Béla Fleck recently endorsed Gold Tone’s Zero Glide nut system in Banjo NewsLetter, March 2014.
BNL: Any Changes in your banjo set-up?
BF: A couple of significant changes. I’m using a Zero Glide fret that Wayne of Gold Tone is promoting. I tried it and agreed it was an improvement on my banjo. So right in front of the nut there is a fret. Instead of the strings sitting in the nut, they sit on the fret, and the nut just glides them to the pegs. Whenever you have a good luthier working on your banjo nut, they’ll make the nut the same height as a fret, so it is a continuation of the frets right to the beginning of the neck. We used to see this on a lot of banjos in the 70’s and 80’s from Korea, and I always assumed it was a cheaper way to do the nut. It actually means the nut sounds exactly like the fretted notes. So if you’re doing music like I do, where you’re going back and forth from open to closed strings in different places up and down the neck, having them sound exactly the same is an improvement. I found it was a fuller sound. I’m a fan of that. There are claims that it improves tuning, as the sting is less likely to get caught in the nut. And the other thing I changed was a thumb pick. I finally switched to a Blue Chip. I tried it before and did not like it when I used their banjo pick. It was too short for me. When I was in Telluride a couple years ago, and saw the Jerry Douglas model, I tried that one and thought it sounded really good. It’s long enough and has a great sound. I have been using that pick for well over a year and there is no wear on it. It sounds fuller and I don’t have to acclimate to a new pic every few months. With the new thumb pick and the Zero Glide nut, when I saw Zakir Hussain after not seeing him for a while he said, “Your banjo sounds really different, and really good.” I thought so too, but I had gotten used to it. I didn’t realize what a difference it made.
Banjo NewsLetter, March 2014
Béla Fleck Interview by Jake Schepps
For more details, visit: http://www.zeroglide.com
Zero Glide Replacement Nut Systems borrow the “zero fret” concept to reduce string contact in the nut by 93%, increasing tuning stability, playability, and open string tone.
Easily installs in minutes with no permanent alteration to your fretted instrument whatsoever.
Available preslotted to fit common string spacings and unslotted to fit everything else.