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Advanced Member
Username: the_8_string_king

Post Number: 275
Registered: 9-2005
Posted on Wednesday, December 27, 2006 - 1:40 pm:   Edit Post

Hi Mica & gang!

For mutual benefit, here is the essential info regarding my string spacing, so that you know everything you need to do to accomodate me.

First of all, just for clarification, as far as the "taper" -is that the term?- the thickness from the BACK of the neck to the FRONT of the fingerboard goes -I DON'T have any specifications; I've been happy with my other Alembics in this regard, and want to default to whatever your standard(s) would be in this regard.

Next, Mica, if I've retained and understood what you conveyed in our previous discussion about string spacing, Alembic's standard procedure it to transition from the centers of the strings being equal distance of each others' centers at the nut, and transitioning to the strings having equal space between each other at the bride/tailpiece.

I wish to entrust such nuances to you -to your experience and judgement.

What I'm 99% set on at this point is that I want my neck to be 2 inches at the nut and 2&3/4 inches at the 24th fret. This is based largely on using my 8-String Europa as a frame of reference.

When I very carefully measure the fingerboard width of my 8-string -JUST FROM THE B to the C STRINGS- it measures almost exactly 2 &1/5th inches at the nut and 2 & 2/3rds at the 24th fret.

The space between strings is pretty close to (average) a little under 5/16ths (of an inch) BETWEEN STRINGS at the nut; a little over 6/16ths (of an inch) at the 24th fret; and just about 7/16ths (of an inch) at the bridge.

Now, even though the spacing on my 8-String is apparently already relatively narrow, I still want it a little more narrow at the nut. Subtracting 1/5th of an inch from the 2.2 inches at the nut puts the strings less than 1/16th of an inch closer together -which comes to exactly a quarter inch between strings (in the paradigm of my 8-String), which is the same as the spacing on my Les Paul, which I have no trouble with at all.

Now I could leave the width at the neck at 2&2/3rds inches, which would be the same as the proportions on my 8-String; but for some reason (not necessarily a logical reason) it seems a little too narrow, and I just requested that it be 2&3/4th at the 24th fret -which is actually only the slightest bit wider (1/12th of an inch, to be exact).

If you have any thoughts/suggestions, please let me know.

Unless you need anything further from me in this regard, I can't see my having anything else to add/change.

Thanks again for everything, I think this just about covers everything except the Coco Bolo, and whether I have the option to get the "Essence style" asymetrical control configuration. I also saw a picture of a red Essense? that have what looked like a really simple but cool configuration that looked like it might be even better. The 3 knobs were arranged like 3 out of 4 points of a diamond, and then the 3 toggles were arrange in a row where the 4th "point" would be. I couldn't tell from the picture if the toggles and knobs were laid out totally symetrically as I'd want them to be. If they were, this would be the perfect control configuration. If not/if it's extra/more work/more $ than #2 choice would be the Essense configuration. If that is more time/money, the standard configuration would still please, and be most awesome. So it's all cool, just extra cool if it's no problem to have 1 of those other configurations!
Username: mica

Post Number: 3899
Registered: 6-2000
Posted on Wednesday, December 27, 2006 - 3:02 pm:   Edit Post

Hi Mark,

As you know, we've started building your neck, and it was specified with a 2.0 x 2.75 fingerboard diimension, so that's what we've been building off of. Every decision about the neck laminates is based on the fingerboard dimensions.

The word taper refers to the taper of the fingerboard. Generally, fingerboards are smaller at the nut end than the last fret end, and the taper is in reference to the slope of the lines that describe the outside edges of the board. It's a shorthand to say "classic taper" or "comfort taper" and it's explicit to describe the taper by naming the measurements at either end, like in your bass as "2.0 x 2.75."

Our standard method for string spacing is to cut the nut on centers and the bridge on sides. That's because most folks are aiming toward the center of the string with their fretting hand and the edge of the string with their other hand. If you don't specify otherwise, we will set your bass up with this standard method.

When I calculate the bridge spacing of the fingerboard dimensions you ordered, it comes to .45 inch between strings. Your measurements on from your 8-string appear to be .4375, so what you've ordered is slightly wider than your 8-string at the bridge. Here's all the details in a table, it might be easier to interpret everything:

measurement8-string 6-string
24th fret2.66 2.75
nut c-c.3125.324
bridge e-e.4375.45

If you don't have calipers to collect your measurements, I highly recommend you get some, any good hardware store will have them. If you can't find them locally, there's some on Amazon. Digital ones are even easier to read. Plastic jaws will dent more easily, but won't be as prone to damage your instrument as steel jaws will.

Also, it's most useful to talk about the spacing at two ends of the bass: nut and bridge spacing. In fact, I'll be happy to calculate the 24th fret dimension if you provide the fingerboard nut width and the bridge string spacing you prefer.

Since you are uncertain about your choices, I have placed a stop on the production of your instrument, because if it goes further and you make changes, they could be costly (like buying another neck or fingerboard). This stop will be lifted once you've got a confident decision about the spacing.

Your personal preferences aren't something I can offer any advice about. If you feel the spacing on your 8-string is wider than you want on the 6-string, then you'll need to tell me how much narrower to make the 6-string.

Let's start another Changes/Additions thread for your electronics question so it doesn't get lost in a sea of fingerboard dimension discussions.
Advanced Member
Username: the_8_string_king

Post Number: 276
Registered: 9-2005
Posted on Wednesday, December 27, 2006 - 8:58 pm:   Edit Post

Mica, I AM certain about what I want for the string spacing.

As I said, careful measurement of my 8-String indicates that, if I "measure out" the part of the fingerboard encompassed by the 2 high (F and Bb) strings, what is left measures almost exactly 2.2 inches at the nut, and 2.66 inches at the 24th fret. In other words, if I told a "Genie" that I wanted to get rid of my two high strings, and convert my 8-String to a 6-String, it would measure 2.2 inches at the nut, and 2.66 at the 24th fret. This includes the .15 inch "dropoff" Valentino described in our conversations... the space from the side of the string to the edge of the fingerboard.

I'm CERTAIN that I want the nut to be 2 inches wide. Now, as stated, I did choose to slightly round up (1/12th of an inch) and SLIGHTLY increase the fingerboard width at the nut to 2.75 inches. This was not based on any lack of certainty, as such, but rather on a (perhaps irrational?) fear that the neck wouldn't be "wide enough" (by which, I mean, structurally sound... no weaker than "normal" for an Alembic bass neck).

But that begs the question, doesn't it? Do you see any structural issue/concern with this relatively narrow neck? Because I'll tell you, I'm 100% confident in the string spacing I've spec'd. But... y'know what? While I'm perfectly content if we were to stick with the spec's I've stated, I will/would change the neck width to 2&2/3rds instead... SO LONG AS THERE IS NO STRUCTURAL CONCERN. I really don't see it being an issue either way (assuming there is no structural issue).

I'd say my string spacing -for my 8-String- is just right at the 24th fret, and slightly too wide at the nut. I'm CERTAIN about this... very certain. Now the nuances and subtleties of transitioning from the center-to-center spacing at the nut to the edge-to-edge spacing at the bridges... well, for that, I'm relying on you and your expertise. I'll defer to what you think.

I know this sounds pathetic (which may be because it maybe IS pathetic) but I didn't get the calipers 'cause I'm broke, and got what I thought would be adaquate measurements with my near-sighted eyes (which see VERY well at point-blank range) and a tape measure that measures up to 32cnds of an inch.

Now, you ARE the doctor... and I won't argue with the doctor. If, for whatever reason, you deem it essential/necessary for you to treat me/my bass, I'll go get the freakin' calipers and follow your instructions to get you whatever information you need. It seems to me like the info I've got should be sufficient... but, I'm not the doctor. So if you disagree, and for some reason that I may or may not grasp right now, feel these things are essential to you meeting my needs, then no argument/reasoning is necessary... just tell me they're essential, and then tell me what to do when I get them. There's a new hardware store across the street, and if you feel my spending $12-20 on these caliper things is essential, I'll go get 'em. Today.

I'm not sure what would be the point, since I AM sure that I want this bass to be 2 inches at the nut, and either 2&2/3rds or 2&3/4ths at the nut. (But I don't/wouldn't dismiss the possibility that there might be some reason I'm not aware of!)

I'm deferring to your recommendations regarding the center-to-center and edge-to-edge transition thing.

So... boiled down, I just have two questions at this point: (1) do you see there being any structure concern/issue with the neck not being "wide enough" with my specifications? Would this neck be significantly weaker/more subject to shifting as a result of temperature, humidity changes, etc... than a more typical, wider neck profile? If there are no structural concerns, then I would actually SLIGHTLY modify my original specs and say let's go with 2 inches at the nut, and 2&2/3rds at the 24th fret. Either way, it's only a 1/12th of an inch; (2) do you deem it essential for me to get these caliper things? If you do, I will... but... what would I do with them? I assume I'd measure the distance between strings... (what else would I do with them?). I'm not sure what you'd do with this info/need it for... but if you deem it necessary, I'll go get 'em -'cause I don't want my bass put on "hold." I KNOW what I want!!!

There's a new hardward store across the street... my other half thinks it's an ACE... and we have a Home Depot about 2 miles away. If you think the caliper things are essential, I'll call 'em up first to see if they have 'em.

Otherwise... I'm ready to go. 2 inches at the nut, and I'll slightly modify the 24th fret to 2&2/3rds inches (which is only a 1/12th inch deviance from the original spec).

One thing I was confused about was your table -specifically how the string spacing at the nut seemed to be WIDER at the nut -despite the MORE NARROW fingerboard. (How can the distance between the centers of the strings be GREATER on a [reduced width] fingerboard of 2 inches [at the nut] than the distance [center to center} of the strings on my 8-String [as a 6-string with the nut measuring 2.2 inches]?) I read and re-read this several times, and concluded that either you put in an incorrect figure, or I'm misinterpreting something/reasoning incorrectly... because obviously there is no way you could NARROW the width of the fingerboard and INCREASE the distance between strings... but your chart indicates a GREATER (c-c) distance on the strings (from the 8-String to the 6-String) even though the neck is actually a 5th of an inch NARROWER.

I want to do everything possible to clarify this, so the bass is not on "hold" any longer than necessary!!!

Thanks again for everything, you folks are the best!!!
Advanced Member
Username: the_8_string_king

Post Number: 279
Registered: 9-2005
Posted on Thursday, December 28, 2006 - 11:53 am:   Edit Post

Mica, just got off the phone with you & my eye is out for the procedure(s)/measurements you'll be needing me to measure with the calipers.

I forgot to ask... how wide -in inches- is the inner core of my neck... the inner 9 laminates within the outer Mahogany neck laminates?

I'm really curious and am dying of curiousity. The laminates seemed like the standard width of those on my Europa, Elan, and most other Alembics I've seen... but it's hard to judge the size/width from the pictures...
Username: mica

Post Number: 3903
Registered: 6-2000
Posted on Thursday, December 28, 2006 - 12:03 pm:   Edit Post

For the 8-string measurements in your table, I simply converted your supplied fractional measurement to decimal for comparison. After speaking with you today, I realize that I misunderstood what you you measuring, so that table isn't useful now.

Here's a table to compare the two propsed fingerboard dimensions:

nut c-c.324.3240
bridge e-e.45.43-.02

Now, to compare these numbers to your 8-string bass, you should collect these measurements for me:

1. Entire fingerboard width at the nut. Measure this as close to the nut as you can with the large jaws, but do not measure the nut itself as it is generally slightly bigger.

2. Entire fingerboard width at the 24th fret - your bass has more frets, but measure at the 24th with the large jaws.

3. Space between strings at the bridge. Measure with the smaller jaws right up against the bridge saddle, taking care both sides of the jaw are on the thickest part of the string, not the valley between wraps.

4. Tell me the sizes of the strings on your 8-string bass.

The reason for doing all this measuring and calculation is that we want to make sure the bass comes out exactly as you envision it. All the toruble will be worth it.
Advanced Member
Username: the_8_string_king

Post Number: 280
Registered: 9-2005
Posted on Thursday, December 28, 2006 - 12:46 pm:   Edit Post

I see your post in front of me, and will now collect the measurements in the order you've specified:

(1) Fingerboard right next to nut = 2 & 15/16ths

(2) Fingerboard at 24th fret = 3 & 33/64ths

(3) Space between strings at bridge:
E-A=13/32; A-D=14/32; D-G=14/32; G-C=27/64
(space between C-F & F-Bb = 14/32 for both).
(4) I'm not sure of my string size off the top
of my head; I used the (LaBella, I think?)
strings you supplied. But you had the
specifications posted on my COTM feature.
Do you need me to measure the strings?
Username: mica

Post Number: 3904
Registered: 6-2000
Posted on Thursday, December 28, 2006 - 1:24 pm:   Edit Post

I would only need you to measure the strings if there were different from the original ones, since I need the string diameters for calculations that are edge-to-edge. It doesn't matter when calculating center-to-center.

nut c-c.324.324.366
bridge e-e.45.43.44

So, looking at these measurements, the nut will be tighter spacing than your 8-string, which you indicated you wanted. The bridge will be ever so slightly tighter spacing with your revised dimensions.

Now we can know what we're comparing, and you'll be able to give me the go-ahead based on some real data without having to guess. So let me know what dimensions you want on your 6-string and I'll get the work order adjusted.
Advanced Member
Username: the_8_string_king

Post Number: 282
Registered: 9-2005
Posted on Thursday, December 28, 2006 - 1:30 pm:   Edit Post

Mica, I went ahead and measured the strings best I could with the large jaws at the 24th fret; I could get the jaws around the strings. These are the best I could "eye out", since the calipers only go up to 32nds of an inch -although spaces between notches allow for 64ths to be reasonably estimated.

My B string is about 4/32, the E's about 3/32, the A's about 5/64, the D's about 1/16, the G's a hair under 3/64, and the C's a hair under 1/32.

Copying the specifications on my Custom Feature in the Archives, it says there my strings are (supposedly) .128, .105, .080, .065, .045, .030 (and, it seems irrelevant, but .020 & .013 for the high F and Bb strings).

For clarification/ to make sure we're "on the same page", my previous conversations with Valentino on the subject had led me to conclude that I wanted this bass to be set up with the standard "Alembic 6-String long scale bass strings" you use.

This is because (A) you recommend them; and (B) I'm assuming I'll be able to call you anytime and order spare/replacement sets.

Unless this is incorrect, or you have some other option you want me to consider/think I should consider, then I want to have the bass set up with your standard long-scale Alembic 6-string set strings... and use their measurements as your frame of reference.

Thank's again for your dedication to detail. I have to leave for work in a minute, but I'll check this out first thing when I get home, and hopefully we'll be able to confirm the final details regarding string spacing tomorrow, and get the "hold" on my bass lifted!

Oh, yes, again, how wide is the inner core -the inner 9 laminates of the neck? I'm really curious. How wide are the individual laminates?
Advanced Member
Username: the_8_string_king

Post Number: 283
Registered: 9-2005
Posted on Thursday, December 28, 2006 - 9:06 pm:   Edit Post

Hi Mica! That string spacing looks fine with me. I just got home and checked in here first thing. After going over and averaging the distance between all but the B & E strings, I found the average distance (at the bridge) to be .4257 or .43, rounded up... exactly what's on your chart! So this should be fine with me.

So, we've got all the details/puzzle pieces for a working plan now, right? The fingerboard'll be 2 inches at the nut, 2 & 2/3rds at the 24th fret, with the distance between strings (edge to edge -at the bridge) being .43 inches.

This sounds perfect to me! The only possible concern I'd have is: would this result in a severe inconsistancy in the "dropoff"... the distance from the edge of the 2 outer strings to the edge of the fingerboard? Val told me that your standard is to have .15 inches from the edge of the outer strings to the edge of the fingerboard. Now it's actually slightly lopsided on my 8-String. I never paid much attention to it, but I measured it today, and I found the dropoff to be about an 8th of an inch on the B side, but almost 3/16th on the Bb side!

But it's not a problem at all.

This is the only thing I can think of. If any aspect of this string spacing would result in a significant deviation from the .15 inch dropoff.

So long as this is not a concern -as I'm assuming it's not- then let's go full speed ahead!

Let the hold be lifted!

Thanks Mica! Talk to you tomorrow!
Username: mica

Post Number: 3927
Registered: 6-2000
Posted on Friday, December 29, 2006 - 1:13 pm:   Edit Post

The string spacing was calculated with .15 offset on either side of the fingerboard as measured from the outside edge of the string to the outside edge of the fingerboard.

On your 8-string, we probably allowed slightly more room on the highest string since it would have a tendancy to slip off the edge is positioned as closely as we usually do. Redoing my calculations with this new offset on the treble side and the measurement of your bridge spacing makes them come even closer to your measured fingerboard size, so I'm very happy with the quality of th new information.

So, I hereby confirm your new neck dimensions of 2.0 x 2.67 with bridge spacing of .43 between the strings.
Advanced Member
Username: the_8_string_king

Post Number: 287
Registered: 9-2005
Posted on Friday, December 29, 2006 - 2:57 pm:   Edit Post

Fabulous! Awesome! Deal!

So... the hold is lifted, then?
Username: mica

Post Number: 3935
Registered: 6-2000
Posted on Tuesday, January 02, 2007 - 5:11 pm:   Edit Post

The hold is not yet lifted. You've got a pending question as to the body shape.
Advanced Member
Username: the_8_string_king

Post Number: 309
Registered: 9-2005
Posted on Tuesday, January 02, 2007 - 9:27 pm:   Edit Post

Gotcha. Thanks. But this issue is resolved! Yay!

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