Zero fret???

Discussion in 'Other Guitars' started by Fuelish, Jun 13, 2014.

  1. Fuelish

    Fuelish Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,722
    Likes Received:
    1,169
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Any thoughts on guitars with a zero fret as opposed to a nut??? .... I mean, my BMG has a nut, but it only serves as a string guide, it's past the zero fret, which serves the "purpose" of a nut....I don't really notice it anymore, but it felt very awkward when I got it. ....seems a zero fret will see a lot more wear than all the others, dunno...no issues so far, anyway...just a random thought/question
     
  2. gitmohair

    gitmohair Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,312
    Likes Received:
    3,204
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2013
    Zero frets have historically been very popular in Europe and have something of a cult following amongst those familiar with them. Any benefit being limited to open strings they're really of interest to acoustic players I'd guess. Check out the Martin Carthy signature Martin for a cool piece of euro-influenced Americana.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. alekssorokoletov

    alekssorokoletov Senior Member

    Messages:
    118
    Likes Received:
    126
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2010
    I have two guitars with zero fret. This is 1969 Musima Record Model 17 and Spirit by Steinberger GT-Pro.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Almost all guitars made in East Germany at the time, had zero fret.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. dangerdog

    dangerdog Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,496
    Likes Received:
    1,711
    Joined:
    May 11, 2008
    the zero fret is gong to give you the same tone on an open string as compared to the rest.

    The argument is: what is the point of having a super fancy nut if the strings ringing on it are mixed with others ringing on the frets.

    makes sense to me.
     
  5. Webtroll

    Webtroll Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,069
    Likes Received:
    289
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2009
    I'm pretty indifferent to them. If they're done right it's no different from a nut, and the difference in tone is beyond my ability to discern.
     
    2 people like this.
  6. dangerdog

    dangerdog Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,496
    Likes Received:
    1,711
    Joined:
    May 11, 2008
    what he said
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. UmpaHimself

    UmpaHimself Senior Member

    Messages:
    149
    Likes Received:
    91
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2010
    Yeah. I never really had a dying urge to instal bone nuts on all my guitars because I really didn't understand why you would mod something (especially on an electric) that you may only use a 10th of the time. Acoustic I can understand a bit more, or if you just have a downright crap nut. Not at the top of my priority list and I think a few of my guitars have it stock (if not synthetic). I kind of like the idea of a zero fret, seems more consistent tone wise.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. TheWGuitar

    TheWGuitar Senior Member

    Messages:
    791
    Likes Received:
    1,248
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2013
    I believe that Brian May and his dad built the Red Special with a zero fret. And I read an article somewhere (couldn't probably find it again if my life depended on it), that said that the zero fret lasted WAY longer than the others.

    *EDIT* I did find it!

    "One argument against the zero-fret concept has been fret wear, although this mainly comes from guitarists, saying the thinner strings cut little grooves into the zero fret, causing strange “pling” sounds if it pops out while you’re bending a string. Tell that to Brian May, who finally had the zero fret on his “Red Special” swapped after 40 years, while the rest of the frets had been replaced way more often. And you can’t say he didn’t use it."

    excerpt from http://www.premierguitar.com/articles/String_Nut_or_Zero_Fret
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. houston

    houston Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,133
    Likes Received:
    710
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2013
    I've been quite curious about this too. Raised the issue in the Luthier's section recently, but didn't get much traction.

    Cheap guitars of the late 70's tended to be pretty awful, and it's not like we knew anything about setting them up (other than turning the screws on the bridge, which was obvious enough for a middle schooler). Still remember, the best playing guitar by far was some funky zero-fretter that someone had. Just remember it being some lame, vaguely Fenderish thing, but was the funnest to play in the neighborhood.

    I find it interesting that headless guitars always have them. At this point I'm sure a lot of it is due to simplifying/standardizing the hardware, but when I see something like the Strandbergs, it seems he's all about throwing out every convention he can, if he thinks he sees a better way. So he would not use a zero fret just because it's conventional for headless, he'll do it because it works the best.
     
  10. alekssorokoletov

    alekssorokoletov Senior Member

    Messages:
    118
    Likes Received:
    126
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2010
    Using the zero fret on headless guitars simplifies tailpiece production and make it easy to replace.
     
  11. Webtroll

    Webtroll Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,069
    Likes Received:
    289
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2009
    I'm going to refer to a conversation with a retired luthier who shall remain nameless (and if you know who I'm referring to please keep it to yourself) who said that zero frets were a good idea that the (insert a nationality here) screwed up by adopting it on budget guitars and using oversized frets. They were implemented wrong and associated with cheap guitars, so people didn't want anything to do with them. His opinion of course, and I lack the experience he has to debate the point. I have one bass with a zero fret and it's fine. I know the MTD basses use them, and I saw a custom luthier bass a friend custom ordered with one last night.
     
  12. Walt_T

    Walt_T Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,809
    Likes Received:
    2,011
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    The Mosrite's had them, and they bring $$$ now.
     
    1 person likes this.
  13. Death Incarnate

    Death Incarnate Premium V.I.P. Premium Member V.I.P. Member

    Messages:
    6,116
    Likes Received:
    11,870
    Joined:
    May 19, 2010
    Hmm, how interesting. I've never noticed guitars like this before.
     
  14. Custom53

    Custom53 Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,494
    Likes Received:
    1,319
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  15. Webtroll

    Webtroll Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,069
    Likes Received:
    289
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2009
  16. mudfinger

    mudfinger Thanks for the memories! V.I.P. Member

    Messages:
    17,222
    Likes Received:
    50,338
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    Zero Fret is patently superior, and it's very strange to me that so few guitars use this idea.

    I guess the same would apply to Safe-T-Posts.

    :dunno:
     
  17. entresz

    entresz Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,155
    Likes Received:
    592
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2011
    My 1958 Hofner Senator has a zero fret.

    In my opinion the zero fret makes more sense. It means that the open strings will be touching a 'fret' like every other note on the guitar, so theoretically open strings should sound more like fretted notes.
     
    1 person likes this.
  18. RaSTuS26

    RaSTuS26 Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,065
    Likes Received:
    2,284
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2011
    Several of mine have one, I like the theory of them, though I don't seek them out, so it's not a deal breaker in any sense.
     
  19. MooCheng

    MooCheng Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,299
    Likes Received:
    6,929
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    I like 'em

    technicaly using a zero fret should stop a open string the same way as if it was fretted and in theory even out the tone, Have'nt played that many zero fret guitars ( being lefty limits availability ) but the few have tried seem real easy pulling bends near the nut
     
  20. Jim Engen

    Jim Engen Senior Member

    Messages:
    346
    Likes Received:
    92
    Joined:
    May 7, 2011
    I'm a hobby guitar builder and i built my last one with a zero fret. I used stainless steel. I was never that good at cutting nuts properly so i thought I'd try a zero fret. Tuning instability in my opinion is usually caused by the nut. i don't notice any other difference except this guitar never goes out of tune. I love it and all my builds will have them.

    Jim
     
    1 person likes this.

Share This Page