Post Number: 425
|Posted on Friday, January 08, 2010 - 3:36 am: |
I was reading a recent post and the subject of "Dead Spots" came up. I've often heard people complain of this phenomena (mostly with bolt-on basses), but I've honestly never noticed it. My bolt-on basses include 4 Music Mans, a Jazz, a Mustang, a Tele, and a Schecter fretless, so it's not for a lack of opportunity. The descriptions I've read describe a "dead spot" as a note(s) that doesn't ring as loudly or sustain as long as anywhere else on the neck. It would seem to me that a "dead spot" would be caused by excessive resonance of the body thus "robbing" the string of its energy. Is that right? If it is: if you had a "dead spot" with A1 on the E string, wouldn't you also have a "dead spot" with an open A string???
Post Number: 1479
|Posted on Friday, January 08, 2010 - 4:30 am: |
(Message edited by keith_h on January 08, 2010)
Post Number: 1480
|Posted on Friday, January 08, 2010 - 4:35 am: |
I don't know all of the physics involved but my Jazz Bass has a dead spot at the 5th fret C on my G string. There is not a dead spot at the 10th fret C on my D string. This leads me to believe it is all in the neck. Another thing dealing with the dead spot is it can vary in intensity through out the year but never totally disappears.
Post Number: 427
|Posted on Friday, January 08, 2010 - 4:43 am: |
I found a good explanation: http://www.acoustics.org/press/137th/fleischer.html
I suspect the added mass of a neck-through instrument is why this is not noticed as much on our Alembics.
(Message edited by mike1762 on January 08, 2010)
Post Number: 66
|Posted on Friday, January 08, 2010 - 5:53 am: |
Dead spots are exactly that - the neck resonates at a coplimentary frequency that robs the note of sustain to varying degrees. I would say it's all about the piece of wood, but multi-lam necks and even graphite necks can exhibit them. The culprit is usually the headstock. Clamping added mass like a FatFinger to it will help deal with the dead spot by moving it towards the nut - it won't fix it. But moving it from the typical (for Fenders) location of the 5th fret on the G to the 2nd/3rd fret makes it easier to deal with. Having said that, I had a headless Status Kingbass with a bolt-on graphite neck and it had a wicked spot on the 14th fret of the G string while it totally sang on every other note.
Dead spots are a unique attribute to each instrument, and are also a matter of degree - though broad statements can be made it's a case by case thing. If your playing style is very active you may never notice it - it's only in sustained notes that you'll hear it. I've found "borderline" instruments can be made quite serviceable with a FatFinger and I have several of those. Some are just too drastic to deal with - you can't change the resonant frequency of the wood, so off they go.
I have a 66 Jazz that is amazing in that, for a Fender, every note on every string rings out. I was very lucky to come across this one. Of my 3 Alembics, there's a noticeable spot on the 10th fret of the D on my Rogue with a similar condition on my MK, but not as pronounced. I just adapt and play around it. The Distillate is a bit better.
Of the 50+ basses I've had, a majority had a "spot" somewhere to some degree across all types - neck-thru, bolt-on, multi-lam, with and without fingerboards. If I got rid of every one that had a "spot" I'd have very few basses indeed, so I weigh the assets of the bass against the degree and if I feel they outweigh the spot, I learn to deal with it (like the Rogue - that is a great bass in every other respect).
If none of your basses have one, lucky you.
Post Number: 430
|Posted on Friday, January 08, 2010 - 6:16 am: |
Most of the bands I played in were 3 piece "Power Trios"; therefore, I spent a lot of time filling in "holes". My "philosophy" of keeping the bass lines "busy" (although not necessarily complex) continues despite the fact that I often record multiple guitar tracks. As such, I never "hold" a lot of notes. I suspect I'm just not aware of the phenomena on my instruments rather than it not being present. For my mind's sake, I don't think I'm going to go look for it!!!
Post Number: 226
|Posted on Friday, January 08, 2010 - 2:10 pm: |
My "spots" have been on my MM '79 Stingray, and my Fender p. Both at the seventh fret on the G string. And both solved, when necessary, by adding some mass to the neck - even a carpenter's c-clamp on the headstock does the trick. But if you have read the "dead spots" thread, you know this already.
My Alembic SJ has none.
Post Number: 229
|Posted on Friday, January 08, 2010 - 2:35 pm: |
Both my '91 Ric and '74 Fender J have dead spots at the high C# of the G string. Go figure. Thanks to all in this thread for de-mystifying this deadspot concept.
Post Number: 2341
|Posted on Friday, January 08, 2010 - 3:07 pm: |
i used to play a Kay upright in high school.
Had the warmest tone of any upright i ever played
except for a F. totally dead like dead.
i begged the school to have the intonation checked via moving the sound peg- but budgets being budgets...waah.
Post Number: 203
|Posted on Friday, January 15, 2010 - 9:22 pm: |
With bolt-ons I usually hear it right away on the open E; a real drop-off in resonance, but it seems to depend on how well everything fits together; many Musicmans don't drop off like that with the tighter neck attachment...amazingly, I was playing a newer Fender jazz bass from China in the pawnshop today that was amazingly even in tone...didn't go hunting for dead spots, but haven't found any yet...sometimes just snugging up the screws will help I've found...Tony
Post Number: 285
|Posted on Saturday, January 16, 2010 - 8:35 am: |
I've got a dead spot at the 5th fret on the G string on my Series I.
Post Number: 1792
|Posted on Saturday, January 16, 2010 - 8:42 am: |
In years passed, I would occasionally clamp a C-clamp to the headstock to move the slight dead spot at 7th fret of the G-string if that was a bad place for it on a particular tune. Interestingly, most basses I've owned have the dead spot at roughly the same place. On the Alembic, it is slight. On the Steinberger, it is non-existent.
There are so many factors involved, not the least of which is the mass of the headstock and its placement relative to the length of the wave of the note in question. Throw into that the mass-damping your hand provides and the equation changes for any given neck at every different position and tuning. It's a structural engineer's nightmare, I would think.
Post Number: 67
|Posted on Sunday, January 17, 2010 - 5:34 pm: |
I've found that a clamp works in a predictable linear way with bolt-on single piece necks in that it will move the spot along the string towards the nut. By single piece I mean the neck itself is not made up of several pieces (other than a fingerboard). With multi-piece bolt-ons it can jump to some very strange locations that may be even less desirable than where they are, sometimes jumping to a different string altogether.
The bottom line is they can occur on the most exotic (read $$$) boutiques and basses made of the stiffest materials. There's no way to know until the instrument is completed.