16.5mm string spacing
A simple question really. I have found I really prefer very narrow string spacing. I know of only a few stock basses that offer 5 or even 6 string basses with 16.5 or perhaps 17 mm spacing. What manufacturers might I be overlooking without going the fully custom route.
Additionally, I currently adjust my basses to as narrow a string spacing as my basses adjustable bridges will allow and noticed that the strings fall very unevenly to one pole or the other between the pole pieces of those pick ups that are exposed. Do any players find that the tone is affected by narrow string spacing at the bridge with fixed standard spaced pick ups?
That narrow of spacing on a 4 string?
Peavey's Foundation 5 is 16.5mm, and a real sleeper...
On a 5 or 6er? Ibanez, Warwick, Carvin, Schecter, Spector, ESP LTD (I think), the Rondo lines...
It's actually very common on the 'modern' styled instruments. Fender-copies and boutiques tend to use the wider spacings.
Edit: Not that any of those are listed aren't already/aren't capable of- boutique quality. No flames please. :hiding:
I find I notice the spacing much less with my 4 string basses but then again I currently play my 5 strings much more. My initial question was directed towards 5 and 6 string basses. I currently lean toward the boutique and/fender or traditional type boutique clones which I suppose led me to this question. I know ibanez, modulus and musicman offer narrower spacing but I was curious of additional offerings. Particularly higher end instruments.
What kind of bridge do you have that allows you to adjust string spacing?
The hipshot 5 syring A style bridge on one of my basses is listed at 18.3 mm but is adjustable and by my measurements and calculations at its narrowest setting is 17.5mm. My fender American deluxe 4 string bridge has multiple string mounts. The narrowest of which is 19mm by my measurement.
I also prefer narrower spacing than most. 17mm max and I'm fine with 16.5mm, or even a bit narrower. If you use outside-edge to outside-edge spacing as I do, (as opposed to center to center, which is what most folks do) then the top strings will actually be even closer together, when measured center to center.
Since no one that I've found makes a J style 5 with that kinda spacing, I've had to get basses built.
I usually use Hipshot style A bridges for this. The come in .669" spacing, which is almost exactly 17mm. This is the nominal spacing, plus or minus .5mm.
What's not listed on their site but available is the style A in .656" spacing, which is very close to 16.5mm, and again that's nominal spacing. If you wanna go that route ask for Jason Ungeich, tell him I said hey if you do.
Scott at Grove Guitars just made me a great sounding "fenderstyle" 5 string P with narrow spacing, for me his quoted price was significantly cheaper than a USA P5 by Fender in my country. Might be worth checking out.
With the custom or mod route there are several options including kahler which I understand will go as narrow as 14mm. The hipshot unlisted option is also intriguing. Thanks for the info.
Both the custom and modded options lead me to the follow up question in the OP. Perhaps I'm overthinking things. I have not found it to be the case per se, but does anyone notice an affect in tone by modding to a narrower string spacing? It strikes me that a significantly modded string spacing would throw off the the string layout on standardized pickup configurations.
All current gen Warwick basses have an ultra adjustable bridge system that allows for custom string spacing.
G&L five strings are 17mm.
The old USA made five string Hamer Cruise Basses with the 2-tek bridge were 16.5mm, if I remember right. The one I had was certainly narrower than my G&L. These were absolute top notch instruments, and can still be had on the used market for less than a Fender.
I researched this some time ago, because i like to have tight string spacing also - i prefer 15.5 mm spacing for my basses.
I know of three bridges you might be interested in:
The KahlerŽ 7440 bass bridge - available for 4, 5 and 6 strings http://www.wammiworld.com/b7440.php
which allows tight spacing to a min 13.9 mm per string (refer to http://www.wammiworld.com/Specifications.php)
If you want the option of even tighter string spacing, and are also interested in a tremolo bridge, the The KahlerŽ 7410 bass tremolo allows a min spacing of 12.7mm spacing per string and this bridge is also available for 4,5 and 6 string (refer to http://www.wammiworld.com/Specifications.php)
Lastly, Warwick two piece bridges allows for tight string spacing also and this is what i ended up buying. Not trying to plug Warwick but their basses are outstanding and allow for ultimate setups and tones.
Both of my Status basses (4-string) have 16.5mm spacing. Love the narrow spacing.
Nothing better than 16-16.5mm spacing.
I could never play that narrow spacing. I tried.
Hand alway cramped after say an hour of playing.
O go the other way 19mm or 20 mm.
A quick look at polls on TB and also my experience shows that a majority (although not a huge majority) prefer 19mm spacing. Which makes sense when you consider the number of guys who switched to a 5 string after starting on a 4 which most likely had Fender spacing, i.e. 19mm. That would feel familiar coming from a P or a J.
For me tho, when I first tried a 5 it (just happened) had narrower spacing. I had been playing 4 string for about 10 years at that point. Usually a Jazz but spent a while on a Stingray as well. Odd thing was that I immediately liked it better. It felt like controlling and muting was easier, with both hands but especially the right. Different strokes, I guess.
I remember reading something from Anthony Jackson talking about how wider spacing was empirically better, even if it didn't feel that way. I respect the hell out of AJ but I think he's just wrong on this one. Maybe for him, maybe for most folks but not me.
I don't think changing the spacing will have much if any effect on tone. It depends on the pickup obviously, but unless there is a large space between the poles, and it's not even above any part of the pole, you should still have signal.
In the past, stingray pickups didn't perfectly line up with the strings even from the factory. I think there is/was a short scale fender bass that used a 6 pole strat pickup with a solid cover so it didn't look weird. Bill Lawrence pickups don't have pole pieces that line up either.
I love 16.5 spacing on my Ibby SR5's, but then again I play with a pick.
I'd love to try the Gerald Veasley 6er with 14mm spacing, but it's a bit out of my price range.
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