Price paid: $ 395
Purchased from: Zager guitar
Sound — 9
I play acoustic rock, country, alternative rock, folk. Bluegrass. It performs wonderfully. It was noisy at first, it took about a week for it to "climatize". It took three days for me to "like it". It took about a week for me to fall in "love" with it. I've got a Takamine GS-330S, I've tried several guitars over the years, played them for a while, just to go back to my Takamine. It didn't happen on this one. From the day I took it out of the box, my fingers felt like I've been playing this guitar for years.
Overall Impression — 10
I play all kinds of music. It suits me well. I've been playing 40 years. Takamine GS330S, Gibson SG Standard, I've sold all the rest of my cheap stuff or given it to my kids. Line 6 amps and foot pedals. I wish I would have asked them to install the extra strap peg in the neck, now I'm waiting on one. They "deliver" a guitar in the same manner I would Imagine a fine car dealer would deliver a new Mercedes or BMW. The picture of Mr. Zager holding my guitar is a nice touch. His son should encourage him to keep doing that for as long as possible. (I miss my Dad so much)! If I would have known that was included I would have asked him to sign that as well. If I ever decide to spend the money I would like to own a ZAD80. They also have a ton of help videos, Mr. Zager is a little long winded, but he goes into detail for the beginner.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar will do well miked up in a live performance. The hardware is solid ( I don't know anyone who has trouble with Grover) The strap button seems solid. I'm waiting on an extra button to put on the neck. The guitar buzzes when I use the traditional acoustic style strap. I would put this guitar up against any non electric acoustic out there. The finish is glossy and deep. I took it over to my neighbor who is a professional country artist to see what he thought about it, he sat there for 30 minutes playing it and said he loved it but he wouldn't give any more than $600 for it. Tight wad!
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
guitar was great out of the box. Straight neck frets not sharp and smooth feeling. The only flaws I see on the guitar are around the binding, there are also some imperfection around the heel where the neck and box are joined. I can also see where the strap peg was reamed on the end of the box. The bad part of this is that I'm afraid to send it back, this guitar plays very good. Sometimes its hard to get what you want. My luck is that I would send it back and not get one that plays as well. I'm really kicking myself for not buying the ZAD80. There was also a lot of wood shavings in the guitar, so bad that one of the stickers fell off the inside and there was so much junk on there I couldn't reapply it. The imperfections are so small that no one would notice.
Features — 10
Made in 2012. I think the shell was made in Indonesia, the rest was done in Lincoln, NE. Guitar was $395. 20 fret rosewood. Mahogany neck sides and back, sitka spruce top. Glossy finish. Dreadnought size acoustic. Hand carved nut and saddle. No electronics. Grover tuners. Case was extra. Extra strings, picks, humidity monitor, truss rod tool, and a cool tshirt were free. The strings are made by Martin. Very fast and courteous customer service. I tried to get him to talk me into the ZAD50 because I liked the way it looked, but Denny talked me into the less expensive model. Case was an extra $95. Honest people, can't put a price on that.