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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

Zero frets.

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Blue Bear, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. Jupiter

    Jupiter Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Jun 22, 2010
    Osaka, Japan
    Does that mean the "-1 fret" is notched?
     

  2. jonal335

    jonal335 Tele-Holic

    658
    Jan 8, 2011
    vancouver island bc
    The zero fret is a great, simple idea. I know Gretsch used to use them back in the '50s and '60s. The main advantage is no tone change between open and fretted notes in the first position. The 'open strings' are resting on the zero fret! It seemed like my old Gretsch Anniversary's zero fret was the same as the other frets, but you could go with the next higher size of fret wire if you felt that was needed...
     

  3. braderrick

    braderrick Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    34
    Sep 27, 2006
    Kentucky
    The guitar I learned to play on, my dad's first year Martin Sigma has a zero fret and was actually the only year they had a zero fret ('71 I think).

    When I started playing, neither of us knew anything about the workings of a guitar either. It had a little buzz on the low E so we though it needed a new nut also.

    After getting it back from out local luthier we saw the nut hadn't been replaced it looked like he had actually pulled the Zero fret up a bit at the end, just like Lost-N-Austin's pics show.

    Makes sense I guess. It seems most people file the nut of a guitar a tad higher than the first fret to keep buzzing out. This must be why the zero fret needs to be a tad higher too. It never hurts, I've also adopted the Master Ron Kirn's way of leveling frets with a "fall away" in the upper registers of a guitar. A great idea that works great and makes the guitar less likely to have any buzz.
     

  4. A.B.Negative

    A.B.Negative Friend of Leo's

    Aug 26, 2008
    Scotland
    I think it has to be, the strings change direction when they go over it.
     

  5. Hoopermazing

    Hoopermazing Tele-Holic

    My SelMac copy most certainly has a zero fret.

    I've never seen a notched zero fret on any SelMac type (Gypsy Jazz) guitar.
     

    Attached Files:


  6. donh

    donh Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 25, 2010
    Oh Aich Ten
    Please actually look. The zero-ret guitars all have a spacer nut.
     

  7. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    So it sounds like the camp is divided...no extra height and extra height on the fret. I'd love to know if it is based on the bridge height and action. Personally I've never heard of setting up a regular guitar so that the nut slots are level with the frets....
     

  8. bubba01

    bubba01 Tele-Meister

    147
    Oct 18, 2009
    Dallas, TX
    I have a 65 Supro Lexington with a zero fret and it's .015 higher than the first fret without any notches in the zero fret.
     

  9. Hoopermazing

    Hoopermazing Tele-Holic

    My zero fret is a hair higher than the first fret too. I haven't actually measured the difference.
     

  10. Engraver-60

    Engraver-60 Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    65
    Jan 6, 2008
    Franklin, TN
    I'd think the zero fret would have to be higher than fret #1 or it'd buzz like a kazoo!! If you make a nut 0.013" higher to the bottom of the nut slots and that prevents buzz, than the zero fret should be at least that to have the right action.

    Just my 2 cents worth (1.75 cents after taxes).
     

  11. A.B.Negative

    A.B.Negative Friend of Leo's

    Aug 26, 2008
    Scotland

  12. jonal335

    jonal335 Tele-Holic

    658
    Jan 8, 2011
    vancouver island bc
    I really don't see why a zero fret should be higher than the first fret. After all, the first fret is not higher than the second fret, and it seems like the same situation to me. I can see it being higher for manufacturing purposes - but not for a set-up reason...
     

  13. donh

    donh Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 25, 2010
    Oh Aich Ten

  14. Lost_N_Austin

    Lost_N_Austin Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    75
    Feb 18, 2004
    Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
    Here is my take on it

    Think about what a Nut does 1. It is a spacer or a guide to keep the strings apart. 2. The nut establishes the string height at the neck end of the guitar. which is basically the adjustment for the action.That is why it is taller. 3. The nut acts as support for the string while allowing the string to slide back and forth when the guitar is tuned to pitch. 4. This gets a little bit into where the tone comes from and we all know that "Tone is in the fingers, wood, (fill in your theory here)".

    Now think about what the Zero Fret does. The zero fret does the same thing as #2, #3 and #4 above, but leaves the "Nut" to do the spacing. The Zero Fret setup is just a two-part nut. It is called a Zero Fret because it looks like a Fret but is a part of the Nut. Some time you feel like a Nut, sometimes you don't.

    I believe the zero fret could have some advantages in that it might help sustain (#4), it does not wear as much as a Nut because it is harder than Bone, and it is easier to establish the consistent height across the fretboard without a lot of nut filing experience and suits the low end manufacturing process because it does not require the talent of a good luthier. Is it better that a nut? This theory is most certainly not definitive and could be argumentative.

    I don't think anyone has the fingers to fit between the nut and the zero fret so the next fret down the neck becomes the actual first fret.

    By the way First_Fret has not yet been chosen for a TDPRI screen name so if you are wanting to jump into the fray, here's you chance to join up with a memorable screen name.:lol:

    Lost_N_Austin
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2012

  15. A.B.Negative

    A.B.Negative Friend of Leo's

    Aug 26, 2008
    Scotland
    Jupiter and I were specifically discussing the "-1 fret" on the Hallmark. My statement stands too.
     

  16. Bud Veazey

    Bud Veazey Tele-Holic

    740
    Aug 3, 2010
    Lawrenceville, GA
    Speaking as a "repair person" I can tell I slot a nut so that the distance between the bottom of each string to the top of the first fret is .020". However, when marking a fret blank, I use a flat sided pencil to trace the top curve parallel to the first fret. Thus, the top of the nut is roughly the same height as the first fret. So it seems the bottom of the slot would be lower than the top of the first fret, but the bottom of the string is .020" above the first fret. Go figure.

    I know there are some guitar scientists on this forum who can 'splain all this.
     

  17. jonal335

    jonal335 Tele-Holic

    658
    Jan 8, 2011
    vancouver island bc
    All I know is that when I put my handy-dandy planet waves NS capo on my guitar neck I don't have any problem with buzz or anything else. It seems to me that it is acting like a nut (to hold and position the strings) while whatever fret is up the neck from the capo is acting like a zero fret...with no problems...
     

  18. braderrick

    braderrick Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    34
    Sep 27, 2006
    Kentucky
    I'm not saying it won't work if the zero fret is the same height as the other frets, it definately will if done right. By the same token a nut slot filed to the same height as the first fret will also work if done perfect. I think both nut slots AND zero frets are usually a little higher just for a little extra insurance to make sure there is no buzz.

    We all know what happens if the nut slot or zero fret is LOWER than the first fret don't we? And once you go too far, thats it. You can always take material away (nut or fret) but it's hard to put it back haha. Again it will work great if they are the same height but they would have to be near perfect! To me it makes more sense to go just a tad higher on the nut or a regular guitar or the zero fret if so equipped.
     

  19. jonnyfez

    jonnyfez Tele-Holic

    949
    Nov 14, 2003
    Kittery, Maine
    My '67 Gretsch 6120 has a zero fret - and it is taller and wider than the regular frets. Perhaps one reason Gretsch did this is that zero fret on a guitar with a Bigsby takes a pretty good beating over time. So a little more latitude couldn't hurt.
     

  20. jipp

    jipp Friend of Leo's

    so this has been interesting as i knew zero about this fret thing before and not seen one even surfing ebay, i cant say i paid much attention to the nut while surfing for guitar porn on ebay.. at any rate.. how about tone? mention sustain, but its suppose to let notes ring clear on the first fret yeah? i think ill have to try this down the road and see for my self i guess. if i like it ill build my necks that way. at any rate thank you for the interesting topic very stimulating. rock on.
    chris.

    p.s
    while we are talking about nuts. iv read we want the nut to be slippery.. yet bone nuts seem to be the most popular.. would a Teflon type of material be a better material for a nut?
     

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