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different dead spots depending on string type ?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by pfschim, Feb 6, 2014.

  1. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    I wanted to ask you all a question.

    I have been playing a long time (over 40 years - yikes), mostly Fender 4 string jazzes (or clones like my Lull M4V), both fretted and fretless. I do most of my own basic maintenance and setup work and have become fairly good at it. I am also very familiar with the potential for dead spots with Fenders/bolt on necks. I have very carefully picked out my current gigging basses with that in mind and they are all pretty solid up and down the neck.

    I have used roundwounds for decades (Fender, D'Addario, Rotosound, Thomastik, DR ..etc) most recently I have settled on DR Sunbeams which I really like. But on one Jazz (MIA Deluxe) I decided to try some Flats for the first time since about 1972. I thought it would better fit a project I was in that would benefit from a more flat like/thumpy tone.

    So, I put some D'Addario Chromes on the bass, and while I liked them in general, it caused a terrible/very noticeable dead spot to appear at the 7th fret on the G string where none had been before. I worked with it that way for a while but finally decided to take them off and when a new set of Sunbeams went on, the bass was as good as always.

    So, what gives ? has anyone had this experience and is there some way to adjust the bass to get around this ?
  2. soulman969


    Oct 6, 2011
    You're a lucky man. I can seldom find a Fender Bass without some minor dead spots on the G string let alone adjust them out. Personally I haven't noticed any difference that a change of strings made better or worse. They're very minor and I've long since learned to live with them.
  3. jp grimbass

    jp grimbass

    Aug 22, 2011
    Interesting. My experience was exactly the opposite. I used roundwounds on my Fender P bass for years and had a dead spot in that same location that I just learned to deal with (not my main bass). About 2 years ago I decided to experiment with some D'Addario Chromes and put them on that bass. Suddenly the dead spot was gone and the sound was even and fantastic up and down the neck. I have tried many other brands of flats and the result is always the same. I guess that bass just had a hunger for some flats.
  4. VeganThump


    Jun 29, 2012
    South Jersey
    I know you said you do your own setups and have for some time so forgive me for asking this but did you setup your bass again when you switched to the chromes? I don't believe the issues to be different strings per se, rather different tension and therefore cause for adjusting the truss rod.
  5. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest

    +1 I discovered the Fat Finger and haven't looked back.
  6. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    thanks for the replies.

    so, yes I did do a set up after the Flats went on, did not address the dead D (7th fret) on G string in any noticeable way. I'm not a master tech or anything, but all these years of doing it has made me at least proficient in the basics.

    As far as inherent dead spots go, I just take my time a check a lot of basses out before I buy one, and make sure they have no dead spots (which happens often enough) or that the dead spots are minor and I can work around them.

    mjac28 - Fat finger has been around since the 70's AFAIK, it has helped a few basses out for me over the years, but is not magic in all cases. I have thought about one for this particular bass with flats, but in the mean time I put Sunbeams back on it and all is well. I may consider it again if I put flats back on the Am Dlx.
  7. Awesome Sauce

    Awesome Sauce Already tired tomorrow

    Dec 21, 2011
    NW Chicago 'burbs
    I have encountered this problem consistently over the past several years, and after researching, theorizing, and experimenting, have formed the following conclusion:

    Dead spots aren't just a matter of neck density but also of stiffness, right? Well, by changing the string type you have effectively changed the neck's stiffness a considerable enough degree to affect it's resonant frequency, thus also affecting the dead spot. Please note: tension is not the same as stiffness. A set of Balanced XL's and a set of matched (Balanced) Chromes will have the same, or incredibly close, tension, but vastly different stiffness. That's what I'm talking about. I have found going from rounds to flats or vice-versa to be the biggest perpetrator of this phenomenon, not so much gauge, which wasn't very apparent unless it was a drastic difference, i.e., 40-95 to 50-115 at the same tuning.

    Hope this helps, and as always, acronyms: IME, IMO, SOS, DMV, YYZ