Pros and cons of zerofret?

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by stennukas29, Jan 31, 2017.

  1. stennukas29

    stennukas29 SS.org Regular

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    Im doing my custom fanfret and came up with an idea to use zerofret. Any1 have experience with these? Pros?cons?
     
  2. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    I was just looking this up. I'm planning on using one on my next build.

    Advantages:
    - the zero fret height will be perfect because you level it with your other frets.
    - get to set your string spacing and string height separately (Spacer behind the zero fret)
    - probably doesn't wear lower as fast as a nut. Apparently zero frets wear very slowly because you aren't bending the strings on them.

    Cons:
    - in the US, the market sees zero frets as a cheap guitar thing. Not really a con, just a note.
     
  3. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    ^As someone who lives in the US, I've never even seen a zero fret in real life. And I've seen plenty of cheap guitars.
     
  4. Danukenator

    Danukenator Kane's Bane

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    This only applies to old cheap guitars (the Sear's ones come to mind).
     
  5. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    Yeah I think it refers mostly to the cheap, weird looking stuff from the seventies. I've heard about the bias against them before but I don't know anyone who actually has a strong opinion about them, since you never see them anymore.

    Except on expensive German stuff.
     
  6. djohns74

    djohns74 SS.org Regular

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    When using passive pickups and single string bridges, a zero fret gives you a simple way of grounding all of your strings by running a ground wire to any one of the bridges. This is the only reason I used one, though I see no particular disadvantage to it either.
     
  7. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    They also theoretically give you a more consistent sound between open strings and fretted strings since the strings are resting on the same material and the same shape (rather than a bone nut with slots)
     
  8. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire until Vanhalen bruthher

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    strandbergs have zero frets (or rather used to have them).
     
  9. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    Regarding height, yes you'll hear people say they give better action but that's mostly just because most nuts are cut too high haha. There's no real reason for this to be the case.

    I've heard they wear faster but never had a problem. It makes sense as you are bending on the zero fret. A nut slot holds the string in place. Without them, the string is going to move slightly with all bends and playing. Definitely go stainless steel though, even if your frets are not!

    Consistent tone. A huge thing for me. I hate using open strings on classical guitar, bass guitar, and jazz guitar. So do lots of players, they avoid them - the lack of control over tone with the finger is difference enough for the open string to stand out in a passage.
    However, you'll hear rock and acoustic players say they dislike them for the same reason. We've come to enjoy that open chord sound - playing with a capo (essentially what zero fret does for your tone) is not the same. Up to you if you like it or not :)
    Save
     
  10. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    I'm not clued up on electronics but I read a few people complaining about this shortcut as apparently it's dangerous/ineffective if a string breaks?
     
  11. Chokey Chicken

    Chokey Chicken mouth breather

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    I know they stopped using them on vaders because the strings fairly quickly create grooves in the fret. Then, when you bend the string it pops out of the groove and makes a pinging noise. I have one of the first vaders that has the zero fret, stainless steel, and it does in fact ping. It's much more noticeable on the high strings, but all 7 do it.
     
  12. Mr_Mar10

    Mr_Mar10 *space for hire*

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    They were viewed as lazy at one point. Like someone else mentioned. It takes less top nut work/precision

    The one on my old burns drives me crazy as it's way grooved n misbehaves like also mentioned

    :squint:
     
  13. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    I'm disheartened by all these stories of zero frets getting grooves. In these cases, is there a string retainer right after the fret, or are they just aligned by the tuning machines?
     
  14. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire until Vanhalen bruthher

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    the strandbergs have the zero fret right against the nut. no string retainer. can't speak for other brands since none of my other guitars have zero frets.
     
  15. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    So the nut is right behind the fret, and it holds the strings in place side to side?
     
  16. Nialzzz

    Nialzzz The Perseus Veil

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    Strandberg made to measures come with a modular zero nut nowadays. It's quite interesting.
     
  17. stennukas29

    stennukas29 SS.org Regular

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    Sooo, should i put zerofret on my build or no?. ATM im thinking of putting it on.
     
  18. marcwormjim

    marcwormjim SS.org Regular

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    I prefer them, but won't recommend you commit to a hardware feature you have zero experience with. A properly cut nut is all you need, anyway. A zero-fret is a personal preference, and you have no basis for preference. So either try it out on this build and see how you like it, or go with a regular nut and look into trying a Vigier or Steinberger or something some day, to see how zero frets treat you.
     
  19. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    Actually, that's not why they stopped using them. The reason for the "pinging" was that the string clamps on the headless hardware were never intended to work as a nut, so the string was able to travel laterally within the clamp some, so if you bent a string, the wire would scoot along the metallic groove in the clamp and make that pinging sound, and perhaps not return 100% to it's centered position. The early Vader models did NOT get grooves in the zero frets, because this pinging was noted on the very first day of arrival.

    I've got a few guitars with zero frets, and I get one whenever possible. Having a nut behind the fret, or some way to ensure the strings go straight over the fret, is needed. But my reason for wanting one is strictly that most guitars have the nut slots cut too shallow, so the string is waaaay too far off the fretboard.

    OP, don't stress over using a zero fret. Just make sure you have a nut to guide the strings, and you should be good!
     
  20. russmuller

    russmuller Cramblin'

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    Hate to disagree with you Andrew, but my Vader actually DID develop grooves within the first few days (in stainless steel). The ping came from the string jumping out of the groove, not from the clamping headpiece. I made a lot of careful observation with that. I'm not sure whether your information is from personal experience with the Vader, but what you've stated isn't what I experienced with mine. I sent mine back to have a standard nut retrofitted and was much happier.
     

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