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Zero Fret Benefits?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by SalmonCubes, Mar 24, 2013.

  1. I see some high end bass guitars that have a zero fret. Exactly what benefits does this bring to the table?
  2. zcwilkes

    zcwilkes Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2002
    Barboursville, WV
    I think the #1 benefit is that it gives an open string the same timber or tone as a fretted note. I don't have a bass with a zero fret so I'm sure someone with experience with them will be along shorty and fill us in on any other benefits.
  3. LouieV2


    Jan 9, 2011
    Boston, MA
    It causes the open string to sound more like a fretted note, making it more similiar in tone to all the other fretted notes one would play. That's all.
  4. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV
    It also makes the shape and depth of the nut slot less critical. The position of the zero fret determines the length of the vibrating string. The height of the zero fret sets the action height at that end of the fretboard.

    Lots of high-end basses do without the zero fret, too.
  5. My main bass Defil Luna has the zero fret. Everything started, when a luthier had to put precisely the nut, so that the guitar would stay in tune. It was difficult, because a small mistake caused loosy nut. Zero fret was an addition to place it properly.
    I very like it, because to me its easier to play the 1st fret, than on a bass that doesnt have one. The sounding is different too. Sadly most people who call themselves "proffessional luthiers" (at least here) simply are getting rid of it, to replace it with standart nut. Why ? Because in the eyes of a noob player, its like "I made a new guitar for you mate"
    Nowadays its not nessecary to put a zero fret, because the fretboard work is done by machines, that make it precisely. Also because most guitars and basses are inspired by Fenders that didnt even used one.
  6. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    My bass doesn't have a nut at all - the strings head directly to the zero fret.
    In the case of a 5-string, it makes it easy to change from Lo-B to Hi-C tuning.

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