ZAD20E Review

manufacturer: Zager date: 11/30/2012 category: Acoustic Guitars
Zager: ZAD20E
This guitar has been a great investment since I bought it. I play for fun, therapy, relaxation, whatever you call it. This guitar has been a new favorite of mine.
 Sound: 9.8
 Overall Impression: 10
 Reliability & Durability: 9.5
 Action, Fit & Finish: 9.8
 Features: 9.8
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (15) pictures (5) 10 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 10
ZAD20E Reviewed by: shazaam100, on november 30, 2012
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 595

Purchased from:

Features: 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. // 10

Sound: 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. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: 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. // 10

Reliability & Durability: 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! // 10

Overall Impression: 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.

// 10

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overall: 9.6
ZAD20E Reviewed by: unregistered, on october 25, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 595

Purchased from: Zager.Com

Features: This guitar is 2 years old and is made of solid spruce and mahogany back and sides. The size is standard dread, and it has high gloss finish. The controls include, volume, phase, presence, treble, middle, and bass. It also has a built in tuner with the electronics. Very helpful feature. Electronics work great with my brand new amp. It came shipped in a case that I bought from them, with many freebie accessories. I was all set up to play out of the box when it arrived. // 9

Sound: The sound is bright and clear. It has a full sound and compares to my 5 year old guitar of a different brand, and the 20E is only getting better. Sounds great unplugged too. The sound is nice and loud and it doesn't hold back. I can play harder with more volume, or softer and it's got that heartfelt sound there too. Either way it's great for many different styles and settings. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: The playability is great because of the design of the guitar. I had played a friend's Zager a few times and realized it's so much more fun to play a guitar with nice action. Instead of paying to have my old guitar done by someone else, I got a Zager instead. This guitar did not come with any flaws. The finish is perfect, grains on the face are very pretty and all the other parts are nicely aligned and attached. Everything has been in great working order since it arrived with me. // 10

Reliability & Durability: As previously stated, this guitar has not had any issues since I bought it 2 years ago. My friend's has also held up well. Sound is getting better with age. They are built to last and I'm sure the Zager crew would help me out with any warranty work if I needed it. // 10

Overall Impression: This guitar has been a great investment since I bought it. I play for fun, therapy, relaxation, whatever you call it. This guitar has been a new favorite of mine. I can rely on it and it's always in tune and sounding spectacular. I'm happy I bought it, and would get another if something happened to it. For the pricepoint this guitar is a great instrument. It's nice in that I didn't have to spend $1000 just to get a nice guitar. It's also not a junker that was a waste of a few hundred bucks like to many guitars geared at beginner/intermediate/non-pro players.

// 10

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overall: 10
ZAD20E Reviewed by: mtheory, on november 30, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 495

Purchased from: Zager Guitars

Features: Made is USA, in Nebraska by Denny Zager of "In The Year 2525" fame. Top is Sitka Spruce, Back, Sides, Neck and Headstock are all Mahogany. Abalone Rosette, Pearl fret markers and a high gloss finish over a flamed top (sunburst). Grover tuners with hand carved nut and saddle. The tuners are really outstanding... Smooth as silk. I bought this guitar because a friend told me I had to check them out. I played his and was completely floored. After getting my own I can't imagine wanting or playing another acoustic at any price. // 10

Sound: This is the most beautiful guitar I've ever played. Sounds better than my Dad's Martin HD-16R. It plays just as well or better (we are arguing about this). What is especially impressive to me about this guitar is its dynamic range. It can go from whisper quiet to loud as anything and always sounds amazing while doing it. I play it through the PA at band practice and it really shines. As anyone knows, playing an acoustic amplified can be a tiring exercise in feedback hunting. The EQ made it really easy to find the offending frequency and kill it. The pickups offer plenty of output to play with a loud rock band. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The famous "Zager setup"... No guitar comes set up this well. Perfectly intonated (and I mean really perfect, I checked with a chromatic tuner) and the action is AMAZING. You won't believe how well it's set up when you get it. The action is absolutely perfect. Low enough to be very easy to play but not a single fret buzz in sight. Another interesting stand out feature is the string spacing. The strings are just the right distance apart to facilitate great playing. There isn't a single flaw... I've combed over the guitar many times since I got it and it is absolutely flawless. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Seems to be very well built, sturdy yet light. Perfect stage guitar. The frets are "soft touch" and hand filed. I think they contribute to it's amazing playability. The tuners are incredibly smooth and solid, I've had zero tuning problems. It stays in tune very well. It was pretty close to in tune when I got it in the mail after ground shipping which is pretty incredible. The strap buttons are very good too, high quality and there are no worries about straps slipping off. The electronics are very high quality as well. Sliders, buttons and knob on the control panel feel high quality and it really does sound amazing through various PA's. // 10

Overall Impression: I use this guitar in a rock/psychedelic band. It's a perfect fit as far as sound and playability. I have been playing for almost 30 years and play in 4 to 5 bands at any given time. I also spend a lot of time doing solo work. The stand out features in my mind are it's beautiful sound, it's perfect setup and how just pretty the darn thing looks. I'd have to include it's dynamic range in there as well. There is nothing to hate about this guitar. I compared it to many other guitars, I played my buddies Zager and about 20 high end acoustics at Guitar Center... The choice was easy for both sound and value. I can't believe I found my perfect guitar, best choice I ever made. // 10

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overall: 9.4
ZAD20E Reviewed by: worlddomin523, on november 13, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Features: This is a very solidly built USA made guitar, more specifically made in Lincoln Nebraska. In terms of woods, it has a sitka spruce top, mahogany back and sides, and of course a rosewood fretboard. Comes with super smooth Grover tuners too. It has a very simple electronics system that does not impede the tone and sound of this guitar, both physically and tonally through an amp. It doesn't come with any strap buttons, but that's to be expected for a relatively high end acoustic. For more detailed specifications, just go to the Zager website. In my purchase, I bought the hard case to accommodate the guitar. Some of the other accessories I received were an extra pack of strings, a small pack of picks, authentication papers, and a free t-shirt! // 10

Sound: Playing acoustic isn't my primary style and type of instrument. However, I've been wanting an acoustic that could take on the sound of just about any of my favorite acoustic sounds varying from Bon Iver to blues or to anything indie. This guitar absolutely nails any tone I want out of it. What it really comes down to is hearing it for yourself. The most notable tonal characteristic of the guitar is that it rings like a bell and has more sustain than some of my electrics, believe it or not. In short, incredible sound. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar was set-up perfectly right out of the box. It was detuned slightly, but that is to be expected. There were two tiny imperfections in the finish that you really had to get up close and personal to see. However, I knew that there would be some form of a ding somewhere because I bought this guitar slightly used and discounted. If you weren't specifically looking at every spot on the guitar, you might not even find an imperfection. The guitar also came with what sounded and acted like new strings, which is a pleasant change from most new guitars that come with nondescript old strings that sound terrible. A great out of the box final touch I would say! // 9

Reliability & Durability: Unfortunately, the guitar came with no strap buttons. However, it is not uncommon for acoustics to not include them. The rest of the hardware is very solid, and I am sure this guitar will last for years with the proper maintenance of course. As I've only had it for a few days, I can't say for sure exactly how it will hold up in live situations, but I am confident that it will. The guitar just feels so solid and well built. // 8

Overall Impression: This guitar is the sound that I've had in my head for a long time. Whether or not that sound is similar to mine, you'll just have to hear for yourself. You can do this with ease as Zager offers a 100% money back guarantee that if you don't like the guitar, you can return it, and they pay the shipping. Totally risk free. If this guitar was stolen or lost or something along those lines, I would definitely buy it again. I've been playing for about 3 years now, but people have told me I sound like I've been playing for at least double that. I love everything about this guitar. It's definitely worth trying out risk free. One of the things that I noticed when I first visited the Zager website was that everything seemed fake in an odd way, almost as if it was a scam. But I was completely wrong after reading about the company's history and their reputation. I was further proven wrong after working with the customer service, which is all run directly by Dennis Zager Jr., Zager's son. I was taken aback by the courtesy and quick respond time that I received. There really isn't any company like Zager Guitars, especially at the price point that their guitars come in at. All in all, check out their guitars! // 10

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