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Zero Fret “Slotting” and what can be done about it

“Slotting” of a Zero Fret Nut can be a problem. Over time, as the strings pass back and forth over the nut, the fret can wear down, resulting in slots/grooves appearing.

Any slotting is typically minute and does not harm the guitar’s playability. The more severe cases however can snag or bind the strings during bends, causing tuning and playability issues. Any easy tell if the fret has been slotted is bending and releasing the string close to the nut – a “pinging” sound will be heard. Any binding of the string, however little it may be, ultimately defeats the point of having a zero fret in the first place.

So what’s the solution?

The grooving is generally caused by lighter gauge strings. The top e and B strings, being narrower and therefore “sharper”, can cut into the fret. A set of heavier gauge strings will lessen the slotting.

The other option is a stainless steel fret. Much harder than a standard nickel silver fret, the stainless steel fret will never need replacing.

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