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Thread: corse spacing

  1. #1
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    Default corse spacing

    Just contemplating corse spacing in relation to sound.I was mentored to space each corse wider at the saddle than at the nut. Is there a relative % difference that seems to be ideal to you experienced builders?
    Thanks, Graham

  2. #2
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: corse spacing

    For mandolins, I just copy the templates I made from a '23 Loar with original nut and bridge.

    As I think about it, I see no particular reason that the courses could not be parallel as far as function goes, so it seems to me that the tapered spacing is more aesthetic that anything else. That would make me think that the spacing at the nut and the spacing at the bridge should be the same percentages of total. In other words, the spacing of the courses would be the same percentage of the total string spacing at both the nut and the bridge. I hope that makes sense...

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  4. #3
    Mandolin tragic Graham McDonald's Avatar
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    Default Re: corse spacing

    Forgive me working in millimetres but I find it easier. In general the width of the fretboard at the 12th fret is the same as (or very close to) the outside string spacing at the nut. For a 28mm nut (standard Gibson width) the width at the 12th fret is around 38mm and the outside string spacing at the bridge will be the same. I make ny nuts 30mm, with the fretboard 39-40mm wide at the 12th fret and the same spacing at the bridge. This keeps the strings parallel to the edges of the fretboard. The strings are not equally spaced at either the nut or the bridge and there is a photo attached of what is a very good 30mm nut spacing on a mandolin by Steve Gilchrist. It is a good start and if you keep the outside strings parallel to the edge of the fretboard all should be good.

    Cheers

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  6. #4
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: corse spacing

    Quote Originally Posted by Graham McDonald View Post
    ...if you keep the outside strings parallel to the edge of the fretboard all should be good.
    I generally have the strings follow a line not parallel with the edge of the 'board, but instead follow path similar to the taper between the courses.
    As I mentioned earlier, I control the spacing at the bridge and nut, but the fingerboard taper is determined by that (in my original drawing), so when my standard string spacing is used there is a taper between the outside strings and the fingerboard edges that closely resembles the taper between the strings. (Hope that makes sense.)

  7. #5
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: corse spacing

    Why would you want the width of a course to change as you play up the fingerboard?
    Fingertips sometimes perceive tiny differences, and I see no need for the courses to widen even as the frets get closer together as you go up the fingerboard.
    Seems like one more nuisance to overcome from the point of view of the player.

    Just to be clear, are you discussing distance between courses or distance between strings of a course. I address the latter.
    Phil

    “Sharps/Flats” “Accidentals”

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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: corse spacing

    Quote Originally Posted by Philphool View Post
    Why would you want the width of a course to change as you play up the fingerboard?
    In my first post post I mentioned that I see no functional reason for the strings of the courses to not be parallel.
    There is, however, the problem of a pair of strings 'buzzing' from contacting one another when played hard if they are spaced to closely. There is a compromise, then, between comfortable closeness and clear sounding distance between the strings. By using a slight taper we are able to tighten up the spacing at the nut a little without the portion of the strings that can buzz getting too close together.
    The portion of the strings that can buzz together when attacked is where the pick contacts the strings and also that same distance from the nut. That is, if we pick the strings 3" from the bridge they can buzz there and also 3" from the nut. It is not uncommon to hear this when mandolin G-strings are played hard.

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