Forget Fatfinger I found the deadspot fix!

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Fullerton50sFan, Aug 23, 2018.

  1. Just joined today so apologies in advance if I screw anything up. I joined just to post a real breakthrough I found in my
    ongoing battle with dead spots and wolf tones on my Fender
    P basses,'63/'82/2017. I've studied the physics but saw no
    mention of the string tree as the culprit. I had tried the
    Fatfinger-no luck; different string gauges and neck tension-
    no luck. Today after thinking about the fact that there are
    two nodes on the headstock,machine head and string tree,
    I decided to focus on the string tree since it isn't talked
    about much. I tried a simple experiment based on the simple
    observation of how engines and motors are vibration damped
    with hard rubber mounts. I put a hard rubber fender washer
    (how ironic) under the string tree and it completely
    eliminated the dead spots at C#(antinode) and D, and the
    wolf tones on G#and A. The washer is 1/16 thick 7/16 i.d.
    1 inch o.d. It is 1/4in. larger diameter than the string tree
    so you will see 1/8in. of rubber showing. this is vital for it
    to work,I tried one that was flush with the edge and it only
    reduced the dead spot about 80%. I dropped the G and D
    strings two whole steps then pulled them out from under
    string tree. I cut the washer then pushed it under the
    tree. The hole is oversized so instead of cutting a notch in
    the washer I pushed one end under the other at the 12
    o'clock position between the strings making it oval which
    made sure there was enough rubber under each string.
    I then put the strings under the washer and pushed down
    on them from below the tree with my thumb as I slowly
    brought them to pitch,alternating strings every 1/8 turn
    and pinching the washer from the sides and pushing it
    toward the nut as I went. When I started testing for dead
    spots and wolf tones I was thrilled not to find any,only to
    realize I had forgotten to flatten the EQ on my GK150E
    which has a ton of it and I had maxed out half of it to
    hide the dead spot. I crossed my fingers and set everything
    to 12 o'clock. I slowly walked my fingers up the board, giving
    it the 5 Mississippi test, it passed! I hope those of you who have been fighting this problem can benefit from this tip,
    I wouldn't have sold my '63 if I had discovered it a year ago.
    Reedt2000, millahh, Mili and 15 others like this.
  2. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    I always thought that the string tree not only helped to keet pressure on the string to the nut but also helped to couple the vibration from the string to the peg head for more sustain (like using a C-clamp in the old days for massive sustain without sophisticated compression).
    OTOH, if sustain isn't lost, and your idea eliminates dead spots, it's a home run.
    Any chance you can post a pic?
    Aqualung60 and foolforthecity like this.
  3. PianoOfDoom


    May 30, 2011
    Can you link to the washer you mentioned?
  4. davelowell2

    davelowell2 Uhh... FaFaFooey is BaBaBooey... Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    Pics please.
    Aqualung60 and Bassbeater like this.
  5. cataract

    cataract Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2007
    Columbia SC
    Plan B:
  6. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    There's so little vibration in the string past the nut it's completely insignificant. All it does is keep the string in the nut properly.

    A C clamp, or pressing the head against the wall (another old school studio trick), adds mass to the neck and changes how it resonates, making it soak up less energy from the vibrating portion of the string, so you get more sustain.
    dkelley, petrus61, Fuzzbass and 2 others like this.
  7. takeout

    takeout Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    Kansas City area
    Yeah, I had a hard time visualizing from the description. Do the strings push up against the washer, which is between strings and tree "top"?

    Would LOVE to be able to fix this on my Fenders for under a buck each...
  8. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    It seems pretty simple. Get the washer as spec'd in OP and pop it on the String tree between the strings and the tree itself. Then check for deadspots.
    If it works, OP should patent and sell it to Fender.
    MattB88 likes this.
  9. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Oh and putting the plan into action may be pretty simple but the Idea is Genius. Especially if it truly does help the dead spot situation.
    Out of 100's of Fenders I've owned and played only 1 sticks out as having a "noticeable" dead-spot.
    It was an early 90s USA Jazz bass.
  10. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    Then I want to buy basses from you.

    I have 2- 73' P's 1- 72'P
    1- 74' J 1- 72J
    1- 60P
    All stock with a pup change on the 74' J

    THEY ALL HAVE DEAD SPOTS, although the 60 is the least bit noticeable presumably becasue of the C neck.
    As I recall, the 5 - 70's Fender's, only 1 is quiet at the D note on the G string; the rest are all quiet at the C#.

    100's of Fender bass that you've owne/played with only 1 with a dead spot?
    Very hard for me to believe; maybe I'm more picky or you are incredibly lucky
    dkelley, AlexanderB and Happy Face like this.
  11. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    I am sure if I went looking for it there may have been more. But the 90s Jazz was there without searching for it.
    I would hit the note and I heard nothing. The rest got played and enjoyed without me noticing any problems.
  12. Lowbrow

    Lowbrow Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2008
    Allentown, PA!
    Sounds promising indeed, but dunce that I am your post is too long and explain-y to follow ... can you post a picture so we can see what the solution adds up to?
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2018
  13. TL;DR
    Goatrope, bolophonic and cataract like this.
  14. Interesting. I've only had one bass with a really bad dead spot .... but I put on ultra light weight tuning machines (GB350) just to save weight and to my surprise it also cured the dead spot. (if not "cured" at least it moved it someplace where I cannot find it).

    Tempting to put the heavy tuners back on, just as an experiment to bring back the deadspot so I can test your solution. Hopefully some other people here will try it out and report the results.
    nbsipics and nolezmaj like this.
  15. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Just do the one tuner (G-string) and report back please if you do it.
  16. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    I think it's proven that changing mass does have an effect on dead spots. To what degree is somewhat unknown. Also, where is the best location to add weight.

    Op's solution is definitely a dampening situation in my eyes at least.

    I believe the idea deserves experimentation. See what changing thicknesses & diameters will accomplish.
    dkelley and cabo like this.
  17. Without any pictures, your description needs to include carrots to make any sense to us here. :laugh:
    Since you are new here we'll give you a pass on the carrot thing. Welcome to TB.
    If you've truly solved this problem we will all be able to just go home and watch the Weather Channel all day.
  18. takeout

    takeout Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    Kansas City area
    I'm curious about this as well - wondering if I could buy one set of Res-O-Lites and fix multiple basses!
  19. So if I recall correctly (unlikely) the reason for the 3+1 headstock on the MusicMan bass was to solve the dead spot. I always assumed it was just moving the mass of the G string tuner. But if the OP's solution really works, that would imply (to me) that the length of the string on the other side of the nut has something to do with the dead spot.

    If the OP's solution actually works (and if it works by damping the string vibration on the tuner side of the nut) --- you would think that simply having strings with silk wraps under the tree would behave differently than no-silk strings as far as dead spots. Or you would think just putting a foam mute between the G and D strings on the tuner side of the nut would do the same. Unless (like @lz4005 said) the reason it worked for the OP is that his string tree wasn't pressing the strings down against the nut hard enough and the rubber shim increased that tension.
  20. I was just doing it to save weight (neck dive on one bass with a shorter upper horn) and was surprised that it solved the dead spot - the weight difference was substantial and neck dive cured but I went to the lightest possible tuners (gb350) with too small a shaft size (didn't realize it until they arrived) and had to fabricate some lightweight sleeves so they would fit the headstock. I've put them on several basses since and absolutely love them - but I think most people would prefer slightly heavier tuners that fit properly without the need to fabricate sleeves.

    I had carbon fabric and resin on hand for another project and I just made a tube and cut it and glued in.
    Old Garage-Bander likes this.

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