Zero Fret?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by chrimturn, Dec 3, 2014.

  1. fumbler

    fumbler PhD-Stratology

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    Yeah, then you have the strings sawing through your zero fret and requiring more frequent level/crown jobs on ALL the frets and, eventually, refrets.

    The downward force on the nut (or zero fret) is significantly higher than what your finger applies when fretting a note on a "normal" fret. The narrow crown on top of a zero fret would wear out much more quickly than the rest of your frets. A bone or tusq nut is not as hard BUT it has the longer channel of the string slot to support the force.

    I'm not sure which would actually last longer but I know I'd much rather have to refit a new nut than level all the frets. A zero fret on a tremolo guitar is a mistake IMHO.
     
  2. candyapple1964

    candyapple1964 Senior Stratmaster

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    I had an original zero fret equiped gretsch 6120 early 60 model. I had it for 8 years and had fret dress twice zero fret never replaced. It had a bigsby and I used it heavily.

    The zero fret wore less than the other frets.

    Not saying zero frets are superior at all. Just that there is no problem of the sort you have described.

    Remember there is a nut behind the zero fret. If it is cut properly it releases a lot of the pressure on the zero fret.
     
  3. fumbler

    fumbler PhD-Stratology

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    I am definitely scratching my head now. But I have indeed seen deep divots in zero frets with only light wear on the rest of the frets. Have a look at the Vigier forums and you'll see LOTS of posts complaining about this. Even with stainless!

    Even if your nut was taking a lot of the down-force of the string, there still has to be some force on the zero fret to prevent buzz/rattle. And it's always in use. As if you were playing the same note over and over. I'd like to take a good look at your Gretsch and see what's going on.

    IMHO the solution for a poorly cut nut is to cut the nut better, NOT to install a zero fret. But I do think zero frets work on acoustic guitars where we don't tend to bend strings as much and they certainly don't have tremolo bridges.

    Consider the 'modern' guitar designers (who are NOT locked into 'vintage correctness'): PRS, Ibanez, Parker, Suhr, etc. Very few zero frets on those guitars.
     
  4. candyapple1964

    candyapple1964 Senior Stratmaster

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    Zero frets are harder to do. Require higher precision - the neck profile needs to be right and there is no room for error. That's one reason they are not comon. It also requires an extra fret..to cut and dress

    My gretsch is long gone btw.
     
  5. Vindibona1

    Vindibona1 Most Honored Senior Member

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    Interesting. Seems to make a lot of sense. And yes, it seems that it would make nut slotting beyond string spacing almost irrelevant. I wonder why you don't see it more often?
     
  6. TeleNic

    TeleNic Strat-Talker

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    For what it's worth, a zero fret offers no benefit unless you play a lot of open strings.