Zero Fret? Thoughts Pros and Cons Please

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by C Squared, Jul 25, 2009.

  1. oldaxeman

    oldaxeman Senior Member

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    I have one of those cheap japanese guitars with a zero fret. bought it in 1972 epi ft 135 still have it and it still plays good. I always wondered why more guitars didn't have the zero fret, seems like a good idea to me.
     
  2. SiriusAbbott

    SiriusAbbott Senior Member

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    great read,great info...thanks :thumb:
     
  3. Goldtop75

    Goldtop75 Senior Member

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    Because it would be redundant with the more poluar compensated nuts today? I don't know. Would the companesated nut still be relevant with a 0 fret?
     
  4. tampa898

    tampa898 Senior Member

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    Interesting. I had a guitar made for me, which I just picked up other day. It has a zero fret, in all my days I have never heard of this before. Needless to say I'm quite impressed with it.
     

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  5. Fez Bear

    Fez Bear Senior Member

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    thats an awesome axe!
    if its good enough for lindsey buckingham, its good enough for me!
     
  6. fatdaddypreacher

    fatdaddypreacher V.I.P. Member

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    thanks for this thread, C Squared. I have never heard of zero fret before now, and i will try this out on my next build.

    great info.
     
  7. slapshot

    slapshot Senior Member

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    zero frets rule
    especially on my Mosrites
     
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  8. BrianM

    BrianM Senior Member

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    My old Silvertone has a zero fret. Ugliest and crappiest guitar I own, but it plays great!
     
  9. 76Custom

    76Custom Senior Member

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    I played a weird Guild electric that had a zero fret and it rocked. Played like butter. My 1977 MIJ Epiphone acoustic has a zero fret too. Plays and sounds great.
     
  10. slapshot

    slapshot Senior Member

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    in a nutshell the zero fret dictates action and the nut is merely there as a string guide
     
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  11. zontar

    zontar Senior Member

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    I've never noticed much of a difference either way--except on cheap guitars when it's not done well, and it messes you up, but on a decent or better guitar--no difference to me.
    No problem in trying or owning both or only style if that's your preference.
     
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  12. w666

    w666 Senior Member

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    Is anyone aware of any thread or other information here about how to set up with a zero fret? After leveling and polishing the playing frets, how much higher should fret 0 be compared to fret 1 ?
     
  13. mdr40z

    mdr40z Senior Member

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    they should be the same theoretically. it should be the same as a barre chord anyplace on the neck but the neck has to be perfect, if you were going to leave it higher I wouldn't go more than 0.010"
     
  14. spiderdeluxe

    spiderdeluxe Member

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    I have a 1977 Kramer 650G (aluminum neck) that has a zero fret. In my opinion, there is a subtle difference between open and fretted notes. The zero fret seemed to eliminate this difference, so tone may be somewhat more consistent. It also has great action and intonation despite having no relief adjustment capabilities.
    (no truss rod needed on a solid bar of aluminum).
     
  15. gator payne

    gator payne Senior Member

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    it all boils down to that the zero fret height needs to give the proper string clearance at the first and 12th fret for proper action. This is a bit more work with zero fret if you are a sickler about the sting cleance than it is with a nut. A zero fret has only one ideal set-up position If you should deside you want a higher action say for slide. Then you have refret and rework.

    Outside of that a brake point is a brake point is a brake point. Be it a nut or a piece of fretwire.z
     
  16. bruce bennett

    bruce bennett Banned

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    I've had several early 60s Gretsch guitars with the zero fret on them and I liked it...

    I did build a few in the 80s that had a sorta hidden zero fret.. it was a solid piece of 1/8" brass laminated to the front of the bone nut. and cut just like a normal nut.. except it never wore out and it gave the same tone as a zero fret did... But alas.. Guitarists wouldn't except it.. they all asked me to change it out to solid bone..
     
  17. wolverinewarrior

    wolverinewarrior Junior Member

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    In 2015 - ALL Gibson Guitars will have ZERO FRETS on every model according to a Friend of mine who works at Gibson.
    Zero Fret Guitars are better - for intonation, sustain, tuning stability. The Germans created it- and most companies won't use it because of cost most likely. Brian May's 'RED SPECIAL" guitar has had a zero fret on for 40 YEARS! He just NOW had it replaced after 40 yrs. He swears by them.
     
  18. cmjohnson

    cmjohnson Senior Member

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    My concept for the zero fret is to hide it under a nut that has an overhang over the zero fret. The nut only establishes string spacing, the zero fret establishes perfect string height. The result is that it has the advantages of the zero fret system but looks like a conventional nut-equipped guitar.

    I haven't actually made this concept yet, but I'm planning to.
     
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  19. Stephmon

    Stephmon Senior Member

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    I've settled on a zero fret for my new build, as it was the only way I could think of making a fan-fret layout work with an angled head stock. At least, without making the headstock angle compound (back and up) which would look odd and require custom cases.[​IMG]
     
  20. GrouchyDog

    GrouchyDog Senior Member

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    I wouldn't care if a zero fret was visible, but I think this is a good idea for those that would. :thumb:
     

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