Hey everyone. I recently worked on an instrument with a Zero Fret. I was wondering about others approaches to these. I removed the Zero and dressed the frets. After dressing I put a new zero fret in that is about .008 taller. It plays well now.. Any dressing or re fret info is appreciated. Thanks
I have not done refretting but I have built 2 guitars with a zero fret. I like them. In my first one, like you, I used fret wire a little taller than the other frets,and the setup worked out fine. But I know some people who are very experienced with this arangement use the same fretwire for the zero. It is exactly the same as using a capo, where any fret can become a zero fret - it doesn't need to be taller.
Just out of interest, was there a lot of wear on that zero fret from continuous pressure?
I seriously do not get this: - if I have zero clearance with a standard nut I get open string buzz from strings contacting the first fret and when I dig in - what's the secret to having zero clearance with a zero fret as opposed to zero clearance with a nut (which doesn't work and is deliberately accounted for in setting up any instrument).
This is not a Dorothy Dix question - I always set up a zero fret for the same sort of clearance I would afford a nut and allow a little extra for the inevitable string bedding into the zero fret- what's going on?
I agree with what Mark said - some people tend to put the Zero Fret a hair taller (ie - leave it higher when refretting or leveling, or use larger fretwire for the Zero fret). Others install and treat the zero fret like it is just another fret, since it is... it's works just like a capo'd fret would work. However, I believe leaving a bit taller, just a hair, is good practice - that is what I do. I hope this helps.
Yeah, I understand why a capo'd guitar can get away with it - that's geometry change due to the increasing angle of the string takeoff relative to the fingerboard and frets caused by the capo'd shorter string length and also the increase in string tension causing a smaller string excursion when plucked - but that, is a different thing from clearance at the nut or zero fret.
I trust I am not being unduly inquisitive or pedantic here, neither am I pontificating, but this is a straight technical issue for luthiers,particularly those with the high level of expreience who are on this forum, and it has an answer, one way or the other.
I personally will continue to treat a zero fret as a nut and dial in standard clearance until such time as I'm convinced otherwise by a technical explanation.
No drama Jason, it certainly made me think (which is something I should do about my spelling) a bit and it is very appropriate that we have these discussions to nail down the right stuff in a professional and friendly manner rather than just nod at the accepted saying. It's one of the things that make me proud to be part of this group.
Thanks for your time and observations on this one,
It could be that everyone is correct.
If it's a Gretsch that's going to played with medium to heavier gauge flatwound strings and there's going to be zero bending going on, I could understand using the same height as the rest of the dressed frets.
If it's a rocker's guitar, I'm with Rusty in prescribing a higher fret for the zero fret. There's something about an unwound G string that just doesn't seem to agree with zero frets. AND...if you're a string bending fool like me, a zero fret makes no sense at all. Just for clarification....the zero frets I deal with nowadays are mostly on MIJ instruments (Teisco style) that I'm rebuilding for stage use by customers.
Rusty: to take a stab at answering your question: Capos put more downward pressure on the strings than a "guide nut" on a zero-fret guitar. Perhaps that's why there's a stability difference? That's just my instant guess.
Other than the occasional Gretsch, I haven't seen a quality production guitar with a zero fret in many years. What kind of guitar did you work on, David?
Neophyte Ned here.
How do you set up the nut with a zero fret? Admittedly, I don't know much about them but it seem to me that a zero fret that isn't higher than the other frets must, by default, require a nut that holds the strings above the zero fret while one that is high than the other frets could mean that the slot height on the nut is a moot point.
That am I missing?
Always treated it as just another fret....And I do lots of Teisco's on the cheap , just to keep them out there...