zero fret

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by archey, Oct 3, 2013.

  1. archey

    archey Senior Member

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    Does anyone here ever build their guitars with a zero fret? If so what exactly is the advantage of them?
     
  2. KnightroExpress

    KnightroExpress Senior Member

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    As far as I know, the zero fret is supposed to even out the tone between your open notes and fretted notes. I haven't had the opportunity to try it out for myself, though.
     
  3. fortwinnie

    fortwinnie Senior Member

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    Most people just get used to duller open notes :dunno:
     
  4. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    The advantage is that the string height at the nut is instantly ideal...some of the cheaper imports used them because it saved time not having a skilled craftsman cut a nut with perfect string hieghts.

    But because the zero fret is now associated with those cheaper guitars it's regarded as chincy....
     
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  5. Barnaby

    Barnaby Premium Member

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    I've done one on a neck I built for another person...it played and sounded fine and was easy to set up. Some people like to use slightly thicker fretwire for the job, but I used the same stuff as on the rest of the neck. You still need a nut on there, of course, but its role is different. It acts primarily as a spacing guide for the strings.

    With regard to the history, Freddy is spot on as usual. There are now a few companies and custom makers who advocate them again, although, for my own guitars, I prefer a more traditional bone nut. I've not really thought about why. Maybe I'm just conservative. :cool:
     
  6. MRJ5

    MRJ5 Premium Member

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    Here is another link that discussed the zero fret a few years back.

    http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/luthiers-corner/53197-zero-fret-thoughts-pros-cons-please.html

    The most interesting comment I have heard however, is from Luthier Rick Turner who used a zero fret on his Model 1 guitar. (made famous by Lindsey Buckingham.)

    (The Gear Page - View Single Post - zero fret- yes or no?)

    "A zero fret has to be very close to the "nut"...string guide...or if you bend notes down in first position, the string will scrape across the zero fret and wear it unduly. The problem with that is to have that tiny length of fingerboard between zero fret and nut not break off when you put in the zero fret or even just do other work on the guitar.

    The idea using stainless for the zero fret is a worthy one.

    I used to put zero frets on my Model 1s, and gave it up as much because I got tired of talking about it as any other reason. Ditto giving up many years ago on making brass nuts. In the end, the difference was not worth the effort."
    __________________
    Rick Turner
    Guitar Maker for a Long, Long Time
    Turner Renaissance Guitars - Hand-Built Guitars, Basses & Ukuleles By Rick Turner.
     
  7. jkes01

    jkes01 Senior Member

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  8. archey

    archey Senior Member

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    Thanks everybody for the insight! I knew Brian May used it for the red special, and I figure he's a pretty smart dude so there must have been a good reason for it.
     
  9. Archer

    Archer Senior Member

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    I did something like that to a couple of my guitars that had nut slot issues and I'm glad I did. They play better and ring out nicely on the open strings. Just used a little file on bone nuts. It's worth a try and you can always go back to a regular nut if you like.
     

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