What happened to the Zero fret?

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by dmunson, Aug 8, 2019.

  1. dmunson

    dmunson Gretschie

    Dec 19, 2015
    Charlotte, NC
    I've been playing Gretsch since the early 70,s. My first three all had zero frets, but now that I'm getting back into the brand, I see only the Country Gent with the zero fret. Since I always liked that feature, I'm guessing I was alone. Is that the case?
  2. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    My jet (double cut dark cherry metallic from around 2013) and some other models have em. Not sure if there is rhyme or reason on which models.have them.
  3. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz
    I think across the guitar world in general Zero Fret is still a minor player. My understanding is also it did not help that for some years Zero Fret was appearing on more inexpensive guitars.
  4. dmunson

    dmunson Gretschie

    Dec 19, 2015
    Charlotte, NC
    Several of my Gretsches came from the 2002 era, and they all had zero frets (6120, 6128). It seem to me that once Fender took over production, the feature dissappeared.
  5. MTurner

    MTurner Friend of Fred

    Aug 17, 2010
    Clayton, North Carolina, USA
    If you like zero frets, you can have one regardless of whether or not your guitar came equipped with one. There's a product called "Zero Glide" I believe, that lets you retrofit one to most guitars. People that have them say nice things about them.

    Search the forum; there have been references to the product on this site.
  6. dmunson

    dmunson Gretschie

    Dec 19, 2015
    Charlotte, NC
    I'm familiar with the product. Just wondering why Gretsch dropped the zero fret. That was one of Chet's suggestions from what I've read.
    MTurner likes this.
  7. Hammerhands

    Hammerhands Country Gent

    Aug 26, 2011
    It's on a couple of double cutaway Jets.

    The 6121-1959 seems to be out of the catalogue?
    audept likes this.
  8. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    I must say, I don't think Chet bent strings that much (I don't know his work that well), and that is one weakness of the Gretsch style zero fret. Too much space between the zero fret and the nut. I think this leads to more wear as the string rubs over the fret more than the zeroglide, where there is no spacing.

    Not a big deal on my jet, but unamplified, you can hear a rubbing sound (it is not amplified as it is on the wrong side) and the zero fret is clearly worn, if still usable and fine.

    I would actually prefer a zero glide or a more custom zero fret installment than the traditional Gretsch method with the space.

    This is all my opinion, and my jet works and plays great it's less a complaint than just an observation of something less than perfect.
  9. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    The Pro-line double cut Jets in '62 style still have them, along with the 6120-1959LTV and a few other models. Personally, I like them, but they have fallen out of favor with new players.
  10. gretscher09

    gretscher09 Electromatic

    Apr 18, 2009
    Three of the current Vintage Select Editions have a Zero fret.
    audept likes this.
  11. Ricochet

    Ricochet I Bleed Orange

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    For one, I think most people are needlessly apprehensive of 0-frets. For two, could simply be a case of streamlining the assembly line.
    audept likes this.
  12. claypainter

    claypainter Electromatic

    Dec 31, 2018
    Katy, TX
    Can you educate me as to why you like them?

    I always thought they only added value when the nut was poorly cut.
    Wozob likes this.
  13. Setzerhotrod

    Setzerhotrod Country Gent

    Oct 26, 2011
    Anchorage Alaska
    A tiny piece of fret wire at a cost of, mmm, maybe $.0002 each multiplied by a gazzillion guitars is, uhhh? Maybe I’m overthinking this one.
    Sabato likes this.
  14. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    In 1968 I modified my 1962 SG Les Paul to have a zero-fret. It's still there today.

    1962 SG Les Paul 003.jpg 1962 SG Les Paul 006.jpg
  15. G5422T

    G5422T Synchromatic

    May 24, 2012
    Part of the zero fret theory and usage is that open strings sound the same as fretted strings.

    Strings going over metal (zero fret) give a fretted tone. Makes sense, and I do hear the difference myself.

    The other part of the theory is that while there is added cost of the fret, labor is saved from not having to do precise nut depth work. The nut is only really needed for string spacing.

    Myself, I love the zero fret Gretsch that I have. That said, I also love the brass nut Gretsch and the bone nut Gretsch that I own.
    Wozob and claypainter like this.
  16. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Country Gent

    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    I put a zero glide on my 5420. I love it. I had to set it up twice cuz I didn’t get it right the first time. I use my bigsby A LOT and I think having a nut with wider string slots that don’t effect the intonation did wonders for my tuning stability. It took the nut out of the equation.
    Lionpotato and claypainter like this.
  17. claypainter

    claypainter Electromatic

    Dec 31, 2018
    Katy, TX
    Nice! Thanks for the info.
    G5422T likes this.
  18. Sabato

    Sabato Synchromatic

    Mar 22, 2019
    From the other thread "Brian Setzer, balls and stupidity" article:

    "What mods did you carry out on your ’59?"

    “The big problem for me was the zero fret. I took a hammer and chisel and just knocked it out and then moved the nut up to where that fret would stand. "
  19. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Oct 18, 2015
    Hildesheim, Germany
    I totally dig the logic behind the zero-fret.
    And I think that it is far more efficient to built guitars that way.
    No idea why they are not all built that way. That will always be an industrie`s mystery to me.
  20. swivel

    swivel Synchromatic

    May 13, 2018
    I dont really understand it either, a zero fret is automatically the right height, no tweaking, etc. Don't know why Gretsch didn't keep it.
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