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Assembling a 5 string: spacing question

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Timmah, Feb 18, 2016.


  1. Timmah

    Timmah Supporting Member

    May 19, 2011
    Connecticut
    Hi, I'm far from an experienced builder, having done only one scratch build and one easy body build/assembly. I'm planning on starting a 5 string build soon, for which I have a G&L L2500 Tribute neck, and a set of MTD Kingston Heir pickups. Both were impulse buys a long time ago, but I realized recently that they came from instruments with entirely different string spacing- G&L has 17mm, and MTD has 19mm. When I'm buying a bridge, should I look for 17, 18, or 19? FWIW, my main 4 string is 19mm spaced, but I've owned and liked 17mm spaced 5ers before.
    Thanks
     
  2. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    Think about it, Tim - the neck has a certain width to it, which is designed for a 17mm spaced bridge. If you use wider spacing, the strings will be spread too close to the edge of the fretboard, and may pop off while you're playing. The strings will be too far outboard on the neck by a bit less than 3mm at the highest fret on both sides, which is a lot.

    If you plan it out full-scale on paper, you can get a better idea how the pups would work out.
     
  3. Timmah

    Timmah Supporting Member

    May 19, 2011
    Connecticut
    That's about what I figured, thanks. The pickups are going to be a little too wide for 17mm, so I think it's time to start looking at different ones, as they're easier to replace than a neck.
     
  4. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Not necessarily. Those pickups will probably work fine. If they're blade pickups, they'll definitely work fine. Even if they're discrete pole piece pickups, they will very probably work fine. The magnetic field is larger than just the visible pole pieces, and it's the magnetic field that counts.
     

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