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Wolf Notes

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by kshewchuk, Jan 16, 2012.

  1. kshewchuk


    Jun 3, 2007
    I searched this but all I could find was DB threads about it.
    I found a wolf note (Low A on the E string) on my fretless yamaha TRB 5 string. It just sounds completely dead. What's the deal with wolf notes like that, and how do I combat them?
  2. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    Actually, you're experiencing the opposite of a wolf tone, which is a dead spot. In a nutshell, what's happening is that the neck is resonating sympathetically at certain frequencies, absorbing the string's energy. It has to do with the stiffness and mass of the neck, and since you can't make the neck stiffer the only way to address the problem is to change the mass of the neck. You can either add weight to the headstock or reduce weight. The easiest thing to try is the Fat Finger, which is a brass weight that clamps to the headstock. Others have changed to heavier tuners and even gone as far as to embed lead weights into the back of the headstock.

    Fender Fatfinger Bass Sustain Enhancer: Shop Accessories & Other Musical Instruments | Musician's Friend

    EDIT: as a quick experiment to prove the point: in the playing position, take your bass and touch the headstock to the nearest wall (gently of course). Then play your A on the E string and hear how much more sustain there is.
  3. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    wolf notes are an excess of resonance, and occur on acoustic instruments. as said above, you have a dead spot.

    I would say take it to a luthier/setup specialist.
  4. Growly Lytes

    Growly Lytes

    Dec 4, 2009
    Downunder Oz
    Bass player
    Luthier aint gonna do much for a dead spot but take your money.In the end your still gonna have that dead note.
    Try some different strings.
  5. I have a dead spot around the 7th fret on the D-string on my converted to fretless Richwood Stingray 5 copy. Changed the stock strings to D'Addario halfrounds, still the same. I did some experiments with clamps on the headstock, but these only shifted the dead spot to another note. It's not that bad, keeping in mind that it was a cheap bass, even with the conversion job. But I guess it must be pretty annoying on a higher end model like the Yamaha TRB is supposed to be.


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