ZAD20E review by Zager

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 9.4 (36 votes)
Zager: ZAD20E

Price paid: $ 595

Purchased from:

Sound — 10
I have played and owned all kinds of guitars since I was 23. I am now 66. I have owned Yamaha, Gibson, Takamine, Guilds and a few others. (I recently sold my Takamine EG523SC to make room for my new Zager ZAD20 AE. I still have my 40 and 30 yr old Guilds). I have played Martins and Taylors. BUT... My Zager is now my first love and the reason is it plays and sounds so sweet. This guitar, right out of the new case, needed NO SETUP. It had been personally finished by Denny Zager himself using his "String Science System". His own bracing system along with quality woods (not to mention superb quality control) give this guitar a really full sound with amazing sustain.

Overall Impression — 10
I am first a finger picker, flat picker second. The guitar I ordered did not come with an on-neck strap button but a quick email to Denny Zager Jr got one put on before it shipped at no cost to me. He even included a pretty nice strap, t-shirt, extra strings (Martin lights), picks and a written warranty. Typical of Denny is to receive a return email within less than an hour. Customer service is impeccable. So now I have owned this guitar for a solid week. I find it hard to put down and begrudge having to interrupt my playing to do life's normal activities. The way this is setup, I can play for hours now with arthritic hands and all. There is no pain when I play. If my Zager was lost or stolen, as soon as I stopped crying I would be on the phone with the wonderful folks at Zager ordering a replacement. As for my other equipment I own 2 Guild D-50s, 2 Crate acoustic amps, a Fender Stratocaster and a Vox Valvetronix (tube)amp. All my amps are modeling amps which gives me a way to play all kinds of music.

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Reliability & Durability — 10
I have to say that after playing Martins, Taylors, Gibsons, Takamines, Guilds.. I would rate this guitar at the head of the pack. I would not hesitate to count on this guitar for years of gigging without a backup. I'm finding it hard to play anything else now. I have 2 really nice Guild dreadnoughts that I love enough to never part with, but... This beautiful looking and sounding Zager has captured my musical heart and I'm looking forward to playing it for many years. It is my favorite and my "go to" guitar!

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
As I said in the last paragraph... This guitar comes with a complete setup already done. The spacing of the strings, the height of the strings (action), the intonation were all perfect. The electronics were right on. The neck and frets were without any sharp edges of any kind. Everything was smooth as silk. From what I understand from others who have bought these guitars... This is standard for the guitars Denny Zager sends to his customers. The quality is evident from the moment you first open the case.

Features — 10
This great guitar was handmade at Zager Guitar in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA. (October of 2012). It is a dreadnought style with a solid Sitka Spruce top, mahogany sides back, neck and headstock. The strings are held in tune with Grover tuning machines. The nut is hand carved and it has a hand-carved Tusq saddle which transmits the sound perfectly to the under-saddle pickup. This model features a Fishman Clearwave active electronics with built in tuner, volume control, treble-mid-base equalizer as well as phase and presence adjustments. This is a very nice electronics pkg. The body of the guitar has black binding, Abalone rosette around the sound hold and pearl fret markers. Frets number 20, all hand-filed. The finish of this guitar is very high gloss with a black pick guard. Physically this guitar is magnificent to look at. Not in a flashy way. Just extremely well done. I bought it for $595 on sale... Which was an incredible steal for what I received. Any other guitar that could match the sound, quality, features, fit and finish of this guitar would run at least $1500 - $2000.

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    The Zager ZAD20 and ZAD20E do not come in a cutaway model. The ZAD50E and ZAD80E are their cutaway models which are more expensive than the ZAD20E
    Why is everyone saying this has a Spruce top? It's ALL Mahogany. Look at the wood grain, that's the first clue, then read the specs on the website.