Zager Guitars?

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Zager Guitars?

Postby hollywoodmark » Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:43 pm

OK, guys, here's another obscure-guitar question. Does anyone own or have experiene with a Zager acoustic? They appear to be very well-made, and I keep reading how they're as good as Martins, etc. But I've also seen a snarky post or two re how Denny Zager--the brains behind these guitars--is a huckster. All he does is juice up some cheap overseas guitars and stick his name on 'em.

Anyone out there have a reality check for me? I'm pretty tempted by a 3/4-scale model I've played. Thanks.
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Re: Zager Guitars?

Postby rustyslide » Tue Mar 01, 2011 3:17 pm

"EZ-Play" is his brand? Are they on sale "tonite"?

For similar money you can get a less cheesy and very well made Chinese acoustic from Blueridge or Eastman— a guitar doesn't look like it's sprayed in plastic.
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Re: Zager Guitars?

Postby hollywoodmark » Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:31 pm

Thanks, Rusty, for your candor and advice.
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Re: Zager Guitars?

Postby The Breeze » Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:46 pm

Hmmm... I've just had a look on HarmonyCentral.com user reviews.

Most of the reviews read like an advert, and are written in a different style to the normal user review.
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Re: Zager Guitars?

Postby Neal » Wed Mar 02, 2011 2:24 am

Go to the harmony central forum and read what the folks say.

I have no experience with them, but there is no "string science", other than what your good guitar tech can do. I understand that he shaves the treble side, could be wrong, and this allows lower action. Super, electric guitar-like low action on an acoustic is possible, but it's a tone and volume killer.
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Re: Zager Guitars?

Postby ricbleu » Thu Mar 03, 2011 2:04 am

Neal wrote: Super, electric guitar-like low action on an acoustic is possible, but it's a tone and volume killer.


It's a bit off subject but what would you advise as a satisfactory action at 12th for best tone and volume, Neal? My principal guitar is a Larrivee L03R. Thanks :D
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Re: Zager Guitars?

Postby Neal » Thu Mar 03, 2011 12:18 pm

ricbleu wrote:
Neal wrote: Super, electric guitar-like low action on an acoustic is possible, but it's a tone and volume killer.


It's a bit off subject but what would you advise as a satisfactory action at 12th for best tone and volume, Neal? My principal guitar is a Larrivee L03R. Thanks :D


I have never measured or set up my guitars, so I'd have absolutely no idea, but I know someone around here does.
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Re: Zager Guitars?

Postby The Breeze » Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:06 pm

ricbleu wrote:
It's a bit off subject but what would you advise as a satisfactory action at 12th for best tone and volume, Neal? My principal guitar is a Larrivee L03R. Thanks :D


Good to see you back Ric.
Setup is always a bit of a trade off, higher action gives better tone to a point. I have always set my guitars up to my preference and is measured with my fingers rather than a ruler, which is approx 3mm on the treble and 3.5mm on the bass on the acoustic. Some may consider this a little high but I find, apart from the better tone, that I get better control on string bends and it really helps in damping the unwanted strings. I have to point out that I rarely, if ever, play barre chords across all 6 strings.
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Re: Zager Guitars?

Postby ricbleu » Fri Mar 04, 2011 4:49 am

Thanks, Breeze, on both counts. Re the action, it turns out that my Larri is within a hair of your recommendation. But having come through my youth playing lead and looking for lighter, bendier strings, it feels wrong to seek a higher action. In playing terms though, you (or at least I) can't tell the difference when such tiny measurements are considered. I also have a lovely Larrivee classical which I really enjoy playing so there are all sorts of adjustments that you have to make and you do it unconsciously. Although I do notice the narrow 11/16 nut and shallow neck on my Epi 00 (which gets no play time so Im looking to sell) compared to the 1 3/4 on my Larri 03. But again, I soon adjust. Anyway, to bring the post back on track - Zager Guitars? Never heard of them. Peace :D
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Re: Zager Guitars?

Postby Freeman » Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:41 pm

Danny Zager, his guitars and philosophy of setup (as well as his business methods) have been thoroughly discussed at other forums for several years. His claim to fame is that his guitars are really easy to play after he does his setup magic - he gets there with really light gauge strings and very low action. I had the "pleasure" of working on one (I am an amature builder, do some setups and repairs) - it had a split soundboard from lack of humidity. I frankly didn't think that Zager's work deserved the bashing that he gets on other forums, however I also didn't think it was particularly impressive.

The one thing that people seem to object the most about is that he takes relatively inexpensive versions of PacRim guitars and after putting his name on the headstock, sells them for a whole lot more than they are probably worth. Again, read the reviews at Harmony Central and other forums, but keep in mind that most of the people commenting there really have never seen or played one.

My very limited reaction - his guitars are over priced and not worth the hype, but also not as bad as you might believe from the other forums.

To the questions about action - before I start quoting numbers I like to see a persons playing style and ask a lot of questions. Do you flat pick, finger pick, play slide, up the neck, bend strings? What gauge of strings do you like and why? Do you plug in (usually means you can tolerate a little buzzing)? Action includes not only the string height at the 12 fret but also neck relief - as the action gets lower the neck must get flatter. My personal preference for a fingerstyle guitar (with occassional down tuning and slide) is somewhere around 0.080 on the high E, 0.095 to 0.100 on the low, with relief around 0.004. A hard strummer or flatpicker might like a little higher and relief around 6 to 8 thou. Mostly slide might be even higher. I work to the final setting a little at a time - it is much easier to take a little more off the bottom of the saddle than it is to put it back on.

Bryan Kimsey set up my two Martins - I've learned a lot from trying to emulate his work

http://www.bryankimsey.com/setup/index.htm
http://www.bryankimsey.com/setup/neck_relief_1.htm
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Re: Zager Guitars?

Postby mike1212guitars » Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:46 pm

I finally bought one of his ZA 20 guitars with African Mohagany all around and paid 500. USD and Ive read some reviews and one thing Im almost certain about is it is not a chinese copy with his name on the headstock. The construction is very good and very well made unlike the guitars out of China, however the playability is not as easy as your meant to believe. The action is quite high as you go up the neck. The sound is very good and the looks are very good. The positives are the looks and the sound .The negatives are high action as you go up the neck and the fretwork could be alot better. Overall I think its a fair price for the guitar not great but fair.

As far as comparing these to Martins price for price. Its not Martin is by far the better guitar.
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