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5 string bass string spacing

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by ps10black, Jul 21, 2012.

  1. ps10black


    Jul 21, 2012
    Hi first post here, and yup its a question, apologies in advance

    I am an Aussie Luthier mostly guitars but the occasional Bass, so far though they have always been 4 string, anyway I just completed a couple of la Cabronita styled Thinline Tele basses, and holy **** they where just so much fun.

    So now I have some bass building issues going on... Gotta build more!

    Anyway I designed A Dinky P Bass with 24 frets and I have had templates cnc'd by A mate but I also saw this amazing quilt Jazz bass on Warmoths site so I also have areal hankering to build a Jazz as well But I would like to use the templates for the neck etc from the 24 fret Dinky P Bass and make a 24 fret Dinky Jazz but I would like the Jazz to be 5 string.

    I have found some Schaller BAss bridges that come down to the appropriate width thatI need 63 -65mm and keeping the strings constantly spaced about 3.8mm from the fretboard edge leaves me with around 8 -9mm string spacing at the nut and around 16-17mm centre to centre at the bridge.

    So I guess My question is seeing I am not really a bass player what do the real bass players out there think of this string spread, at the nut its very similar to My prestige SR but the bridge spacing center to centre on the stings is much tighter on the proposed 5 string Jazz.

    Any thoughts?

    Sorry for the long post

  2. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    16-17 mm at the bridge is pretty narrow. It depends on what you expect the bass to be used for. That narrow would make for pretty quick fingerstyle or pick playing; but I'd say it would make slap difficult.
  3. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    That's the kind of spacing I use on all of my basses. I love it. I play mostly fingerstyle, with some picking, but never slap.
  4. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    I would say on a 5 string the middle ground for string spacing is going to be around 18 mm. My preference is 9 mm at the nut at 18-19 mm at the bridge. You'll find lots of players with different preferences.
  5. steve_rolfeca

    steve_rolfeca Supporting Member

    Spacing at the nut is pretty variable, but for the most part, when it comes to bridge spacing the most common measurements are wide (19mm), and medium (16-17mm).

    While a small number of 5-strings are still narrower at the bridge, the vast majority fall into one of those two camps. Ditto for the people who play them.

    On Talkbass, 19mm seems to be more common, but I'm not so sure how it would stack up out in the real world.

    Amongst people who don't like 17mm spacing, the most common complaint seems to be that it's too tight for slap. There's also a "wow factor" with 19mm, because it shows up quite often on boutique instruments. In contrast, 17mm shows up more often on less expensive 5'ers from companies like Ibanez.

    This is just IMO, but if you want to play it safe, I'm thinking you might be better off with 19mm on a boutique instrument. Slappers set on 19mm simply won't consider a 17mm bass, whereas medium-spacing guys might be more flexible. Meanwhile, 19mm accommodates more styles of play, and has the added appeal of being on other high-end basses.
  6. ps10black


    Jul 21, 2012

    Thanks for the replies and info, It is appreciated.

    Its fairly different from making guitars, especially when I am a guitarist I actually find the narrower spacings easier, but then I dont really do the Slap thing I am a finger or pick player.

    I find the transition from guitar to the narrower string spacing basses easier I guess thats why I like My prestige SR, but hearing more from bass players is very interesting.

    is this also the CT Mullins from MLP ?

    Thanks Lee
  7. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Yep! :)

    String spacing is a fairly subjective thing amongst bassists. There's a lot more variation in the bass world than there is in the guitar world. It's just one more way to tailor the instrument to the player.

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