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Blackdog131
02-08-2016, 11:29 AM
Do zero frets reduce the increased tension you seem to get when barring the first frets? Or was it for intonation alone? Also do you find these on any higher end instruments, and any pros and cons of their usage?

70sSanO
02-08-2016, 11:37 AM
My understanding is that a zero fret is to give the same type of tone between a string fretted on a metal fret and an open string on a bone/tusc nut.

I am more familiar with zero frets on electric bass guitars than on ukuleles.

Theoretically the barring would be the same since the string height should be the same, but I may be wrong. Hopefully some will chime in with more.

Tension is the same, but string compliance, how much tension is perceived, may be less, although in reality it is probably not enough to tell, since there is slightly more distance between the zero fret and the tuner to stretch the string.

John

seattle
02-08-2016, 12:29 PM
I think they are commonly used in less expensive instruments since you don't have the added labor of getting the nut just right but the reason given is as was mentioned above.

The sound of the open and fretted notes is more similar. I don't like them because it's harder to make adjustments if they should become necessary later.

I think they are occasionally used on more expensive instruments as well. I know they are common on charangos and even on some of the more expensive ones.

I don't know much about adjustable brass nuts (if there is such a thing) but I think I've heard then used in combination with that.

NewKid
02-09-2016, 02:14 AM
I have a zero fret on my high end LFdM tenor ukulele and I don't feel any difference in tension when barring the first fret. Once in a while a string will slip off the nut if I'm bending it too agressively. I also don't notice any difference in intonation compared to my tenor ukes with no zero fret. Frankly, I hardly notice a difference with the zero fret and I could take or leave the aesthetic of it.

Hope that helps. Also, I've never seen a zero fret on inexpensive ukuleles.

stevepetergal
02-09-2016, 03:32 AM
There should be no difference. That being said, unless the ukulele with the nut is very precisely set up, there will be a difference exactly as you describe. The reason is that with a zero-fret, the action is set at a perfect height in relation to the other frets, (unless there is some kind of problem with the instrument). With a nut, that's not necessarily the case, and the strings may be a bit higher.

seattle
02-09-2016, 03:41 AM
There should be no difference. That being said, unless the ukulele with the nut is very precisely set up, there will be a difference exactly as you describe. The reason is that with a zero-fret, the action is set at a perfect height in relation to the other frets, (unless there is some kind of problem with the instrument). With a nut, that's not necessarily the case, and the strings may be a bit higher.

I like John Lennon but I don't get the logic of his quote in your signature line. Apparently you do get it so what does it mean to you? :)

I get that if we gave a little more money to others there would be a little less poverty. I'm not aware of any wars that would be stopped however. :)

Nickie
02-09-2016, 03:46 AM
I like John Lennon but I don't get the logic of his quote in your signature line. Apparently you do get it so what does it mean to you? :)

I get that if we gave a little more money to others there would be a little less poverty. I'm not aware of any wars that would be stopped however. :)

Listen real closely to the song Imagine. Even better play it and sing it. It's my favorite song. If we lived by it, it would stop wars. We'd probably settle things by competing in sports.

seattle
02-09-2016, 07:10 AM
Listen real closely to the song Imagine. Even better play it and sing it. It's my favorite song. If we lived by it, it would stop wars. We'd probably settle things by competing in sports.

I like that song as well and agree with the sentiment.

weerpool
02-09-2016, 01:21 PM
its for ease of playing on the first position . it allows for a much lower action with little guess work. I'm a builder so what do i know. the idea that it is only for cheap instruments is about the biggest BS myth that has been circulated out there. search google for brazillian cavaquinhos and you'll know what i mean. they're neither cheap nor low-end.

pointpergame
02-09-2016, 03:46 PM
The zero fret guarantees a "nut" of the precisely proper height. There seems to be a huge prejudice against them in some cultures. I've never seen a zero fret on a Flamenco guitar. In the 60s I never saw a German guitar without one. I really, really don't want a zero fret on my instruments, but I don't know why. We should be able to dream up a more substantial reason for or against than prejudice.

M3Ukulele
02-09-2016, 04:20 PM
I have both - zero fret & standard nut. Both are great. Zero fret is on my highest cost instrument a gypsy jazz tenor. Action is low but my Opio with standard nut is just as low. Joel did a great job. I say everyone should try both to feel the difference. Oh ya, my Fluke tenor is zero fret ,poly fretboard and it play and intonates well.
YMMV.

stevepetergal
02-12-2016, 03:55 AM
I like John Lennon but I don't get the logic of his quote in your signature line. Apparently you do get it so what does it mean to you? :)

I get that if we gave a little more money to others there would be a little less poverty. I'm not aware of any wars that would be stopped however. :)

In the quote, I think of "TV" as a a symbol of more/excess/money/status/me,me,me/power/... This is what starts and fuels all war.

Sorry, back to the topic at hand.

DownUpDave
02-14-2016, 12:08 AM
I have a LfdM As does New Kid and it has a zero fret. These are high end expensive ukes so a zero fret is not for just "cheap" ukes. As stevepetergal pointed out a zero fret is all about getting your contact points at the perfect height. There is no difference in tension as the fret spacing at the first fret is the same as a standard set up.

88385

mm stan
02-14-2016, 01:08 AM
It was just a fad guys.. like many other things luthiers have to find new ideas to make you try their newest options.. LOL

M3Ukulele
02-14-2016, 03:23 AM
In the case of my Moodyville gypsy jazz tenor it is not a fad. Shelly builds period correct guitars and is well respected doing so. she carried the zero fret to her ukuleles. I'm pretty sure Luis is doing the same thing. As mentioned above, I Think both systems are good if done correctly..........it all comes down to set up and builder ...IMHO.

Rakelele
02-14-2016, 04:51 AM
I would think that a zero fret, when installed properly, should provide two benefits:

1) Being able to change between different string gauges without having to adjust and possibly refill the nut slots

2) Having low action at the nut, which can help improve intonation and will feel more comfortable at the fretting hand, which may ultimately be perceived as lower tension, since there is less way to press the string down.

Actually, I don't see any disadvantage to it - does anyone?

Rodney.
02-14-2016, 05:01 AM
Actually, I don't see any disadvantage to it - does anyone?

My thoughts exactly. I'm curious about the cons.

seattle
02-14-2016, 06:20 AM
If the zero fret is set too low adjusting it would seem to be more difficult. I have a cheap instrument (charango) with a zero fret. They are prone to neck issues. Mine was so low at the first fret that when the neck moved a bit the left most set of strings couldn't move due to the first fret.

I filed the first fret down but with a nut you could just adjust that.

Mivo
02-14-2016, 06:33 AM
I have a LfdM As does New Kid and it has a zero fret. These are high end expensive ukes so a zero fret is not for just "cheap" ukes. As stevepetergal pointed out a zero fret is all about getting your contact points at the perfect height. There is no difference in tension as the fret spacing at the first fret is the same as a standard set up.

88385

Thanks for the photo! I actually didn't know what a zero fret is, and was just about to google when I got to your message. :)

Rakelele
02-14-2016, 06:44 AM
The good folks over at AGF have discussed this matter, too, with some nice examples of zero frets in guitars:

http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=269532

TheCraftedCow
02-14-2016, 07:27 AM
Listen real closely to the song Imagine. Even better play it and sing it. It's my favorite song. If we lived by it, it would stop wars. We'd probably settle things by competing in sports.

uhhhhhhh......the last I heard sports is not a peaceful thing to use as a pattern or model for general humanity. Hockey is a sport....boxing is a sport....football is a sport and many are seriously injured for the rest of their lives. Didn't a manager just get expelled from a recent basketball game after only THREE minutes of play.

Doc_J
02-14-2016, 08:16 AM
David Hurd also used a zero fret. It was a builder preference.
Allows easy change of string thickness, and never needs a nut filed or changed.
http://i1298.photobucket.com/albums/ag56/Doc_Jenkins/Kawika/P1070302_zpsbcrzpigb.jpg

DownUpDave
02-14-2016, 09:25 AM
David Hurd also used a zero fret. It was a builder preference.
Allows easy change of string thickness, and never needs a nut filed or changed.
http://i1298.photobucket.com/albums/ag56/Doc_Jenkins/Kawika/P1070302_zpsbcrzpigb.jpg

Yea.............anytime I can avoid having my nuts filed, I'm all for it.:o