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olgoat52
12-27-2013, 06:15 AM
I did some work on a fellow member/friends uke. I changed the neck angle by slipping the back to get the action down. That worked out ok but the neck has a bit of a hump in the 3rd to 6th fret area and now the buzz is noticeable with the action set at a reasonable height.

This uke has a zero fret and the C string buzzes a bit when played open. (the owner prefers low G with a wound string. I am not hearing a buzz on that one).

I was thinking of replacing the existing zero fret with some Dimarzio jumbo size wire to increase the height a bit.

Does that sound like a reasonable thing to do short of a board plane and refret?

Thanks

Tube
12-27-2013, 08:07 AM
I would prefer fret leveling with sandpaper on a flat piece of wood (doublesided tape).

olgoat52
12-27-2013, 08:23 AM
Yeah. Didn't want to make my initial post too long but I have already done one go around with leveling the frets but no touching the zero fret.


I would prefer fret leveling with sandpaper on a flat piece of wood (doublesided tape).

Timbuck
12-27-2013, 09:03 AM
Zero fret should be same hight as the rest ....like when you use a capo....I level frets with a diamond lap glued onto a very flat chunk of corian and get good results...maybe the buzz comes from somewhere else ?.

olgoat52
12-27-2013, 09:51 AM
I agree in a perfect world but as I said, this neck has a bump from the zero fret to about the 6th. I have already done a fret file on it and it is better when fretted but open it is buzzing so the fact that the zero fret is the same height as the rest is what is causing me grief. If this were a non-zero fret setup I would have already shimmed the nut and been done with it.

I'll give a bigger fret a shot and see what it does. This is free-bee and I already have a ton of time invested in just correcting the neck angle.

I also noticed when the nut was off that there is a channel cut down the center of the bottom of the finger board so I would be concerned about taking much off with a board plane.

Thanks. I have had very little experience with zero frets. Not many guitars that came across my bench in the old days had one.


Zero fret should be same hight as the rest ....like when you use a capo....I level frets with a diamond lap glued onto a very flat chunk of corian and get good results...maybe the buzz comes from somewhere else ?.

mm stan
12-27-2013, 10:57 AM
Yes I think the buzz might be coming from somewhere else...shouldnt the zero fret be the same height as the grooves in the nut making the string the pivot point at the zero fret rather than your lowered nut?
and as previous said the frets are the same height.. did you put new strings on Tim? with different guages? or worn strings..I am assuming the c string is the thickest string..so it will hit mid high point first...

olgoat52
12-27-2013, 11:15 AM
Sorry Stan. Not sure where you got the lowered nut from. I was saying if this was NOT a zero fret, I would have shimmed the nut to get rid of the buzz.

Thanks for commenting though.


Yes I think the buzz might be coming from somewhere else...shouldnt the zero fret be the same height as the grooves in the nut making the string the pivot point rather than your lowered nut?
and as previous said the frets are the same height.. did you put new strings on Tim? with different guages? or worn strings..I am assuming the c string is the thickest string..so it will hit mid high point first...

Les Corley
12-27-2013, 04:10 PM
If the zero fret is buzzing then the string slot needs to be filed deeper so the string can make better contac with the fret

Kekani
12-27-2013, 06:26 PM
I considered a Zero Fret at one point (when I studied David Hurd's site early on), and I too was under the impression that it would be the same fret height, like a capo. I've since seen Zero Frets higher than the rest of the frets, which would mimic the nut slot height. If I did a Zero fret, this would be it, and I'd be sure the height was enough so the strings clear the 1st fret when fretting the 3rd, just like a "normal" nut.

Not sure why, because the same height makes sense as well. Just a feeling, I guess. Ah, I'll just stick to my "Fender" style nuts in the fretboard. . .

consitter
12-27-2013, 06:50 PM
I considered a Zero Fret at one point (when I studied David Hurd's site early on), and I too was under the impression that it would be the same fret height, like a capo. I've since seen Zero Frets higher than the rest of the frets, which would mimic the nut slot height. If I did a Zero fret, this would be it, and I'd be sure the height was enough so the strings clear the 1st fret when fretting the 3rd, just like a "normal" nut.

Not sure why, because the same height makes sense as well. Just a feeling, I guess. Ah, I'll just stick to my "Fender" style nuts in the fretboard. . .

Maybe I haven't been looking in the right places, but I haven't seen you giving advice in quite a while. I saw you on another thread earlier and you totally solved a problem for some guy.

Glad to see you doing your thing again.

Dan Uke
12-27-2013, 07:03 PM
I considered a Zero Fret at one point (when I studied David Hurd's site early on), and I too was under the impression that it would be the same fret height, like a capo. I've since seen Zero Frets higher than the rest of the frets, which would mimic the nut slot height. If I did a Zero fret, this would be it, and I'd be sure the height was enough so the strings clear the 1st fret when fretting the 3rd, just like a "normal" nut.

Not sure why, because the same height makes sense as well. Just a feeling, I guess. Ah, I'll just stick to my "Fender" style nuts in the fretboard. . .

my LFDM has a zero fret and it is higher than the 1st fret. The one thing I don't like is that if I have to change the height, I need to buy a crowning file...one more thing to buy.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
12-27-2013, 08:41 PM
My nut slots are are as deep as the first fret is high. Why would you want it any higher?
Tim, you got a couple of problems it seems. If this were my repair I would pull all the frets, redress the board and give it some relief at the same time.

Dan Uke
12-27-2013, 09:04 PM
My nut slots are are as deep as the first fret is high. Why would you want it higher?.

Good to know Chuck! Nothing plays easier than an MBU! garans ball barans!

Daan Muller
12-27-2013, 11:22 PM
A friend of mine solved a buzzing problem that occurred after a bit on his self build ukulele with a zero fret by putting on a higher zero fret. He reckoned that the nylon strings squash a bit on the zero fret, because of the lack of side support that a nut does have and a zero fret doesn't, lowering the strings on the zero fret.

ProfChris
12-28-2013, 04:38 AM
As previously suggested, I'd check the break angle over the zero fret first. I've had some buzzing when there was no real break.

Otherwise a higher zero fret is worth a try, just one size up from the existing wire. On my first builds this is what I used, and it plays OK. Now I'm better at fret levelling I use the same size wire, which plays a fraction nicer.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
12-28-2013, 05:39 AM
As previously suggested, I'd check the break angle over the zero fret first. I've had some buzzing when there was no real break.

Otherwise a higher zero fret is worth a try, just one size up from the existing wire. On my first builds this is what I used, and it plays OK. Now I'm better at fret levelling I use the same size wire, which plays a fraction nicer.

What does "one size up" mean? Given the Limited choices that most of us have, going from #764 to #147 for instance is a pretty big jump. I don't understand why the zero fret needs to be taller. It only needs to be consistent with the other frets. If you are getting open buzzing with a zero fret, your frets need redressing.

ProfChris
12-28-2013, 12:07 PM
You're right, of course Chuck, but down here at the shallow end sometimes all we can manage is close enough, rather than right. I fret around 6 boards a year, so each one is almost like starting from scratch. Sometimes the board is not quite flat, and the frets didn't go in quite evenly and ... more dressing will mean I run out of fret. A slightly larger zero fret can save the instrument and make it playable.

In the tiny quantities I buy I can get small, medium or large fretwire, which makes one size up a simple matter.

OK, now I'm fussier and on my last build junked the board and started again. But on my first dozen, I didn't know enough to know whether and how I could fix the problem. The only way to improve is to build the next one, but if the current build wouldn't play at all I might never have made the next one.

At some point you have to admit this is the best you can manage today, and call it done. So you compromise to move on, and a higher zero fret is one possible compromise.

gsnelson
12-28-2013, 12:55 PM
I can't see that a higher zero fret would help. Fret the buzzing string at the first fret, thereby taking the nut or zero fret out of consideration. If you still hear a buzzing when you strike the string, then a higher nut or zero fret wouldn't have helped. If not, you may be able to fix it just by dressing the first fret.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
12-28-2013, 01:42 PM
Along with good finishing, I think fret installation and dressing is the hardest thing we as builders do. It usually isn't given the attention it needs, probably because the uke seems "almost finished" at this stage and it's often hurried. It's a mistake not to get this step absolutely perfect if you want an easy playing ukulele. I consider the fret board to be the heart of the instrument. A faulty fret board can make an otherwise perfect ukulele (If there is such a thing) a drudge to play. Aesthetics are nice but sound and playability should be the top considerations. Take your time with fretting and setting up. Learn what you need to do. Think it out and don't take short cuts. If it takes a full day to fret a board, dress it and set the action, it couldn't be time better spent.

And Happy New Year everyone! Build great ukes in 2014!