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Zero Fret

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by jongor, Jun 9, 2007.

  1. jongor


    Jan 11, 2003
    Tried the search function, got nothing.

    Anyone ever do a zero fret?

    Any hints or suggestions?

    It would be levelled along with all the frets right?
  2. I find it hard to believe that search didn't turn up anything, since this is covered at least every couple of weeks.

    Yes, you level the zero fret the same as all the rest.
  3. Luke Sheridan

    Luke Sheridan Commercial User

    Dec 30, 2004
    Yonkers, NY
    I build guitars and sell them. Strings, too
    Put zero fret in quotes.
    Then level it.
  4. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Line™ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    wow - curiosity got me soI searched by simply typing in zero fret (no quotes) ... and got over 400 results. maybe your search engine is broken :D

    install/level then just like any other fret

    all the best,

  5. jongor


    Jan 11, 2003
    I figured out what I did wrong....all I put in was 'zero'.

    You're right, I put in 'zero fret' and gots all kinds of hits.

    So, how do I delete this thread?

  6. lamia


    Jan 30, 2007
    Houston, Texas
    There is something about the zero fret leveling question I can't seem to wrap my head around. When you use a traditional setup, with a nut and no zero fret, you cut the slots about a half a mm or so above the height of the first fret. To me it would seem logical to do the same with a zero fret and have it be about a half a mm taller than the first fret. What is it that I am missing here? I'm planning to use a zero fret on my current build and I really want to understand.

    Thanks in advance
  7. when you fret, say, G on the E string, you do not need that fret to be higher than the others, even on a non-relief setup bass. Zero fret is the same principle. It's the height of the string at the bridge that makes it go at an angle from the fret (zero or not) and prevent buzzing if all the frets are level. Just do it!

    Hope that helps.
  8. pilotjones


    Nov 8, 2001
    What would really be logical is to have a nut cut exactly to the fret height rather than above. But it's easier/safer not to do so, because with it high, you don't have to worry as much about the strings buzzing when the customer bangs heavily on an open string. But intonation will suffer the higher the nut is cut.
  9. lamia


    Jan 30, 2007
    Houston, Texas
    This is the point I have trouble with. Assuming a straight and level fingerboard on a neck that has no back angle, and the desire to have an even action across the entire instrument, if you were to slot a nut at the exact height of the frets you would get buzz on open strings as well as all frets unless you raised the bridge high enough to compensate. When you did this the action would be higher as you move up the neck. I have always found that to have an even action across the fingerboard a balance between the nut height and bridge height was the best way to achieve this. There is no difference that I can see between the use of a nut and a zero fret as far as it being the constant point of contact at the head end of the neck. Maybe I am still missing something but if the optimum setup is to have the nut slots the same height as the frets then on a fretless the slots would be cut to the fingerboard and I have never seen this. I don't mean to be a pain in the butt here, I'm just tring to understand.
  10. Son of Magni

    Son of Magni

    May 10, 2005
    Builder: ThorBass
    Two aspects not mentioned so far are:

    - Due to the break angle over the zero fret (or nut), and the string stiffness, the string height is actually slightly higher than the zero fret. More so on the thicker strings. This is not true for any other fret.

    - If you set up with no neck relief and the zero fret (or nut) at the same height as the rest of the frets (and ignore my first point), the strings will buzz and rattle like hell behind any note you fret.

    Personally, on all my fretless basses, I set the nut very low (about .010) for fastest action...
  11. jeffhigh


    May 16, 2005
    Yes, on a fretless the nut slots should be cut almost down to the fingerboard. I aim for aboutthe thickness of a piece of paper clearance.
    On a fretted instrument. I fret behind the third fret and check that there is a very verysmall clearance between the string and the first fret. If this is excessive, I lower the slot.
    Using the lowest possible nut slot has huge benefits for playability and inotation.
  12. lamia


    Jan 30, 2007
    Houston, Texas
    OK the light is starting to come on, still a little dim but getting there. I wasn't taking into account neck relief, (didn't really understand it until I read about it just now). I also wasn't thinking about the break angle. Thanks to everyone for the knowledge you shared. I love learning

    Son of Magni, a quick question;

    "I set the nut very low (about .010) for fastest action"

    Is this mm or inch
  13. Son of Magni

    Son of Magni

    May 10, 2005
    Builder: ThorBass
    inches... (10 thousandths)
  14. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    This is a very good summary of why the zero fret is the good solution.
  15. zero frets are like butt holes ...everybody's got ....wait, how did that one go again?
  16. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    Analogy's are like ....... everyone has one and they all stink....LMAO or everyone has one but they don't always work
  17. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jan 16, 2021

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