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Fender Precision dead notes...deal breaker?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by meursault42, Apr 30, 2010.

  1. meursault42


    Jun 21, 2006
    I'm hoping to get some feedback from experienced P-bass players here. I recently bought my first in a Fender CS '58 Relic. Prior to this I've played J-basses and Musicmans almost exclusively. In general, I really love the tone of the bass...very George Porter esque. The feel is great, too. I've found, however, that it has a rather noticeable (to me at least) dead spot at Db and, to a lesser extent, D on the G-string. Now, I know that this is a somewhat common occurance with these basses. And I also know that, in the end, it will just come down to whether I can make it sound good. But marketwise, is this the kind of thing that will earn a P-bass the "lemon" or "dog" stigma? In other words, is this something to be avoided in most cases, or is it more of an accepted quirk with these basses?

    Edit: Please flip to page 3 on this thread to hear a brief sound clip that demonstrates how this sounds. Thanks!
  2. Mine has a dead spot in the same area, but it's actually a very mild one. I've played some with a godawful dead spot there, and those I'd never look twice at. It depends on your threshold, I think. You'll likely never find one without, so I'd say that, if the dead spot's not a really ugly one, just work around it.

    Also, noticeable to you (or me, in my bass's case) doesn't necessarily mean actually noticeable.
  3. Daveomd


    Feb 28, 2010
    That's pretty standard for any Precision or Jazz. Anyone who is a Precision person will pretty much expect those notes to be kinda dead.
  4. Hamerguy


    Mar 29, 2008
    I have a Fender Am Dlx fretless J with a deadspot at D on the G-string. Since the tuner for the G-string is not working properly (it has the Hipshot Ultralites) I think that is the reason for the deadspot. I think I will change the tuners to the new Fender/Hipshot or the earlier Fender/Schaller (my favorites). More mass to the headstock might help eliminate the deadspots.
  5. Precisely why I so intensely dislike (hate?) Fender basses. I could never get one without dead notes; one, a made in USA jazz in the mid 90's, could have filled a cemetary! (slight exageration) A good bass has no dead notes, period. They are unacceptable at any point, especially if the bass is over $150. A quality musical instrument is just that...quality and musical.
  6. BassmanAd


    Mar 19, 2008
    All P-Basses come with the case, case candy and a free dead spot betwenn the 5th and 7th fret on the G string. Fender are very generous like that you know... ;)
  7. There was a post from Roger Sadowsky himself a few months ago saying that dead spots are part of the design of the instrument and that it is always there somewhere to some extent!

    If he says they are normal i trust him!

    I have one on all my basses and dont care about them anymore, just get to know where they are and avoid them if you need a long note.
  8. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    What you have is a neck that has bad resonance or dead spot. If you recently bought the bass, return it or make a warranty claim for defective materials on that neck. That is an issue that will never be corrected unless you replace the neck with a better piece of wood.

    BTW. that is a trouble spot on many basses, it has nothing to do with the brand name on the head stock. This can be addressed, make sure Fender makes good. That is what the warranty if for...
  9. I dunno. I have a slight dead spot on a Lakland, and I know at least two Sadowskys with it as well. To the OP, I back that warranty statement. If it's a big dead spot, call Fender out on it.
  10. +1
  11. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    IME,those notes are always dead on fender p, jazz & tele basses. inoticed it on my first one that i bought new in 1969, and every one of them that i've owned since (& i've owned more than 100 of them)
    new stingrays have it on the G string's 9th fret (E) and rickenbackers have it on the 5th (C).

    i just look at it as part of a bass's 'personality'.
  12. MrWalker


    Apr 3, 2002
    I've played a few Fenders with "manageable" dead notes on the G-string. Adding a little mass to the neck (headstock) might move the dead note a little, but not really remove it. I have also played basses where the dead notes are making that tonal range completely useless. So it's a point to be aware of.

    A bass with a different design (multi-laminate neck or thicker fingerboard) will minimize or completely remove the dead spot.

    If the dead spot is manageable, I wouldn't mind. It's an inherent feature and can even be utilized somewhat. If it's unmanagable, I'd have second-thoughts about it. :)
  13. GeneralElectric


    Dec 26, 2007
    NY, NY
    All basses have a dead spot.

    Most of mine don't have particularly noticable. I've found that lighter gauge strings help somewhat.
  14. bassman_al

    bassman_al Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2008
    Fairfax, VA USA
    Never noticed any dead spots on either of my current basses. I'll have to check out the D and Db...
  15. CapnSev


    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    Welcome to Fender. That's the typical place to have a dead spot.

    I have a slight dead spot on mine at the low G/Gb on my E string.
  16. I have 4 P-Basses and none of them really have a dead spot. Did I just get lucky or are my basses that awesome?
  17. BSW


    Aug 29, 2008
    I can tell you that I have a 65 Pre CBS Jazz that had dead spot I have owned the bass since 1979 I have the best of the best in the bass bizz work on the bass trying all types of ways to correct the buzzing at certain spot of the bass and dead spots I had someone do a fret dressing on the bass and he dressed a bit more in the bad areas. The bass works sounds and plays so great now. You may want to try this
  18. meursault42


    Jun 21, 2006
    Unfortunately, I'm the second owner of this bass. Fender only honors warranty claims from the original owner. Although, having bought the bass used, if I decide to get rid of it for this reason, I should probably be able to make back most-if-not-all of my original investment. I'll have to live with it for a little while, though, and see if it REALLY bothers me. Having not played other basses with this problem, it's hard to say how bad it is relative to others. My Fender Marcus Miller 5has no dead spots and only very minor wolf tones. Maybe I'll throw a little sound clip up here to see what you folks think about how it sounds. Might be an interesting experiment...
  19. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    As already noted by others, dead spots are normal on many basses, not just Fender. I've found them on high-end instruments. IMO, it's a natural result of resonance.

    "Dead spot" is a bit of a misnomer. The vast majority are simply weak spots and not very noticeable in the mix. Actual dead spots... where the note quickly dies out into nothing... are serious, but relatively rare.
  20. meursault42


    Jun 21, 2006
    I read somewhere else that the reason graphite reinforced necks are used in the Lakland basses (as well as others) is, in part, to address this issue of unwanted resonance. So, to me this begs the question: Can you acheive the classic P tone with this modern neck construction? I've heard the Lakland Glaub Ps, at least in the hands of other players, and that is not the classic precision tone to my ear. But maybe it was just the way they were being played.

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