String spacing on the 5 stringers

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bassstud1, Jun 12, 2002.

  1. Bassstud1

    Bassstud1 Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2001
    LaPorte Indiana USA
    I own a MM5. But I really don't feel comfortable playing it. I tried playing only my 5 for 3-1/2 months. I was playing acceptable Sat. night but my shoulder was getting tired so I broke down and played my 77' MM4. I felt like I was driving a porsche. I was playing very very good for not touching a 4 for 3-1/2 months. My questions are

    1.)Do I give up trying to play the MM5?

    2.) Should I try a custom neck on my MM5 with the string spacing of the 4?

    3.)Should I just sell my MM5 and buy another brand bass?

    Please some of you fivers have surely had simular problems. The way it looks now unless someone changes my mind I'm going to have a special neck made for my MM5 with the spacing of my MM4. Please Somebody stop the madness.
  2. chucko58


    Jan 17, 2002
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    I paid for all my gear myself. Well, me and MasterCard.
    I have a pair of Carvin LB75s. One has the wide spacing (3/4" between strings), the other has Carvin's standard spacing, which is a bit narrower (11/16"?). I switch between them without much difficulty.

    The wider neck is a little harder to play, and that bass is quite a bit heavier. But it's worth it for the tone!

    Instead of having a custom neck made, only to find out later that your bass is still no fun, I suggest trying a different bass that fits you better, and selling your MM5 so someone else can enjoy it as it is.
  3. BFunk

    BFunk Supporting Member

    Try a Fender Roscoe Beck 5. Wide neck and a sound/vibe closer to your '77 Ray than a new MM5.
  4. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    A custom neck (which I suppose is available, but I have never seen) is only going to help your left hand. (assuming you are right handed) If you have spacing issues with the right hand, you will need a custom neck as well as have the bass fitted with another bridge. This seems a little excessive considering MM5s have great resale value and there are plenty of basses out there that will fit your needs.

    True, a RB5 is wider at the bridge, and while the neck profiles are different, the string spacing in the first 5-6 frets is not hugely different. At least I don't get too caught up in it. A MM5 has a 1.75" nut, the RB5 a 1.875. 1/8" spread over four spaces means the RB5 strings are a full 1/32" further apart.

    When I switched to five, it was a huge a eye opener to flaws in my technique. Being mostly self-taught, I had tons of nasty habits. And a five is less forgiving.

    For me to last 90 minutes on a five, I have to wear the bass high, giving myself plenty of reach comfortably. I also focused on keeping my elbow well under my straight wrist and keeping the thumb centered in the spine of the neck. The neck stays elevated above the body as well. (see avatar) The higher bass is much less stressful on the shoulder also. Not only is this more comfortable, your hands can get a ton faster.

    A five is a little different. You may have to rethink a few things in order to adapt. I found the flexibility it offers well worth the work.

  5. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    And even with a new neck and bridge your strings will not match up correctly with the polepieces on the pickup. This may or may not be a problem with the huge monster pole pieces on that bass.

    My Fender Jazz V has fairly wide spacing for a 5. I think the spacing is the same as the Jazz 4 string models. It feels very comfortable to me, more so than my old Dyna-Bass 5 which had very tight spacing. My Dean Edge 5 has narrow spacing and that's not a problem for me either. I like both. But I have to admit the wide spacing is much better for slapping. Some people hate the tight spacing, you might be one of them.
  6. I agree with Chasarms and I think selling it for a more comfortable bass would also a good way to fix this. Changing to the five string was a challenge to me at first but knowing that since it is a little different I had to adjust and rethink the way that I played. I didn't want to become a B string junky and I so I began to practice more using the four strings like before on a four string bass and accenting the B string once in a while. The five string Musicman basses are very nice basses and I would love to have one.

    I have five different five strings and they all seem a little different in the spacing or neck size, but I plan to keep them all and have fun with them.

    PBFACTOR Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2001
    Boise, ID
    pedulla rapture j2 and fender roscoe beck are cool wider spacing vintage vibe basses. on a smaller budget the dearmond pilot basses also have the 19mm spacing. but for the vintage vibe the beck or the ped.
  8. BFunk

    BFunk Supporting Member

    These small differences can make a big difference to a player. I find the MM5 to be cramped too. Laklands are a little better, the RB5 is almost too wide. But I still would prefer a little too wide to a little too narrow. I also think that there are other factors besides the nut width that count such as neck depth and shape, how the bass sets on your body, etc. For instance, I find the G&L's more comfortable than and MM5 and they have the same spacing.
  9. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    the most comfy 5 i've played is my ELrick, and Roscoe 5 stringers. they feel soooo balanced. but i gotta admit, Roscoe 5'ers were actually alot easier to accustom myself to, than my beloved El. the neck was fast and just the right size. Keith really makes those things sleek.
  10. Bassstud1

    Bassstud1 Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2001
    LaPorte Indiana USA
    I'm going to try out a Yamamha as soon as I get a chance. If the string spacing works out better for me, then I'll have a local luthier make a wider asymetrical neck for me. Now while the economys down he said If I draw it up 3-D he will make it for $250.00. Maple on maple. Fretted. Aren't CNC machines wonderful. Thanks again all.
  11. When I first went to a five string I had some issues with string spacing. I had a Carvin LB75 and later a G&L 2500 which both had narrower spacing than the four strings I was used to playing (3/4"). I later traded those in for a couple Lakland 55-94s, which also have the 3/4" spacing, and that turned out to be the answer for me. Adapting to the extra string hasn't been an issue since. Of course the wider string spacing can put more pressure on your left hand but that hasn't been a problem for me.
  12. My first 5-stringer was a Fender AmStd Jazz-V. Beautiful bass. My left hand worked just fine. My right hand drove me through hell with the spacing on the strings. I just couldn't get used to it. I preferred the spacing on all of my 4-string basses (3/4") and the J-V was just a little closer.

    I was on the verge of replacing the bridge with one that had a 3/4" spacing (HipShot), when I came across a deal on a used Roscoe Beck V that I just couldn't turn down. It has 3/4" spacing and is one fabulous bass. It's my only 5-string and lives with 5 4-string Fenders. It gets about 40% of my playing time.

    I highly recommend that you check an RB-5 five out. That little extra spacing to get to 3/4" makes all the difference in the world. I had tons of trouble adapting to the J-V, but after getting the RB-5, my advances in 5-string playing came along a lot faster.

    Keep Thumpin'! Sammy!