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Five string basses : Should the A string be in the centre of the fingerboard?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by zortation, Jan 21, 2012.


  1. zortation

    zortation

    Dec 26, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    Is there a general rule that says the A must be in the middle of the fingerboard of a five string?

    My bass is spaced so that the A is slightly to the right of centre.

    Warning: Paranoid paranoid paranoid...

    :confused::confused:
     
  2. Montanamike

    Montanamike Mike Atkinson

    Dec 23, 2009
    Hill City, SD USA
    what kind of bass. Is your string to string spacing consistent? Generally the answer is yes, very close to center.
     
  3. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Some are and some aren't. Here's an F Bass with the string slightly off-center. I measured, and the dots are centered. George told me there's a legit reason for it, but I forget what it is. Maybe it's to keep the space between the strings constant, rather than the distance center-to-center of the strings. I'm not going to sweat it.

    BN5-2008-body.
     
  4. I'd want it centered for aesthetic reasons if nothing else. The strings on my bass are just slightly off and it bugs me. Doesn't affect playability or tone, I just don't like how it looks.
     
  5. tojge

    tojge

    Jun 11, 2010
    Belgrade, Serbia
    Quite likely... on my fiver, I've moved the stings up a bit (grooved saddles, an' all), since I have a tendency to pull down on them whilst playing, so I've moved the G all the way up, gettin' it as far away from the edge of the fingerboard as possible, and maintaining the 18mm string spacing, the strings are no longer aligned perfectly against the dots, but it suits my (admittedly, imperfect) playing technique better.
     
  6. Dan Knowlton

    Dan Knowlton Sarcasm: Just ONE of the many services I offer! Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2002
    Palm Coast, FL
    I guess you would be better off ordering a bass with no face dots!

    Dan K.
     
  7. Chalk it up to my mild case of OCD, but that drives me bug****. That's one reason why I hate dots on fivers (neither of mine has 'em).

    -jb
     
  8. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    No there isn't. If it bothers you you have my sympathies. Really. I can't imagine what it must be like to have something like that bug me. I can see where it could keep you from fully enjoying otherwise nice gear and there's nothing funny about that.

    I guess no fingerboard markings is a good thing.

    My Zon Legacy Standard fretless 5 had less than optimal string spacing for me (I prefer 19mm) but was such an otherwise phenomenal bass that I adjusted the B, E and A a bitter closer together so I could get more space between the A, D and G. Worked great and I never stared at it. I bet that would drive some folks nuts.
     
  9. OmNomNom

    OmNomNom

    Jul 10, 2011
    Wilmington, DE
    Holy crap that is BEAUTIFUL!

     
  10. I think the spacing is measured from the right side of the B string to the left side of the E string, and so on ...
    It wouldn't make sense to measure the string spacing from the center becuz the left side strings are thicker than the right side.
    This explains why the A string is off centered to the right. IMO
     
  11. Yes it is normal. The A string on my Lakland is slightly towards the right of the dot inlay but not enough to be noticeable.
    IMG_0660.
     
  12. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    There are 2 ways to do the string spacing on a 5 string bass.

    1 - equally spaced strings centerline to centerline.

    2 - take into account the thickness of the strings and have equal clearance space between the strings.

    I quite often cut my own nut from a blank, and I do a hybred version that is a little bit of both of those approaches. The end result is the A string is sometimes slightly off-center.
     
  13. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    4004cii5_20.
     
  14. Both my basses have the A string slightly off-centre for spacing reasons. I think you've got nothing to worry about.
     
  15. One more reason to have block inlays!
     
  16. Certainly makes sense, but if I were spending $3K+ on a boutique bass, I would want the luthier to take that into account when placing the dots. Otherwise it looks like someone screwed up. Or like the neck isn't straight in the pocket. Or the bridge is off center (see #1).

    I like Schecter's solution of putting all the dots on the bass side of the fongerboard. I like unmarked fongerboards even better.

    -jb
     
  17. bassbenj

    bassbenj

    Aug 11, 2009
    If you look carefully at the photo you can see the reason. First the B string is fatter and it's looser. So if you measure from the edge of the fretboard to the center of the B and G string you find that the B string has more spacing to the edge of the fongerboard. But if you measure from the OUTSIDE edge of the strings to the edge of the fongerboard the outside "gap" is about the same. So it is the fattness of the B string that is sort of shoving everything over. And that's good because if you didn't do this, either the B string would tend to go off the fingerboard edge or the gap on the G string would be larger than it needs to be making it harder to play.
     
  18. What's a fongerboard?

    :D
     
  19. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I'd like it less if the dots weren't centered on the fretboard.
     
  20. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Which is why I order almost all my basses without dots. I bought that F Bass off the rack, and it already had them. They're buckeye dots, FWIW.
     

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