The Fender Fatfinger Bass Sustain Enhancer “Instantly add more sustain and awe-inspiring tone to you instrument with the Fender Fatfinger. By clamping the Fatfinger on the headstock of you instrument it will enhance the overall tone and note-to-note response of any electric or acoustic guitar or bass“, at least that’s what the packaging claims. But does it actually work? I picked one up recently to find out.
No matter how much I think I like a bass I inevitably end up gravitating back to my Fender Precision. For the most part I learned how to play on a P Bass so it just feels like home to me. In my current band I am playing more walking lines which warrants more time on the D and G strings, as such I am being constantly reminded that my P Bass has a nasty dead spot centered around the 5th fret of the G string. That C note is completely lifeless when I hit it, with essentially zero sustain. I tweaked on my setup a bit but nothing seemed to help so I did what I normally do and turned to the net for guidance.
Reading online, it seems that it works for some people, but not for others. As that the thing only cost $30 I thought I’d give it a try. The idea behind the Fender Fatfinger is simple, add more mass to the headstock to counteract the dead spot, or at least move it to a less noticeable spot on the neck.
First off, It is larger than I thought it would be. This thing is a serious chunk of metal. It does not look bad however, and even has the Fender logo on it. Basically it is a big heavy clamp that you attach to your headstock. This consists of a U-shaped hunk of metal with a screw at the open end which you clamp down onto your bass. The screw end has a flat head with felt on it so no damage is done to your instrument.
As for Fender’s claim that the Fatfinger “instantly adds more sustain and awe-inspiring tone..“, I wouldn’t say all that but it does actually seem to lessen the dead spot. You do have to “Tune” it a bit by trying it in different spots on your headstock until you find the optimal placement. In my case the dead spot without the Fender Fatfinger just falls right off, sounds lifeless, no sustain at all. After attaching the Fatfinger there is a bit more life and a bit more sustain, nothing drastic but enough to make a difference. I did spend quite a bit of time on two or three different occasions searching for just the right spot, but once I found it, I could hear the difference.
From what I have read, many, many stringed instruments have this problem somewhere on the neck and some are more noticeable than others. One thing to keep in mind is, depending on how well balanced your bass is, it could cause neck dive as you are adding mass to the headstock. Fortunately this did not happen in my case, perhaps my Badass bridge helped to counter its effect.
In the end, for me I would have to say it worked. I look at it as more of a band-aid fix than a cure but I’ll take it. As I said, you may have to spend a good amount of time finding just the right spot to place the Fender Fatfinger, but it may be worth it if a dead spot is getting you down.