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Quick Zero-fret Solution?


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So, i really want to put a zero fret on my next guitar. i think it's a really good idea that's not really done much (and i have no idea why not. it makes perfect sense.) but i really don't want to make a fretboard. i did that with my last guitar and it came out okay but, eh. not as perfect as i'd like. so anyway. i'm gonna get one from stewmac. and i'm thinking i want a compound radius fretboard because they sound like a good idea too. so. i'm thinking about getting one of these and chopping off the end with the nut slot. then i'd put a higher guage fretwire in the first slot, use a gibson nut right behind it, and then put lower fretwire in for all the other frets. so, instead of having a 25.5 inch scale, i'd have 24.something. um. does that sound like it would work? any problems with that? i can draw a picture if that'd help.. and how much higher guage fretwire do you think i'd need? thanks.

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Something similar to this was discussed recently, and people told the gal it couldn't be done. They said that if you use the first fret as your "nut" and even move your bridge to the correct position, that it would not work. Well they're wrong. I did the math. Half of the distance from the first fret to the bridge is equal to the distance from the first fret to the 13th fret(which would basically be the 12th fret now). My only caution to you is that you should chop whatever space between the nut and first fret that you don't need off. If you leave it, your strings will most likely bottom out on it before getting to the tuners(bad). Also, it'd just look funky. So what I'm saying is it certainly can be done. Just be cautious about where you put your bridge(although based on my calculations, it's the same place it'd be before you chopped the first fret off). But since you're building from scratch, it's just a hair more than twice the distance of the "1st" to "12th" fret. Using the stewmac fret calculator will give you more accurate results.

peace,

russ

EDIT:

Just to prove my point. I've copied/pasted two fret calculations from stewmac. The first is a 25.5" scale, the second is a 24.069" scale(25.5-the distance from the nut to first fret). Notice how the distance from the 1st to 2nd fret on the first scale compares to the distance from the nut to first fret on the second scale, and so forth.

1 1.431" 1.431" (nut-1)

2 2.782" 1.351" (1-2)

3 4.057" 1.275" (2-3)

4 5.261" 1.203" (3-4)

5 6.397" 1.136" (4-5)

6 7.469" 1.072" (5-6)

7 8.481" 1.012" (6-7)

8 9.436" 0.955" (7-8)

9 10.338" 0.902" (8-9)

10 11.189" 0.851" (9-10)

11 11.992" 0.803" (10-11)

12 12.750" 0.758" (11-12)

13 13.466" 0.716" (12-13)

14 14.141" 0.675" (13-14)

15 14.779" 0.638" (14-15)

16 15.380" 0.602" (15-16)

17 15.948" 0.568" (16-17)

18 16.484" 0.536" (17-18)

19 16.990" 0.506" (18-19)

20 17.468" 0.478" (19-20)

21 17.919" 0.451" (20-21)

22 18.344" 0.425" (21-22)

1 1.351" 1.351" (nut-1)

2 2.626" 1.275" (1-2)

3 3.829" 1.204" (2-3)

4 4.965" 1.136" (3-4)

5 6.038" 1.072" (4-5)

6 7.050" 1.012" (5-6)

7 8.005" 0.955" (6-7)

8 8.906" 0.902" (7-8)

9 9.757" 0.851" (8-9)

10 10.561" 0.803" (9-10)

11 11.319" 0.758" (10-11)

12 12.034" 0.716" (11-12)

13 12.710" 0.675" (12-13)

14 13.347" 0.638" (13-14)

15 13.949" 0.602" (14-15)

16 14.517" 0.568" (15-16)

17 15.053" 0.536" (16-17)

18 15.559" 0.506" (17-18)

19 16.037" 0.478" (18-19)

20 16.488" 0.451" (19-20)

21 16.913" 0.426" (20-21)

22 17.315" 0.402" (21-22)

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hey, yeah! i thought it would work. i mean, it's essentially like putting a capo on the first fret and tuning down a half-step, right? you can do that. sweet. oh, and yeah, i'm only going to have like an eighth of an inch between the nut anf 0-fret. i'm excited. thanks for the piece of mind. heh. i just got finished reading through all 15 or whatever pages of your thread on building the through neck semi-hollowbody thing. just thought i'd share.

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Obviously, removing one fret from the bass end of a scale willwork: this is what you're doing when you fret a note or put a capo on the first fret. In that respect your plane is good,

However, you should use the same guage fretwire for the zero fret as you do for the rest. If you want it fractionally higher than the rest, just leave it out until you've levelled the rest, and it will be a hair taller. Anything more than this is undesirable.

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Okay, I'm going to jump onto this thread with another one of my wacky ideas ...

I'm wondering if it might be possible to adapt an existing fretboard for a zero fret without butching the fretboard itself...

Seems like it'd be easy enough to adapt a Fender style neck for a zero fret, since there's already space behind the nut --remove the nut, fill the gap with a fret. (Maybe fill the slot and recut a new slot for the size of the fret). Route a new slot for the string guide nut behind that. And you're there.

A Gibson-style neck would be more difficult to adapt of course. But since the nut is much thicker than the Fender nut, why couldn't the nut itself be adapted --cut the fretfoard face of the nut to hold the fret, glue the fret down, shape the string guides accordingly.

Unless I'm missing something? Someone surely had this idea before--what were the arguments against it?

Seems like it'd be preferable to sacrificing one of your frets and shortening the scale of the guitar.

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You could do it that way. You'd just have to do a very good job at filling the gap and having no seam between the fill and the fretboard. Otherwise I'd imagine you'd have a hard time sawing the slot for the fret. Imho, using that method on a gibson fretboard would be no more difficult than on a fender board, except for the binding issue. One way or another you're just filling a gap with a small piece off wood. You'd just use a fender nut in place of the old gibson one, to make room for the new fret. I still think the other method is preferable. Also, if you want something closer to a 25.5" scale, look into buying a baritone fretboard. Better yet, if you can convince fryovanni to slot a board for you, he'll put a zero fret slot in for you, he always has for me(although I chop it off :D.

peace,

russ

EDIT:

Here's the thread: http://projectguitar.ibforums.com/index.ph...topic=21517&hl=

I never got a chance to read through the whole thing, but it looks like she ultimately did it despite what people said and had success. Anyhow, a few people said it would work, but many more said it would not. Guess I didn't pay enough attention to that thread. None the less, now we have both imperical and hypothetical proof.

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I never got a chance to read through the whole thing, but it looks like she ultimately did it despite what people said and had success. Anyhow, a few people said it would work, but many more said it would not. Guess I didn't pay enough attention to that thread. None the less, now we have both imperical and hypothetical proof.

Yes, but she was installing a locking nut, not a zero fret. And she was willing to sacrifice the extra fret and the live with the dopey looking result.

I think adding a zero fret would be a more elegant solution, if it's pulled off properly. For that matter, why not just get a piece of the same fretboard material, glue it in above the existing fretboard. Use the fret to hide the gap between woods. (Obviously this would work much better on a neck with no binding).

I'm still not convinced of the need for a zero fret though... I mean, I like the difference in sound between open chords and barred chords...but maybe there's another reason for a zero fret?

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I'm still not convinced of the need for a zero fret though... I mean, I like the difference in sound between open chords and barred chords...but maybe there's another reason for a zero fret?

Word. I like having the option to have a different tone for open chords. You certainly don't have to play open chords if you don't like the sound.

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my reason for putting in a zero fret is mainly... i think it looks cool. heh. they're sort of rare to see on a guitar, so if someone sees you playing with a zero-fret, they'll go "hey! that's a neat idea, tell me about your guitar" which is cool because then you get to brag about how you made it and everything. heh. i guess, when you get down to it, it's just another unique aspect to a guitar. i don't really do open chords so much, anyway

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Doesn't LMII offer an option of having a zero fret slot cut?

All the boards I've ordered from LMI have had a zero-fret slot, and I've never had to ask. Chopped it off there for two guitars, and am trying out the zero-fret idea on my current build.

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Doesn't LMII offer an option of having a zero fret slot cut?

All the boards I've ordered from LMI have had a zero-fret slot, and I've never had to ask. Chopped it off there for two guitars, and am trying out the zero-fret idea on my current build.

They don't have the zero fret on their same-day boards, they only do that when you order the board and the slotting separately.

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What's the typical distance a nut location is moved for feitenizing ?

You know what I'm thinking, right ?

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So, i really want to put a zero fret on my next guitar. i think it's a really good idea that's not really done much (and i have no idea why not. it makes perfect sense.) but i really don't want to make a fretboard. i did that with my last guitar and it came out okay but, eh. not as perfect as i'd like. so anyway. i'm gonna get one from stewmac. and i'm thinking i want a compound radius fretboard because they sound like a good idea too. so. i'm thinking about getting one of these and chopping off the end with the nut slot. then i'd put a higher guage fretwire in the first slot, use a gibson nut right behind it, and then put lower fretwire in for all the other frets. so, instead of having a 25.5 inch scale, i'd have 24.something. um. does that sound like it would work? any problems with that? i can draw a picture if that'd help.. and how much higher guage fretwire do you think i'd need? thanks.

Yup... like everybody said it works. I did it on a finished neck even and it doesn't look all that bad at all because I carefully filed down and sanded the excess fingerboard seen behind the nut after I installed it. I guess some people would say it looks goofy but honestly, I don't think most people even notice because I used a black floyd locing nut on an ebony fretboard. Yours will be much nicer because you're building from scratch. I should take some pictures but I'm still working on the guitar getting the action perfect and doing a fancy wiring harness.

That's the fretboard I plan an getting too when I build a 24" scale neck from scratch. Gotta get my nerve up first though. :D

Good luck!

Kiira

Edited by uglogirl
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oh, wow. thanks for those pages from the magazine. i was wondering about the size fret i should get for it. a .010 difference is what i'm looking for, i guess. thanks for the article, though. very useful. consider it bookmarked.

i don't know what feitenizing means.

and i would be interested to see what you've done, miss uglo. but, in whatever time.

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consider it bookmarked.

I suggest you save it onto a CD or something, because I don't follow any rule to never delete anything in my photo storage sites, and with Kevan now thinking he's Rumsfeld (LOL), I'm wide open for an attack, so........(hopefully, that's a joke !!!)

What I mean about the "feitenizing" thing (and GF already knows) is that for a "Buzz Feiten" mod, they move the nut location to enhance the tuning. Well, I was thinking : Leave the nut, then find the location where the feiten nut would be moved to, then cut a fret-slot there, and install a fret. The original nut then becomes a string spacer right behind the new zero fret in the feiten position. Kind of like a gizmo called enut (look that up if curious).

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What I mean about the "feitenizing" thing (and GF already knows) is that for a "Buzz Feiten" mod, they move the nut location to enhance the tuning. Well, I was thinking : Leave the nut, then find the location where the feiten nut would be moved to, then cut a fret-slot there, and install a fret. The original nut then becomes a string spacer right behind the new zero fret in the feiten position. Kind of like a gizmo called enut (look that up if curious).

I thought the Feiten nut only 'adjusts' the three upper strings?

Still, if you combine your idea with a thinner nut, that should give plenty of room to add a zero fret.

I'm wondering though, why not just glue in a piece of fretboard wood in order to extent the fretboard a bit? --the joint/gap will be where the fret insets anyway. And you could add the string-guide nut at the end of the extension.

On an LP-type guitar, the added piece could fit in to where the existing nut goes, and placing the string-guide nut shouldn't interfere with truss rod access either.

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