Zero Glide Review, Zero Fret Design for Classical Guitars

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
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Kent
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Zero Glide Review, Zero Fret Design for Classical Guitars

Post by Kent » Tue Jun 09, 2015 2:35 pm

From a recent conversation here, I decided to try the Zero Glide Nut System for my maple Papazian. The guitar recently had frets replaced. Because of the neck profile, the guitar had a string back buzz when barring in higher positions. Tried a new bridge saddle with a 1 mm increase in height on the bass side, and the problem remained. My next plan was to get a new nut with higher grooves to bring the strings up enough to compensate for the condition of the neck.
The Zero Glide Nut System replaces your nut with a bone nut that shares it's space with a fret. The custom nut I ordered also comes with 4 different fret heights so you can get the lowest possible string height, or the desired string height in my case. I ordered the custom option that was precisely configured on a CNC machine. You need to get them precise measurements that allow you minimal final fitting. I recommend you use a digital micrometer. You can get a great one for under 15 dollars on the Bay.
I sent along my nut measurements of 52.13 mm wide, 3.50 mm thick and 8.3 mm total height. I also sent the following pictures:
100_5817.JPG
100_5854.JPG
Wayne Rogers was very helpful with my order process, and the custom Zero Nut System was actually sent the day we finalized the dimensions.
Yesterday it was delivered, and it literally dropped into the guitar with a perfect fit. As mentioned, the kit includes 4 different frets, the custom nut, and really great instructions. I had to reduce the height by sanding the bottom of the bone nut until the fret tang fit low enough so that the fret itself was flush with the fingerboard. I also rounded the edges and smoothed everything out with various grits of 3M polishing cloth. I could reduce the height of the nut between the strings, but right now it presents no problem when playing. The whole process took about 1 hour. If you are experienced at replacing guitar saddles, this is actually easier. It would also be a breeze for any guitar tech.
Final pictures;
100_5880.JPG
100_5886.JPG
100_5861.JPG
I enthusiastically approve of this system. It completely solved my issue of back buzz of strings. I used the highest fret option, and was able to go back the the original saddle with much lower string height. Tuning is smoother than ever, with no nut clicking! As far as sound, I think it may have better consistency of tone.
My reason for purchasing the Zero Nut system was specific, but I truly think it would be a plus for many Classical Guitars. Especially older ones that may suffer from years of sawing action from wound strings. You can always go back to your old nut, but I can't think of any reason you would want to!
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Last edited by Kent on Thu Jun 11, 2015 1:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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petermc61
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Re: Zero Glide Review, Zero Fret Design for Classical Guitars

Post by petermc61 » Tue Jun 09, 2015 8:07 pm

Thanks Kent. An interesting and informative review.

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David Belcher
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Re: Zero Glide Review, Zero Fret Design for Classical Guitars

Post by David Belcher » Tue Jun 09, 2015 8:07 pm

Looks really cool, Kent! Glad this worked for you. I may need to check it out in the future for my E. Durán Ferrer guitar.
"In music I think it's very, very dangerous if you start to compare and say, 'This is good, this is not good, this is only one possibility' . . . there are so many possibilities, but what is important is to be open to that." - Pavel Steidl

Scot Tremblay
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Re: Zero Glide Review, Zero Fret Design for Classical Guitars

Post by Scot Tremblay » Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:09 pm

Zero frets have not been particularly well accepted on classical guitars. There were quite common on the 19th century Viennese models.

The different fret sizes included is interesting. To cover the various options in frets it would seem. Generally, a fret the same size as the rest is the best, assuming that the geometry of the neck and fingerboard is done well but it also gives you options for when the seasons change or the guitar changes over time...not a bad idea.
Scot Tremblay Guitars

"One picture is worth a thousand words. So, for me, one good note put where it should be put, will say what it will take some people many notes to say. ~B.B. King, 1986

mmapag
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Re: Zero Glide Review, Zero Fret Design for Classical Guitars

Post by mmapag » Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:50 pm

Interesting stuff Kent! Did it change the action in the first position? I trying to wrap my brain around the geometry of it.
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petermc61
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Re: Zero Glide Review, Zero Fret Design for Classical Guitars

Post by petermc61 » Tue Jun 09, 2015 10:07 pm

It is a shame the CNC custom ones are so much more expensive than the regulars. As a one off this is not a problem but to retrofit my entire fleet wound cost a small fortune. I will have to suggest they make another 'standard' size available as the current standard looks too much like one for Ramirez. A 52mm nut with 42.5mm string spacing would cover an awful lot of CGs.

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Kent
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Re: Zero Glide Review, Zero Fret Design for Classical Guitars

Post by Kent » Tue Jun 09, 2015 10:19 pm

mmapag wrote:Interesting stuff Kent! Did it change the action in the first position? I trying to wrap my brain around the geometry of it.
Because of the neck configuration, I needed to use the highest fret supplied with the Zero Glide to compensate for my issue of string back buzz when playing in the upper positions. So the strings are higher in the 1st position than before. But as for playing, I have no problems with the slightly higher strings in the first position. I recently replaced the frets, so that also helped.
If you have a normal neck, as Scot mentioned, you should be able to use the same zero fret height as your other frets. So you can imagine the playability. Same as if you use a capo at the first fret.
Also, the scale of the guitar is the same. The top of the Zero Fret is in the same place as the edge of the old nut.

This system absolutely assures you of accurate and universal string height. Frankly, I am now surprised why this is not used more by builders. I really like my guitar!

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Kent
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Re: Zero Glide Review, Zero Fret Design for Classical Guitars

Post by Kent » Tue Jun 09, 2015 10:25 pm

petermc61 wrote:It is a shame the CNC custom ones are so much more expensive than the regulars. As a one off this is not a problem but to retrofit my entire fleet wound cost a small fortune. I will have to suggest they make another 'standard' size available as the current standard looks too much like one for Ramirez. A 52mm nut with 42.5mm string spacing would cover an awful lot of CGs.

Peter,
Try it for one guitar. But I am warning you! You may alter your fleet!
Maybe your recommendation will be heeded by Wayne Rogers.

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bacsidoan
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Re: Zero Glide Review, Zero Fret Design for Classical Guitars

Post by bacsidoan » Wed Jun 10, 2015 12:01 am

I would strongly consider this system if there were an option for a wider zero fret wire to allow for some nut compensation

mmapag
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Re: Zero Glide Review, Zero Fret Design for Classical Guitars

Post by mmapag » Wed Jun 10, 2015 12:23 am

Kent wrote:
mmapag wrote:Interesting stuff Kent! Did it change the action in the first position? I trying to wrap my brain around the geometry of it.
Because of the neck configuration, I needed to use the highest fret supplied with the Zero Glide to compensate for my issue of string back buzz when playing in the upper positions. So the strings are higher in the 1st position than before. But as for playing, I have no problems with the slightly higher strings in the first position. I recently replaced the frets, so that also helped.
If you have a normal neck, as Scot mentioned, you should be able to use the same zero fret height as your other frets. So you can imagine the playability. Same as if you use a capo at the first fret.
Also, the scale of the guitar is the same. The top of the Zero Fret is in the same place as the edge of the old nut.

This system absolutely assures you of accurate and universal string height. Frankly, I am now surprised why this is not used more by builders. I really like my guitar!
Thanks Kent. Very interesting stuff.
'13 Esteve 7 SM
'75 Takamine 132 S

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rojarosguitar
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Re: Zero Glide Review, Zero Fret Design for Classical Guitars

Post by rojarosguitar » Wed Jun 10, 2015 4:47 am

Very interesting idea, indeed. I did the same thing all by myself in 1975 using only hand tools on my K. Yairi flamenco guitar that had ways to high nut bone, and at that time I liked the result and also found that the open string sounded more consistently like fingered strings.

I had some discussions about that in recent years with luthiers, but mostly they don't seem to advocate a zero fret for lack of control of the string height. Also it seems that a detailed string compensation is not possible (?)
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mmapag
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Re: Zero Glide Review, Zero Fret Design for Classical Guitars

Post by mmapag » Wed Jun 10, 2015 10:47 pm

Kent, based on your post I assume you got the custom made one? (I took a look at their website)
'13 Esteve 7 SM
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Kent
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Re: Zero Glide Review, Zero Fret Design for Classical Guitars

Post by Kent » Wed Jun 10, 2015 11:45 pm

Yes, I ordered the custom nut. Just thought it would be easier to fit. I was quite happy when the Zero Glide just dropped right in. It was also for my favorite guitar, so the extra money was not issue for me!

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Trevor Gore
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Re: Zero Glide Review, Zero Fret Design for Classical Guitars

Post by Trevor Gore » Thu Jun 11, 2015 4:53 am

rojarosguitar wrote: Also it seems that a detailed string compensation is not possible (?)
Nigel Forster does compensation for SS guitars on a zero fret:

Image

You'd want to be sure of your string choice though....
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rojarosguitar
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Re: Zero Glide Review, Zero Fret Design for Classical Guitars

Post by rojarosguitar » Thu Jun 11, 2015 8:08 am

Well, here the effort might exceed the benefits of that in a classical guitar ... I'm not sure.
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...

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