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Zero frets.

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

  1. devo_stevo

    devo_stevo Tele-Meister

    127
    Dec 20, 2011
    Brigham City, Utah
    All I know about this is that when I installed the zero fret on my bass I leveled it with all if the other frets so it is the same height. The action is low and there is no buzz on any of the frets on a neck with very little relief in it. I can see the arguement for making it a bit higher to though but I don't think that it's needed.
     

  2. Fred_Garvin

    Fred_Garvin Tele-Holic

    636
    Feb 21, 2011
    Atlanta, GA
    I've seen a million things about the mumbo-jumbo of nut materials, graphite, bone, brass, micarta, fossilized woolly mammoth ivory, or compensation to deal with a nut being slightly higher than the frets, earvana, buzz feiten, etc. All guaranteed to be the magical solution of awesome tone to eliminate the disastrous problem of 6 notes, only one of which can't be played elsewhere, bearing on a surface other than a fret.

    Frankly, I just don't buy it.

    All of the above is a moot point with a zero fret. Especially if the zero fret is not significantly higher than the first. I think that they are unpopular mostly because of tradition.

    I can't think of a reason why a zero fret isn't a superior idea, except to cover up iffy fretwork. (That, and you can't charge someone $300 to replace one fret and use a special system just to tune their damn guitar)

    Also, if it's good enough for Brian May, I'll give it a shot.
     

  3. jipp

    jipp Friend of Leo's

    thanks for the feed back fred.. i wont waste my time trying to find that magic nut material *iv just seen some custom guitar maker's brag about there special nut material and the reasons its superior to bone etc on there webpages.. Teflon of some sort came to mind.. sales pitches are sales pitches in any industry..*. i also want to try the zero nut i like the logic behind it. heck i may even try it on my first neck. its just a extra fret. rock on.
    chris.
     

  4. Blue Bear

    Blue Bear Tele-Meister

    If that were the case then it would buzz like a kazoo when you fretted at the first fret...wouldn't it? It is the same principle as fretting, only string pressure is providing the down force onto the zero fret instead of your finger on the first fret...Correct? The string does not know what fret it is touching. You level your frets, from 1 to 21 or 22, so you should level the zero fret to maintain the intonation. If the zero fret were higher, the string would be further away from the first fret than it would be from the second fret when fretted at the first fret, therefore more tension on the string, sharper pitch. I believe the intonation will be more accurate with a leveled zero fret....Whew...now I am out of breath!...lol!
     

  5. jipp

    jipp Friend of Leo's

    thanks for the picture do you have one that shows the nut/zero fret and the second fret too by any chance? im interesting in the string height above it.
    if not thats cool and sorry for bugging you about a picture.
    chris.
     

  6. Nick JD

    Nick JD Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    I thought the zero fret wasn't popular because it wears out - with the strings always fretted on it. And it's harder to replace than a nut.
     

  7. Blue Bear

    Blue Bear Tele-Meister

    I don't think a zero fret would wear out faster than a bone nut. It should technically last longer than the first few frets because it doesn't get any side to side wear. I think I would find pulling and replacing a single fret, leveling it and polishing a bit easier, at least for me, then filing a new nut. If you screw it up you have to start from scratch or compromise with a shim.
     

  8. supersonicobr

    supersonicobr TDPRI Member

    73
    Jun 6, 2011
    Brazil
    I would also think that, zero fret or not, the string spacing aspect of the nut also serves another purpose: anchoring that end of the string, keeping it from moving sideways on bends and/or by design. I've never had one of those Hallmarks in hand but in view of its headstock disposition I would think the "fretwire string guide" should probably be grooved deep enough to sit the D/G strings in a way that they don't try to jump "outside" to a straighter line between the machinehead "exit" point and the bridge saddle. Just a thought - this probably applies to most any non-straight-stringed headstock I'd wager - indeed on a Lester, probably not on a 4+2 Ernie Ball I reckon.

    Also, on an SX (Rondo) Thinline I fret-leveled and did up the nut I tried playing without gluing the nut down and it slid "into" the bend whenever I tried a 3-semitone upbend on the G string up by the 9th fret. I'd not put the string trees back at the time but thought it better to glue the nut down anyway and not risk it going dancing on me mid-gig.
     

  9. Fred_Garvin

    Fred_Garvin Tele-Holic

    636
    Feb 21, 2011
    Atlanta, GA
    jipp, Did you ever hear someone with a floyd rose equipped guitar complain that their guitar didn't sound awesome because the nut was made of metal and not the cheap nylon that came with a '58 les paul?

    No, because it works, and it works well.

    The level of the nut on an electric guitar is critical as far as setup goes, damn near everything else is snake oil.
     

  10. jefrs

    jefrs Doctor of Teleocity

    Nov 20, 2007
    Newbury, England
    I have/had two guitars with zero frets. You have to be very careful that you keep all the frets levelled as they wear. I eventually had to replace one of them with a pukka nut due to intonation problems, pulling sharp over the first few frets. There is also a tendency to buzz the string against the fretboard just after the zero fret, the fretboard may need relieving of a little wood there (scalloping). The break angle allowed by the actual nut behind the zero fret needs to be controlled or the string lifts up away from the fretboard after the zero fret. The actual nut is not just a string guide, it has to support the strings or you get nut buzz.
     

  11. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    People will say anything to sell their guitar as the newest and most improved design. Most of it is unproven BS. There is a sucker born every minute. It improves resonance, clarity, and makes it play like butter are my favorites.
     

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