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guitar builders do you use zero frets on them?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by tjclem, Nov 3, 2010.


  1. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    Just making a new neck for mine and was considering it...Tom
     
  2. interested in this as well, would also like to see where the nut is when using a zero fret
     
  3. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Line™ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    yes - a great majority of my basses utilize a zero-fret. I have been using zero-frets since my first basses back in early 2006, and have had zero issues with them to date

    here's the nut end from a P5 I built last year. you can clearly see the zero-fret as well as the Ebony nut behind it

    RV09502P-Complete-Headstock2.

    and for those not familiar with it, that's a Hipshot extruded alum string retainer used to secure all but the B-string. utilizing a retainer on the B-string causes it to curve up and impacts playability and tuning IME

    all the best,

    R
     
  4. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Banned

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
    It's rarer to see them on soprano basses mostly because Gibson and Fender don't have them on the LP or Strat. But they can be used for the exact same reason as basses. I believe that there are plenty out there including some G's and F's that had them.
     
  5. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    I use them on some basses I was asking about those funny looking little things called guitars.. :D
     
  6. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    Nice... that's freakin' hilarious!
     
  7. ThrashMaster

    ThrashMaster

    Jul 7, 2010
    Boston, MA
    absolutely...even ones with locking nuts (just how my fixtures are set up)
     
  8. Cosmo420

    Cosmo420

    Sep 10, 2010
    Roanoke, VA
    Is the zero fret a larger (higher) fret than the rest of the frets? Or is it the same size?
     
  9. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Line™ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    I understood that, I guess I didn't write my response in a way that conveys that :oops:

    I use them on many of my G****** builds as well, I just don't have an image handy that I can post. essentially it's a near identical configuration as what i do on my basses

    all the best,

    R
     
  10. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    Eggsalent! Thanks...t :cool:
     
  11. i would assume is needs to be a bit higher... but would also like to know this
     
  12. HogieWan

    HogieWan

    Feb 4, 2008
    Lafayette, LA
    it doesn't need to be any higher for the same reason the first fret doesn't have to be higher than the second
     
  13. All I know is, I had a Danelectro electric/acoustic I bought for $10 at a garage sale, and it had a zero fret with a metal nut (aluminum?), and it had naturally ridiculous low action with no buzz and it was super easy to play. I assumed that was because of the zero fret, which led me to wonder why you don't see it more often. Are there negative aspects to a zero fret that aren't all that obvious (to me, anyway)?
     
  14. Bass-Adrenaline

    Bass-Adrenaline

    Jan 23, 2010
    Im more curious as to why you think a zero fret and aluminum nut would be the reason your bass has low action and no buzz.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero_fret

    Michael Tobias did a little interview on the subject as well, its somewhere on youtube.
     
  15. Cosmo420

    Cosmo420

    Sep 10, 2010
    Roanoke, VA
    Really? I realize about the first not being higher than the second, but generally when you are playing it, you are not fretting it at more than one fret on the same string. I assume you just have to have some neck relief to keep the strings from buzzing?

    I've never played a bass with a zero fret, hence all the questions...
     
  16. Actually, it was a guitar, not a bass. Secondly, I honestly have no clue as to why I thought that. I just did. I was fairly clueless about the technical side of things musical back then. It just seemed a logical thought to me at the time.
     
  17. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    The zero fret doesn't need to be higher due to the angle to the bridge saddles and the relief in the neck which provide enough room for the string to vibrate without touching the frets.

    BTW, I do not use zero frets personally, by choice. If a customer requests one, I generally have no problem with doing it, it's all about taste, and construction that dictates if you can use one or not.
     
  18. somegeezer

    somegeezer

    Oct 1, 2009
    England
    "The strings rest atop the zero fret, which is higher than the other frets"
    That's what I got from that wikipedia link. So it DOES have to be higher...
     
  19. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Banned

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
    It DOES NOT have to be higher. Geometry and your playing style dictate the size needed.
     
  20. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    There ya go... Fixed that for ya. :D

    Zero frets don't have to be higher, no matter what Wikipedia tells you. Remeber, Wikipedia is user-edited, so pretty much anyone can log on there and write something inane.

    The builders on here who use zero frets would know from experience, I'd trust them to give you a straight answer.

    When using a zero fret, it is essentially like you are "fretting" behind it (using the downward pressure of the break-over angle, as opposed to pressing with your fingers). Therefore, it makes sense that the zero fret would not have to be any higher than the first fret, or the second, and so forth, due to bridge saddle height, neck relief, etc.
     

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