P-Bass dead spot?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by GrooveMonkey, Feb 8, 2004.

  1. I think my 2001 MIA P-Bass's E-string sounds dead on any notes lower than A on the 5th fret. I just changed from Fat-Beams to D'addario Chromes flat-wounds and it didn't help. Although I'm diggin' the flats.

    The A string seems to have much more punch/thump. My pickup is level and my strings are at an even height.

    Is this just a trick of the sound? I wonder if it's just because I'm standing within 6-8 feet from the amp.

    Anyone else have this problem?
  2. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    You might try a setup. That can always help. If that's good, then I am not sure. Maybe just a dead spot in the neck? Does the open E sound okay?
  3. There are almost never "dead spots" there. Most basses with bolt-on necks, and many with set necks or even neck throughs suffer from dead spots on the G string at around the fifth or sixth fret that are caused by the natural resonance of the instrument, where the instrument (or at least the neck) sympathetically vibrates at the same frequency as that fundamental, and absorbs some of the energy you imparted to the string when you plucked it, but I've never seen this problem at the site you describe. One possibility is "slapping," where the vibrating string is too close to the top of the frets, and as the vibrating string bangs against the tops of the frets, they damp the vibration. Try raising the action on this string if this looks like it might be a problem, and see if the problem disappears. If it does, a little set-up work or a fret dressing should correct it. Anothe possibility is that your amp and/or speakers don't want to go down that low, and you are asking the amp and speakers to reproduce frequencies beyond the flat range of the amp. Try eq-ing the frequencies from about 40 cycles per second to about 60 and see if this doesn't wake those notes up, or try the bass with another amp and speakers. The tone of those notes will be different depending on which problem you have, but without playing the bass I can't tell. It is always good to find the G string dead spot just to be aware of where it is, and then compare your dead G string notes to your dead E string notes. The dead G string notes are usually the result of a resonant dead spot sucking the punch and sustain out of the note. (You can also hear this by playing the bass without an amp.) We usually live with those dead notes on the G string, but if they are indeed resonant dead spots in the money spot of your bass, that is not acceptable. Also, I'm not sure what you mean by having the pickup level, but the critical issue is the distance between the top of the pickup and the bottom of the string. This should be somewhere around 1/8" on the E side and 3/32" on the G side, depending on the overall setup and your playing style.

  4. Nice reply!

    I'll have to tweak my EQ and get back to you. My amp is an Ampeg SVP-Pro/QSC RMX1450/SWR Goliath III setup and I would hope it could keep up with a four string. Maybe it's the room sound too. I just remember that on my last gig I'd losse punch/thump when playing below A on the E string.

  5. This may be out in left field but does that cabinet have an unusual "throw" when it comes to low notes? Perhaps the lower notes are forming up at a place that's further out front than the position you occupy on stage.

    I dunno :meh:

    I do know that this discussion will get moved if it doesn't get centered on the instrument itself.
  6. tkarter


    Jan 1, 2003
    Does the E string have any downward break between the nut and tuning peg? Have seen plenty sound dead if there isn't.

  7. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    You might try what hambone said. Stand about 5-6 feet away from your amp and see how those low notes sound. That might be the problem. The long bass waves are not very coherent near to the speakers. I have found a lot better sound when I can move away from the speakers, but still be in front of them.
  8. Thanks for all the input you guys! I practiced with the P-Bass through my little Ampeg B100R last night and everything sounded great. I'm willing to bet it's a combonation of my EQ settings for the big rig and the room I'm playing.

    IMO the D'addario Chromes added some thump compared to the DR Highbeams I was using.

    tkarter, I'll have to check the angle of the string when I get home tonight. Thanks again!
  9. lildrgn


    Jul 11, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    Speaking of dead spots...

    Just got a Badass II yesterday from TBer Philthy and installed it on my MIJ P. After raising the saddles a bit to compensate, I found that on the A string at the 10th fret (G), that it was buzzier than any other spot on the neck. An additional quarter turn of the saddle height made it better, but I'm afraid it may have raised the action a bit too high. Any ideas or suggestions about fixing one spot?