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What Would Neck Width Be for 5/8" string spacing?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Jim T., Apr 5, 2004.

  1. What would neck width (at the nut and body end of the fingerboard) be for a six string bass with 5/8" string spacing at the bridge?
    I realize tapering will vary so what's a typical rule of thumb for the nut end? One half the string spacing at the bridge?

    I'd like to know the same info. for 16mm and 16.5 mm string spacing. (carvin 6 string spec.) and 17mm, please.

    For every mm added to the string spacing, how much wider will the fingerboard/neck increase?

    I'm fairly hopeless with decimally based measurements. I do understand mm or fractions of an inch.

    Thank You!
  2. TRU


    Apr 12, 2002
    Northern Europe
    It depends on what is the spacing at nut ;)

    9mm is quite common for 4 and 5 string basses. I haven't measured any 6-stringers, they could be a little less.

    Assuming you'll use 9mm width at nut -> string span = 45mm -> add 5mm extra for clearance to both sides of fb and the total width is 55mm.

    For bridge end, first take the string span 5/8"x5 =~80mm -> add 5mm/side = 90mm. The neck width at 12th fret is 55mm+90mm /2 = 72.5mm. At 24th fret 72.5mm+90mm /2 = 81.25mm.

    I hope you can calculate these with your chosen nut/bridge string spacing.
  3. TRU


    Apr 12, 2002
    Northern Europe
    If the nut width stays the same, 1mm more to bridge spacing for 6-string bass = 2.5mm more width @12th fret.
  4. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Are you nuts? I am...j/k
    Nut width is not in any way depending on spacing at the bridge. You'll see a lot of differences between basses with the same bridge spacings, just look at Fender P and J!
    It's a matter of how you like it.

    Body end...are you talking neckthru or bolt-on? Or set-in? And how long does the neck protrud in the body?
    Actually, the easiest way to figure this out is to make a pattern. Draw it out in 1:1 scale and see(!) what you get.
  5. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    Yes, you are right. Nut width does not affect string spacing at the bridge.

    However, it DOES affect the neck width, which is what the original poster was asking.

    If you want 5/8" string spacing at the bridge (I'll use a 4 string here for the sake of argument...), 5/8" string spacing at the bridge = an overall center to center measurement at the bridge of 1.875 ( 1 7/8").

    If you have a nut width of the same width, your neck with is going to 1.875" all the way down. If, however, you decide to go with 3/8" string spacing at the nut, the nut with is going to be approxiametely 1 1/8" for the overall center to center string spacing, and probably an overall nut width of something around 1 1/4" to 1 5/16" or so. This WILL result in a different neck with, affecting the overall neck "taper".

    I would suggest to the original poster to work out the math, do a few simple CAD (if you have access and ability) drawings, or just get a long piece of paper and draw it out and see which one works best for you.

  6. Skorzen


    Mar 15, 2002
    Springfield MA
    CHeck this out :D makes it really easy
  7. Wow! Thank you guys!
    I'm having this bass built "long distance" by Carey Nordstrand starting in Sept., so for now, anyway, I'll have to "finger paper" to see what will look and feel right for me.

    Suburban, this bass will be a set neck. Why does that matter?
    Would one consider making the neck narrower or tapered differently because of bolt on's neck heel "reach around" issues?

    The "Quick Fretboard Shape Calculator" will be a great help, thanks! I may know a boat builder who has access to a CAD system...

    We'll be shipping the fingerboard to an inlay artist (my arrangement) much sooner than the neck building will begin so I need to start deciding on dimensions sooner than later. So I need to get started.

    I used a ruler and paper to draw things out initially but then I felt at a loss as how to decide on taper and string spacing at the nut (plus math is my intellectual weakness) so your collective info. is greatly appreciated! :hyper:

    If anyone else has additional thoughts/info. (warnings to offer :eek: ) they will also be most welcome.

    I will of course discuss this (and lot more) with Carey, but I like to know what the heck I'm asking before I ask it! :meh:

    I also don't want to torment the poor guy with questions "not of the moment" as I'm sure he'll get plenty more questions from
    me in due course!

    Thanks again, Jim T.
  8. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    In what way does the set-neck, bolt-on or neckthru matter?
    Well, it does not affect the taper, expressed in degrees. It does have a bearing when you express your neck shape in inches or mm's. And the attaching method also includes the shaping of the joint: squared or as a continous taper (or whatever).

    I see, Jim, that you have got the message form us all, consolidated it and understood. And you're working with Carey, he'll put you right if you stray.
    Just one more thing: math is just another language! Fret not, just check your results three times!

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