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Dead spot... will a higher mass bridge help?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by forrestlaw, Nov 26, 2020.

  1. forrestlaw

    forrestlaw Supporting Member

    Jun 25, 2018
    So a MIM P-Bass I got about two months ago has a pretty bad dead spot that I hadn't noticed before. Whenever I play that note it sounds like I plucked the string with much less force than I actually did compared to playing a note near that one. It also doesn't sustain worth a crap. I've tried new strings, tightening all of the neck and tuner screws, and making a slight truss rod adjustment but it still sounds thin and wimpy at that spot. For comparison my American Standard P also has a spot on the G string where it doesn't sustain quite as much, but at least the note still sounds pretty full when played.

    Will a higher mass bridge like the Hipshot KickAss or Omega help? I'd like to keep it as a nice backup, but even then it's just not as nice as the American P I already have and I'd hate to throw more money at it if a new bridge won't fix the problem.
  2. MrMoonlight

    MrMoonlight Bottom feeder Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2008
    In my experiences, most likely not.
  3. tubedude

    tubedude Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2015
    Adding mass to the neck (Fatfinger), can move the dead spot to a more desirable location.
  4. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    A higher mass bridge might help a dead spot - if you glue it to the headstock. Adding (or subtracting) mass there is what will do you the most good. Adding or subratacting mass to the body isn't a cure for a neck issue.
  5. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    Adding mass to the headstock is supposed to work, so put the Fatfinger on the headstock.
    Aqualung60 and bassdude51 like this.
  6. bassinflorida

    bassinflorida turn that dang thing down

    Jan 27, 2014
    Tampa, FL
    Pickups will likely make more of a difference.
  7. forrestlaw

    forrestlaw Supporting Member

    Jun 25, 2018
    Thanks for the thoughts/comments/suggestions... Those are kind of what I had read and was thinking, but was hoping a new bridge might help a little as it may balance things out a bit as it does neck dive a little. Ultimately I may just end up selling it and moving on as I'm realizing the longer I have it that it's just not in the same league as my American Standard.
    Ricky Rioli and Wasnex like this.
  8. bassclef112

    bassclef112 Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2003
    New York City, NY
    Changing the bridge ( hi mass to low mass or vice versa) may or may not make some desirable changes, but none will affect the dead spot.
    A dead spot is a neck issue, more specifically a headstock issue. As noted, adding a Fatfinger will help and shift the dead spot towards the nut. I have 5 and have used them on various bass configurations.*
    You should get one and move it around until you find the best result. If you like the bass otherwise, try one. It may become a keeper. These are a pretty handy item. I have several basses that without the FF I would consider flipping. Now I use them all the time.

    *Fatfingers work best on one piece necks (like Fenders). I have used them successfully on 2+2 headstocks, just takes some jockeying. Multi-piece necks get quirky and they might move it to an even less desirable position.
    Phyzzbin likes this.
  9. yodedude2

    yodedude2 Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2005
    san antonio, texas
    as an aside, installing ultra-ightweight tuners can also affect (i.e., move) the dead spot. as micguy said, adding or subtracting mass to the headstock will cause changes.

    in my experience, it wont go away...best you can get is to minimize the effect, maybe 'park' the dampening dead spot frequency between the frequencies of two regular notes by experimenting with headstock mass changes.

    one last thing...i have previously reduced the dead spot effect on a bass by using threaded inserts and bolts as replacements for neck screws.
  10. The way I solved the dead spot on my Mexican neck is with a “fat finger” metal clamp. They’re made by Fender. Clamp it on to your headstock.

    The Mexican genders have thinner (front-to-back) headstocks. That’s why you pay more money for the American instruments. It’s so you can get thicker headstocks.
  11. Leonid Nidis

    Leonid Nidis

    Jan 1, 2018
    Best you can do is move the dead spot to another location.
    Sell it and move on,specially since you have a better P bass already.
  12. forrestlaw

    forrestlaw Supporting Member

    Jun 25, 2018
    So I messed around with an Irwin clamp (see image below) and it made a pretty noticeable difference when I put it right on top of the Fender logo. Putting it elsewhere didn't seem to have much effect, though.

    The real thing of it is, though, is that it's still just not as good feeling as my other one. The profile of the neck doesn't feel as good and the fingerboard/fret edges aren't near as nice as on my American one.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2020
  13. bassclef112

    bassclef112 Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2003
    New York City, NY
    For those of us without the means to add inserts the Fatfinger is the way to go. I have not heard of subtracting mass as a fix - it's the reasons FF's work. Leave the tuners, add mass, dead spot moves towards nut. i.e. If you have a 7th fret DS, the FF will put it @ 5th fret.
    It will never go away - either you still love the bass and learn to play around the one spot, or sell the bass and see how that works out.

    This is the easiest fix (IMO) for the most common issue we have. Yes, there are some complex solutions, but you better do them to a bass you plan to keep forever. If you can't make a bass work with a FF to your satisfaction it's time to move it.
    timplog likes this.
  14. luciens


    Feb 9, 2020
    Dead spots are normal on Fender/Fender-like basses and do NOT indicate defects or poor quality. The traditional dead spot at the C on the G string is the strongest one, but you may find them at other places (you should feel/hear the dead spots at the C and open G & G at 5th fret on D on my L2000!).

    There aren't any good fixes, but you can kind of make them a little less bad by adding weight to the headstock. Usually the traditional Plutonium Fender tuning keys add enough tonnage to the headstock to almost get rid of them, but then they neck dive like crazy (like my Tony Franklin P bass for example). Sometimes removing weight from the headstock - super light tuners for example - will help too. But sometimes it'll make them much worse (eg. my L2000).

    The worst thing to do is sell your perfectly good P bass and go buy another high end, also perfectly good, P bass for twice the price. It'll have the same dead spots as your old P bass but you'll be out twice as much money.

    So the simplest thing to do is just ignore the dead spots and play it as-is. Everyone else who has a P bass like yours has the same dead spots, so you're all in the same boat regardless. And best of all, the cost is $0.00 to just keep the one you have.

    Last edited: Nov 26, 2020
    gg22, Ricky Rioli, JRA and 1 other person like this.
  15. bassdude51

    bassdude51 "You never even called me by my name." Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2008
    Central Ohio
    Could try a different set of strings too or a different gauge of strings. All strings vibrate in a different way and a new set may not react to your dead spot.

    Could also go to flats or a mute and then you'll have dead spots evenly all across the neck..........ha ha ha (a little humor)
  16. GroovyBaby

    GroovyBaby G&L Fanboy Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2007
    Huntingdon, PA
    If it’s real bad, then you might just sell the bass or replace the neck. I tried the fat finger on mine and it made only a small difference. My bass was new and G&L replaced the neck for me. It was NOT a minor dead spot, but a total thud. Even the tuner read the note wrong because the fundamental was missing. In my opinion, that kind of issue should be checked in quality control for more expensive basses. A MIM P is more of a gamble that way and if you don’t like the neck much anyway, then sell it or the bass.
    Kubicki Fan likes this.
  17. yodedude2

    yodedude2 Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2005
    san antonio, texas
    subtracting mass moves the dead spot towards the bridge. but as you note, it's not a fix; only a treatment.

    changing the afterlength of the strings also has an effect; if you made a mod and went with a 3+1 tuner arrangement (like a MM) you should notice a change.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2020
    gebass6 and Kubicki Fan like this.
  18. yodedude2

    yodedude2 Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2005
    san antonio, texas
    i will add that a neck swap should produce a noticeable difference. perhaps a nice used warmoth neck? but it's a crapshoot...there's no real way to know the results beforehand.
    jallenbass and JRA like this.
  19. forrestlaw

    forrestlaw Supporting Member

    Jun 25, 2018
    I made a minor truss rod adjustment to give the neck SLIGHTLY more relief and adjusted the action accordingly and seems to have made a bigger difference than just putting on my Irwin clamp.

    Here are a few samples that I recorded with my phone playing up the G string starting with open G. What do you all think?


  20. mikecd1

    mikecd1 Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2009
    New England
    I noticed on my old MIM Pbass when I tried to upgrade the heavy tuners to the ultralites that it caused dead spots. If you already have the higher mass tuners on there you're probably stuck adding something like a fatfinger on there. If you've got lightweight tuners on there, I'd start there first.
    digmeout likes this.
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