SteveCusu, on january 04, 2013 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 995
Purchased from: Zager
Features: Purchased New 11/29/12 from Zager in Lincoln Nebraska (Online web store).
- Style - Venetian Cutaway
- Style - OM
- Top - Western Red Cedar
- Back & Sides - Indian Rosewood
- Neck - Mahogany, Standard scale, thin profile, 1 3/4" at nut
- Headstock - Indian Rosewood
- Bracework - Zager Design (hand scalloped)
- Inlay - Full Abalone
- Fret Marker - Pearl Cross
- Pick Guard - Tortoise Shell
- Back Detail - Zipper Stripe
- Finish - High Gloss
- Truss Rod - Custom Adjustment Setting
- Built In Transducer - Fishman Clearwave60
- Built in Automatic Tuner - Fishman Chromatic
- Built in Equalizer - Fishman Bass, Mid, Treble, Notch, Brilliance, Phase
- Tuning Machines - Grover
- Nut - Zager Hand Carved
- Saddle - Tusq Hand Carved
- Strings - Zager Custom Lights (by Martin)
- Frets - Zager Soft Touch (hand filed)
- Warranty - Lifetime
- Dimensions - 40 x 19 x 9.75
- Thank You packet with T-Shirt, Picks, Strings, Autograhed Photo of Denny Zager, Helpful Information, and Web links for Tips, Care, Lessons
- Molded Case and Humidity Indicator - $95 Extra and it's very nice // 9
Sound: I favor finger picking but also flatpick. Acoustically the sound is surprisingly full and warm for a smaller body. Not as loud as my 1979 Sigma DR28 but it is more than adequate volume and more balanced across all the strings. I bought a Fishman Loudbox mini amp to go with. I found the A string was too strong but playing with the notch filter and phase corrected that; preamp controls work very well. No extraneous humming. I am inexperienced with amps so I need more time to experiment. Overall, the more I play it, the more I like it. // 9
Action, Fit & Finish: The action is the primary feature of Zager guitars. The low action, custom string spacing and thin neck make playing effortless. I can play much longer without hand fatigue and I find picking this guitar a true joy. I am generally a light player so the action is perfect for me. I encountered some minor buzzing here and there but I'm quickly adjusting to the neck. In fact my dr28 now seems hard to play in comparison. The look and finish are flawless. The western red cedar, rosewood 2-piece back, and abalone trim really are a stunning combination. I found no defects so far. // 10
Reliability & Durability: I do not play guitar in a regular band. Mostly just play at home, parties, small jams, open mikes and the like. I'm sure this guitar will more than serve my needs. I recently played a party of about 30 people in a large rec room and my Zager/Fishman combination did fine. Amp and guitar at half volume, gain 1/3, touch of reverb. Mostly standard Christmas tunes with audience sing along.
Judging durability without long term experience is subjective. The guitar hardware is top notch (Grover, Fishman) and the construction with gloss finish seems top notch so I see no reason for the guitar to fair any worse than any other instrument in this class if properly cared for. The guitar does have a very thin neck profile so that might be more susceptible to climate and abuse. // 8
Overall Impression: I'm a self-taught guitarist (former professional trumpet player). Bought my first guitar in 1979: A Japanese made Sigma DR-28. I've mostly played for myself or acoustically as an accompanist to singers in Church, small venues, parties, and open mikes. I favor folk-rock of the 60's & 70's. I recently retired and have spent more time with my guitar. I love my Sigma but thought I could benefit from a guitar with a thinner or more comfortable neck profile.
I read scores of reviews on this site and others. In my mind I wanted a Martin since that was always considered the standard. I finally went to GC and played all the Martins, Taylors, Gibsons, Seagulls, Takamines, Breedloves, and YaDaYadas. In the end, the closest thing that felt and sounded right was a Martin D28 of which is my Sigma is an exact replica. My 33 year old Sigma sounded better. I also liked a Gibson L-00 but it was a little pricey. I then came across Zager in a Google search. It sounded like what I was looking for and it had nice specs. After reading some positive and several negative reviews on this site I had some reservations. It seemed that the good reviews were from owners and the negative ones were from observers so I decided to give Zager a try (they had a money back guarantee so it looked safe).
I ordered the guitar and it arrived a few days later. It looked beautiful and the molded case was just as impressive. I went with an OM body because I wanted a more comfortable feel and was prepared to give up some volume. I was pleasantly surprised by the depth and warmth of the sound. Not a substantial loss of volume. Love the red Cedar and rosewood combination. The main thing was the ease of playing. I literally play for hours at a time now. I'm very pleased with the Zager and would not hesitate to buy another.
joe goad, on april 19, 2013 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 986
Purchased from: denny zager
Features: - Style: Dreadnought Style. Dreadnought is the most popular size of guitar in the world. If you want a guitar with bass, volume and power the full size "dread" is the only way to go.
- Style: Venetian Cutaway Style. A "Venetian Cutaway" is a guitar that has a section of the body "cut away" by the neck which makes it easier to slide your hand down low to reach chords near the sound hole. Denny braces the cutaways a little differently then his full box guitars so sound quality matches. If you' re a player that spends a lot of time on that part of the neck a cutaway box is invaluable.
- Top - Western Red Cedar Top. Western Red Cedar The most important part of an acoustic guitar is its top. The top acts like a speaker. When a string is plucked energy is transferred to the top and the top starts to move. Cedar is softer than spruce, and that softness translates into a sense of sonic warmth. Cedar guitars sound warmer, deeper and slightly richer. Used on only the highest quality acoustics in the world.
- Back & Sides - Indian Rosewood Back & Sides. Indian Rosewood One of the most popular and traditional guitar woods of all time. Where mahogany lends itself to the midrange, rosewoods sonic profile is deeper in the low end. Not to take anything away from mahogany as many players will find it difficult to tell them apart, but the dedicated ear will notice a deeper, richer, sweeter tone coming from a rosewood guitar. Many players dont know that Cedar is one of the few woods that can outperform spruce when paired with rosewood which is why Denny uses a Western red Cedar top with Indian rosewood back and sides on his 80 series guitars.
- Neck - Mahogany Neck. It is one of the most popular tone woods used on acoustic guitars for the last 50 years.
- Headstock - Indian Rosewood Headstock. Indian Rosewood Indian rosewood is commonly found on high-end guitars. This wood is heavier and more dense than mahogany and also is very stable and resonant. East Indian Rosewood is dark brown with sometimes purple-brown streaks giving a pleasant figure.
- Bracework - Zager Design (hand scalloped) Bracework. The technique of scalloping or shaving the braces can have a huge impact on the power and tone of an acoustic guitar. By shaving or reducing the thickness of the brace, it becomes more flexible and therefore lets the top move more freely. When done by a Master Luthier the brace maintains its structural integrity, while making the top more efficient. The result is faster attack, longer sustain, more bass, more power, and an overall improvement in the whole tone system.
- Inlay - Full Abalone Inlay. Full Abalone Abalone type inlay is found on only the highest quality guitars. Laid by hand one piece at a time, the color and translucence of each piece changes with different amounts of light. Not only does it add to the overall look of your guitar, but it also adds to the value. Our 80 Series guitars have an inlay rosette around the sound hole in combination with inlay around the entire face as well as small cross fret markers going up the fret board.
- Fret Marker - Pearl Cross Fret Marker. Pearl Cross Used on only the highest quality guitars. Laid by hand on the fret board one piece at a time. It's a very tedious, time consuming process but the results are breathtaking.
- Pick Guard - Tortoise Shell Pick Guard. Tortoise Shell Tortoise shell pick guard. Standard teardrop shape. Adds beauty and protects at the same time. Lifetime warranty. After years of use we'll replace your pick guard free of charge and make your guitar look new again. This is what makes our 42 year old family owned company different from the rest... We take care of our customers and they continue to come back year after year.
- Pickguard - Gloss Black Pickguard. Gloss Black Genuine glossy black pick guard. Standard teardrop shape. Adds beauty and protects your instrument at the same time. Lifetime warranty. After years of use we'll replace your pick guard free of charge and make your guitar look new again. This is what makes our 42 year old family owned company different from the rest... We take care of our customers and they continue to come back year after year.
- Back Detail - Zipper Stripe Back Detail. Zipper Stripe Laid by hand one piece at a time. Adds to the overall beauty and sets off the color of the wood. Found on only the highest quality guitars in the world.
- Finish - High Gloss Finish. High Gloss High-gloss finish provides excellent protection but at the same time is extremely light and elastic. This is a crucial point in both the sound of the guitar and its ability to age - which is what makes a guitar sound better year after year. A thick finish muffles a guitar's vibration and blocks aging.
- Truss Rod - Custom Adjustment Setting Truss Rod. Custom Adjustment Setting Denny designs his guitars with a truss rod adjustment setting that allows you to dial in your guitar to your particular playing style. In this way if you're a heavy handed player you can set the action higher so you can "get on it" a little for more power, and if you're lighter handed touch player you can dial in the action low so you can move faster and play longer with less fatigue.
- Built In Transducer - Genuine Fishman.Fishman transducers are the highest quality transducers used in acoustic guitars today. A transducer is an amplification device placed under the saddle which allows you to plug into an amplifier and play an acoustic guitar like an electric guitar. This is all run by an on-board electronics package and equalizer that allows you to control the sound. A transducer properly installed by a pro luthier will bring out the bass response and rich ambiance of your guitar's wood. Done improperly your guitar will sound flat and have uneven tone quality.
- Built in Automatic Tuner - Genuine Fishman Built in Automatic Tuner. Ask any pro who makes the finest guitar electronics systems in the world and 9 out of 10 will say Fishman. An electronic tuner allows you to tune your guitar in a fraction of the time it takes using conventional tuning methods. Simply hit a string and the LCD indicator guides you into perfect pitch. A red and green light instantly lets you know when the tune is dead on. This is a very important tool for the new player who is trying to develop and train their ear for perfect pitch. It's also helps the professional player who wants to get in perfect tune fast.
- Built in Equalizer - Genuine Fishman Built in Equalizer. Genuine Fishman Fishman equalizers are the highest quality equalizers used in acoustic guitars today. The equalizer is an electronic unit that controls the sound and volume when plugged into an amplifier or PA system. There are adjustments for highs, mids, lows, and presence. Fishman EQ's are used exclusively on high end acoustics by artists such as Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Alan Jackson and Aerosmith to name just a few.
- Tuning Machines - Genuine Grover Tuning Machines. Genuine Grover Genuine Grover sealed tuning machines are found on only the finest guitars made. Look at tuners on $2500+ acoustics and you will see the majority have "Grovers." Unlike open gear tuners where the tuning mechanism is exposed, Grover sealed tuners contain a lubricant that keep the tuning mechanism sealed air-tight so the gears turn smooth and continue to for the life of your instrument. Lifetime warranty. If you have a tuner go bad we'll replace it free of charge for life.
- Nut - Zager Hand Carved Nut. Zager Hand Carved Denny hand carves each nut for each individual guitar so the strings are set lower with custom spacing. Lower string heights make it easier to press down to form chords and it also increases finger speed. Custom spacing allows you to move faster with less buzzes, mutes, and rattles because youre no longer bumping adjacent strings. Custom string spacing makes it easier for all hands sizes big and small. Lifetime warranty. Break a nut and we'll replace it free of charge for life.
- Saddle - Tusq Hand Carved Saddle. Tusq Hand Carved Denny hand carves each saddle for each individual guitar. Denny also adjusts the intonation settings to bring the guitar harmonically in balance with itself. This not only makes your guitar easier to play, but it also makes it sound more powerful. Customers say our guitars fall into tune easier and stay in tune longer... This is one of the reasons why. Denny uses only genuine "Tusq" brand saddles on his guitars which you generally only find on higher dollar acoustics. Lifetime warranty. Break a saddle and we'll replace it free of charge for life.
- Strings - Zager Custom Lights (by Martin). Denny only uses genuine Martin guitar strings on all of his guitars. Ask any pro player who makes the highest quality strings in the world and 9 out of 10 will say Martin... since 1833. We have customers using all brands and gauges of strings on our guitars with excellent results but this is the string that Denny sets all of his guitars up with.
- Frets - Zager Soft Touch (hand filed) Frets. Denny hand files each fret one at a time on every guitar that leaves our shop. By filing the frets Denny achieves two important things. When sliding up and down the neck your fingers will no longer get irritated and sore and you won't suffer from what we call "String Bite" and overall finger fatigue. Secondly, when you file the frets by hand each fret will have the same uniform height. 9 times out of 10 when you have a buzzing string it has nothing to with your playing, it's because you have a guitar with a fret thats sitting away from the fret board hitting a string.
- Warranty - Lifetime Warranty. Our warranty is simple. Lifetime on all guitars. A quality guitar should be made to last a lifetime and if it doesn't it wasn't a quality guitar to begin with.
- Dimensions - 41 x 20 x 11 // 10
Sound: Country/bluegrass/rock/blues. Great tone and sustain nice tone and quality sound/very satisfied with sound. All controls easy to set and also have a very nice tuner built in! Best guitar sound I could ask for! Works great with small amp.great sound and can play on low volume with great output! Nice sound any way I have played and type of music! Very satisfied with sound and electronic controls. Look at the rest and then look at Zager if you want the best! Tired of the same'o same'o buy a Zager! Zager equals happy customers! // 10
Action, Fit & Finish: Totally setup perfect! True craftsman that cannot be beat! This guitar says it all! I have compared to many other brands and I am so glad I bought this guitar! Pickups work great! Bracing is excellent! Tuners excellent! This guitar has no flaws! Every aspect of this guitar is on the money! Denny Zager is a true craftsman and makes quality you can depend on always! Look at others and it is so easy to find flaws! Not Zager! They do what they say they do with total pride and quality workmanship! Tuners to high quality wood to total setup they always do their work right every time! These guitars be around and still be playable long after the year 2525. // 10
Reliability & Durability: Live play! Will take a picking and keep on producing quality sound time after time! Hardware is top quality solid strap buttons. Will use without a backup guitar. Nice finish and will last! They go the extra mile on all aspects of their work! Real craftsman that knows his trade very well! Great investment 100 percent backed by Denny Zager! No long phone calls long hours of waiting just to get something that they will help with right away! Great people who care and can be trusted to give quality service when you need it! They are the ultimate guitar company! // 10
Overall Impression: Country, bluegrass, gospel music. Z80, Z50, Dean Dreadknot, several Esteban guitars for family to play when they want to learn to play! I also just recently purchased a Fretlight Guitar for helping grand children learn! Have look at several guitars and compared and Zager caught my eye! Price and quality no one can match! Lost or stolen will always be Zager guitars! Period. I hate overpriced equipment for music! They are not always top of the line for a high price! Wish I had a Baby Zager for my new grandson to learn on! He is alsum! // 10
mikeyschair, on may 03, 2013 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 1095
Purchased from: Dennis Zager
Features: Ok now! I am fishing around for THE ONE in guitars. I've got the money to get one that is really good and will sustain itself for a couple generations or so. One that fits not only to my body, but to my ears. One that has that phat sound when strummed and that articulate capture of each string as a player gives each string its own attention. With the Western Red Cedar and the Indian Rosewood back and sides, along with the expert craftsmanship that goes into each guitar, especially mine, heh heh! Seriously though, for the price, the attention to quality and workmanship, the inspiration to produce the best sound from the best sound, this guitar - Zager ZAD-80CE OM - is by far, and I mean really far, the nicest to hold, best sounding, best feeling guitar I have ever picked up! From the rich sounds of the resonating woods, to the high end electronics with tuner, to the ease of play without trying, this guitar is hands down the best I have ever picked up in 40 years. I am so glad I took the time to research and ask questions cause the Zager's were right there to answer all questions and give me solid answers with beating around the bush. // 10
Sound: I can plug into our sound system or mic it in from an amp or just amp up! With the rich sound and professional electronics, one is sure to get exactly what is required to put on a good show, or just noodle around in any style you choose. The playability is soo intense that you will forget your still playing an acoustic instead of an electric. Really! In fact, you may just forget your playing period? Moving the controls around to make your own sound is easy and quick. With the Fishman Clear Wave 60, your sure to get that special tone and sound that puts you right were you would like to be. // 10
Action, Fit & Finish: Being a medium to small person, I have great comfort in holding a guitar that doesn't take up more room than I do. This is the guitar for that reason alone. The OM version of the ZAD-80 series has just the right fit for a smaller person, both in girth, weight and height. I was so amazed to unpack it, tuned up two strings slightly, and then played and played and played. It stays in tune even when you use a capo. The playability of this guitar is even more surprising when you are playing up the neck. It keeps its tone pretty dang true! The finish is so bright and clear, with subtle runs of the grain on the face and the deep, wide grain runs of the Indian Rosewood on the sides and back, well, wear your sunglasses if I get the wax out! // 10
Reliability & Durability: Like I said, this is "The One" and I done a lot of checking to come to this conclusion that I feel this ZAD-80CE OM will make it to the next couple generations for sure. And with care, it may just become a standard relic that is sought after for it's attributes, and this one has a lot of them! The Grover 18:1 ratio Machine Heads (Tuners) are a plus for getting that just right pitch. The inlay that surrounds the body face and the sound hole and the neck, is a real eye catcher when your up there in the lights showing them all you got what it takes to get it done rightly. I feel this guitar is solid and worthy of being classed up there with the big ones, but in a class all it's own. I would certainly trust this guitar to not have a backup. The quality really is amazing! // 10
Overall Impression: I play old classic rock, old and new country, various types of folk and ballad and some easy listening. With effects I can bat out some OK leads riffs with the right settings. The acoustic capabilities are totally stunning! It has its own voice and it sings like an angle. This handles pretty much all I have to give it. After 40 + years of playing, I am very happy to get the one I always wish I had... Yep, this is it all right! If this were stolen, I would have a very bad day if I couldn't afford to get another one. Like loosing and arm! I just love the rich colors and the grains of wood. It shines so brightly in the lights. I love the way it feels, looks and certainly the way it sounds! There is nothing negative about this guitar so I have nothing to add to the hate pile in this questionnaire, meaning that there is absolutely nothing to hate or even dislike! // 10