Roller nut on a guitar with a zero fret?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by redeyedjim, Mar 26, 2015.

  1. redeyedjim

    redeyedjim Silver Supporting Member

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    If you install a roller nut on a guitar neck with a zero fret, will you still get the benefit of the roller?

    Second, related question: on a guitar with a zero fret, is the nut placement as critical as it is on non-zero fret guitars? For example, when one installs a roller nut on a guitar without a zero fret, one typically needs to move the forward edge of the nut 1/16" closer to the bridge to preserve correct intonation, as the string "breaks" over the roller 1/16" back from the front end.. This requires some fretboard surgery, typically. Do you have to do this if you are installing a roller nut on a non-zero fret neck?
     
  2. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    no point in the roller nut if the string is still dragging itself across the zero fret.

    and no, with a zero fret the placement of anything behind it doesn't affect intonation.
     
  3. redeyedjim

    redeyedjim Silver Supporting Member

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    Thanks, Walter. W/R/T the roller mechanism, I should have been a little clearer in my OP: this guitar is a hardtail, but it has an aluminum nut that can get a little grabby on string bends. I'll spare you the long backstory (it's here if you have nothing better to do) but I just converted it from a trem back to a hardtail. When it had the trem, it had a locking nut and a bridge with microtuners. Now it's back to being its old self (albeit with a much better bridge!), and my recollection is that the aluminum nut was kind of a PITA to live with. So my thinking is that if it is still a PITA I should probably do something about it, either see if it can be filed and fixed, or else replace it with something less grabby. So with that in mind, a roller bridge might be a potential solution for me, though I'd try some more subtle corrections first.
     
  4. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    the pics are showing what looks like a zero fret. is there an aluminum guide behind it?

    (oh, and kramer aluminum neck and a 2tek? did you put an insert into the body for threading it onto a mic stand so you could play it standing up? :eeks)
     
  5. redeyedjim

    redeyedjim Silver Supporting Member

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    LOL. Yeah, it's a boat anchor, but oh, man, THE TONE with that 2Tek! And coming from 25 years with the Kahler trem it replaced, I honestly don't think the 2Tek is any heavier. But I don't gig, so it's moot; I can play sitting down or standing up, it doesn't matter. I stand when I jam with friends, but for late night playing it's a chair or a stool.

    Yeah, with the zero fret I suppose the aluminum nut is technically more guide than nut, which is pretty much what you said in your first reply. The aluminum is just a little grabby. I don't have the right files to address it myself, but I can bring it to a tech for that. I was looking ahead and making an assumption that the characteristics of aluminum aren't going to change, even if the string slots are properly dressed. I think on the later aluminum necks, Kramer ditched the traditional nut entirely and went with a pair of posts per string.

    Thanks for your help! I'll see if I can post a clearer picture of what's on there now.
     

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