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Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by anubis101, Nov 11, 2000.
Whats a dead spot and
how do i know if i have one??
If you have a wood necked bass, you probably have at least a little bit of a dead spot on the G string 5th fret(C note).
A 'dead' spot is any place on the neck where the note doesn't ring as loudly or sustain as long as elsewhere on the neck.
As I said, most wood necked basses have at least one, although the better constructed the bass is, the less noticeable it is.
On my Pedulla Rapture 5, the only time it has a dead spot is when there is a drastic change in the humidity. But when this Texas weather goes from 99 degrees and dry to 65 and raining, the dead spot shows up, although it goes away after about 15 - 30 minutes.
I'm not sure about this - I've owned quite a few "wood-necked" basses and never had any with dead spots and have played hundreds more with none.
I think it is generally accepted that this is a problem with bolt-on basses - I've never found a neck-through bass with a dead spot. In the Bass Book - the dsigners of the Fender Precision bass admit that the original design had a huge problem with dead spots and that this is a problem they have never totally cured.
If you ever go to the Fender forum, this is a subject that comes up frequently in discussions about Fender "bolt-on" basses.
I don't think the question of whether it is wood or not has any bearing, as there have been several owners of Ibanez "Ergodyne" (i.e. non-wood) basses who have mentioned that they have dead spots and I can rememeber the odd comment abot Status graphite basses with dead spots.
I can only suppose that they are caused by the method of construction and that like many things; the better a bass is constructed the less chance there is that it has dead spots. I imagine that a decent luthier would check for this sort of thing throughout the manufacture of a "high end" bass, but that cheap, factory-made basses are churned out too quickly for this to be a consideration.
I had a "high_end" neck-through bass with a dead spot, a B.C. Rich Eagle. It was in the usual spot, too, D on the G string.
Hmmm - well I must say that I have never considered a BC Rich bass and I now have another reason not to look out for them!!
I have a Fender with a dead spot, (tell me something else that's amazing). See my "Fatfinger Headstock Clamp" thread in Miscellaneous forum if I get any replies.
I've got a 1990 Warwick Streamer Stage I neck-thru with a dead spot. My J-bass has one too (no surprise here).
Status 2000 all graphite 4-string.....no probs at all!!
I have an Ibanez Ergodyne, and it has a dead spot if the action is set to low, 10fret on the d string? I don't know I raised the action 3/4 to 1 turn and its gone..... so you might try that. I don't know anything but what worked for me.
I think that it's quite clear that any bass can have dead spots, in my post I was pointing out that it seemed from looking at forums like this one and the Fender forum, that they are more likely to occur on bolt-on basses (especially Ps), but I was just trying to challenge the view that they only happen on wood-necked basses - a lot of ergodynes seem to have this as well.
My personal view is that, as in many things, the better constructed the bass, the less likely it is that it will have dead-spots - the more you pay the less chance of faults like this.
I am always very surprised that people have actually bought a bass with deadspots - it is one of the easiest things to check for and the first thing I try for on any bass I'm buying. It gets rejected immediately, if I find any inconsistency across the whole fretboard.
This is one of the main reasons why I would never buy a bass by mail order - this is probably how people get rid of their basses with deadspots - they're not going to mention this on ebay or wherever are they and it won't show up in a picture!
My understanding of the physics of the "dead spot" is that every instrument has certain resonant frequencies which can cause certain notes to be lacking in harmonic overtones that would otherwise give the note sustain and fullness. The resonant frequencies vary in location and intensity from instrument to instrument. I own 9 basses, and they all (even my Sadowsky 4) have this phenomenon to a greater or lesser degree. Even my new Lakland 5, which has graphite rods in the neck, has this, although to a much lesser degree than an all-wood neck. After talking to several luthiers about this (including Roger Sadowsky) it seems clear to me that this is just part of the nature of wooden instruments. I think that one of the biggest challenges in trying out a new instrument is identifying these spots, and determining whether that instrument's idiosyncrasies will be a problem for you, given your style of playing.
My definition of a dead spot is a note with no sustain that lacks the lower fundamentals.
A $125 Squier Bronco bass I bought new a few years back has no dead spots whatsoever. Its a bolt-on and was very inexpensive. My Steinberberger XL-2A has none either as does my Rogue Beatle bass copy. Of the over 25 basses I have owned, many did have dead spots. My '76 B.C. Rich Mockingbird neck-through does but, I wont let it go for so many reasons. It's the only bass I own that has a dead spot. I won't keep a bass if it has this dreaded plague. I have tried the Fat Finger doohickey and found it just trades one dead spot for another. New strings and re-frets won't fix the problem. As stated, it is due to resonant qualities resulting in the density/stiffness of the materials used. Not much you can do except find another bass or try a new neck.
EPIC NECRO POST!!!
I have a High-End Fender American Standard Jazz with a dead spot. 19th fret on the G. Horrible buzz and note lasts one second.
My definition is a horrible buzz and/or the note doesnt hold and/or isn't as loud as the others. Also see if the pickup screws are even across and your action is reasonable. String height may be an object, as well as bad frets and low action.
I once had an entire dead string. It was the a-string of a mexican fender p-bass.
I'll never buy mexican again.
^ that was a different problem ^
i think the buzz more likely indicates a fret problem, doesn't it?
especially at the 19th fret... sounds like the "fretting out" phenomena
The resonance at a dead spot is in the instrument such that the vibration of the string is absorbed by the instrument. Kind of like when you're holding a watch that's swinging back and forth on a piece of string - the motions that you use to stop the swinging.
So you get a much reduced sustain at that one particular spot.
The only bass I ever played that was completely free of dead spots was a Steinberger, the older one that was solid composite. My carvin bunny is almost completely free of them. It seems to have an extremely slight one in the upper 1/3 of the neck on the G string, but it's very hard to detect (no audible deadness there tho). But it's a 6-string neck-through and built like the proverbial Sherman tank.
All my other basses have them. My L2000 and my rick have the typical one at "frets" 5-7. My L2500 has one around there too but its a lot less noticeable.
I don't consider dead spots that much of a problem, just kind of the charm of each individual instrument. Nothing you can do about it but to change the strength to alter the resonances, which changes the tone etc.....
I have a USA Lakland Joe Osborn with a typical dead spot on the G string at the 7/8th fret. I have also had 7 Rick basses, 2 4001's, and 5 4003's. One of the 4001's had a dead spot and one of the 4003's had a dead spot, it was a 2006 4003. My 1985 4003 has zero dead spots. I had a 2008 Ken Smith Neck through with absolutely zero dead spots.
It would be interesting to get a Luthiers perspective on this. I've played very well constructed instruments that have dead spots. What, in particular, would one be "checking" for throughout the manufacture to ensure that the instrument did not have a dead spot ? I suppose there are parameters that one could design an instrument around to ensure that it's inherent critical frequency did not result in any noticable deadspots, but it sure seems that this would be pretty challenging for the builder.