Help me figure out the string spacing. (5 String)

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by vlad335, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. vlad335

    vlad335 Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2003
    Latrobe, PA
    I bought a 5 string ultra light weight body and neck that's just partially completed. Time to choose what bridge to use on the build. I want to use gold hardware and a lightweight Gotoh bridge would be perfect. Thing is, it's 18mm spacing at the bridge and I am not sure if this will work.

    The neck measures 1.75" at the nut and just a bit over 2.75" at the heel. 34" Scale.

    Don't have a clue as to how to figure this out.


    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Attach the neck to the body, put some tape on the body and mark out the scale length. Use string for your B and G strings and run them from the nut to the scale length marker keeping both strings about an 1/8” inside the fretboard edges (or however far you want the strings to be in) and mark those points on the tape. Measure and divide by 4 for a 5 string and there’s your string spacing
    ctmullins likes this.
  3. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    How many frets to the end of the board? 18mm spacing is 64mm wide, which will bring the outside edges of the strings about 2mm of the edges of the board if it's 2.75" wide past the 24th fret, and about 3mm of the edges of the board if it's 2.75" wide past the 21st fret. 21 frets, it will be close but relatively playable IMHO, but 24 frets and it's probably just a hair too wide to keep the strings from errantly rolling off the edges of the fretboard while playing.

    To calculate this, I actually drew it up fullsize. A centerline 35" long (1/2" past nut and saddle line), the nut line at 1.75" wide, the saddle line at 64mm, and the 2.75" board width line - 24th fret at 25.5" away from the nut (24th fret on 34" scale), and 21st fret at 23 55/64" (close enough). Then lines from nut to 21st fret and 24th fret to see where the spacing lies at the bridge. :)
    Matt Liebenau likes this.