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Why no 'zero fret' ?   You are logged in as Guest
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britguy

Posts: 712
Joined: Dec. 26 2010
From: Ontario, Canada

Why no 'zero fret' ? 

Maybe a silly question, but I've often wondered why classical and flamenco guitars are not built with a zero fret?

At least, I've never seen any made that way. . .

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 14 2014 22:58:06
 
tri7/5

 

Posts: 529
Joined: May 5 2012
 

RE: Why no 'zero fret' ? (in reply to britguy

There are a few out there that I've seen. Seems to be more widely accepted in the electric world however.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 14 2014 23:06:58
 
Leñador

Posts: 5229
Joined: Jun. 8 2012
From: Los Angeles

RE: Why no 'zero fret' ? (in reply to britguy

I never understood why any guitar WOULD have one. Doesn't the nut fulfill this duty?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 14 2014 23:10:17
 
RobJe

 

Posts: 669
Joined: Dec. 16 2006
From: UK

RE: Why no 'zero fret' ? (in reply to britguy

Manuel Bellido has made plenty over the past 15 years. Don't like them myself.

Rob



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 14 2014 23:12:17
 
Andy Culpepper

Posts: 2718
Joined: Mar. 30 2009
From: NY, USA

RE: Why no 'zero fret' ? (in reply to Leñador

quote:

I never understood why any guitar WOULD have one. Doesn't the nut fulfill this duty?


I made a guitar with a zero fret a couple years ago. In theory it would make playability much easier for the left hand because a traditional nut holds the strings about 1 mm over the first fret, while a zero fret lowers that significantly, like playing with a capo.

However in practice the zero fret still has to be a fair amount taller than the other frets to avoid backbuzz so it's not much of an advantage and is trickier to set up well.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 14 2014 23:50:31
 
rojarosguitar

Posts: 242
Joined: Dec. 8 2010
 

RE: Why no 'zero fret' ? (in reply to britguy

The nut is also the place where you can compensate for intonation issues by adjusting the edge of the nut for each string, as you can see in the picture...



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 15 2014 23:00:38
 
hamia

 

Posts: 357
Joined: Jun. 25 2004
 

RE: Why no 'zero fret' ? (in reply to britguy

quote:

ORIGINAL: britguy

Maybe a silly question, but I've often wondered why classical and flamenco guitars are not built with a zero fret?

At least, I've never seen any made that way. . .


I've often thought the same. But I would even go one stage further and say that we need to look into ways to play above the nut. At the moment there seems to be a lot of wasted string up there. We need your type of out-the-box thinking to challenge the luthiers, who, let's face it, have gotten pretty complacent these days.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 16 2014 8:52:49
 
rojarosguitar

Posts: 242
Joined: Dec. 8 2010
 

RE: Why no 'zero fret' ? (in reply to hamia

Complacent? These days? I'm wondering why you say that. I think that was true in the 'good old days' of sixties and seventies (don't beat me because of the precise period), before Japanese and American luthiers started to be serious competition to Spanish guitar makers, whose level was generally, hmm ...

These days Spanish makers caught up and there is a lot of competition and innovation pressure - meaning, there is a lot of innovation - all over the place IMHO.

Of course there always can be more innovation, so I don't mind your proposal, but I don't think they are a complacent lot...


BTW, coming back to the question of the OT: I once did it on a K. Yairi flamenca blanca, which I owned in the seventies (it was a mediocre guitar but the best I could afford that time). It's quite easy to retrofit a 0th fret with a bit of a trick; I just formed a nut that allowed for a small slit just wide enough to allow to put in a piece of fret wire. Here was my 0th fret. The playability was quite nice, but I cant remember anything about the intonation, I didn't know anything about these things that time.

But you could try how you like it and then let it a professional guitar maker retrofit it, It is not so difficult to do it properly.

I had a lot of discussions with the famous maker Sebastian Stenzel about 0th fret and he explained that the advantages are much smaller that the disadvantages; the main disadvantage I explained in my previous post - no control over intonation. If you work patiently you can bring the nut as much down as you would with a 0th fret.

The only advantage I can see over a nut is that the vibration conditions would be the same for the open string as they are for fingered strings; but then, an open string is an open string and has its own unique musical value...
quote:

ORIGINAL: hamia


I've often thought the same. But I would even go one stage further and say that we need to look into ways to play above the nut. At the moment there seems to be a lot of wasted string up there. We need your type of out-the-box thinking to challenge the luthiers, who, let's face it, have gotten pretty complacent these days.


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Music is a big continent with different lascapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...

A good musical instrument is one that inspires one to express as free as possible
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 16 2014 11:05:36
 
tele

Posts: 1414
Joined: Aug. 17 2012
 

RE: Why no 'zero fret' ? (in reply to rojarosguitar

quote:

ORIGINAL: rojarosguitar

The nut is also the place where you can compensate for intonation issues by adjusting the edge of the nut for each string, as you can see in the picture...




For that compensation to be effective one has to consider the point where the nut is placed:
http://liikanenguitars.com/Guitar-compensation.php

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 16 2014 11:52:53
 
Bliblablub

 

Posts: 60
Joined: Oct. 9 2013
 

RE: Why no 'zero fret' ? (in reply to britguy

Because of a false romaticism of how a guitar "is supposed" to look like.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 16 2014 12:22:41
 
rojarosguitar

Posts: 242
Joined: Dec. 8 2010
 

RE: Why no 'zero fret' ? (in reply to tele

Of course... that's what the luthiers do, and that's why they don't want the zero fret...

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Music is a big continent with different lascapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...

A good musical instrument is one that inspires one to express as free as possible
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 17 2014 10:29:22
 
rojarosguitar

Posts: 242
Joined: Dec. 8 2010
 

RE: Why no 'zero fret' ? (in reply to Bliblablub

Do you really think that? If it had big advantages people would quickly adjust to that as they have to the huge changes the classical/flamenco uitar (which weren't separate things in the early days) underwent until today: golpeador, tie block with saddle bone, and, worst of all, mechanical tuners instead of pegs! If the last one is not fitting into a romantic picture of how a guitar should look like then I don't know what is...

I think a zero fret would be easily axcepted and it could be made very inconspicous if people would start to rave about it.

But as I wrote in aprevious post: it is easy to make and then decide for yourself through first hand experience. I did it and decided not to go for it.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Bliblablub

Because of a false romaticism of how a guitar "is supposed" to look like.


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Music is a big continent with different lascapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...

A good musical instrument is one that inspires one to express as free as possible
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 17 2014 10:36:16
 
tri7/5

 

Posts: 529
Joined: May 5 2012
 

RE: Why no 'zero fret' ? (in reply to britguy

I'm kind of curious how you get enough tension on a nylon string for them to stay in place on a zero fret and not feel "loose". I guess a steep angled headstock could accomplish this. Most electrics have a string tree right behind the zero fret to provide a lot of break angle.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 17 2014 15:01:50
 
Andy Culpepper

Posts: 2718
Joined: Mar. 30 2009
From: NY, USA

RE: Why no 'zero fret' ? (in reply to britguy

There is a nut immediately behind the zero fret, as seen in RobJe's picture.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 17 2014 16:03:32
 
Ricardo

Posts: 11280
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Why no 'zero fret' ? (in reply to britguy

I always assumed a zero fret was the after thought of the luthier after he realized he messed up the scale construction. A quick fix rather than do a new neck and fingerboard. For flamenco it is totally arbitrary as we must use the capo more often than not. For electric, again, if the block of wood with strings and humbuckers doesn't have a LOCKING nut, then I don't want to play it.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 17 2014 16:31:36
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