1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Dead spots on basses?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by alaskaleftybass, Jan 13, 2019.


  1. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    Hail TB'ers. I have to confess I haven't owned a Fender for decades. I'm pretty much an Ibanez guy. However, more and more I'm especially wanting to get that unmistakable P-bass tone. I listen to mostly 60-70-80's music and more and more I'm noticing how much I missed the boat on that big fat soulful P-bass tone. Getting ready to do an 80's rock hits tribute band and I'm leaning towards buying one of the new Fender P-basses just released.

    I did own three Fenders, a Gibson, and a Ric in the 70's into the early 80's. Then I discovered Ibanez. The main reason I went Ibanez is because the Fenders had dead spots, typically the G note on the E string, the D position on the A string, and a couple more I can't remember.

    I've read somewhere here on TB that Fender has found a way to eliminate the dead spots on the basses. Something to do with tuners and headstocks. Can someone confirm this? Please no passive aggressive snarkiness-- I'm seriously considering buying a Fender Precision lefty. I just want some input on the dead note issues I faced many years ago. Thanks in advance.
     
    Spidey2112 likes this.
  2. hypercarrots

    hypercarrots

    Jan 28, 2009
    los angeles
    Do you like 80s ibanezes? Roadstars, blazers, etc.
     
  3. jamro217

    jamro217 Supporting Member

    I believe the idea isn't to eliminate the dead spots (which is very difficult to accomplish), but to move them into a sonic area that's not as offensive. By adding weights to the headstock to make the neck resonate at a different frequency, the dead spot moves. The Fat Finger is one example. There are other designs that are basically cosmetically different approaches to the problem. You can even do your own mod by screwing some heavy material to the back of the headstock. Worsens neck dive, looks dorky, possibly irreversible, unless you use existing holes or some removable adhesive. Hope this helps.
     
    Spidey2112 and alaskaleftybass like this.
  4. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    I own a Roadstar. It's semi-retired as it needs to go to the guitar doctor. I use mostly an SR500 lefty mahogany and backup SR300EL lefty pewter. Don't like the Nordy's as well, but back to the point, neither basses can duplicate that classic P-bass tone.
     
    jamro217 likes this.
  5. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    Thank you for chiming in. Yikes! Adding weights to a bass that already weighs 3 pounds more than my Ibanez. Excuse my dumb question but-- how is it that to this day Fender still has dead spots and my 1981 Roadstar or my newer SR's don't? I just don't understand the physics behind sound and resonance.
     
    Spidey2112 and jamro217 like this.
  6. jamro217

    jamro217 Supporting Member

    I'm not entirely sure how it works, either, but from what I can gather, the problem is inherent in Fender basses. If you Google "Bass neck dead spots" there are pages of listings for supposed cures for the problem and maybe a much more accurate description of more than the usual locations (G string, fifth to seventh fret, etc.). One guy even drilled holes behind the plates of the machine heads and installed little metal cylinders. Claims it works without altering the appearance. Until you take off the machines. Why would you? I'm assuming it's a case of sympathetic vibration. Most necks are made of maple and have the same type of hardware. The variance in them is probably small with the tolerances so close, even the baseball bats compared to the toothpicks. The frequency the maple vibrates at is where the note is cancelled out resulting in a dead spot. If you could tune the frequency of the neck like you do a string, the note will shift. I think that's how it works.


    I don't believe the weight added is an astronomical amount, just a few ounces.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
  7. hypercarrots

    hypercarrots

    Jan 28, 2009
    los angeles
    Ibanez necks are constructed differently over the decades. 3pc quartersawn maple, or 5 pc Jatoba/bubinga/wedge/walnut/etc combinations, different widths, thicknesses and neck joints, headstock sizes and densities all play their parts in the outcome.
    Most standard fender necks are the same construction and dimensions so they are consistent in their strengths and faults.
    I find the old Japanese made yamahas to be good competition for the fender p bass sound, though I still have a couple fender p basses despite owning many Yamahas and Ibanezes with p pickups.
     
    alaskaleftybass and jamro217 like this.
  8. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    Thank you. That clears up the murky waters a bit for me. Makes sense.

    Thank you. That also makes sense to me. My Ibanez basses are so solidly consistent. I'm a little irritated about an experience I had around Christmas. I won the bid for a Yamaha P-style bass lefty and backed out of the sale. The owner was a private seller that even expressed regrets on having to sell it.

    I do have an Ibanez SR100 with a P-bass pickup. I'm thinking maybe if I pull out the pickup and add a Bartolini Classic P-style pickup, and swap out the electronics I might be able to get close enough to suit my needs. I got the bass for a very good deal and the neck is perfect and even though it's wider the bass plays so solid. Still, I like the looks of the newer American Player P-basses...
     
  9. hypercarrots

    hypercarrots

    Jan 28, 2009
    los angeles
    I’ve pondered putting my spare Lindy Fralin pickup with passive harness in one of my sr800 and see how it compares to a traditional alder body fender p
     
    Stumbo and alaskaleftybass like this.
  10. saabfender

    saabfender Banned

    Jan 10, 2018
    Indianapolis
    So I was playing something in D major. Soloing away, I get to the high D on the G string. The note was almost silent in context. I stopped everything to figure it out.

    I got out a tuner to see what pitches the ones of the string lengths in the headstock. (IIRC)
    E: N/A
    A: D
    D: A, almost C
    G: D (8va), almost G

    No wonder D sucks so bad. Got out some gaff tape and made little... things. Helped hugely on the D, some on the G string 5-7 and a little on the A 3-5. Makes it play nicer and more even.

    FenderTape - 1.
     
    HolmeBass, jamro217, nbsipics and 7 others like this.
  11. Bassist30

    Bassist30 Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2004
    NEW YORK
    If you are looking for a great P the Professional series P basses are really nice. In a band situation as well as recording it is a very punchy bass. What I also like is the 2 stiffening bars which help eliminate dead spots. Not like the older c sharp dead spot (g string) that older fender always had.
     
    AlexanderB and alaskaleftybass like this.
  12. Now this is a novel approach I've never seen! Veeeery in-ter-east-ing.
     
  13. saabfender

    saabfender Banned

    Jan 10, 2018
    Indianapolis
    I guess you could get carried away and use shrink tubing when you string it up. Tidier? This seems to work fine.
     
    jamro217 and alaskaleftybass like this.
  14. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    Here's a thought--thinking outside the box. @hypercarrots mentioned that due to the construction of Ibanez sandwiched necks contributing to no dead spots, what if I bought a P-bass and bought a Warmoth sandwiched neck? I wonder if that would take care of the problem? Thanks everyone for your kind suggestions.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
    jamro217 and Spidey2112 like this.
  15. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    I didn't know that Fender had necks with dual stiffening bars. Thanks for that information.
     
    jamro217 and Bassist30 like this.
  16. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    alaskaleftybass : this is not a 'snark' on your issue, but: how much of this is motivated by wanting an actual P to get those P-type tones? i'm asking because when i've compared various versions of actual fender P's = they all sounded different! they all sounded good (some better than others, my preferences), but they were different. i found no "unmistakable P tone" out of a group (3) of P basses compared to one another at the same time in the same store....the salesman heard the differences as well, but he agreed with me that all sounded good.
     
    jamro217, BurnOut, Bass V and 2 others like this.
  17. One of the most unmistakable "P tones" I've ever encountered was from a Danelectro 63RI with both pickups in play. No dead spots either.
     
    JRA, Bass V, Tommyc and 1 other person like this.
  18. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    @JRA you missed GOF Roll Call! :laugh:
    One of the songs on our 80's tribute band is Waiting for a Girl Like you. I have good equipment and for a while owned Ampeg amps but switched to GK because I favor that tone. But-- back to the tone-- Here is a song on our list where I discovered I couldn't get that throaty P bass tone I've known since the early 70's. I've owned three Ps up until 1980's when I switched to Ibanez, which I love. But this is a live take on Foreigner's song through an Ampeg SVT double stack. I can't compete with that but I KNOW a P bass sound when I hear it, and I'm thinking maybe just modifying my Ibanez P-style bass might get me what I need. Here's the song:



    How would you go about achieving that sound? I noticed you have a P-J, which is a different animal. And your avatar looks like something with dual humbuckers. I'm interested on your take. Thanks for chiming in!
     
    JRA likes this.
  19. No, Fender have not eliminated dead spots. There is no way to reliably do so in the manufacturing process. There are too many uncontrollable variables that contribute to the resonant frequency of the completed bass. It's not solely in the neck or any one part of the instrument. Every component is a factor. All basses are liable to have dead spots, not only Fenders. Even expensive boutique basses could end up with a crippling dead spot.

    There is also no pure solution for the end user. You can add or remove mass sure. This may move the dead spot or it may not. It might require so much change in mass that you end up with crazy neck dive or an undesirable change in the overall sound and responsiveness of the instrument. Basically, if you are changing the mass enough to move a dead spot, you are going to notice some difference in the sound of the bass. That is the nature of what you're doing. The notes on at least part of the neck are going to feel different when you play them.

    The PURE solution is to not buy a bass with dead spots :( It really is as cold and simple as "buyer beware". Any method of correcting them is a compromise on some level, as I have found myself the hard way many times.
     
  20. saabfender

    saabfender Banned

    Jan 10, 2018
    Indianapolis
    Just now, I was wondering "Who played bass on the Thompson Twins records?" On Wikipedia, Matthew Seligman's name came up. I want to see him and what he plays. This remarkable picture came up.

    maxresdefault.
    Check out the headstock.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.