String Spacing of 5-string basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by John Coltre, Jun 7, 2019.

  1. John Coltre

    John Coltre

    Mar 13, 2016
    There are so many different string spacing measurements for 5-string basses, but it is very discouraging when you need 19mm and most of the popular manufacturers use a lesser measurement.
    aus_bass likes this.
  2. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Reviewer: Bass Player Magazine
    That’s just how it goes. The more we we refine our tastes, the more we limit our options.
  3. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    I had a preference for 20mm spacing on 5’s after playing Warwick SSI 5’s for quite a long time. I ended up having to go the custom route (Roscoe) to get basses with that wide of spacing, since Warwick seemed to be the only one offering it.
  4. TrustRod

    TrustRod Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2016
    Northern California
    It's even worse when your tastes change and you keep needing to buy stuff. I've gone from 19mm to 16.5 back to 19 and now I like 16 or under even for slap. Thank god I've settled on 5 strings at least.
    lomo and TolerancEJ like this.
  5. Ibanez BTB 5-Strings have 19mm string spacing.
  6. Sid Fang

    Sid Fang Reformed Fusion Player

    Jun 12, 2008
    My first 5er was a Schecter Stiletto, a wonderful little bass with 16.5mm spacing that was great for my left (fretting) hand but in the end too hard for me to adjust my right hand fingerstyle for. I find that 18mm is fine, though, which is what I have on my two Status Graphites and my Squier VM Jazz V.
  7. Aidil


    Dec 4, 2014
    Jkt, IDN
    Sometimes you just need to look deeper into the catalogs. I've been pleased by this 19mm string spacing Ibanez BTB685SC as my main gigging bass in the last few years. That is if one would categorize Ibanez as one of the popular manufacturers.

  8. IamGroot

    IamGroot Inactive

    Jan 18, 2018
    The more I play, the less i notice fret and string spacing. 4 string short scale to 6 string 35".
    Nashrakh and B-Mac like this.
  9. JW56789

    JW56789 Guest

    Feb 18, 2017
    It never occurs to me. The mind and human anatomy seem to adapt invisibly, I never thought about it, though a Patitucci six-string Yamaha did feel like they put strings on a diving board . . . . . an honestly, for me, I got other things to worry about.
  10. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Central Ohio
    I’m agnostic on the spacing itself, as far as right hand technique goes. But, I do have strong feelings about the width of the neck required by whichever spacing, especially around the neck/body joint. Too wide at that point, and the bass starts feeling unwieldy. Too narrow and it feels cramped. And it’s all relative. For my sense, 19mm or 20mm is great on a 4 string, 18mm feels right on a 5 string and 17 mm feels right on a 6 string.
    Gusdfunk and bassomane like this.
  11. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

    I also thought I had to have 19mm spacing on a 5 string, until I played a Roscoe with 18.3mm spacing. Now I cannot deal with that.
  12. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    I like 19 on a four. I find that if the string spacing on a fiver is 19, it feels huge. I have to have a little narrower spacing for it to feel the same.
  13. Adapt or go custom. Plenty of killer builders these days.
  14. I’ve honestly never really understood this. Perhaps because the majority of main players I’ve had over the years were 5 strings.
    If anything when I get a new bass it takes me maybe an hour of practice to get used to the spacing. I only really have an issue with string spacing when it comes to like super tight fender bass vi guitar like spacing and that’s mainly because I have chunky fingers.
  15. All of my current players (5's) have 3/4" spacing, it feels like home... always has, always will...

    I have owned and operated and gigged and made money with tighter - spaced strings, and it was painful to let some of them go, because they sounded sooooo good. Just never felt right.
  16. Case in point: these are fabulous in every way, if they were 3/4" spacing ... I would play the snot out of one. Have one and gigged it, so my sentiment is sincere gwb35.png
  17. I was a 19mm guy too for a long time (and 35"). 17mm was too tight and 16mm was a guitar as far I was concerned. My 'eureka' moment was playing a 34" Wilkins PJ5 w/18mm spacing. Perfect for me.
  18. Bshort0918


    Dec 20, 2017
    Is there a thread (similar to the nut width thread) that lists and compares string spacing at the bridge? Thanks
  19. dfab

    dfab Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2012
    Northern California
    I'm a fan of 19mm string spacing and somewhat compact body styles. I've settled on MTDs. My main axe is a Z5 and my backup is an Heir. All have 19mm string spacing. I'm told some of the import Lakland's (55-01) also have 19mm string spacing. Good luck.
  20. davidl13


    Oct 15, 2011
    USA distributor:
    How do you measure string spacing?