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Alembic Club » Alembic Basses & Guitars » Archive 2006 » Archive through February 09, 2006 » Persuader String Spacing (vs. Epic) « Previous Next »

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Username: jack

Post Number: 25
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Thursday, December 15, 2005 - 4:32 pm:   Edit Post

Hey all,

Wondering how the string spacing on a Persuader 4 would compare to an Epic 5 (over the pups/right hand). The Epic has the 'custom taper' neck, I guess, which I find very easy to play (maybe I'm just used to it). I've seen some posts where players say the Persuader 5 strings were too close together; what about a four? If I were to do without a low B for most of my tunes it'd be in the funky slappy happy songs.

Also, wondering how the difference in scale would affect my playing/sound. I imagine I'd find it even cooler than my 34" Epic. I honestly haven't played another Bass in a long time. Suppose I should take a trip to the music store and try a couple out... looking for your opinions.

Hoping 88persuader (I see at one point he had both) or anyone else could let me know on this, thanks.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, and Merry/Happy whatever else you might celebrate this festive time of year!

Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 524
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Thursday, December 15, 2005 - 9:55 pm:   Edit Post

I own three basses with these 'spreads' from nut to 24fret:

1 3/4" x 2 3/8" (VERY narrow by modern standards)

2" x 2 1/2" (Spoiler Five w/ 'classic' taper, almost no taper!)

2 1/8" x 3 1/4" (VERY wide relative to the other two, but not uncommon these days)

I play exclusively fingerstyle or with a pick, with a relatively light touch. I never pull/slap. So the narrow one is easy, the Spoiler is a lot of fun as the neck is basically straight top to bottom, and the wide one is a nice break from the other two. But it's only possible as the back of the neck of all three feel fine to me and my action is JUST where I want it, which is pretty low (low enough to where sit-ins buzz pretty bad if their left hand is pretty clumsy, but that's a LOT of fun to watch).

I tried out a very nice bass today (Warwick Streamer Five Stage Two) and it did not feel right to me as the neck was pretty round/thick.
It was very properly set up, but I just could not get past the neck profile. I tried its first cousin (Streamer Five Stage One) and it was MUCH better: WIDE spacing (Almost exactly like my third bass) but the neck was pretty flat/thin across the back.

This is the physical part of playing bass: What does your mind want and your anatomy accomodate?
ALEMBIC makes a very good example: A long scale Series-shaped axe is MIGHTY long if you're 5'9" and wear a 38" jacket. I'm 6'1" and wear a 44 long: It's not near as big to me.

This physical part of having a bass 'fitted' to you should not be overlooked. Ever notice there's always lots of used Les Pauls and dark wood Warwicks on the used market? It's almost always because they were wearing their owners' shoulders out! Neck shape, length, string spacing, it's all SO much more important than we often realize.

J o e y
Senior Member
Username: adriaan

Post Number: 682
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Friday, December 16, 2005 - 1:04 am:   Edit Post

You'll definitely notice the tight spacing, the openings where your fingers can go are just narrower (about 10%). How slap-happy do you get? Then again, Stanley Clarke has huge hands, and he's been playing tight-spaced Alembics for over 30 years ...
Advanced Member
Username: keith_h

Post Number: 275
Registered: 2-2005
Posted on Friday, December 16, 2005 - 4:08 am:   Edit Post

"Then again, Stanley Clarke has huge hands, and he's been playing tight-spaced Alembics for over 30 years ..."

And lets not forget the tiny frets of a short scale. Which says to me it's all back to the fingers.

Username: jack

Post Number: 26
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Friday, December 16, 2005 - 11:31 am:   Edit Post

Thanks for the input. I bet S. Clarke has a little better right-hand technique than I do.

I'll take a look at those measurements and compare them to by Epic. Those three measurements are all five strings? I have an crummy Aria 5-string; the strings are very close and tough for the slappin and poppin.

The Persuader in question is a four, however, so the strings should be a little more spaced than your Spoiler 5, yeah?

I love my Epic. Can wear it all day. I'm also a lanky dude with long fingers.

Thanks for the input.

Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 528
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Friday, December 16, 2005 - 8:31 pm:   Edit Post


Those measurements are at the nut and at the last fret. I checked the ALEMBIC reference pages and Persuaders aren't listed.

Dave, do you have Persuader specs?

J o e y
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 2828
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Saturday, December 17, 2005 - 5:36 am:   Edit Post

No; my guess is that they are the same as for a Spoiler. Bob See has/had a 5 string Persuader; maybe he'll chime in if he sees this thread.
Username: mica

Post Number: 2899
Registered: 6-2000
Posted on Thursday, December 22, 2005 - 10:01 am:   Edit Post

Persuaders and Spoilers have the same standard neck dimensions. Bridge spacing for a 4-string is about .55 edge-to-edge, and about .50 for a 5-string.

I always encourge players to use the tightest string spacing that is comfortable. The neck will be smaller, making it lighter weight, it's less fatiguing to play, and with the strings closer together, jumping between them can be slightly faster.

Stanley Clarke and Mark King, two amazing slap players, use even tighter bridge spacing on their Alembics. It does take more practice to not have misfires though!
Senior Member
Username: flaxattack

Post Number: 845
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Tuesday, December 27, 2005 - 3:29 pm:   Edit Post

dont forget the direwolf 5 string neck there mica
1.75 nut w/.500 spacing....medium guage
was without a doubt the best thing i did for myself....and has markedly improved my playing...
i think neck guages,string spacing etc is probably overlooked too often.i like it so much i gettin me another....
Senior Member
Username: flaxattack

Post Number: 846
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Tuesday, December 27, 2005 - 3:32 pm:   Edit Post

i should add that the conversion from my orion 5
did not take very long at all and i barely noticed the difference in long to medium guage...
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 964
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Friday, January 06, 2006 - 7:54 pm:   Edit Post

Hey guys and gals-

Sorry, I wasn't paying much attention to the boards lately. I have a Persuader 5 and a Spoiler 4, both from the 80s. Those early five string basses are pretty tight and feel almost as if someone jammed five strings onto a four string neck. It isn't quite that tight in reality, of course.

The short answer for Jack is that I believe he should feel very comfortable on a four string made with Alembic's classic neck taper.

The traditional, long-winded answer is more like this...

I would say that a fingerstyle or chording player would be very happy with the tight spacing. The combination of the narrower spacing with a shorter scale length makes for comparably effortless playing, at least for me.

If you're a more casual player, then I believe you are best off with a bass that matches your size. A 6'+ tall player that wears size XL gloves is going to play more cleanly on a long scale bass with average to wide string spacing. If that player practices to the extreme, then maybe the can be a better player on a tightly spaced short scale (Stanley, for example). At 5'10" and wearing size M gloves, I am instantly comfortable on a 32" scale bass with slightly narrow spacing. I once played a Distillate that was 1/8th inch narrower than standard at the nut and it felt great from the first notes.

Speaking of Stanley, I just followed another thread here to a GC interview he did. That links with this conversation in that he emphasized the importance of a beginner finding a bass that fits. I believe that is true at all playing levels.

One final anecdote I will throw out there. I acquired a short scale Alembic early last year with customized extra-tight string spacing. The first week or two of playing it, I felt it was too tight. I thought it would be perfect when I bought it, but it was hard to play so I ordered my custom a hair wider. After I became more accustomed to playing it, the ultra narrow spacing feels great. I am very happy with the results of pushing myself to play the smaller instrument.

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