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can I change string spacing?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by tuBass, Mar 10, 2004.


  1. tuBass

    tuBass

    Dec 14, 2002
    Mesquite, Texas
    If I wanted to go from a 19mm spacing to a 16.5, would that affect intonation to point It could not be adjusted? I would like to try narrow spacing to help me with chords.

    Mark
     
  2. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    Changing the string spacing would have virtually no affect on intonation adjustability, in fact I'm at a loss as to why you might think it would. Am i missing something here?

    What kind of bridge are you using that has that kind of adjustability?
     
  3. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    Nope, it will not affect you're ability to adjust intonation, unless you put on a new bridge with narrower spacing and you put the bridge on in the wrong position in regards to the neck scale.....

    otherwise, you're just going to end up with a bass that has a fairly good size space or "overhang" of the fingerboard on either side of the strings.
     
  4. tuBass

    tuBass

    Dec 14, 2002
    Mesquite, Texas
    I'm thinking of putting on a new bridge, not changing my old one.
    This was my thought on spacing. If you take a string that goeas from point A to B, and then move B to point that is closer to point A, you have changed intonation. I guess hte saddles would just have be moved back a couple mm to compansate, but I wanted to ask the questoin before I bought the new bridge.
     
  5. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    Yes, if you change out the bridge, you will have to adjust the intonation accordingly, however, as long as you get the bridge in the correct location in regards to the scale length, you will be okay (as long as the bridge you buy has saddles that are adjustable for intonation!).

    :^)~
     
  6. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    FYI - ABM bridges have adjustable spacing. Moreover, they're a nice big, heavy, chunk of brass.
     
  7. You shouldn't encounter any problems at all, true you are marginally changing the scale length on the strings slightly but its going to be fractions of a mm (I was going to make a stab at figuring out the actual difference but I've done enough thinking for one day, stupid uni maths assignments). I'd almost say that if you can have the saddles in the exact same places they are before your bridge sway, you'd still be intonated pretty darn close.

    Josh D
     
  8. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    If you're changing the bridge you'll have to set the intonantion, period. Changing string spacing by changing the bridge should be a piece of cake... you're moving point A sideways (if A is where the string is "saddled" at the bridge), not necessarily closer to point B... it could actually be farther away for some strings or even no change for one. Either way it will be a minute length change at the most. It depends on where your starting point is.

    You're moving point A closer to point C which would be the string next to it.
     
  9. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    There is no theoretical bridge position change due to changing the string spacing. Since the frets are parallel, the theoretical position of the bridge is unchanged, regardless of the angle of the string (by similar triangles theorem if you can remember that). (The bridge is basically at the infinity fret position.)

    The length of a 34" string that has one end moved sideways by 0.1" increases to 34.00015". When you consider that the intonation offset from theoretical position is maybe .4" at most, that's .4" per 34" of string; so for the additional .00015" of string, you might have to add maybe .000002" of additional intonation offset.

    Like Brad said, it is inconsequential, and more than absorbed by doing a setup.
     
  10. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    I've changed a couple bridges out cause I needed lateral movement and used a Schaller roller bridge with 3D adjustment and it's worked well for me, at about half the price of an ABM from what it looks like - for what it's worth. Don't know whether the Schallers are brass or not but given the price variation, probably not.
     
  11. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    I was playing a Schecter tonight and ran back past this post and there's another option - that Schecter style bridge - essentially a seperate bridge for each string. You can put 'em 3' apart if you want.