So where are these "Dead Spots" I keep hearing about?

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by sergiodeblanc, Jan 15, 2013.

  1. Leathan

    Leathan New Member

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    My Bernie has no dead spots that I've discovered, after playing it for two years. However I do have an '06 Fender American Deluxe Strat that has a very obvious one at the 7th fret, G string. Really annoying too 'cause it spoils my enjoyment of an otherwise great guitar.
     
  2. AP515

    AP515 Mostly Normal

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    The Cu24 and the DGT spoken of here both have trems. My Cu24AP also has a dead spot (and a lovely wolf tone) and of course also has a trem. I have a memory of a conversation on a forum where someone mentioned that you could minimize the effect of a dead spot by doing something to the trem. Maybe if you add another spring or something it may improve. I can't remember the details but it's a cheap test.

    For me, I just avoid the dead spot. If I want sustain on that particular note, I just play it on another string on a different location on the neck. It rarely becomes an issue. I love my Cu24 and wouldn't sell it because of the dead spot, besides the wolf tone is in just the right spot to be the end note of a number of riffs and to have the last note of a riff decay into a wolf tone is pretty cool.
     
  3. CatStrangler

    CatStrangler PRS Enthusiast

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    I share this sentiment as well. Usually I try to find the dead spot before deciding on keeping a guitar, i.e can I live with where it is. On most of my PRSi it exists somewhere between the 1st and 5th frets on the G-string, and the corresponding note one octave up will have it but not as pronounced. I do tend to stay away from the custom 24's especially with the small heel as those usually in my experience have very pronounced dead spots.
     
  4. Tag

    Tag New Member

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    I think what you are talking about here is what I think of as kind of a "phase cancellation" that seems to happen at certain times and places with all trems. The springs in the trem seem to start vibrating at the same frequency (or maybe its a different frequency) than the string, and causes a slight drop in volume due to some kind of phase cancellation. You can pretty much get rid of this by adding another spring (as you mentioned) or tightening the claw. Thats not the same thing I am calling dead spots, although it is kind of similar. I am not sure what John Suhr is talking about, saying all guitars have "dead spots", but I just went over every guitar I have, and I can only find one note (which is on my pomegranate trem by the way) that even has what I describe above. I could get rid of it by tightening the trem a bit, but I like the added resonance I am getting with the tension I have now. (Slightly tighter than it comes stock) I went over every fret of the guitars I have now (2013 R9, 2009 Gib ES359, 1969 Gibs Johnny Smith, PRS Walnut CU22 LTD, Fender Mexican Strat, and my Pomegranate PS. All those and ONE fret that is slightly lower in volume than the others due to the trem cancellation. I do have some places where frets are not perfect, but you cant count that as a dead spot. I guess all of my guitars must be really "dead ones" by Mr. Suhrs standards. (Who by the way is a very cool guy, makes a great guitar, and who I have had plenty of on line arguments with in the past. :D Always in a good hearted and productive way I will add.)
     
    #24 Tag, Dec 4, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2014
  5. CatStrangler

    CatStrangler PRS Enthusiast

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    Pretty much every guitar (made of wood) has a note that doesn't sustain as long as the others. I think of it destructive interference caused by the vibrational modes of the guitar. the corollary is that you can also have constructive interference with some notes (live notes). The stiffer the overall instrument the less likely either of these two are to occur. However as Mr. Suhr rightly points out, a guitar that reaches a certain stiffness may not be all that interesting tonally.
     
  6. Tag

    Tag New Member

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    Agree completely. But I would not call those notes that sustain a bit less "dead spots" by any stretch of the imagination. My 69 Johnny Smith is about as alive as a guitar can be. I cant find any note I would call a "dead spot" anywhere on it.
     
  7. CatStrangler

    CatStrangler PRS Enthusiast

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    Here is a nice reference on stringed instruments, the chapter on guitars and lutes is applicable to this discussion:

    http://www.logosfoundation.org/kursus/The Science of String Instruments.pdf

    Here is a quote:

    "3.9.1 Body Vibrations and Dead Spots
    The vibrations of strings are influenced by their end supports. As a result of nonrigid end supports, energy can flow from the strings to the body of an instrument, causing the string vibrations to decay faster than in the case of rigid supports. In an electric guitar, this mechanism can lead to dead spots at certain locations on the fretboard (Fleischer and Zwicker 1998).
    Dead spots in a typical electric guitar with a symmetrical headstock (such as the Les Paul) occur around 200 and 450 Hz. In a typical guitar with an asymmetrical headstock (such as the Stratocaster), the dead spots occur at slightly higher fre- quencies, the difference being due to torsional motion of the neck."

    some more good info:

    http://mosesgraphite.com/technical-info/regarding-dead-spots/
     
  8. CatStrangler

    CatStrangler PRS Enthusiast

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    Right, I think here our only difference is semantics. I agree with Mr. Suhr regarding dead notes, however not all dead notes are created equal. My experience with most 22 fret instruments is that the casual player might not even pick up on the slightly less sustaining note. On the other hand with longer necked more flexible instruments, my experience has been that that the phenomena can be exacerbated to the point where the note hardly sounds at all. Clearly two different manifestations of what I say are the same phenomena.
     
  9. klarts

    klarts New Member

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    I can confirm that all my Custom 24s has dead spots in the same positions. The 22 fretters are unaffected.

    It was unoticiable until I had a session where I had to sustain the b on the 12th fret for 1 bar and my custom 24 just died. Needless to say it was embarassing. However despite the sustain issue, every note sounds good and each has a complex harmonic overtone.

    I didn't know it was problem with this model until I googled it and found this thread.
     
  10. g.wizz

    g.wizz New Member

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    When I slide the note or bend it from the 10th to the 12th fret on the B string of my AP513
    the note goes into a sweet harmonic overtone that I really like and I incorporate in my playing but it doesn't fade quickly
    in fact when I got the guitar I searched for it since my first cu22 had the same but in on the 10th fret I believe.
     
  11. PRS-user

    PRS-user New Member

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    My 08 Mira MT has the G note on 12th fret of the G string that does decay rapidly... within 2 seconds, and the G note on the B string tends to go on to harmonics on most occasions. Not happy Mr. Smith.

    Is there ANYTHING that can be done to gain a decent sustain on that 12th fret?

    By the way, I did try detuning that G string and the phenomenon moved to the other fret where the G note was relocated.

    For years I wanted a nice USA MADE PRS and my expectation was high, what a let down! Just wish I'd find out of the problem soon after the purchase.
     
  12. Tag

    Tag New Member

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    I have two custom shop strats here that have several "dead" frets up around the 12th fret on the high E and B strings. The notes ring out about half as loud as the others, and have about 1/2 the sustain. I have never noticed it before. Looks like MR Suhr is correct.
     
  13. dogrocketp

    dogrocketp I drank the PRS kool aid, and it was tasty!

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    I don't seem to be as aware of dead spots on all my guitars that have locking tuners, which would be all of them. I also find that the Schroeder tailpiece on my stoptails moves the dead spots considerably. I also have a Tremonti SE Custom with a USA trem. This also has no dead spot problems. All my PRS SE's have changed nuts as well. My 2007 Mira is totally stock, and harmonically a rock. I can't say that about any of the other guitars I've owned over the last 40 years.
     
  14. Chrisk-K

    Chrisk-K New Member

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    Any stringed instrument whose neck is made of wood has one or more dead spots. Some instruments have more pronounced dead spots and others have less pronounced ones. Frequencies of neck resonance cancel out corresponding notes. You don't notice a dead spot if it happens to fall between two consecutive notes in an equal temperament. Adding mass to or subtracting mass from the neck (thereby changing the neck's resonance frequency) is the only way to move a dead spot. Because graphite has ultra high resonance frequencies, a stringed instrument whose neck is made of graphite has no dead spot.
     
  15. Rider1260

    Rider1260 New Member

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    I have found "some" 24 fret guitars to be more difficult to set up, I find many people do not leave enough relief on the neck and also try to get the action at the NUT to low.
    Nice even action from nut to bridge works best for me, I have helped many people with dead guitars with a small truss rod adjust and sometime a new nut.
    Also a note on the G string , that kinda fat unwound string at the crown of the radius is really easy to have to low a fret out.
     
  16. swede71

    swede71 New Member

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    My DGT has the harmonic and fading on high G on high E - string.Other Gs sounds fine.Same on one of my strats.Hopefully a fretjob will help.
     
  17. DaveP

    DaveP Wherever you go, that's where you are.

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    Wasn't this part of the reason for the larger neck heels? To minimize the potential for dead spots.
     
  18. klarts

    klarts New Member

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    This is just the nature of the beasts. Don't go crazy trying to chase a solution. Sadly this is the best and helpful advice I can give.
     
  19. klarts

    klarts New Member

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    Speculations and maybe facts? says yes.

    prsi with 22 frets do not have the same dead spot.
     
  20. PRS-user

    PRS-user New Member

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    I read that PRS did have a kit for avoiding/shifting/minimising a so called dead note. What would this kit onsist of?

    Would a different set of pickups and different size strings help minimising the problem?
     

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