1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)


Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BigMikeW, Aug 16, 2005.

  1. BigMikeW

    BigMikeW Banned

    May 25, 2005
    Nashville, TN.
    Banned by TB Administration for refusal to account for funds
    I am doing some research for a bass manufacturer I am going to work with. He has been using the zero fret but I am not a fan of it. I'd love to hear some input (positive and negative) about them.

    Just asthetically, I don't like them on Jazz style basses.

    Keep in mind these basses won't be of the MTD type. They will all be Jazz style basses.

    Thanks for your input.
  2. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    I always loved the zero fret on my Steinberger. I didn't really notice it asethetically, but I loved the fact that open notes sounded almost exactly like fretted ones, in distinct contrast to my Rickenbacker 4003.
  3. wyliee


    Jul 6, 2003
    South Hill, WA
    I have one on my Bee and like it. The open notes sound just like the fretted notes. Go for it!
  4. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    yeah, you don't expect it on a Jazz bass. It looks odd, kinda like soapbars on a Jazz bass, it doesn't look right to me , but....
    i like a zero fret, it does make the open and fretted notes sound more uniform, even, like each other. Had the zero fret and Buzz Feiten tuning system on several MTD's and it works.
    Of course, not a must, we have been playing without zero frets for years ( and even the BF tuning) and right now my basses have neither. But it's a nice touch. Kinda one of those thing you can with or without. Personal taste. I am interested in the feedback to this question, take care, Mike!
  5. BigMikeW

    BigMikeW Banned

    May 25, 2005
    Nashville, TN.
    Banned by TB Administration for refusal to account for funds
    Thanks so far guys. I too think it looks odd on a Jazz style bass especially if you are going to have a model that is like the Sadowsky UV's.
  6. Funky Tune

    Funky Tune

    Apr 28, 2005
    Puerto Rico
    zero fret in MTD looks nice and sweetttttttt :D
  7. ryco


    Apr 24, 2005
    What about a zero fret on a fretless -- or is that just plain whack
  8. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I was about to suggest the same thing....... :ninja: ;) :p :meh: :hyper:
  9. craigb

    craigb G&L churnmeister Supporting Member

    I'm in the pro-zero fret camp. I've had them on MTD Beasts and Steinberger Spirits. Like the other folks I like open strings sounding more like fretted notes.

    I also like that I can swap string gauges (like dropping in BEAD strings) around without having to worry about nut slot depth. That only really works easily on the Steinbergers which use a headpiece to hold the strings in place - the Beasts had a nut to hold the strings in place so you'd have slot width issues doing the same thing on one of those (but not depth issues that require fine detail work).

    I never had a "cheap" association with zero frets (not enough background with the infamous cheap guitars using them) and always felt if MTDs and the original Steinbergers had them then they had some good aspects that should be considered.
  10. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    I'm not excatly sure about a 0 fret on a fretless....
    I *think* the main purpose of a 0 fret is to make the fretted and open notes sound similar. If you put a 0 fret on a fretless, then the open notes would sound a lot more different than the fretted notes. This is just my thinking, I really have no idea...

  11. Zero fret on a fretless is not going to work.

    Fretless needs to have open strings (at the nut) just contacting the fingerboard. This is for 2 things, sound, so that everything would sound even ...it does make a big difference on a fretless, open strings need to have mwah or it will sound very odd. The second thing is playability. By having the zero fret you would take the action at the nut way high, which would make it very difficult to fret ...that also brings tuning problems, if you use fretlines.

    BTW, I am a big fan of the 0 fret. I'm building 2 basses using them as we speak.
  12. BoiNtC


    Nov 25, 2002
    NYC, USA
    I like it, but I agree where its not necessary, but sure is a nice feature to have! (Have it on my MTD 535)
  13. C-5KO


    Mar 9, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    I'm guessing that you would have to have an angled back headstock or a string tree. I don't think that angled back J headstocks look that great, IMO. (Sorry El)

    That's just asthetics... functionally, I'm a fan of zero frets. +1 on having my open strings sounding similar to fretted notes.
  14. BigMikeW

    BigMikeW Banned

    May 25, 2005
    Nashville, TN.
    Banned by TB Administration for refusal to account for funds
    These basses won't be of the MTD type. They will all be Jazz style basses.
  15. BoiNtC


    Nov 25, 2002
    NYC, USA
    The zero fret in looks don't really bother me all that much, its so close to the nut that it doesn't really stick out like a sore thumb, so I still stand by what I said, great if ya got em but not required.
  16. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    The zero fret does 2 things. One which has already been mentioned is that open strings have the same timbre as the fretted ones. The other important factor is that the zero fret provides a more accurate witness point which really helps with the ability to intonate the bass

  17. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    I'm not a big fan of the zero fret. In my bass playing I sometimes like to take advantage of that open string "zing", it's not by design verbally course, but playing off of the NUT gives me some extra "B@LLS" and it really works in some situations. There's something about using the full speaking length of a string coupled with the nut surface that's buried into the end of the neck that really "takes it home". If that sound isn't right for the situation than I'm dropping it on the 5th fret of the string below.
    I can appreciate some situations where the zero fret would have it's advantages.
    From a visual standpoint it doesn't bother me much, but on a Jazz it would look "different" for sure.
    I also remember a fair number of charts that notate open strings within a song in certain situations, I don't know if producers/arrangers are still doing this though.
  18. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Line™ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    Here are a few personal thoughts about utilizing a zero-fret on a Jazz-styled bass:

    1) Looks - it just isn't natural. This will only be a concern during your next MTV video shoot, live gig, or photo shoot. Of course you'd also have to believe that an MTV video will actually give the bassist a close-up where it can be seen, that the average person actually recognizes you're playing a bass let alone a jazz-style bass, and that people more than two rows back will be able to see it.

    2) of more importance ... adding a zero fret will extend your fingerboard slightly to make room for it. you may also need to reshape the nut area off the end of the fretboard. either of these two mods have the potential to alter the headstock mass somewhat, and potentially result in a reduced 'Jazz' sound to the bass. it may not be as dramatic as switching between 34" and 35" scale, but it will be there none the less. if you want that true jazz tonality, don't do it - but a Fender

    For the basses I am making myself (i.e. not assembled from parts), all will include a zero-fret and angled headstock. accuracy and consistency are the two driving factors that more than offset the added work required.

    I play both flavors, and each has its place...

  19. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    It's a small piece of metal, never bothered me much.
  20. Kael


    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    While I can see bassists noticing a zero fret and disliking it on a jazz bass, I don't think anyone else would notice. If the bassist doesn't care for the appearance, he might not cough up the cash for the bass regardless of others opinions on its appearance. Can't say that I have ever played a bass with a zero fret. Seems like a good idea in theory though.