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Of Buzz Feiten TS and Zero Frets?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by tonrutoo, Oct 23, 2004.


  1. tonrutoo

    tonrutoo

    Apr 18, 2003
    Hey guys.
    I'm having a bass built and was wondering:
    -A search revealed one saying that a zero fret virtually accomplished what BFTS was designed for.Does it?
    -My neck will be built by USA Custom with zero fret,but the BFTS would be installed later.I'm imagining this to be a technical nightmare.Would it be in your experience?
    Would it be unnecessary redundance?
    *Of inccidental reference I notice McCartney often played higher on the neck and claimed it was because the Hofner was light and lended itself.He had a zero fret added to his Ric 4001.McCartney claims himself technically inept in my Beatles Gear book,but he must have heard something that compelled him to carry this feature over.Any comments?
    Thank you for your time.
     
  2. zombywoof5050

    zombywoof5050

    Dec 20, 2001
    I think a zero fret would defeat the purpose of a BF nut.
    I'm pretty sure a BF nut overhangs onto the fret side of the fingerboard, and the overhang is not the same distance for all the strings, with some strings having a shorter distance to the first fret than others.
    I'm not positive, but I think this is the way they are.
     
  3. Grygore

    Grygore

    Oct 25, 2002
    Grand Prairie, TX
    Hi! Well, I wish I knew more about the actual mechanics of it but I do know that my MTD Hier came with both the BFTS and a zero fret.

    Looking at MTD's website now it seems only the handmade USA models come with BFTS (if that means anything at all) but still have a zero fret as well....

    Heh, a lotta help I am eh? :D
     
  4. tonrutoo

    tonrutoo

    Apr 18, 2003
    Hello again.
    I'm toying with both,one,or the other of these to be included on my bass project.I vaguely understand the function of each,but was wondering if anyone has bothered to install both on a bass?
    I've researched to a degree and some claim or assume these systems redundant.Though an absolute novice myself,I understand they address different issues.
    *Fanned frets look interesting to me,but I doubt this would be a viable option for my situation,but I welcome their inclusion for discussions sake.
    For the luthier,what challenges do these systems pose?
    Thank you for your time.
     
  5. tonrutoo

    tonrutoo

    Apr 18, 2003
    Thanks guys,
    this is a subject I've searched,but seems fleeting in the redundant benefits.
    I did run into MTDs site myself just a minute ago.I knew he uses BFTS,and just learned about the zero fret as well.
    That's sorta good news,now I'm wondering how I go about installation.
    My neck maker will be USA Custom and they're willing to put a zero fret there,but they don't install nuts.
    So I guess my next question is:
    Can you install a zero fret after a BFTS?
    (ie:I doubt you could install BFTS after a zero fret.)
    P.S:I'm bouncing between here and luthiers forum,so please forgive any off topics I fail to recognize.
     
  6. tonrutoo

    tonrutoo

    Apr 18, 2003
    A little more research and I find that Tobias has both on the American makes.
    Still,I'm under the impression that a zero fret must be installed after BFTS.Is this the case?
    Thanks for your attention.
     
  7. phatcactus

    phatcactus

    Apr 2, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    I was under the impression that the Buzz Feiten system was just a compensated nut. Wouldn't a zero-fret completely mask out anything special going on with the nut? Or is the BFTS something totally different?
     
  8. Trevorus

    Trevorus

    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    What IS the BF tuning system? I have never gotten a clear explanation of what it ACTUALLY is...
     
  9. tonrutoo

    tonrutoo

    Apr 18, 2003
    Buzz Feiten Tuning System,as I understand,is designed to give you near even tonal response along the entire fretboard.It's properties are applied to intonation which must be done to the formula propreitary to the system.The hardware is basically a bone nut BTW.There are links,and a search will get you there easily.
    I'm less informed of the value of a zero fret,but I know it gives your open string play a similar character to a fretted note.I was lead to think it may aid in tuning and/or intonation from discussions I've researched(?).
    I came up with this independent of researching manufacturers only to find that Tobias uses both on his American line.
    The reason I want both is because I want even response(not everyone likes zero fret response) on open strings,and up the neck since:I'm stringing BEAD and thus realize I will be playing higher up the neck than conventional EADG tuning.
     
  10. phatcactus

    phatcactus

    Apr 2, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    If the BFTS works by simply compensating the nut, a zero-fret will negate it completely. The nut is just not an issue once the string is fretted, and a zero fret is just way of keeping each string constantly fretted. I'd imagine Tobias is just trying to sell more basses if they use both. Or perhaps they have a kinked zero fret?

    What I've gotta ask is do people really, I mean REALLY notice the difference? I'm sure if you play a regular bass and a BFTS bass side-by-side there might be some difference, but who the hell's gonna notice that the bass is two cents off when you add in a guitar and some drums? And then if the bass's intonation is 100% dead-on, won't the guitar still be two cents off the bass? It seems like a solution looking for a problem to me.

    I've never used a BFTS guitar, but I do have a guitar with a zero fret, and if it weren't there, I wouldn't miss it a bit. The difference it makes is so negligible that I'm convinced the only reason people put them on is to add a selling point.
     
  11. Trevorus

    Trevorus

    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Check this out. I was doing a search, and Ed Roman guitars came up. So I took a peek. He admitted he was wrong about the Buzz Feiten system. Ed Roman admitted he was WRONG!!!!

    ...Now back to you regularly scheduled posting...
     
  12. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    tonrutoo: one purpose of the zero fret is to *get* even response on the open strings, unlike when using a conventional nut.

    If memory serves, the BFTS consists of the combination of a compensated nut, and tuning offsets that result in something like stretch tuning of a piano. If this is accurate,
    - the compensated nut is gone w/ a zero fret,
    - - there's no need for compensation to begin with if you use a zero fret anyway,
    - the tuning offset can be done by anyone, either by tuning the other strings fretted to your open G string, or by buying the Korg BFTS tuner and using that.

    I'll reread the patent though when I get a chance.
     
  13. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    The zero frret does 2 things:
    1. It makes open strings sound the same as fretted ones in terms of tibre and
    2. It makes a more precise witness point than a nut does

    The pupose of the BFTS is to make the bass play in better tune throughout the range of the neck. This is especially noticable when playing with a piano or other tempered tuned instrument. It makes the instrument sound "sweeter"

    The BFTS has two components:
    1. The nut or in the case of MTD basses the zero fret is "compensated" and
    2. there are offsets that are done during intonation (not normal tuning) at different positions on the neck. You only need the Korg DT-7 or, in my case, the Peterson VS-1 for intonating the bass. Tuning is normal

    Mike
     
  14. jammadave

    jammadave Rudderless ship Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    The BFTS relies on the placement of the nut being a certain distance closer to the first fret than is "standard". SO, that means your Zero fret (and MTDs and anybody else's) is/would have to be adjusted the same way, since the 0 fret replaces the nut as the string's witness point. So installation of the zero fret would become PART OF the BFTS process, you can't do them separately.
     
  15. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    You can retrofit any bass to BFTS - it takes a trained luthier. On the MTD's you really must think of the nut as only a string guide. The witness point, (one of the functions of a nut) on MTD's is the zero fret. For BFTS the zero fret or the nut is moved closer to the bridge, once this is accomplished then the offsets are made during the intonation process

    Mike
     
  16. jammadave

    jammadave Rudderless ship Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    :D heyyy, didn't I just say that?
     
  17. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    I just wasn't clear on what you meant by this.
     
  18. jammadave

    jammadave Rudderless ship Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    Ah - point well taken. I was just referring to the OP's terminology of "install BFTS before you install a nut/zero fret, or install BFTS afterward" - I was trying to point out that the nut or zero fret would be a part of the install for BFTS. You'd have to move either one to accommodate BFTS, so in theory it can't be done "separately", but you could install and then reinstall when changing to BF. No disrespect intended, Mike!
     
  19. Grygore

    Grygore

    Oct 25, 2002
    Grand Prairie, TX
    I know this isn't my thread, but I learned something new from the replies....sweet! Thanks guys :)
     
  20. tonrutoo

    tonrutoo

    Apr 18, 2003
    Thanks guys;that's the enlightenment I need.
    Would this arrangment affect the alignment of the rest of the frets at all,or could the BFTS and zero fret be installed on an exsisting neck?
    I have to ask as I'm no luthier,but I do understand the reality of your work.
    Thanks again.