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Unread 07-24-2004, 01:16 PM   #1
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Zager Guitars

I just joined this forum because I thought this old thread deserved response.
I ran across the thread in the archives, about the guitars set up and sold by Denny Zager (of fame from Zager & Evans one-hit-wonder "In the Year 2525).
He sells them on Ebay and from his website. Currently he sells some Sigma and Washburn, both solid-top and laminated models, along with a Dean model. His prices are under "suggested retail" but about $100 above the cheaper internet sources, so you pay for $100 set-up. (and the thread argued that you may be better off getting a set-up locally).

About 10 months ago, I was without a steel-string (I play mostly on nylon. I have limitations in my left hand). I decided to give the guy a chance. He seems very sincere.

Bottom line, he did a wonderful set-up, including reworking the nut to have wider string spacing. I got a solid top model, and it plays easier than any guitar I've tried in more than 35 years of playing. To me, it is worth the risk and the $100 for such a wonderful set-up.
(Plus, those imported guitars are really coming into their own. Workmanship, fit and finish, and materials are great. The quality of the lam. sides and back is very good-you can feel the back respond - this isn't the old-fashioned Yamaha plywood - laminates have really progressed. I'm still dead-set on solid tops, though I haven't tried any of the more recent laminated tops)
Sound? Much better than I hoped for. My classicals are very fine all-solid models. I have owned Taylors, Martins, and Guilds. Does this sound like them? No. They don't sound like each other, either. More bass than a Taylor, less than a Martin. More clarity than a Guild, less than a Taylor. More even response than a Martin, less than a Taylor.
It just sounds good, and loud despite the low action.

When I bought it, I knew it was a gamble, and I figured I would "make do" until I found something I liked better. I lost the desire for something better, and I wouldn';t let this one go - it just plays like a dream, and begs me to continue. If this one was gone, I would buy another of his before any other.

Is Zager a charlatan? I say no; he is simply sincere and is using his gifts in a useful way. Are his guitars for everyone? Nope. There are people with more refined ears than mine, and there are people with greater wants.

My bottom line is that his guitars are worth the risk, worth the price of the set-up, and still at a price that many can afford. All of the advertising claims aside (sounds like guitars worth 4 X as much, etc), he delivers a great playing, great sounding instrument, and he backs up his work. He also has on-line video instructions to make make action adjustments with the truss rod in case the action is too low or for seasonal changes - very easy to follow.
I offer that unless you know that you are among those who want "more", than these are well worth purchasing.


Last edited by cc407; 07-26-2004 at 04:52 PM.
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Unread 07-24-2004, 07:47 PM   #2
...anybody want a neaput?
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Thanks for the first-hand report, cc. Interesting to hear from someone who's actually played a Zager. I'm glad you're happy with your guitar. I know Zager gets a lot of ribbing around these boards (and others), but I don't think he's a charlatan -- at most, he's guilty of being perhaps a little overly "enthusiastic" in his ad copy.
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Unread 07-25-2004, 04:57 AM   #3
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Yeah, I've noticed the fun on other boards (he is now having a guitar made with ZAGER on the headstock at the Sigma factory - might be worth havinbg just for the chuckles at guitar gatherings!), but there were none that ever tried the guitars. I took a chance and came out happy.
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Unread 07-25-2004, 03:05 PM   #4
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I just now played a new Zager, one of the ones with his name on it. The cutaway a/e one. It was nice enough, but the action was actually too low for me, especially on the high strings. The sound was ok but not real even, as the high strings were so low the note died quickly. A very small twist of the truss rod will probably fix it easily, and that kind of thing can be very nice with not much higher action. I could barre chord much more easily than I ever have on any other acoustic guitar, though. It was nice, and the string spacing made fingerpicking easy, and flatpicking was no different than normal. Nice, and the setup is already done. I would say this is a good deal, especially if your local shop can't do this kind of work well and/or cheaply.
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Unread 07-26-2004, 04:56 AM   #5
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Come to think of it, I also adjusted the truss so the action was a little higher. Interesting to note that at the same time, there is PLENTY of bridge height.
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