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note volume balance - probs & fixes

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mandown, Jan 5, 2005.

  1. mandown


    Jan 5, 2005
    WARNING - well, this is my fist post here and i hope i am not bringing up any topics that have been beaten to death in the past. if so, link me to the discussion where the gunfight was held. yes, i did try a the search function already.

    THE ISSUE - i have a mexican fender p-bass that i have been playing for almost a decade now. it is in great shape. the hardware and electronics are fine. it plays and sounds pretty good too. i am very happy with it, except for one issue. some notes seem to play either very quiet or very loud relative to others. as an example, the open A string sounds dead silent compared to the A played on the 5th fret of the E string (in addition to the slight tone variation of a fretted string vs. an open string). in general, the E string tends to be louder than the other strings (i have adjusted the PU height as much as possible) however, there are dead notes on the E string as well. the problem is most noticeable in loud live situations and recording. it does not seem to stand out as much when i practice at low volumes, playing along to cd's or just noodling.

    THE FIX???
    1 - i thought that a compressor/limiter may be the trick. any thoughts/experience/advice?
    2 - it was suggested (by a guitar center employee) that guitars with active PUs are less prone to this issue. does this imply that the active is the way to go? or does it imply that guitars that come with actives are just made better than my cheapo bass (seeing as how those with actives tend to be a bit more $$$)
    3 - the big upgrade to a new bass may be the option. i have been eyballing a few around the $500 mark. i have played a few and have found some that i like (the schecter basses keep standing out, still haven't played a fernandes but the tony campos endorsement has me interested). however, i don't know that i want to buy a new bass as i am happy with the one that i have, except for the above problem.

    well, let the e-abuse begin.
  2. A big problem with cheaper basses are dead spots. Try taking it to a tech and adjust the neck. If that doesn't work, perhaps you need to get new fretwire?
  3. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    It really varies with each bass.

    I just picked up a MIM P-Bass and I chose it after playing a dozen or so Fenders. It was the only one that had no dead spots.

    Vintage (and some newer) Fenders seem to be prone to a few notes on the neck having dead spots. You really have to check it out closely.

    One alternative is getting a Warmoth neck to replace it. The problem lies in the neck, I'm almost 100% positive of that.