. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Dead spots is when the resonance of the neck counteracts the intended tone.

    Since resonance is a function of mass/stiffness (or rather, the distribution thereof), altering mass or stiffness will move the dead spot. It will most probably not be eliminated. But if you happen to do it wrong, the dead spot might be illuminated...

    Does strings matter? Well, yes. Heavier strings yield more tension, and the truss rod is tightened accordingly. Ideally, the truss and the strings would equal eachouther out, but in real life they don't. So, you will have a subtle change in the dead spot location.
     
  9. rubo

    rubo

    Aug 25, 2003
    Does anyone know what is the exact weight of the Fat finger? Maybe only a specific amount of mass added to the headstock will eliminate it.

    Cheers
     
  10. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Philadelphia

    I'm with you on this one. I can't wait to put something else on my 2004 Precision. But I feel some sort of obligation to at least give these things a chance, because I have so many, and it was a generous offer. Seriously though, they aren't exactly warm sounding, and I can feel them chewing away at the frets. Ouch.

    More on topic, I did find a set of new strings and a set up improved a dead spot on a '99 American Deluxe Precision. I'd say the reduction was about a third, maybe less. (Oddly, this was at the 10th fret on the G string. I hear they're usually in the 4-6 fret range.)
     
  11. Well, no that wouldn't be the case because every neck has a resonant frequency all it's own. That neck, with the body it's attached to, will have a particular set of frequencies all their own derived from that particular union. While the weight of the Fatfinger will alter the location of a deadspot on nearly every neck it's used on, the natural differences in those necks will mean that alteration will be different in each application.
     
  12. rubo

    rubo

    Aug 25, 2003
    I've played thin, thick, heavy and light necked basses ( all were 4 strgin basses), even tried the same neck with different bodies ( the dead spot moves wiht the neck, not the body), the result is always the same dead spot between 4th & 6th fret on G string, so the relationship of body to necks mass must not be that great, or the reduce at which the dead spot occurs is wide in range so eliminating it is not that easy. But with 5 strings there is a less chance of a dead spot on the G string because the nick much heavier then 4 string neck, so I guess there must be some type of break in a point in the weight of the neck or the headstock where we can try to eliminate the dead spot.
    Any thoughts?

    Cheers
     
  13. Basshole

    Basshole Banned

    Jan 28, 2005
    Energy. It takes energy to make something vibrate. Lower notes require more energy than higher ones to reproduce.

    A tweeter reproducing 10Khz may be able to convert one watt of energy into 105 db of sound, but it may require 100 times as much energy for a woofer to reproduce 30 Hz at that same sound pressure level.

    When a neck (or body) has a specific resonant frequency, that same frequency will be diminished from the string, because energy from the string's vibration is essentially "stolen" to make the neck or body vibrate.

    If the neck (or body) vibrates at a low frequency, the energy stolen will be far greater than if the resonance occurs higher, simply because it takes far more energy to make a low frequency.

    A stiff neck with a very high resonant frequency will still sap energy, but the resonance will be so high in pitch, that the amount of total energy "stolen" is effectively negligible, as it won't really require that much energy to effectively create that particular frequency's resonance in the neck.

    If you increase the mass by adding a weight, you may reduce the coercivity of the neck (by creating more mass, you make the neck harder to effectively set into motion), but the reality is that you probably won't affect the specific frequency very much (and in fact will LOWER it).

    Again, heavier strings will require a trussrod adjustment, which may increase the neck stiffness slightly.
     
  14. Bob Rogers

    Bob Rogers Left is Right

    Feb 26, 2005
    Blacksburg, Virginia
    Don't know if this answers the question, but here is an interesting scientific article on dead spots. My guess is that since different strings have different tension, they will change the resonant modes of the bass. Who know if it will be enough? I guess the trick is to try a set of strings as different in tension from the ones you are using now.
     
  15. Basshole

    Basshole Banned

    Jan 28, 2005
    Pretty much exactly what I said, only in far more technical terms, and making absolutely no mention of the fact that lower resonances are more destructive to the sustain. The most ironic thing? In such a technical article, mechanical coercivity is referred to as "vibration willingness"...
     
  16. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    If you read the title, it is supposed to be a "lay language" paper.
     
  17. Bob Rogers

    Bob Rogers Left is Right

    Feb 26, 2005
    Blacksburg, Virginia
    Actually, I had never heard of the term "mechanical coercivity." Might be because I usually work in ferromagnetism, where coercivity has a widely accepted use. What (sub)field is it common used in?
     
  18. Basshole

    Basshole Banned

    Jan 28, 2005
    Ballfield?

    "Mechanical coercivity" is not a term in and of itself used in any field in particular. It's just two words used together.

    Mechanical:
    Relating to, produced by, or dominated by physical forces.

    Coercivity:
    The level of which something is characterized by or inclined to coercion.

    In other words, the ease in which an item can be coerced to move physically...but given your rather advanced field of expertise, and the intelligence that it obviously requires, I suspect you already knew all this, and are only breaking my balls.

    :bag:
     
  19. Basshole

    Basshole Banned

    Jan 28, 2005
    Which is, of course why it covers Laser Doppler Vibrometers and Fast Fourier Transforms, etc.

    :eyebrow:
     
  20. Basshole

    Basshole Banned

    Jan 28, 2005
    I find that my Laser Doppler Vibrometer is both safest and most effective when set to "stun".

    Please beam my monkey azz up, yo.