Dead spot story

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by bben, Jun 6, 2002.

  1. bben


    Feb 28, 2002
    Santa Fe, NM
    I have an MTD Beast 5 that I have been playing every day for the last year or so. I love the “alive” feel of it, and the growly tone. The asymmetrical neck is very helpful since I have small hands. I play with flatwound strings, and had settled on Lakland signature flats, since I really like the feel and tone of those strings on this bass. However, the Beast also had a pretty severe dead spot at B on the D string. Working around this spot was slowly driving me crazy and giving me GAS for a new bass.

    Before parting with the Beast, though, I decided to give one more try to eliminating the dead spot. Adrian Garcia suggested having the frets leveled (thanks, Adrian). I have a diamond hone like some of the luthiers use, so I ran it lightly around the frets for a while to see if a fret job was in order. It looked like things were pretty good in that department. Then I checked to see that everything was snug – neck screws, bridge screws, tuner nuts.

    Things were a little better but the dead spot was still there. Then I remembered that the dead spot wasn’t so bad when I had used Thomastik Jazz flats on this bass. So I put the Thomastik’s back on, and loosened up the neck quite a bit to accommodate the lower tension, and voila, dead spot almost completely gone!

    The moral of the story: high tension on the truss rod, at least on this bass, caused the dead spot. Lowering the tension made it go away. (Now that I think of it, the lower tension is how the bass came from the factory, too. I like my setup pretty flat and had cranked quite a bit more tension when I first got the bass.)

    Now if only Thomastik made flats that were smooth instead of having gaps between the windings…
  2. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    Another idea - it could be lousy strings. I've had way too many strings that would not intonate properly up the neck. This is different than dead spots obviously, but try some other flats and see if it is the neck or the strings