What is a "deadspot"?

Hello my friends,

on a German bass forum I stumble sometimes over the word “deadspot” - and it seems to be bad. The definition of a deadspot, according to them: “a tone breaks down and dies!”.
That sound very dramatic :frowning:

Is this a thing? If so, how can I identify that? And if I have identified it - how can this be resolved?

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There might be certain notes (spots) on the neck/fretboard, which sound “weaker” than all the others, and have often much less sustain (hence the “breaks down and dies” metaphor).

I haven’t noticed it on any of my current basses, but there are some Fender models (and others as well) that seem to be more notorious for it. If it is really serious (and bothering you), I have seen solutions were embedding small weights into the headstock can solve these issues to a certain degree.

If you haven’t noticed anything so far, I wouldn’t worry more about it :wink:

Hey Jörg,

I am referring to this thread: Der Deadspot Thread. Selbsterfahrung für Bässe und Bassisten | Bassic.de

I have a feeling that you might understand this strange language :slight_smile:

The thing is, that I might not notice it as a beginner - but I would notice it when I am getting more experienced.
As I’m on the brink of replacing my long scale ESP with a short scale, my fear is that I buy something, be happy for a few months, notice dead spots as I get better - and am frustrated by that purchase as it cannot be replaced by then.
So I want to test for dead spots on a new bass immidiately, so I can send it back if needed.
For “old” basses it is currently just (not so) nice to know - and of course I could solve it as I like to mod stuff ^^

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Yeah, OK - I briefly skimmed some of the entries - some are just very panicky (and panic-inducing; not very helpful) and others are much more to the point.

I also remember that the main culprits typically are on the D and G strings between frets 5-7 (plus/minus). So, I’d say that should be easy to check if you have a chance to play that bass.

But even if you find a dead spot, you need to judge whether it is really a serious issue or not (trust your ears).

It seems to be a design flaw mostly affecting FSOs where the headstock has a fairly large size, and that appears to affects acoustics/resonance/dampening along the entire neck, potentially manifesting in dead notes.

Again, if you love everything else about a bass (and provided the “dead notes” are not a severe issues, i.e., hardly noticeable), I wouldn’t worry about it. I used to drive an Alfa 156 because I just love that car, how it looks and drives, but it was known for going quickly through light bulbs for its headlights because of a design issue with the electric systems. Meh! :grin:


Ok, will test my basses for deadspots and then decide what to do. I am kind of hoping for deadspots on my ESP, so I can explain to my girlfriend why I need a new short scale :slight_smile:

About the Alfa 156 - that’s funny: I almost purchased that very same car. Also cause of the design … and if I remember correctly, the motor made an interesting sound that I liked.
I went to a Düsseldorf car dealer, had enough cash in my pocket to pay it directly … and was ignored by the sales person, possibly cause of the way that I looked (that was my techno-cyber-pimp-look phase).
After 30 minutes I went to him, showed him the money I brought (in 100s, so I could roll it properly), told him I was ready to purchase that car - but now I don’t.
Then I went to the Saab dealer next door and got me a wonderful black Saab convertible with black leather and burl wood interior. I loved it!!!


Pictures - or it didn’t happen! :rofl:


Found it:




There might be some pictures of that time - but my girlfriend surely has hidden that cause of … proof ^^

Just imagine a big bald guy with a long purple-ish faux-fur coat, 90s french designer fashion (ie “Bill Tornade”) otherwise and custom made big black boots with a reflector stripe (that I still own, by the way). And of course my favourite Phantom skull ring!

Can’t get any cooler than that - except when you are an Alfa Romeo sales person…

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Musically this is a dead spot


LOL! Hey, that is my country!!!

Holland is very much alive - and would be the coolest country ever if a) we would be in the french Provence and b) if we would not drift into strange political waters that threatens our “vrij & blij” (free and happy) nature (but we’re not supposed to discuss politics here).

And in terms of music: we had Herman Brood and Junky XL!

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Actually, there is a LOT of good stuff coming out of The Netherlands. I could name a few, but I am not even Dutch… unlike Candy here:

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But (don’t tell anybody) the best Dutch music comes from our ex-Colony: Belgium :slight_smile:

in my area of expertise (visual design) Netherlands is considered to be the opposite of a dead spot — its an extremely hot spot. i really very badly need to visit one day.

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We have HKU Design in Utrecht, which is well known in the world of visual design. I worked with quite a few great people from there (I work in interactive media).
Utrecht is also a cool, underrated city!

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Many many years ago I was stationed in Naples, Italy and got to cruise the Autostrade in a 164 twin turbo. That’s the fastest I’ve ever driven in my life.


Dead spots are from uneven frets. It can be fixed by leveling the frets. Not terribly difficult to do but requires some tools.

Household tools can do with extra skills but specialty tools from StewMac or Music Nomad makes life easier.


“uneven” meaning: the frets don’t have enough contact to the neck or having an uneven surface (facing the strings).

I guess the first option?

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The tops of frets should ideally be the same height up, down and across the neck. If one or more fret is shorter or taller relative to the rest, there will be an issue.

If a fret is high, it might need to be tapped down to seat it better. If it is already well seated, it should be filed, leveled and dressed/polished.

If it is too low, a new fret is required, plus all of the above steps.


Just so happens, Phil McKnight just released this video talking about the same issue and how to fix it and what’s involved.


Cool! More tools to do more stuff! Maybe I’ll try to make those tools myself - it looks quite basic…

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