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Ibanez 5 string headstock to 6

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by bench, May 27, 2019.

  1. bench


    Dec 28, 2007
    What would you do?

    it looks like this:


    one option would be to put another tuning peg at the far end of the bass side, then the strings would not be straight from the nut to the pegs. the other to fill in all the holes and drill 6 new ones in the right locations.

    thx, benjamin
  2. MPU


    Sep 21, 2004
    Valkeala Finland
    I'd plug the holes and drill new holes.
    thetragichero and Beej like this.
  3. James Strange

    James Strange

    Apr 3, 2015
    I am not convinced you need 6 new holes. Assuming you are going to refinish the head when replacing the nut, the logo is going to be toast no matter what. I would measure out the spacing required to put three new holes on the bass side. Check out how the strings will lie on that setup. The treble side is probably fine.
    JC Nelson likes this.
  4. PaulReside


    Mar 14, 2016
    Scottsdale Az
    The real question is where are you going to find a bridge that will be narrow enough for 6 strings
    gerryjazzman and dralionux like this.
  5. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD Supporting Member

    May 20, 2005
    Norman, OK, USA
    Yeah. Ibanez 5 string basses are narrow already. Stuffing another string on there is going to be a trick. You'd have to go with indie bridges.

    Still might be hard to fit 6 indie bridges in that space.
  6. Stevorebob

    Stevorebob Well... I Am Here, Aren't I? Supporting Member

    Sep 29, 2011
    Los Angeles
    Better question: Why? ;)
    dutchwife, salcott and SLivinghouse like this.
  7. ixlramp


    Jan 25, 2005
    The strings will still be very nearly straight from nut to posts, that's not a problem.

    3 new holes on the bass side will look conventional, if you really want that.

    I prefer to do less work and create something with more character. I would add a tuner at the far end of the bass side, it will be fairly close to the E tuner. Then angle all the tuner knobs backwards Warwick style to create more clearence between the new tuner knob and the knob next to it, and to avoid the new tuner knob looking like it's placed too far forward.

    Soon i intend to convert a 4 string bass to 6 string.
    Last edited: May 27, 2019
  8. bench


    Dec 28, 2007
    thank you. maybe you could post a picture of the finished headstock...
  9. MoeTown1986

    MoeTown1986 Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2010
    SoMD (Mechanicsville)
    I feel like you'd be better off just buying a used 6 string. Ibanez's go for super cheap used.
    BrBss and dalkowski like this.
  10. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    The 5-string nut is probably 1.77" - 45 mm. That is too narrow for a six-string. The strings will interfere with each other at the nut. Also, the modern equivalent of a SoundGear is a Gio. You can get a new 6-string Gio for $300 street price, and probably a used one for less. With the cost of modifications, including parts, time, labor, etc., and the risk of ruining the instrument, as well as its current used retail value, it makes no sense to convert this 5-string Ibanez to a 6-string. You can sell this one as-is to offset a significant portion of the price of a Gio 6-string.
  11. Gigglingbuns


    Aug 26, 2017
    I know a guy who did the same thing here he converted the 5 string neck to a 6 string neck and yes that spacing is that tight, but he managed. I'll try to talk to him.
  12. SMG

    SMG Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    metro Detroit
    From a different point of view, I see this as kind of backwards. I have gotten so used to wide (19mm, or even Warwick's 20mm) I have been seriously thinking of taking a Cort Curbow 6 that I have and converting it to a 5 string.

    On a serious note, there is someone around that converts 4 string Ric basses to 5 strings, with keeping the width of the necks the same. I think he has Ric style bridges made to fit what he is doing. I don't remember who it is, or if they are on the board here, but it may be worth checking into if it is something you really want to do.
  13. Double E

    Double E I ain't got no time to play... Supporting Member

    Dec 24, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    This is not a very good idea... better off selling (or keeping) the 5 string and buying a 6 string.

    If for some reason you're convinced that this bass is the "one" because you really love the way it feels now, you may find that it isn't so great anymore after you've altered it... then you are left with a dog of a bass and a ton of regret.
  14. Mktrat

    Mktrat Seriously, are we not doing phrasing anymore? Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2013
    The Mitten
    @Ric5 is the conversion guy you are thinking of.
    RBS_Johnson likes this.
  15. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I grow organic carrots and they are not for sale
    This is what I would do … buy the Ibby 6 stringer … I have played Ibanez 6 string basses and they are pretty sweet …

    But that being said I have a wide 5 string neck that I am going to put on a 4 string body, then add 2 5 string pickups and a 6 string bridge … then I will have a 4 to 5 to 6 string frankensteined bass … I will have to squeeze a 6th tuner into the headstock and also make a new nut.

    The problem with Ibanez is most of their basses have slim necks that make it hard to put on a 6th string.
    Last edited: May 28, 2019
    RBS_Johnson, MoeTown1986 and Mktrat like this.
  16. Toptube

    Toptube Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2009
  17. Ampslut


    May 15, 2017
    Sounds like a good way to ruin a nice bass.
  18. Thumpin6string

    Thumpin6string Supporting Member

    Apr 25, 2013
    Redding CA
    The proper way to do this without causing damage to the bass is to sell it and buy a 6 string. That bass was not designed for 6 strings. I never understand why some fellow TBers are so set on butchering up a bass rather than selling it and buying what they want. If no one makes what you want, then you can always build one like I did.
    HaMMerHeD and Queue like this.
  19. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    Devil's advocate:

    A Bass IV has narrower spacing at both nut and bridge as does the Ibanez SR505. He'll be getting a 34" scale Bass IV. :D

    Individual guitar bridges could be drilled out and staggered to give the right narrow string spacing and saddle depth. :)
    TrustRod and RBS_Johnson like this.
  20. Good point, and I agree. But it's a Bass VI. The Roman numeral IV is four ;)
    Beej likes this.

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