is getting tighter string spacing with a new nut possible?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by PlanetariumERB, Dec 22, 2012.

  1. PlanetariumERB


    Dec 10, 2010
    So I own a musicman stingray which I love a lot. But the string spacing is a bit wider compared to my other bases and I was thinking about getting a new nut made with slightly smaller spacing. Just to make switching between the basses a little more comfortable. Is this possible to do and would it make the string spacing actually smaller? Would it cause any problems? I just want to make the spacing just slightly smaller. Sorry if this is a stupid question I dont know a whole lot about this stuff :meh:
  2. i do this on all my basses with 1 5/8" nuts. no issues whatsoever.
  3. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    It is possible but easier with a new bridge.
    If you go really narrow, you may have problems with strings not lining up with pickup poles.
  4. morgansterne

    morgansterne a subtle lift provider on the other side Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2011
    Cleveland Ohio
    from everything I've read it makes very little difference where your pickup poles are relative to the strings.
  5. i cant speak for the op, but tightening at the bridge isnt ever the issue for me when switching between a jazz bass and any bass with a 1 5/8" nut. whether its a p or stingray. they all feel the same in the right hand, but tightening at the nut is the only thing that makes non jazz basses comfortable to me.
  6. PlanetariumERB


    Dec 10, 2010
    So what do you change the spacing too with the new nut? Im not really sure how small to go.
  7. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    If it's a left hand issue then indeed changing nut is enough.
  8. PlanetariumERB


    Dec 10, 2010
    Yeah its just the left hand. It feels absolutely find in the right hand.
  9. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    Your Ray is 1.35 E to G center of string
    A Jazz is 1.15

    I would go with that
  10. PlanetariumERB


    Dec 10, 2010
    So you can actually go that tight just by getting a new nut? thats cool I thought i would have to do something between a ray and a jazz spacing.
  11. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    You will have to make one from a blank.
    If you can not make your own, take it to a competent tech. Tell then the E to G spacing you want and they will be able to do the rest.
  12. PlanetariumERB


    Dec 10, 2010
    Thats awesome Im really excited to try this out. Im out of town for the holidays but when I get back Im going to take it to my tech and Ill have him do it as long as its not ridiculously expensive. If not Ill try it my self haha.
  13. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    A custom hand made bone nut and set up should be $60-100
    It is a lot of hand work. But if it makes your Ray easier to play for you it will be well worth the money.

    Give him the spec's I gave you.
  14. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    o/o Richard Bales Restorations, and Instrument Technician, Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    You can get any spacing you want at the nut. But that may not solve your problem. Unless you are changing the spacing at the bridge at the same time the change at the nut will gradually disappear the further up the neck you go. So at the twelfth fret the change will be half of what occurs at the nut. It may not be a significant enough change to be noticeable when playing.

    And, of course, if you do change the spacing at the bridge at the same time, your strings will not be aligned with the pickup pole pieces. The potential problems go on from there.

    You might want to consider acquiring a bass that delivers what you want from the get-go rather than trying to mod your existing bass. May be more cost effective.
  15. coudnt disagree with this more. going from a fully spaced 1 5/8" nut to something tighter feels dramatically different. op already said it feels fine in the right hand. getting a new nut made is a lot more cost effective than going bass shopping.
  16. i personally dont like nuts spaced center to center. i use between string spacing. so, for what i narrow it to on a ray type neck is 1.25" from outside of edge of the E string to outside edge of the G string using a standard 105-45 set. not quite as narrow as a jazz but tight enough to be noticeably more comfortable and not have a ton of neck on either side of the strings.
  17. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.

    I love the feel of my 50's Roadworn neck with it's 1 3/4 nut but I never could get use to the string spacing of 1.425. I found it uncomfortable to play from about the 6th fret up.
    I made a new nut with the 1.35 late model P or Sting Ray spacing. I love it now.

    The reason people prefer Jazz type neck over P type necks is mainly how the feel above the 7th fret. By the time you hit the 9th fret you can't tell the difference between the two.
  18. Hi.

    It is certainly possible, but may not solve Your problem.

    I thought that tightening the string spacing at the nut would solve the problem I was having with one of my wider neck'd basses, but found out that it was the combination of the string spacing, neck width and neck profile that was giving me grief.

    Changing just only one variable didn't do as much as I'd hoped for.

    BUT, nut swapping is very easy unless some dimwit has used superglue or epoxy when installing it, so it's a very cheap way to test every imaginable string spacing.

    Rather than taking the bass to a shop for a test, the DIYholic in me would advice You to cut at least the test piece(s) Yourself. Using any hard plastic and a triangular file, You'll quickly make enough nuts to test your preference.

    When You get the spacing exactly as you want it, then take the bass to a shop.
    Or if you've become confident about your nut cutting abilities, buy some quality nut material of your choosing, either nut files or drill bits and fine emery cloth, and do it yourself.

  19. PlanetariumERB


    Dec 10, 2010
    I actually like the wide neck and the profile of the stingray. Im not really trying to make it feel like a completley different instrument at all. Its just that most of my other basses are 6 stringers. So I've got accustomed to having wide necks with tight spacing. I love everything about the ray except I just want want to bring in the string spacing a little bit to more match how it is on the other basses I have. Its pretty much like what Hdracer described in his last post. Although I think Ill take your advice and buy some nut blanks and test out different string spacing before taking it to a tech and getting properly done. So im not paying him to make a bunch of nuts until I find the perfect one.