The zero fret is a fret located where the nut typically would be. The instrument will still have a nut however the nut is now moved towards the peg head and its primary function is that of a string guide.
Some of the benefits of the zero fret for guitar and ukulele are:
- Better intonation.
- Better, optimal string action.
- The open strings have the same tone as the fretted strings since every string is essentially fretted.
- Less problems with changing string gauges. Since the “open” strings now rest on the zero fret the nut’s primary function is a guide therefore the slots can be a bit wider than the string diameter allowing for larger diameter strings to be installed (assuming your instrument is designed for heavier gauge strings). Additionally, since the string slots in the nut can be a bit wider the issue of strings getting hung up in the nut’s slots is eliminated.
- Less tuning issues when using a capo. Since the instrument now acts as if there is a capo on the zero fret the action at the nut is at its lowest optimal point. This means that when fretting or using a capo the string is not “choked” as much. This makes playing in tune much more realistic.
- In the typical nut only construction the action at the nut is slightly higher than if there was a zero fret. This is necessary to keep string buzz to a minimum. Additionally the nut slots can get worn from usage causing the action to lower resulting in string buzz. This is eliminate with a zero fret.
Can you tell I am a fan of the zero fret?
Gallery of Zero Fret Guitars & Ukuleles