Weird "sustain" behavior on G string

I just picked up my P bass (copy) again, after not having played that bass for about ten days or so, and while it is still in tune, there is a weird behavior on the G string that I never noticed before. The sustain is very noticeably different on different notes (= at different frets). The E on the 9th fret is particularly “full” with a long sustain (I have all sympathetic strings muted), while the C on the 5th fret is dying off almost instantly, as if muffled by a piece of cloth… All other notes/frets are pretty much as you’d expect. And it is only on the G string.

Note: the strings are about a year old, but still in pretty good shape, with a nice ring and long sustain on open strings.

Has anyone experienced similar issues and knows what could be the problem??

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@joergkutter - Only on the 5th fret? How about the other strings on the same fret? Round wounds?

Lanny

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Yes, only on the fifth fret and only on the G string. And, yes, round wounds!

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I think I’d try a new set of strings… 5th frets take a lot of beating - especially the G since there isn’t an open string under it like there is with the E,A, & D strings… Be worth a try…

Good Luck,
Lanny

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Yeah, perhaps… gunk on or around the string there is still my only theory at the moment…

Thanks, @Lanny!

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The 5th fret on the G string is the “Fender dead spot” from what I’ve heard, although I haven’t experienced it myself.

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My guess is that it’s a fretwire thing.

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Oh, wow, that is a great lead, @Jazzbass19! I had no idea there was such a thing, but apparently there is (or can be). And, it might also be related to a fretwire issue as @terb suggested. At least, that’s what my first, super quick search seemed to hint at…

Oh, well, another rabbit hole to dive into :smile: Tomorrow…

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I was going to guess fretwire too. Also, have you checked the neck relief lately? Might just need a truss rod tweak.

Also, try and check on both the E and G string.

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Are you playing in the same place you normally do? Same amp? Same room/part of the room? Same furniture? If not it’s possible you’re feeling a difference in resonance with nearby objects (i.e. if the floor used to sympathetically vibrate where you practice and now it doesn’t, your bass might feel “thinner” even though it’s not the bass).

You could play with pickup positioning too. I don’t know why this would have changed suddenly, but getting the magnets correctly aligned to the string can create a perceptible difference in volume. @Korrigan has a great post about that in Bass Setup

Just a couple weird ideas to explore! Other suggestions in the thread already are great too.

It can range from the 5th to 7th fret apparently. I’ve never actually noticed it on my Fenders, but maybe I just don’t mind it. Here’s an interesting article about that.

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@JoshFossgreen That article on dead spots was excellent. I never would have guessed any of it worked like that. Everybody should read that article just because it is both short and unexpected.

tl;dr, Adding tungsten weights to head stock can remove dead spots. So damn cool.

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Yeah, well, I am just not quite there yet where I confidently put an Allen wrench to my truss rod and do some light tweaking, @howard :joy: So, would have to consult my trusted GRM (guitar repair man)…

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Indeed, everything is the same, apart from using a different patch on the Studio 40 than what I previously used most… And, yes, playing with different settings seems to bring out (or mask) the “dead spot behavior” to different degrees. I mean whodda thunk?? It is a taut wire that you pluck… what can possibly go wrong???

Thanks for the article link - excellent starting point for my rabbit hole dive!

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Its not hard! But yeah, intimidating the first time you try it. Have you seen Marcelo’s video I have linked a few times? He explains it all well.

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Yes, thanks, I had seen it before (from you :slight_smile:) - there is undoubtedly good advice and help to be found out there, but I just haven’t felt “ready” to do this myself yet.

I guess this could be a nice project for myself during the Christmas break (along with drilling holes into the headstock to insert tungsten weights) :joy:

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One thing I would never have guessed is that you might need to make a Fender headstock heavier :slight_smile:

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I’m inclined to agree with terb. If it was a relief issue, everything below the 5th fret would buzz. If it’s okay further up the neck, then I’d guess that bridge height is not much of an issue either. Easy little tool called a fret rocker will help. Best wishes…

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