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I put a Zero Glide/nut on my Strat

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by radd, May 24, 2019.

  1. radd

    radd Strat-O-Master

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    UPDATE: removed the Zero Fret, see later post.

    Yup. Needed a new nut on my Clapton Strat and I have never owned a guitar with a zero fret so I sprung for the 30 bucks for one from Stew Mac. I must admit I was somewhat intrigued by the concept.

    The Strat one comes shaped for either a flat or curved nut slot. My strat has a curved nut slot so you carefully sand or file the raised center nub until the shelf in the nut sets perfectly even with the fingerboard. You sand the back of the nut until it and the new fret wire fits the slot like a glove.

    It comes with different size fret wire and you use the smallest one that works with out buzzing.

    After the fit is correct and the fret wire is selected you cut the wire to length and shape the ends of the nut and wire.

    Pretty simple really, and bulletproof proof when it comes to string height and no chance of string binding when using the trem.

    I left it in with just string pressure for a few days to see what I thought. So far so good. I glued it today with just a drop of Super Glue and the same for the fret wire.

    It was cheap and is easy to replace if I decide I don’t like it.


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    Last edited: May 25, 2019
    jvin248, CyFan4036, dirocyn and 4 others like this.
  2. Nate D

    Nate D Senior Stratmaster

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    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a guitar with one of those on there.
     
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  3. The Strat Dude

    The Strat Dude Posy rules! Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I have used them several times and had great success :thumb:
     
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  4. johnnymg

    johnnymg Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Looks like an interesting product. Let us know how it works out.

    Sorta disappointing they charge extra for the SS upgrade. I would think SS would be the default.
     
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  5. montemerrick

    montemerrick you can't stay the fool Strat-Talk Supporter

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  6. spellcaster

    spellcaster Strat-Talker

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    I recently had a ZeroGlide installed on my Duosonic when it was refretted. I was really happy with how it worked out. I like low action and it was possible to improve on the previous setup with the new nut.

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. radd

    radd Strat-O-Master

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    I agree. I can already see marks in the Zero fret after a number of hours of playing. I suspect if I decide to keep it I will spring for the SS Wire. The time consuming part of carefully shaping the nut does not need to be redone and cutting and finishing the the fret wire ends is fairly easy and quick.
     
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  8. Jack Frost

    Jack Frost Strat-Talker

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    So you still need the strings to pass through slots in the nut, the only difference is you now have some fret wire in front of the nut? Is that correct?

    How does it help, or how is it an improvement over a normal nut? I'm intrigued, but can't quite see the point of it at the moment. I'm sure I'm missing something!
     
  9. JB74

    JB74 Strat-O-Master

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    I have zero frets on my acoustics, but not on any of my electrics.

    how is the intonation now? it looks like it sits forward of the nut slot?
     
  10. Nate D

    Nate D Senior Stratmaster

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    What’s it supposed to do?
     
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  11. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

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    It turns a guitar with a regular nut into a zero fret instrument. It's a great idea.

    For one, it means the string's break point from the "nut" is effectively as low as the frets are. Many nuts are cut higher than they have to be. If the neck is straight and the frets are level, this would mean that lower action is possible. Particularly the action at the first fret. However, one could get the same effect on action by cutting a regular nut down to the same height.

    For another, it reduces the difference in sound between open and fretted strings, because the open notes break against a real fret just like fretted notes do. That's an issue of tone, whether you want that is subjective. If you can hear a difference between properly tuned open notes and fretted notes (for example, an A played on the 5th fret of the 6th string vs. an A played on the 5th string open), you'll hear a difference with this. Any fretwire will be closer in sound to your other frets than plastic or bone or graphite or tusq. However, to further minimize differences between open & fretted notes, the zero fret should use the same kind of fret wire as the rest of the frets on the guitar.

    For three, the slot the string rides through is narrower than the slot in a regular nut, so there's less space in which friction & binding can occur. Binding in the nut is a major source of tuning instability--of course these need to be cut properly too. These will have less nut-induced tuning instability than a regular nut made of the same material.
     
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  12. radd

    radd Strat-O-Master

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    Intonation is dead on. On a regular nut the break point is, or should be off the very front, towards the body, part of the nut. The center of the zero fret sets directly over the front edge of the nut slot and the middle of the curved fret wire is the break point. Basically the break points of the two are identical even though the forward base of the nut sets a very tiny way onto the fingerboard.

    To add a comment to Nate D’s question, another plus is how easy it is to have a perfectly set up nut with almost no friction and perfect string height for a amateur home repair guy like me.
     
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  13. JB74

    JB74 Strat-O-Master

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    Yeah it must be an optical illusion, because it looks way further forward on that pic earlier. I was thinking to myself, why the hell would they do it like that?.

    Thanks!
     
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  14. radd

    radd Strat-O-Master

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    One thing that adds to that illusion, the zero fret nut is a lot thinner at the exposed part than the stock size nut. So, the forward edge of the Zero Glide nut sets back from the fingerboard in order to make room for the fret wire.
     
  15. CyFan4036

    CyFan4036 Strat-O-Master

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    I believe this would occur from narrower slots.
     
  16. sam_in_cali

    sam_in_cali Scream for me Strat-Talk! Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Do you notice any difference in feel or tone as compared with a regular nut?
     
  17. radd

    radd Strat-O-Master

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    I’m not the best person to ask about tone differences. I’m no Eric Johnson who can tell a tone difference when his 9v battery is not full strength. It sounds the same to me and feels basically the same, but I comparing it to the original nut that I had to shim with a piece of business card to stop the buzzing. Yes, relief and string height were correctly set.

    The problem was basically from a refret going from very low vintage frets to narrow tall frets even though I had them shaved down to about medium jumbo height frets. The nut should have been replaced at that point.
     
  18. jaybones

    jaybones Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Often wondered why all guitars weren't made this way.

    Seems like all the 60's cheap Japanese electrics have these (along with bent wire string retainers).

    I question the need for any bonding agent on the zero fret. If you do decide to upgrade to SS zero fret its not going to be easy to pull it out.
     
  19. GunMonkeyINTL

    GunMonkeyINTL Senior Stratmaster

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    @radd , did you have to dress down the fret wire, after you selected the proper one, to get it to the proper height? It seems like, to get the height benefit dirocyn describes, you’d have to fine tune the nut-fret’s crown.

    When I’ve been fitting/re-fitting nut slots, the difference between close and right was such a tiny amount that dressing down a steel fret wouldn’t necessarily be any easier than filing a bone slot. Also, it seems like it would be more complicated trying to contour a single fret wire to properly match contour, when each slot can be sized individually.

    The only zero-fret I have any experience with is the one in my Les Paul HP. It is a pre-slotted titanium bar that is adjustable for height like a ToM bridge, so that is definitely different than this one.
     
  20. jaxjaxon

    jaxjaxon Strat-Talker

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    I will be looking into them. have allways liked the zero fret concept. and the cheaper guitars I had when young had them and never had a problem with intonation.
     
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