Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Zero fret

Some guitars in the past had a zero fret it seems to make sense to me you would have the correct string height with out trying and the strings would not come close to hanging up in the nut . Any one out there that has experience with a zero fret feed back would be appreciated very much I might try this on my Takemine but not my Martin for warranty issues . The fret at the start could be a bit high and not cause any problems . I may try this on my old Takemine and see, I can always put it back like I found it .

I have a zero fret on my Voyage Air (folding travel guitar). I love the zero fret. It plays awesome and I like the sound. I am not sure why most fretted instruments don’t go to it (maybe tradition). The action at the nut end is automatically optimal (assuming good frets). The one thing I could see happening is having to replace the zero fret due to wear, but that shouldn’t be a big deal.

There is a zeroglide company that makes nut replacements with a zero fret for the contact point. I haven’t tried those but they look good. I was going to get one to try on a beater, but my beater has been loaned out for a couple years:

I seen that web site that is where I got the idea of putting it out there so we could get some feed back from someone who may have done that . for 25 bucks it does not sound to bad . it would be an easy fix not much brain matter exposed there. By that I mean I could do it my self LOL . I would not do it on the Martin for warranty reasons but the Takemine has been experimented on already, new frets and I did a good job on that although I did get the first few frets a little short on size you can pull the bottom string off the fret if you don’t know it is short . about a 1/16 . any way I will replace those and do the zero fret at the same time. I think you can get the stainless fret with that kit and it should out wear any of the frets . It may take me awhile to get around to it but I will post my judgement on it when I do .

You are right… I went back and looked at the zero glide and they say the fret is “much harder than normal.” I suspect it’s stainless. If not, you could always replace it with stainless when it wears out. That would be a perfect time to take care of the first few frets as well. It’s much easier working down there with the nut off.

I’ve also seen ads for this in the Banjo Newsletter. Been thinking about trying it myself.

And with Bela Fleck endorsing it, it must be good!

Just bought a mid-range open-back 5-string that has a zero fret. Haven’t tried it yet (it’s still being set up), but I’m interested in learning how it plays.

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Zero frets have been around for a long time. I owned a 1960s Framus jazz box with a zero fret years ago. There is really very little reason not to have a zero fret. Some folks will say strings resting against a metal fret sounds “brighter” than an open string resting against bone. It is certain that a zero fret will not allow you to set the “individual” strings at their lowest in open position. For example, the first string “E” can be cut slightly lower at the nut open than the low “E”. But a zero fret raises all the strings at the same height off the 1st fret when installed. The difference is not huge, but it can be felt.
Can a zero fret be adjusted (filed) to compensate for the individual strings? Definitely, but this rarely happens so a regular nut will often “feel” better.


Thanks, Doc, great point.

@Jake, do you have an opinion on zero frets?