Zero Fret? Thoughts Pros and Cons Please

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

  1. MooCheng

    MooCheng Senior Member

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    car'nt say I've noticed any differance playing, but I like the idea of using zero fret,
    all things being equal, it should even out the tone between open and fretted strings and take away the possibility of intonation problems when a nut is cut to high.

    like 'em
     
  2. cmjohnson

    cmjohnson Senior Member

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    Want to know what ideal nut slot height should be?

    Get out your feeler gauges and a capo.

    Put the capo at the first fret and use feeler gauges to read the height of each string over the second fret. (Using a guitar that is well set up and doesn't have any fret buzzes, and action you like.)

    Record the measured string height of each string over the second fret as determined by your feeler gauges.

    When you cut a new nut, try to achieve the same string height over the first fret as you recorded from the above measurements.
     
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  3. Lampens

    Lampens Senior Member

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    My gretsch 6120 has a zero fret. Recently refretted with SS. One thing though. It isn't the best when you're a heavy string bender. The strings occasionally squeeck over the zero fret. I understand why Setzer replaced them on his old 6120's with graphite nuts.
    No problems with tuning while using the bigsby though with zero frets.
     
  4. jonas335

    jonas335 Senior Member

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    I measure the height of the first fret with a digital caliper (or use a bit of straight edge between the first and second frets and measure under it with feeler gauges) and add 5-10 thousandths to find the nut slot height. Then use the feeler gauges to cut the slots. It seems to me that with a proper amount of relief in the neck the zero fret should be the same height as the rest...
     
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  5. theNARDdog9

    theNARDdog9 Senior Member

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    Looks like WW was somewhat right. Another thread (http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/gibson-les-pauls/312630-2015s-have-been-spotted-fixed-links.html) got posted and if you follow the links many guitars from the 2015 line are sporting the zero-fret. From one of the links:

    "Gibson USA continues to raise the bar of Quality, Prestige and Innovation with the new line up of 2015 guitars. All Gibson USA guitars except for the Les Paul Supreme, Firebird and Derek Trucks SG will ship with the G-Force tuning system. Among many of the added features is the new Zero Fret Nut which is a patented applied for nut that has adjustable action capabilities."
     
  6. ihavenofish

    ihavenofish Senior Member

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    wieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerd.

    too bad theres no close up. it looks rather unusual. is it a fret on a nut? does it mean it can only take that nut, and not be swapped if you hate it?

    I actually had an idea today for a zero-nut. might make one and see if its a workable idea.
     
  7. cmjohnson

    cmjohnson Senior Member

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    Ahem....LSR/Wilkinson Roller Nut....cough, cough....
     
  8. ihavenofish

    ihavenofish Senior Member

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    no. its not.
     
  9. ihavenofish

    ihavenofish Senior Member

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    [​IMG]

    actually not that dissimilar to my idea. basically seems to fit a normal nut slot, have the leading edge level with the frets, and the backside with slots.

    the screws probably let them adjust or shim it to height, though perhaps they set it with the plek machine.

    in any case, it seems a decent design and safe route for them. if the customers hate it, it can be changed.
     
  10. cmjohnson

    cmjohnson Senior Member

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    I didn't say it was. But I say it's a pretty good alternative, as long as it's properly installed, kept clean, and kept lubricated so it doesn't develop flat spots. Properly installed, it acts pretty much like an "ideal" nut.
     
  11. ihavenofish

    ihavenofish Senior Member

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    ah, I thought you meant that's what they were using. the photos were small and blurry, you could be forgiven for thinking it. :)
     
  12. Alpha_Gator

    Alpha_Gator Junior Member

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    Ok, I'm new to the forum and I stumbled upon this thread. I like to think I have something to add so here's my two cents. I've been jonesing to design and build my own electric guitar for about a year now. Over that time, I've researched just about every web site and book about guitar design and build. One of the things I had to deal with in my design was the nut and the part it play in the tone of the guitar. After some time I came upon a European luthier site which made a very strong case for a zero fretted instrument. To paraphrase the site made many of the points mentioned already on this thread. Mainly, that each strings tone sounds as if it were fretted so there is no tonal variation from string to string. Moreover, since the zero fret is made of a much harder material than a nut the guitars sustain is noticeably longer. For all practical purposes the nut is a rather dated technology and the main reason guitar makers continue to use a nut is more from tradition and the fear of putting off a risk averse customer. The part that appealed to me was that i would not have to go through the painstaking process of cutting and filing a nut to the correct size and depth. Before I committed to any course I wanted to try out the theory's application. As a result I ordered a ZerO Glide nut for my Les Paul clone to try it out and see how it sounded.

    Ordering was simple. The site has a helpful template from which you can see just which part best fits your guitar. After a week the package arrived and I was ready to install. I broke open the package to find a set of frets from which to select for my guitar. Unfortunately, I did not measure my fret prior to ordering and it turned out i needed the jumbo fret option. All my fault, mind you, the option is clearly on the site. I emailed the company and they had one in the mail that day which I must say very good service. once the right fret arrived I set out to install it to my guitar. I watched the youtube videos detailing how to correctly install the ZerO Glide and set out to give it a go. If your a bit nervous about taking off nuts and working on your guitar you might want to take it into your local tech. For myself, I'm a "he who dares, wins" kinda guy so I jumped in with both feet. Installation was super simple. there's no mod to the actual guitar other than removing the nut and cleaning out any residual glue. Installation was a snap, just take it slow and you shouldn't have any problems. After the install, I strung up the guitar to see if the zero fret lived up to all the hype.

    It does, and then some.

    Notes seemed more articulate and chords had a shimmer that i'm finding it hard to fully describe. Sustain was improved as well (not that my LP needed any help). My guitar's tone is immeasurably better and all for around $30. it's just nuts.

    I like it so much i'm putting a ZerO Glide on all my guitars.

    I hope this helps.

    Gator out.
     
  13. David Kennedy

    David Kennedy Junior Member

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    I just put one of these on an acoustic......it's a zero fret built into the nut. The nut is just there to guide the string. https://goldtonemusicgroup.com/zeroglide/catalog.php?cat=guitar
    It works well and was easy to put on. The action is the lowest I've ever had at the 1st fret. About a couple thousandths when you fret the third fret and measure. No buzz on the open strings.
    Not sure how long the fret will last....I've had it about a month and it does have some marks in it....maybe a year???? They said you can get more frets. They are proprietary. The crown is offset. I tried a Evo fret I modified and it didn't work well.
    It never binds like a nut....very smooth for bends. I'm very satisfied with it. It's a pretty easy way to try a zero fret.
     
  14. mux164

    mux164 Senior Member

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    I'm doing a zero fret on an explore build that's been on going for ages, will let y'all know the results.

    Should finIsh it with the next few years
     
  15. Skyjerk

    Skyjerk Meatbomb

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    LOL. The next few years?
     
  16. WhiteEpiLP

    WhiteEpiLP Senior Member

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    An 8 year old necro thread. Nice
     
  17. mux164

    mux164 Senior Member

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    Keep finding something else to work on, plus I had to repair the headstock so it can wait
     
  18. David Kennedy

    David Kennedy Junior Member

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    The one thing nobody really talks about with a zero fret is that they are definately brighter. On an acoustic you may not be able to handle elixirs in nano webs 80/20 or PB because of the overtones.....I had to take them off and go to polywebs...the wound strings are perfect in polyweb ...brighter than with a bone nut..just right..I'm still trying to tone down the E and B plain strings.......it sounds fine playing....recording.....the plain steel strings do stand out.
     

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