String Spacing on 5 String Basses

Our 5 String bass bodies were originally designed with a 17.5mm bridge string spacing in mind. Wider string spacing options are available, but there are risks involved as the wider spacing can impact playability.

Two basses are shown below. The first one has a 17.5mm string spacing bridge, 6150 frets and 1-3/4" nut width. This is a good example of narrower spacing. The second bass has a 19mm string spacing bridge, 6100 frets and 1-7/8" nut width. This is a good example of much wider string spacing.

  • Compare the distance between the edge of the fretboard/fret ends and outside strings (B and G) on both basses.
  • The bass with a wider nut and bridge spacing brings the strings very close to the edge of the frets.
  • A player with a more aggressive touch may have problems with the strings sliding off the fretboard edge. If this is you, give consideration to a narrower spacing. Alternately, players with lighter touch may be fine with wider spacings.
  • Larger frets (ie. 6100s) have a deeper bevel which can exacerbate the playability risks. If you prefer larger frets, Warmoth can leave the fret ends square for maximum fret width. Be aware, you will need to finish the ends on your own!

Matching the string spacing to your pickups is something else to keep in mind. The Deluxe 5 J Bass® is loaded with Seymour Duncan SJ5 SJ53 Jazz pickups. The SJ53 polepieces match the 19mm spacing pretty well. The MM5 on the G5 fits the 17.5mm spacing on the G5 nicely. The narrow polepiece spacing on the MM5 will not match wider string spacings well. Likewise, the SJ53 pickups will not match the narrower string spacing well. Which pickups do you plan on using? Keep this in mind when matching pickups to your build.

Warmoth G5 Bass Body

This body features a Takeuchi 5 String Bass bridge with 17.5mm string spacing, 6150 frets, 1-3/4" nut width and Seymour Duncan MM5 pickup

Warmoth Deluxe 5 J Bass® Replacement Body

This body features a 2-Tek 5 String Bass bridge with 19.0mm string spacing, 6100 frets, 1-7/8" nut width and Seymour Duncan SJ53 pickups

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