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5 stringers: How many of you use basses with different spacings

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by RBrownBass, Dec 30, 2005.

  1. RBrownBass

    RBrownBass Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    I'm talking about owning and giving significant playing time to two five-strings with noticably different string spacing at the bridge and/or nut. Also interested in your take on basses with different scale lengths. How difficult, if at all, do you find it to switch between these instruments?
  2. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    I switch between a Modulus Genesis 5 (19mm, 35" scale), a Quantum 6 fretless (~17mm, 35" scale), a custom built 5 (18mm, 36" scale), a Dingwall Afterburner1 (18mm, multi-scale), and a '77 P-Bass.

    No problem at all. Each bass does have a different feel to it. But then even if two basses have identical spacing and scale length, they're still gonna each have their own distinct feel - slightly different neck profiles, and just a generally different response to your touch.

    When you get something new, it's gonna feel a little different. I wouldn't advise anyone to take a bass out to an important gig until they've got at least 2 or 3 days playing time on it, regardless of whether it's a different spacing or scale length or the same as a previous or current bass in your stable.
  3. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I bought my first 5-string back in Y2K: a Fender Roscoe Beck V, which has "wide" (19mm) bridge spacing, same as the fours I played for decades. It felt great and I decided to switch to five string. When I bought additional fivers, I was careful to check for wider nut width: 1-7/8". I assumed that wide nut width meant wide bridge spacing. I was wrong!

    After years of owning (and gigging with) a Lull P5 and Modulus Quantum 5, I realized my right hand never felt completely comfortable on them. It was because of the narrow 17mm bridge spacing. So, as much as I loved those basses, I let them go.

    Likewise, I'll never own a G&L 2500 or MusicMan Stingray 5. Note that those particular basses have narrower nuts (1-3/4") in addition to narrower bridge spacing.

    Obviously there's no better or worse re string spacing, just personal preference. I wish I wasn't so particular about it. But I am, and have to live with it. On the other hand, I'm sure you'll hear from players who have no trouble switching between wide and narrow spacing... I envy them. :)

    P.S. FWIW, I had no trouble switching between 34" and 35" scale.
  4. Hawkeye

    Hawkeye Canuck Amateur

    I have a Godin BG-V 34" / 17mm spacing and a Lakland 55-01 with 35" scale and 19mm spacing. The Lakland is more of a handful, for sure, but after ten minutes, it doesn't make a difference to me.

    I don't really think too much about the spacing issues or even whether or not it's a four string or five. I also have a Fender MIA Precision 4 and a Jazz MIJ fretless. I also have an older Ibanez RB999 with high action that I use to practice slapping. The necks are quite different on all of them, but again, after playing just a little while, I don't really seem to care about the differences.

    I guess I'm not lightning fast enough to be tripped up by differences between basses.
  5. Kronos


    Dec 28, 2005
    Philadelphia, PA
    I got 2 four-stringers that have standard string space, a 5 stringer with tighter spacing, and a 6 with tighter spacing. I don't know the exact spacing measurements, but I do notice the difference when playing them.

    I look at it this way. It's like driving a car most of your life, then hopping in a truck and driving that around, and then finally driving a box truck (moving van, etc). You're capable of driving them all with a standard license, but they take some adjustment. Then they all start to feel like a glove. ;)
  6. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    I used to want to have only the same string spacing in all my basses. So likewise, I let go of all 17 mm string spacing basses and all 35" scales.

    I now switch back and forth between a 19mm/1.87" and a 18 mm/1.75", both 34" scale.

    The wider one inspires me to play more groovy and in-the-pocket; the narrower one allows me to play much faster and is better if I'm playing fusion or soloing more.

    I like the contrast and each one inspire me to play differently, in a good way.
  7. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    My first 5 string bass was a D'Agostino that had standard string spacing. I then bought an Ibanez SR505 and a Tobias Toby Deluxe 5 which both have narrow string spacing. I also have a Brice Douglas that has narrow string spacing. I thought I desired wide string spacing again and bought a Lakland 55-01! I couldn't get with the wide string spacing nor the 35" scale neck. I got rid of the Lakland.
  8. I have a 34" scal 4 and a 35" scale 6. No problem at all going between the two. Fingerings low on the neck are a little stretched, but still doable. however, the first fret to 5th fret stretch that I can do on the 4 is out on the 6. The string spacing on the 4 is 19mm while the string spacing on the 6 is ~17.5 mm. I don't take a different approach to playing either because of the string spacing, but the tighter spacing has made my slap technique more precise. You get spoiled on the 4!
  9. Larzon


    Jan 15, 2005
    My first 5 string bass was a Larrivee (remember Larrivee basses?), I bought it 1987, THAT was tight string spacing, 16mm or so, but it was okay at that time, also the Yamaha BB5000 was very tight.

    Now, 19mm spacing feels comfortable and quite naturally.
  10. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    While I prefer wide (.19) spacing, I have 5's that range between .17 and .19.... it's a zero issue to go back and forth for me. I'm actually more sensitive to the spacing at the nut, since I have relatively small hands. That super wide 'Fodera-type' spacing at the nut is difficult for me.