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Distance between strings ?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Istar, Dec 15, 2006.

  1. Hi everybody !

    Last night my teacher was playing my bass and he said that the distance between my strings was a little far and he suggested that I visit my luthier and get them somewhat closer together.
    Now I can’t go to my luthier just yet , at least nut until the new year , but I was wondering what effect it would have placing the strings closer together. Wouldn’t that result in less movement of the bridge ? Or doesn`t it matter at all ?

    Can you give me some more insights pleace... ?
  2. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    New Mexico. USA
    Bringing the strings closer together makes string crossings easier. It also reduces clearance and can make it more difficult to play only one string at a time. Did your teacher measure the distance between strings? Do you know what it is? The average is 27mm, measured center-to-center. Some players prefer 26mm or even 25mm. The shorter the distance, the lower to the fingerboard the strings will need to be. Or else you can add arch to the fingerboard. It is crucial that the spacings be even.
  3. Where do I measure it exactly ?

    At the bridge my stings are 31mm apart , but I don’t know if that’s the correct place to measure.
  4. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA

    Wow. I bet you could land a small aircraft on that fingerboard. I wonder if it used to be a five string in a former life.

    For our non-metric friendly friends, 31mm is nearly 1 1/4 inches.
  5. GriffithLea


    Aug 29, 2006
    Cypress, TX

    Also (if this isn't already obvious, given the above) it is important that the D string rises above the G and A the same distance that the A rises above the D and E. I about went wiggy when I first got hold of my BCBoDQ* until I realized (and corrected) that there was about 1/8" more air under the hair while on the A than while on the D.

    * Borrowed Chinese Bass of Dubious Quality
  6. Guess I got to let my luthier take a look at it then.

    What do you guys think will need to be done (new Bridge , fingerboard etc ?), and more importantly : how will it effect my sound ?
  7. How it will affect your sound is not easy to guess. Bringing it to about an inch between strings is about right. If the bridge is otherwise properly sized for your bass, i.e. there is one foot directly over the bass bar when the bridge is centered horizontally and correctly positioned veritcally as well and the shape of the bridge matches the fingerboard radius, then you might just need new string slots. If having the old ones vacant doesn't look too good to you, then option B: If you have adjusters in your bridge, you will have to raise the bridge a bit if the top has to be cut down some to allow for the new slots, but that is probably only about 1/8". At the same time the string spacing is changed, you will need to check the fingerboard dressing. Changing the spacing at the bridge or at the nut or both (and you should also check out what is happening at the nut) can sometimes cause buzzing or string noise on the fingerboard. Worst case, you might opt for a new bridge if the adjusters have to be raised too much, a new nut to match spacing there, and possibly a minimal fingerboard dressing. Best case, you just get new string notches and a slight reduction of wood at the top of the bridge. It's not a big deal really.
  8. Justin K-ski

    Justin K-ski

    May 13, 2005
    I recently had my strains "respaced" by David Gage. What he did was put shims into the bridge so that the top of the bridge could be renotched without showing like an inch of adjuster.

    My strings are at exactly 1 inch.
  9. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    I know of at least one professional bassist who has experimented with unusual string spacing. He had the G and D strings spaced closer together, but D and the other strings spaced evenly between one another further apart.

    It was kind of neat and I considered doing it myself and only laziness has stopped me.

    Anyway, I think he went back to even string spacing...so whatever result he got from it didn't convince him to keep it that way.
  10. Hi to everybody!
    Please, could you give some info about minimum string distance at nut?
    Thanks a lot in advancehttp://www.talkbass.com/forum/images/smilies/colors/smile.gif

  11. How wide is the nut? I don't think there is a minimum per se, but you don't want them right next to each other either. Mine are spaced at 3/8 " center to center. I have seen it done another way with equal space between the strings instead of equal space center to center. My tendancy would be to space them as far apart as can be done leaving at least half as much space beyond the strings as between them. You don't want them hitting the insides of the pegbox, so watch that part.
  12. That particular thread started on a different forum and is bleeding all over the web!
  13. clothsnake


    Apr 3, 2004
    my strings are not evenly spaced at all... :scowl:
    e-a = 26
    a-d = 28... and
    d-g = 24

    and this doesn't bother me in the slightest... i have just got used to this. on an earlier bridge on my bass this was even worse.
    what is more important to me is that the shape of the bridge matches that of the fingerboard, and it does.

    if you are changing basses quite a bit... i would worry about this... sadly my budget only stretches to one bass. :eyebrow:
  14. Thanks!

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