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Getting used to the smaller spacing

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by InternetAlias, Oct 25, 2018.

  1. InternetAlias


    Dec 16, 2010
    So I've thought about something recently - traditional 19mm spacing causes my fingers to move quite a bit. If I play on a small spacing (say, 15-16mm) I get to do more with less movement. I bought a 5 string bass with 16mm spacing to practice smaller spacing and I can say it feels very cramped. But the more I play the more comfortable it feels. Yet when I go back to my 19mm bass it feels so much more free.

    For this reason, I plan to abandon 19mm spaced basses for a while and get used to smaller spacing that causes my fingers to move less and make muting easier.

    Is this a reasonable way to think about things? On a 19mm spaced 5 string bass, I have to try really hard to mute strings, while on a 16mm spaced 5 string I simply do it by sticking my thumb between the B and E strings if I am playing higher up.
  2. Turxile


    May 1, 2011
    It's largely personal preference. Most are too used to 19mm to change, but I personally prefer 16.5-17.5mm spacing in 5 or 6 strings. I got my first one in a trade years ago and took a while to get used to it. But I find it much more comfortable now, and yes it is a bit less movement to get around. I still have 2 19mm basses but they mostly live in their cases.
    On the other hand I don't think it's any easier/ harder to mute. That sounds more like a technique issue to me.
  3. TrevorOfDoom


    Jun 17, 2007
    Austin, TX
    By the same thinking, you could also switch to short scale.

    Or, if efficiency of movement is your ultimate goal, take up key bass. No strange hand contortions, everything's super close by. ;)

    I kid, I kid.
    If you think you gain enough by switching to 15mm spacing, do it.
    It doesn't make enough of a difference for me to care, but everyone's got their thing.
    Good luck with your pursuit!
  4. For me its the same. I have a 15mm 5 string and 19mm 4 string.
    When you get used to move the fingers the less possible you dont feel restricted by the spacing..
  5. saabfender

    saabfender Banned

    Jan 10, 2018
    On narrower spacing, I think about using “piano fingers” to play. Do a bunch of scales and patterns with your piano fingers and I’ll bet things start to come together.

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