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Questions: Zero Fret Advantage

Questions: Zero Fret Advantage

by Steve Klein

Originally published in American Lutherie #61, 2000


Greg Pacetti of Fairbanks, Alaska asks:
Can you tell what the advantage is in having a zero fret at the top like on the Klein and Selmer guitars instead of a regular nut?

Steve Klein of Sonoma, California
I feel the zero fret is the only way to have an open string and fretted string sound the same. I’ve found two other things I like about this arrangement: 1. By using a slightly higher fretwire for my zero fret, I can easily set the string height over the first fret for all the strings at once by filing the top of the zero fret down; 2. This also affects intonation by moving the string termination point forward. There are other articles that explain in more detail the reasons one might want to do that.