'Dead' Note...

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by RIKODRIKO, May 26, 2005.



    Mar 1, 2005
    Brighton UK.
    Just bought a second hand laminated bass, had the finger board shaved, the body cleaned, soundpost adjusted, and some thomastik spirocore strings on. It sounds brilliant.

    Im quite new to UB (only been 6 months), but the only drawback to this bass is the 'A' note on the D string (7th position) - it really sounds dead and does not carry like the other notes on the D string, the 'G' sounds good and so does the 'B' above it - it just seems like in that area of the fingerboard its just dead. My friend syas that dead spots are common on all acoustic string instruments (in particular cheapo ones...)

    what causes it? can you fix it?

    comments please? :crying:


  2. To an extent what your friend said about acoustic instruments is true. There is a tendency for some notes to sing and others to just thud and be hard to get to sound well. There are some subtle tunings of various resonant modes of the instrument that may help even things out. If you look at some of the research at this link:
    http://www.newviolinfamily.org/research.html, it will help you understand the concepts. Procedures are outlined in Charles Traeger's Double Bass set-up/repair manual. Some of these procedures might help.
  3. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    Play that "A" with a bow, and lean into it. Does the bow jump in and out of the string? Does it make a warbly sound? If so, you are dealing with a wolf tone. Wolfs can manifest as dead notes or buzzes when played pizz.
  4. I was gonna say the same...are you aware of, or have you ever heard a wolf tone on a bass? As Arnold said, we're dealing only with the bow in trying to produce the wolf tone..but, again, as Arnold says, basses with an inherent wolf tone on the A will mess up that note and sometimes 1/2 step above and below. Try playing the A harmonic on the A string arco..... hear Arnold's 'warbly' yet? Now finger that same A ...now? Try fingering the Ab and the A # in that same position....now?
    They make wolf tone eliminators...real cheap brass weight that screws onto your string between the bridge and tailpiece.
    I've heard several luthiers say that if your bass doesn't have a wolf somewhere or other, your bass ain't no good.
    What do you say Arnold?


    Mar 1, 2005
    Brighton UK.
    Great. many thanks for the information, ill try it arco tonight. although my general arco tone sounds like im skinning a cat. Will let you guys know.