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Zero Fret

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by slam, Sep 30, 2002.


  1. slam

    slam Guest

    Mar 22, 2000
    Virginia
    Just wondering what the luthiers here thought about using a zero fret. I know that not many basses have them, but they seem like a really good idea. Is there a reason they are not more widely used?
     
  2. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    Michael Tobias already answered this question in this thread. What about the other luthiers?
     
  3. alx564

    alx564

    Jul 31, 2000
    Emmaus, PA
    Sorry to ask this but I really am an idiot:

    I have always wondered what a zero fret is and i think I just figured it out. Is a zero fret when you use a fret in place of a nut so it is like fretting an open string on your bass? Sorry to make such an idiot of myself.
     
  4. DigMe

    DigMe

    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    Well you still use a nut but the the strings run over the zero fret right after the nut so that's where the contact is before the 1st fret. You still need the nut slots to hold the strings in place but it no longer serves as the last contact point between tuners and fingerboard.

    brad cook
     
  5. alx564

    alx564

    Jul 31, 2000
    Emmaus, PA
    Thanks a lot for clearing that up for me.
     
  6. LA

    LA

    Oct 17, 2001
    Michigan
    There's no such thing as an open string on a bass with a zero fret. Amazing!
     
  7. DP Custom

    DP Custom DP Custom Basses

    Feb 7, 2001
    NC, USA
    I've made a few, when the customer has requested it...
    for a while, I also seriously considered going that route as standard ...as from my end it would eliminate the nut slotting, filing, etc. The nut then becomes just a side-to-side place holder for the strings..in fact it also can be eliminated if the end of the fretboard is designed with slots or holes...

    DAve P.
     
  8. slam

    slam Guest

    Mar 22, 2000
    Virginia
    Seems like most of you think a zero-fret works pretty well. Now I must ask why is it not more widely used?
     
  9. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
  10. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    It costs a cent or two more. And Leo, the one that made solid guitars available to the people, saved on every feature. And susequent fabricators went his way....:rolleyes:
     
  11. DP Custom

    DP Custom DP Custom Basses

    Feb 7, 2001
    NC, USA
    I don't think it's cheaper to use a nut..just the opposite.
    The bigger problem is for mass production...using a zero fret is a lot more unforgiving ...a keeping the strings a little higher with a nut can hide a multitude of sins. In mass produced guitars and basses, they don't usually do any fretwork (levelling & re-crowning) beyond the installation..too time consuming & costly (manpower)..

    DAve p.
     
  12. DigMe

    DigMe

    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    Dave,

    A while back I was reading this thread and Brooks said:

    Do you still advise against the zero fret and why or was that just for this specific bass?

    brad cook
     
  13. DP Custom

    DP Custom DP Custom Basses

    Feb 7, 2001
    NC, USA
    I didn't so much "advise against it" as suggest at the time that it didn't give all that much advantage/difference for the player compared to using a nut.

    DAve P.
     
  14. slam

    slam Guest

    Mar 22, 2000
    Virginia
    DP why did you decide not to make a zero fret standard on your basses?
     
  15. DP Custom

    DP Custom DP Custom Basses

    Feb 7, 2001
    NC, USA
    I'm still thinking about it, and working out the details of my own design/implementation of it.
    I think I may also want a little more feedback from players on why some of them might prefer a nut .

    DAve P.
     
  16. personally dave... Im looking forward to your designs on eliminating the nut...

    sometimes you feel like a nut... sometimes you don't
     
  17. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    Good point, Dave. If you have a nut that is cut too high (is higher than a fret would be), it raises the strings well above the frets. Then when someone picks it up in a music store, at least the open strings won't buzz, no matter how crappy the fret job may be. (Unless the bridge is ridiculously low, of course.)
     
  18. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    DP-

    Could you make it standard to have a choice between zero fret, or nut? That way, people could choose what they want, without having to worry about added cost of a non-standard part.

    Unless you don't charge more for a zero fret...
     
  19. I think one major pro of having a nut is that its replaceable...