The spacing thing bothered me too much. About 30 years ago I bought a Barcus Berry electric violin ( pretty much the only one available at that time) with 5 strings. I kept hitting the d when playing the a etc…. I had the tailpiece removed, the bridge recut and played it as a four string for many years. It played comfortably with 4 strings which indicated to me they never left enough space for the 5. The fingerboard felt fine with 4 strings, not too wide. Either the make rather better now or you just handle it better….either way 4 strings is more than enough for me to handle.