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mailman
01-23-2010, 01:18 AM
I've seen this referred to here on the forums....but I don't know what it means. Can someone please explain to me what a "zero fret" is? I had thought it was the same thing as the nut, but now I'm not sure....

micromue
01-23-2010, 01:25 AM
Zero fret (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero_fret)

Monkeyswithladders
01-23-2010, 03:06 AM
i'm pretty positive my flea uses the zero fret. not sure if all fleas do, but i'm 99% sure it does with the rosewood fretboard (sadly I'm at work and away from my beloved flea :()

UKISOCIETY
01-23-2010, 03:16 AM
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2792/4297805550_eb9a43a487_o.jpg

The new plastics from Japan are modeled after the Maccaferri Islanders and TV Pals from the 1950's. Harmony and Kay ukes that used plastic fretboards had zero frets. The Fleas and Flukes do too.

seeso
01-23-2010, 04:04 AM
The main benefit of a zero fret is supposed to be a similar tone from open strings and fretted strings.

mailman
01-23-2010, 05:46 AM
Zero fret (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero_fret)

Exactly what I needed to know....thanks!

heyjude
01-23-2010, 06:25 AM
I don't like 'em, much too hard to get your finger behind them when you want to play open strings.;)

Jude

Ronnie Aloha
01-23-2010, 06:55 AM
I did a little research on zero frets when I was looking at a Laimana uke. From what I could gather, it relieves the nut from major adjustments for buzzing or other issues since the zero fret handles any unwanted vibration at the nut.

Bluke
01-23-2010, 10:22 AM
If an instrument (guitar or uke) is made well, there is no need for a zero fret. It seems to be a manufacturing shortcut to avoid having to properly and accurately make and install a good nut.

buddhuu
01-29-2010, 10:21 AM
If an instrument (guitar or uke) is made well, there is no need for a zero fret. It seems to be a manufacturing shortcut to avoid having to properly and accurately make and install a good nut.
You are mistaken. It is a design feature implemented for a purpose. In some instruments it is a positive selling point. Some splendid instruments feature zero frets.

seeso
01-29-2010, 10:24 AM
If an instrument (guitar or uke) is made well, there is no need for a zero fret. It seems to be a manufacturing shortcut to avoid having to properly and accurately make and install a good nut.

That's the other school of thought. The zero fret originally came about as a short cut.

buddhuu
01-29-2010, 10:47 AM
I think it's more simply a question of approach. More than one way to skin a cat etc.

Some fine instruments do it that way on purpose: Fylde mandolins, Django Reinhardt's Selmer Maccaferri, the Gretsch Country Gent...

Not a flaw or a shortcut. A design choice.

This from Frank Ford on Frets.com:


Likewise, the "zero fret" or "fret nut" is often associated with inexpensive instruments. It's not necessarily a cheaper way to make a guitar, and it is the way Selmer did it, so it's the way virtually all replicas are made, too. Detractors of the zero fret often cite the fact that it is a way to escape setting the height of the nut by avoiding the hand filing of each groove. In skilled hands, action setting at the nut takes only a few moments, so there really isn't all that much of a labor savings. Here's a thought: There's a lot of downward string pressure at the nut on any steel strung guitar with a slotted peghead. So, the metal bearing surface at the zero fret allows the string to slide over the nut more smoothly so the string doesn't "jump" or "ping" as it's tuned up. The bone nut only acts as a guide for spacing the strings and doesn't bear much load, so the string has far less tendency to settle into the bone and deform the bottom of the slots as it would in a traditional Martin design.

On the other hand, he also says:

As with so many other things, there's a down side, too. String windings are more likely to be damaged by the harder material of the zero fret than by a traditional bone nut.

Bluke
01-29-2010, 12:26 PM
Interesting. I own, or have owned, dozens of very high end stringed instruments, and none have ever had a zero fret, even my Michael Dunn, which is a world class modern instrument made to copy Django Reinhardt's Selmer Maccaferri.

buddhuu
01-29-2010, 01:35 PM
Interesting. I own, or have owned, dozens of very high end stringed instruments, and none have ever had a zero fret, even my Michael Dunn, which is a world class modern instrument made to copy Django Reinhardt's Selmer Maccaferri.
And no reason why they should if the builder didn't see the need. Just as there is no reason why they shouldn't if the luthier decides that they should. Diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks.

On folk mandolins I much prefer a zero fret. On bluegrass mandolins I have never seen a zero fret, nor do I think one would suit the playing style - the attack can be too vigorous.

One of my favourite acoustic guitars, an old Eko from the 70s, had a zero fret and was the most comfortable acoustic to play that I have ever held (shame about the thick top).

I do not like zero frets on electric guitars. Some folks do.