Price paid: $ 1195
Purchased from: zagerguitars.com
Sound — 10
The ZAD80CE has a bright, full sound, a nice ring to it. Stands toe-to-toe with the more expensive Martins and Taylors I've played and heard. As you might expect, the onboard Fishman gear delivers a sweet, clean sound when it's amped up, lots of clarity, great depth and really nice mids and highs. But for my money an acoustic is only as good as the what it sounds like unplugged (I tend to go unplugged anyway), and I like the sound of this Zager a lot. Really wows, and I can't wait to gig with it.
Overall Impression — 10
My Zager has very quickly become my go-to guitar, maybe my favorite of any I've owned. I've got two Adamas', a 6 and a 12, and have been playing them for decades, but I'm picking up my Zager first these days. Excellent bang for the buck. If Dennis ever makes a 12 that sounds and plays like this ZAD80CE, I'll grab it like a shot. What's been beyond impressive is how well the Zagers take care of you after the sale. They've been really nice to me, very helpful and easy to reach. Overall, I'm really happy with this guitar and with the experience of buying it. No question that I'll be buying from Zager again.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I've only had my Zager for a couple of months now, so the test of time is in the works, so to speak, but everything looks, sounds and feels good so far. Particularly loving the Cedar top, the luxurious finish and the nice detail work. Based on what Zager uses (rosewood back and sides, mahogany neck), and after carefully inspecting it, you can say it's well-crafted with the intent to last and be very reliable. All the hardware looks, feels and sounds right. Comes in a nice hardshell case, very plush.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Because I've wanted to improve my fingerpicking, I needed a guitar that I could practice with for hours, and this is where the Zager really excels. Action is the lightest and easiest I have ever played. No difficulty anywhere on the fretboard. I've been willing to sacrifice action for sound in the past, but this Zager is giving me a huge dose of both every time I play it. Quite a bit easier to fingerpick the Zager than my other dreadnoughts. Dennis is a professional musician, and he does a top-notch job on the set-up... Even adds some nice extras that I didn't expect, but they were a sweet surprise. This guitar was tuned up and ready to go from the moment I opened the box.
Features — 10
Made in 2012 in the USA. - Style: Dreadnought - Style: Venetian Cutaway - Top: Western Red Cedar - Back & Sides: Indian Rosewood - Neck: Mahogany - Headstock: Indian Rosewood - Bracework: Zager Design (hand scalloped) - Inlay: Full Abalone - Fret Marker: Pearl Cross - Pick Guard: Tortoise Shell - Pickguard: Gloss Black - Back Detail: Zipper Stripe - Finish: High Gloss - Truss Rod: Custom Adjustment Setting - Built In Transducer: Genuine Fishman - Built in Automatic Tuner: Genuine Fishman - Built in Equalizer: Genuine Fishman - Tuning Machines: Genuine Grover - Nut: Zager Hand Carved - Saddle: Tusq Hand Carved - Strings: Zager Custom Lights (by Martin) - Frets: Zager Soft Touch (hand filed) - Warranty: Lifetime - Dimensions: 41 x 20 x 11 A few months ago, I was snooping around on the web, looking for a nice acoustic that would be well suited to finger pick, hoping for a deal on a used Martin or Taylor, when I stumbled onto Zager. Hard to Imagine that they could make a high quality instrument for the prices they're asking. But, because they offer a full refund and free ship both ways, I decided to go for it. Dennis uses Grover tuners and Fishman electronics, and that got my attention. He also includes a set of Zager (Martin) strings, which is a nice touch, too.