Zager guitar objective review

Gress

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A while back I was referred to Zager guitars by a friend who liked his and believed it was the easiest guitar to play he ever had. I looked at Zager guitars and browsing the web got very different opinions.

On one side the reviews were all positive (many of these posted by or found by the links from Zager site), while on the other side, there were negative ones with very strong dislikes. It did not help me much, so I decided to give Zager a try.

Zager often times, if not constantly, has some “deals” on their webpage and I decided to look at an acoustic only ZAD50 model positioned as “used once by Denny. 99% flawless guitar (marks too small to appear on camera)” Of course this was just a way to offer a discounted price not saying it was discounted.

I bought it. The guitar came new in a new Zager case shipped promptly and fast. Here is what I think.

Let’s look at Zager from a few perspectives starting with the one that I believe was the most negative reviews were focusing on.

1,Company / Marketing

Zager company is very accessible with great support over all the usual communication lines. All questions / concerns are answered quickly and with no omission of customer’s specific questions. They are also doing their best to build a good and lasting relationships with the customers with free perks and in general being very supportive.

Having said that, some of the answers they provide to direct questions might be worded a bit fuzzy.

For instance, a simple question asking if the guitars are made in the USA got answered saying that no company can claim that as laws now prohibit companies to say so, unless all the materials are sourced in the USA.

Zager then provides a long list of all the parts and their particular sources – e.g. Sitka Spruce (Canada), Mahogany (Indonesia, Brazil), Indian Rosewood (India), etc. with majority of the parts: strings, nut, saddle, pins, frets, hardware, pick guards, etc (all USA).

Where the guitars are made is left for a customer to guess. No production tours or even video reviews are offered or available from the 3rd parties or at least I failed to find them.

Zager marketing is aggressive and IMO sometimes on the border of misleading. To me this was very clear from the beginning, but did not turned me off, as the customer support was there and I though the guitars would speak for themselves no matter marketing. That was one of the reasons I decided to try one.

2.Pricing

With the deal I got on that “used” ZAD50, I think it was OK. The negotiated guitar price I paid in the spring of 2022 (if I discount the listed price for the case / shipping / set-up, “free” perks etc.) would come to $550 or so. Did not care to look at what the list prices are nowadays…

3.The guitar

The guitar is very well made. The build quality is there and I did not discover any flaws. Being one step up from the bottom of their lineup (ZAD20) it’s appearance is very nice.
20231106_093611.jpg

20231106_093743.jpg

20231106_093849.jpg
This particular guitar tone is good too. Being a spruce/mahogany it is brighter than my rosewood ones and I would not compare it to Martin, as Zager do in their videos, but nonetheless. And, obviously, I can’t judge their higher positioned models with different woods.

Is the body made of solid wood or laminate? I tried my best to answer this to myself. What I believe is the top is made of the solid wood, but the back and sides seem to be laminate judged by the grain patterns.

Tuners and all the other parts are high quality.
20231106_093804.jpg

Now to the set-up and how easy is the guitar to play question.

The guitar comes with what Zager calls “Zager E-Z play “Pillow Touch” coated strings. You can see how the marketing is going on here J There is no gauge listed or where the strings are made label on the pack.

Now to the measurements done by me.

Strings are .008 - .042 i.e extra light

The nut measures at 1.737” (i.e. qualifies as 1-3/4)

String spacing at the nut is 1.522” and 2.179” at the saddle

The neck is similar to Martin’s modified low oval and measures 4.5” at the nut and 5.5” at 12th fret circumference including fretboard.

For the comparison here are the measurements of my 2022 Martin GPC16e (with Martin modified low oval neck)
20231224_155442.jpg

Martin GPC16e nut measures at 1.750” exactly

String spacing at the nut is 1.538” and 2.165” at the saddle

Martin’s modified low oval neck measures 4.562” at the nut and 5.415” at 12th fret circumference including fretboard.

So as we see, Zager marketing claims that the neck is special and strings spacing is wider than others aren’t true.

With neck relief of .003” the strings height at my ZAD50 is currently at 2.1mm low E and 1.5mm high E
20240102_145346.jpg

20240102_145428.jpg

vs my Martin with neck relief of .008” at 2.1mm low E and 1.75mm high E
20231214_152900.jpg

20231214_152947.jpg

So is ZAD50 easier to play? Yes it is, but with my current Martin setup not by much.

The main difference is coming from the strings. I use Martin’s Flexible Core Tommy Emmanuel 12-54 strings on my Martin vs Pillow touch (Oh, boy) extra lights on Zager.

Strings height between the two guitars is similar with no buzzing on Martin and some buzzing with heavier playing on Zager. If I wanted no buzzing on Zager, I would need to increase the neck relief which in turn would make the strings higher.

Spring spacing is very similar, but with E to e string distance at the nut is 1.522” on Zager vs 1.538” on Martin if you are after more space then contrary to Zager claims that their spacing is wider, Martin nut spacing wins.

The E to e distance is larger at the saddle on Zager measuring at 2.179” vs 2.165” on Martin. With this little difference, it makes the strings closer to the neck edges on Zager and I can feel it from fret 7 up. I like my Martin better.

Neck shape is very similar to me and I do not have a preference here. I like them both. The main difference I feel is that Zager neck is polished vs Martin is satin. However to me it does not matter.

Which setup is better for me? The answer is the Martin and I play it way more than my Zager. Obviously, I like Martin tone much more too :)

So in summary would I recommend Zager guitar? It depends on 3 things. Is this for someone who is new to guitars (as it comes pre-set for easy play)? Is the price right (esp. if the nicer looks is important)? Can a person live with Zager marketing? If the answer for all 3 questions is Yes, then I would suggest to look at the Zager. And the customer support from Zager is excellent.

If it is for someone experienced, then I would not take my freedom to suggest it.

I hope this would be useful for some who is considering Zager guitars.
 
That was an excellent indepth review, you hit all the important points very well. As soon as you mention the string sizes (extra lights) I knew where this is going, coupled with a low action makes any guitar easy to play. Thanks for taking the time and effort for doing such a through review of the Zager guitar.
 
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Not come across Zager before, found this interesting! There are so many red flags for me here I'll never be tempted but I really appreciate you taking the time. If you find yourself having to guess if the wood is solid or laminate then who knows what else they're hiding in the construction?
 
That was an excellent indepth review, you hit all the important points very well. As soon as you mention the string sizes (extra lights) I knew where this is going, coupled with a low action makes any guitar easy to play. Thanks for taking the time and effort for doing such a through review of the Zager guitar.
Thanks. I think that is exactly the setup they are after to deliver on the easy play promise.
 
Thanks I hadn't heard about these in many years. I assume that as soon as one changed to 13s strings (my preference}) the thing would be unplayable.
I found old threads talking about Zager being Sigmas. I do not know if this is true or not.

I may give it a try with 13s out of curiosity. I honestly do not see a reason for the guitar to become unplayable. It has a truss rod and undoubtedly could be adjusted, if necessary.

I just do not think that it has something special in the design that makes it easier to play than any other with similar setup.
 
Very thorough review, thanks. I heard about Zager a while back and got curious, but not enough to pull the trigger. I've found that when a company obscures or is not up front with where a product is made, it usually means China, however I remember finding a couple of posts on other forums saying they are made in Indonesia and finished in the US. With as cheap as their prices are, they are definitely made overseas.
 
A while back I was referred to Zager guitars by a friend who liked his and believed it was the easiest guitar to play he ever had. I looked at Zager guitars and browsing the web got very different opinions.

On one side the reviews were all positive (many of these posted by or found by the links from Zager site), while on the other side, there were negative ones with very strong dislikes. It did not help me much, so I decided to give Zager a try.

Zager often times, if not constantly, has some “deals” on their webpage and I decided to look at an acoustic only ZAD50 model positioned as “used once by Denny. 99% flawless guitar (marks too small to appear on camera)” Of course this was just a way to offer a discounted price not saying it was discounted.

I bought it. The guitar came new in a new Zager case shipped promptly and fast. Here is what I think.

Let’s look at Zager from a few perspectives starting with the one that I believe was the most negative reviews were focusing on.

1,Company / Marketing

Zager company is very accessible with great support over all the usual communication lines. All questions / concerns are answered quickly and with no omission of customer’s specific questions. They are also doing their best to build a good and lasting relationships with the customers with free perks and in general being very supportive.

Having said that, some of the answers they provide to direct questions might be worded a bit fuzzy.

For instance, a simple question asking if the guitars are made in the USA got answered saying that no company can claim that as laws now prohibit companies to say so, unless all the materials are sourced in the USA.

Zager then provides a long list of all the parts and their particular sources – e.g. Sitka Spruce (Canada), Mahogany (Indonesia, Brazil), Indian Rosewood (India), etc. with majority of the parts: strings, nut, saddle, pins, frets, hardware, pick guards, etc (all USA).

Where the guitars are made is left for a customer to guess. No production tours or even video reviews are offered or available from the 3rd parties or at least I failed to find them.

Zager marketing is aggressive and IMO sometimes on the border of misleading. To me this was very clear from the beginning, but did not turned me off, as the customer support was there and I though the guitars would speak for themselves no matter marketing. That was one of the reasons I decided to try one.

2.Pricing

With the deal I got on that “used” ZAD50, I think it was OK. The negotiated guitar price I paid in the spring of 2022 (if I discount the listed price for the case / shipping / set-up, “free” perks etc.) would come to $550 or so. Did not care to look at what the list prices are nowadays…

3.The guitar

The guitar is very well made. The build quality is there and I did not discover any flaws. Being one step up from the bottom of their lineup (ZAD20) it’s appearance is very nice.
View attachment 165295

View attachment 165296

View attachment 165297
This particular guitar tone is good too. Being a spruce/mahogany it is brighter than my rosewood ones and I would not compare it to Martin, as Zager do in their videos, but nonetheless. And, obviously, I can’t judge their higher positioned models with different woods.

Is the body made of solid wood or laminate? I tried my best to answer this to myself. What I believe is the top is made of the solid wood, but the back and sides seem to be laminate judged by the grain patterns.

Tuners and all the other parts are high quality.
View attachment 165298

Now to the set-up and how easy is the guitar to play question.

The guitar comes with what Zager calls “Zager E-Z play “Pillow Touch” coated strings. You can see how the marketing is going on here J There is no gauge listed or where the strings are made label on the pack.

Now to the measurements done by me.

Strings are .008 - .042 i.e extra light

The nut measures at 1.737” (i.e. qualifies as 1-3/4)

String spacing at the nut is 1.522” and 2.179” at the saddle

The neck is similar to Martin’s modified low oval and measures 4.5” at the nut and 5.5” at 12th fret circumference including fretboard.

For the comparison here are the measurements of my 2022 Martin GPC16e (with Martin modified low oval neck)
View attachment 165299

Martin GPC16e nut measures at 1.750” exactly

String spacing at the nut is 1.538” and 2.165” at the saddle

Martin’s modified low oval neck measures 4.562” at the nut and 5.415” at 12th fret circumference including fretboard.

So as we see, Zager marketing claims that the neck is special and strings spacing is wider than others aren’t true.

With neck relief of .003” the strings height at my ZAD50 is currently at 2.1mm low E and 1.5mm high E
View attachment 165300

View attachment 165301

vs my Martin with neck relief of .008” at 2.1mm low E and 1.75mm high E
View attachment 165302

View attachment 165303

So is ZAD50 easier to play? Yes it is, but with my current Martin setup not by much.

The main difference is coming from the strings. I use Martin’s Flexible Core Tommy Emmanuel 12-54 strings on my Martin vs Pillow touch (Oh, boy) extra lights on Zager.

Strings height between the two guitars is similar with no buzzing on Martin and some buzzing with heavier playing on Zager. If I wanted no buzzing on Zager, I would need to increase the neck relief which in turn would make the strings higher.

Spring spacing is very similar, but with E to e string distance at the nut is 1.522” on Zager vs 1.538” on Martin if you are after more space then contrary to Zager claims that their spacing is wider, Martin nut spacing wins.

The E to e distance is larger at the saddle on Zager measuring at 2.179” vs 2.165” on Martin. With this little difference, it makes the strings closer to the neck edges on Zager and I can feel it from fret 7 up. I like my Martin better.

Neck shape is very similar to me and I do not have a preference here. I like them both. The main difference I feel is that Zager neck is polished vs Martin is satin. However to me it does not matter.

Which setup is better for me? The answer is the Martin and I play it way more than my Zager. Obviously, I like Martin tone much more too :)

So in summary would I recommend Zager guitar? It depends on 3 things. Is this for someone who is new to guitars (as it comes pre-set for easy play)? Is the price right (esp. if the nicer looks is important)? Can a person live with Zager marketing? If the answer for all 3 questions is Yes, then I would suggest to look at the Zager. And the customer support from Zager is excellent.

If it is for someone experienced, then I would not take my freedom to suggest it.

I hope this would be useful for some who is considering Zager guitars.
So the $500 Zager plays easier/faster than the $2000 Martin
 
A while back I was referred to Zager guitars by a friend who liked his and believed it was the easiest guitar to play he ever had. I looked at Zager guitars and browsing the web got very different opinions.

On one side the reviews were all positive (many of these posted by or found by the links from Zager site), while on the other side, there were negative ones with very strong dislikes. It did not help me much, so I decided to give Zager a try.

Zager often times, if not constantly, has some “deals” on their webpage and I decided to look at an acoustic only ZAD50 model positioned as “used once by Denny. 99% flawless guitar (marks too small to appear on camera)” Of course this was just a way to offer a discounted price not saying it was discounted.

I bought it. The guitar came new in a new Zager case shipped promptly and fast. Here is what I think.

Let’s look at Zager from a few perspectives starting with the one that I believe was the most negative reviews were focusing on.

1,Company / Marketing

Zager company is very accessible with great support over all the usual communication lines. All questions / concerns are answered quickly and with no omission of customer’s specific questions. They are also doing their best to build a good and lasting relationships with the customers with free perks and in general being very supportive.

Having said that, some of the answers they provide to direct questions might be worded a bit fuzzy.

For instance, a simple question asking if the guitars are made in the USA got answered saying that no company can claim that as laws now prohibit companies to say so, unless all the materials are sourced in the USA.

Zager then provides a long list of all the parts and their particular sources – e.g. Sitka Spruce (Canada), Mahogany (Indonesia, Brazil), Indian Rosewood (India), etc. with majority of the parts: strings, nut, saddle, pins, frets, hardware, pick guards, etc (all USA).

Where the guitars are made is left for a customer to guess. No production tours or even video reviews are offered or available from the 3rd parties or at least I failed to find them.

Zager marketing is aggressive and IMO sometimes on the border of misleading. To me this was very clear from the beginning, but did not turned me off, as the customer support was there and I though the guitars would speak for themselves no matter marketing. That was one of the reasons I decided to try one.

2.Pricing

With the deal I got on that “used” ZAD50, I think it was OK. The negotiated guitar price I paid in the spring of 2022 (if I discount the listed price for the case / shipping / set-up, “free” perks etc.) would come to $550 or so. Did not care to look at what the list prices are nowadays…

3.The guitar

The guitar is very well made. The build quality is there and I did not discover any flaws. Being one step up from the bottom of their lineup (ZAD20) it’s appearance is very nice.
View attachment 165295

View attachment 165296

View attachment 165297
This particular guitar tone is good too. Being a spruce/mahogany it is brighter than my rosewood ones and I would not compare it to Martin, as Zager do in their videos, but nonetheless. And, obviously, I can’t judge their higher positioned models with different woods.

Is the body made of solid wood or laminate? I tried my best to answer this to myself. What I believe is the top is made of the solid wood, but the back and sides seem to be laminate judged by the grain patterns.

Tuners and all the other parts are high quality.
View attachment 165298

Now to the set-up and how easy is the guitar to play question.

The guitar comes with what Zager calls “Zager E-Z play “Pillow Touch” coated strings. You can see how the marketing is going on here J There is no gauge listed or where the strings are made label on the pack.

Now to the measurements done by me.

Strings are .008 - .042 i.e extra light

The nut measures at 1.737” (i.e. qualifies as 1-3/4)

String spacing at the nut is 1.522” and 2.179” at the saddle

The neck is similar to Martin’s modified low oval and measures 4.5” at the nut and 5.5” at 12th fret circumference including fretboard.

For the comparison here are the measurements of my 2022 Martin GPC16e (with Martin modified low oval neck)
View attachment 165299

Martin GPC16e nut measures at 1.750” exactly

String spacing at the nut is 1.538” and 2.165” at the saddle

Martin’s modified low oval neck measures 4.562” at the nut and 5.415” at 12th fret circumference including fretboard.

So as we see, Zager marketing claims that the neck is special and strings spacing is wider than others aren’t true.

With neck relief of .003” the strings height at my ZAD50 is currently at 2.1mm low E and 1.5mm high E
View attachment 165300

View attachment 165301

vs my Martin with neck relief of .008” at 2.1mm low E and 1.75mm high E
View attachment 165302

View attachment 165303

So is ZAD50 easier to play? Yes it is, but with my current Martin setup not by much.

The main difference is coming from the strings. I use Martin’s Flexible Core Tommy Emmanuel 12-54 strings on my Martin vs Pillow touch (Oh, boy) extra lights on Zager.

Strings height between the two guitars is similar with no buzzing on Martin and some buzzing with heavier playing on Zager. If I wanted no buzzing on Zager, I would need to increase the neck relief which in turn would make the strings higher.

Spring spacing is very similar, but with E to e string distance at the nut is 1.522” on Zager vs 1.538” on Martin if you are after more space then contrary to Zager claims that their spacing is wider, Martin nut spacing wins.

The E to e distance is larger at the saddle on Zager measuring at 2.179” vs 2.165” on Martin. With this little difference, it makes the strings closer to the neck edges on Zager and I can feel it from fret 7 up. I like my Martin better.

Neck shape is very similar to me and I do not have a preference here. I like them both. The main difference I feel is that Zager neck is polished vs Martin is satin. However to me it does not matter.

Which setup is better for me? The answer is the Martin and I play it way more than my Zager. Obviously, I like Martin tone much more too :)

So in summary would I recommend Zager guitar? It depends on 3 things. Is this for someone who is new to guitars (as it comes pre-set for easy play)? Is the price right (esp. if the nicer looks is important)? Can a person live with Zager marketing? If the answer for all 3 questions is Yes, then I would suggest to look at the Zager. And the customer support from Zager is excellent.

If it is for someone experienced, then I would not take my freedom to suggest it.

I hope this would be useful for some who is considering Zager guitars.
Zager guitars are 100% made in the USA as I watched Mr. Zager build mine in his shop in Lincoln, Nebraska, it took almost 3 months. They have an "EZ-Play" line of childrens guitars they donate to public schools which are made in Indonesia. https://lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=14385 If it says Zager on the headstock it's USA. If it says "Easy Play" on the headstock it's Indonesian. I've been playing for almost 40 years and in that time I've owned many different brands, Martin, Gibson, Taylor, Fender, Alvarez, Ibanez, Washburn, Squier, Takamine. Zager is the best guitar I've owned. The craftsmanship and detail he puts into his guitars is incredible. They're a family owned operation, the kind I like to support. I also found out Tommy Emmanuel plays them. (#1 player in the world)
 
So the $500 Zager plays easier/faster than the $2000 Martin
Well, not sure what was your point. I believe that Zager is easier to play out of the box, as Martin factory setup has higher action as it is set per their spec. I set it lower to my likings. The two are very comparable now, however Zager has lighter strings and has some buzzing, while Martin does not.
 
Zager guitars are 100% made in the USA as I watched Mr. Zager build mine in his shop in Lincoln, Nebraska, it took almost 3 months. They have an "EZ-Play" line of childrens guitars they donate to public schools which are made in Indonesia. https://lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=14385 If it says Zager on the headstock it's USA. If it says "Easy Play" on the headstock it's Indonesian. I've been playing for almost 40 years and in that time I've owned many different brands, Martin, Gibson, Taylor, Fender, Alvarez, Ibanez, Washburn, Squier, Takamine. Zager is the best guitar I've owned. The craftsmanship and detail he puts into his guitars is incredible. They're a family owned operation, the kind I like to support. I also found out Tommy Emmanuel plays them. (#1 player in the world)

Nice.
You are the only person whom I've heard saying they watched production. Not doing final inspection / setup etc, but production of a guitar. Lovely.

How was your guitar built, if I may ask?
Was it built from scratch (wood blanks, boards, etc.) or from some kind of pre-made parts?

And was it a custom or a production guitar?
If it took almost 3 months, I assume it was special order, as their production model prices are lower than Mr. Zager's 3 month labor cost would've been let alone material cost.

Interesting. I never asked if they take custom orders.

What model and specs is your Zager?
 
Nice.
You are the only person whom I've heard saying they watched production. Not doing final inspection / setup etc, but production of a guitar. Lovely.

How was your guitar built, if I may ask?
Was it built from scratch (wood blanks, boards, etc.) or from some kind of pre-made parts?

And was it a custom or a production guitar?
If it took almost 3 months, I assume it was special order, as their production model prices are lower than Mr. Zager's 3 month labor cost would've been let alone material cost.

Interesting. I never asked if they take custom orders.

What model and specs is your Zager?
Not sure that was a real person...new account, only one post and it's to defend Zager? Same with the one saying the Zager plays better than your Martin. Seems fishy. I popped over to the Acoustic Guitar Forum and they've got a lot to say about Zager....none of it good. They don't like them over there due to deceptive marketing and sales tactics. They say they are cheap Asian-made guitars just given a particular low setup with extra light strings. Emails they've sent to the company don't get real answers; lots of "our attorney said we're not allowed to talk about this because the patent is pending" but when they dug into it, the patents have been rejected. Marketing laminate back and sides as "100% wood." Someone had a friend who asked for a specific setup and was told no, they only come one way. One guy emailed the company asking questions about specifics of the guitar and they offered to just buy it back from him at full price, shipping included. Very strange behavior. Not to thrash a company, but when their whole website looks/reads like an infomercial...I'm inclined to give it a pass.

Reminds me a lot of a certain uke dealer...
 

Oldgitplayer1 said, "Tommy Emmanuel plays them. (#1 player in the world)"

Tommy is an amazingly good guitarist, but calling him the "#1 player in the world" is making a basic assumption and assuming that you've heard every player in the world.
Now if he'd called Tommy "My favourite guitar player in the world" it wouldn't have bothered me at all.

 

Oldgitplayer1 said, "Tommy Emmanuel plays them. (#1 player in the world)"

Tommy is an amazingly good guitarist, but calling him the "#1 player in the world" is making a basic assumption and assuming that you've heard every player in the world.

Now if he'd called Tommy "My favourite guitar player in the world" it wouldn't have bothered me at all.

Exactly.
Tommy Emmanuel is amazing talent and one heck of a player. However, it seems to me that the reference to him on that post was done to promote Zager as a guitar Tommy plays, not so much to position Tommy at #1 player in the world.

I was interested to see if indeed Tommy Emmanuel plays Zager guitars. I did some searching but failed to find any evidence that he does. The video posted was the only one I found. The only thing I found was that same video with the description saying that Tommy Emanuel plays this Zager guitar on a bus during a trip.

Saying that Tommy Emmanuel "plays them" (Zagers) is an example of another statement which is misleading.

This type of the argument on that post above seems going along the lines of Zager marketing that lists every known player who "plays Zagers" on their webpage. Is that true? At least with Tommy we can clearly see what guitars he plays.

Finally, even if he was, what does it prove? He plays Matons as we all know. Does it make the Maton better than other brands? He, obviously, likes them, as many do. What does it prove?
 
Not sure that was a real person...new account, only one post and it's to defend Zager? Same with the one saying the Zager plays better than your Martin. Seems fishy. I popped over to the Acoustic Guitar Forum and they've got a lot to say about Zager....none of it good. They don't like them over there due to deceptive marketing and sales tactics. They say they are cheap Asian-made guitars just given a particular low setup with extra light strings. Emails they've sent to the company don't get real answers; lots of "our attorney said we're not allowed to talk about this because the patent is pending" but when they dug into it, the patents have been rejected. Marketing laminate back and sides as "100% wood." Someone had a friend who asked for a specific setup and was told no, they only come one way. One guy emailed the company asking questions about specifics of the guitar and they offered to just buy it back from him at full price, shipping included. Very strange behavior. Not to thrash a company, but when their whole website looks/reads like an infomercial...I'm inclined to give it a pass.

Reminds me a lot of a certain uke dealer...
That person (as the other one) clearly is a new account. They may or may not come here to "defend" or promote Zager.

In any case, I was and still interested to learn more about Mr. Zager 3 months or so production of one guitar. I want to give that new member the benefit of the doubt and would appreciate him coming here and sharing the details.

Thank you for the nice summary of the Zager discussions on Acoustic Guitar Forum. I am a member over there. My problem was that I could not find any recent threads with opinions on Zager couple years back when I was looking to buy one.

We know all the companies change with time. Some to the better, some to the worse. My understanding is that at some time in the past Zager were using Sigmas (I could be wrong on that), but what do they do now? Are their guitars solid wood? Do they make them here in the USA? I failed to find my answers on Acoustic Guitar Forum as nobody shares anything about Zager anymore.

Then I found the reason for that and it is that the owners there posted the rule (as stated in the FAQ section) "Highly contentious discussions will not be allowed on the forum." and that they have decided to include Zager threads in the above rule. So no recent Zager threads. Which resulted in me buying a Zager to check it out myself :)

Hence my post here.
 
Then I found the reason for that and it is that the owners there posted the rule (as stated in the FAQ section) "Highly contentious discussions will not be allowed on the forum." and that they have decided to include Zager threads in the above rule. So no recent Zager threads.
Makes sense. In all of the Zager threads I looked at, there was at least one person saying something to the effect of "oh, this again? Just read the other threads."

They had nice things to say about their picks, though.
 
Makes sense. In all of the Zager threads I looked at, there was at least one person saying something to the effect of "oh, this again? Just read the other threads."

They had nice things to say about their picks, though.
Ha-ha, right! :)
 
At some point in time, Zager became a paid sponsor on the AGF which by house rules stopped any public bad mouthing of the brand. Not sure where that stands currently as I tend to drift in and out of that forum over the years.
 
At some point in time, Zager became a paid sponsor on the AGF which by house rules stopped any public bad mouthing of the brand. Not sure where that stands currently as I tend to drift in and out of that forum over the years.
I believe it's still the case.
 
A while back I was referred to Zager guitars by a friend who liked his and believed it was the easiest guitar to play he ever had. I looked at Zager guitars and browsing the web got very different opinions.

On one side the reviews were all positive (many of these posted by or found by the links from Zager site), while on the other side, there were negative ones with very strong dislikes. It did not help me much, so I decided to give Zager a try.

Zager often times, if not constantly, has some “deals” on their webpage and I decided to look at an acoustic only ZAD50 model positioned as “used once by Denny. 99% flawless guitar (marks too small to appear on camera)” Of course this was just a way to offer a discounted price not saying it was discounted.

I bought it. The guitar came new in a new Zager case shipped promptly and fast. Here is what I think.

Let’s look at Zager from a few perspectives starting with the one that I believe was the most negative reviews were focusing on.

1,Company / Marketing

Zager company is very accessible with great support over all the usual communication lines. All questions / concerns are answered quickly and with no omission of customer’s specific questions. They are also doing their best to build a good and lasting relationships with the customers with free perks and in general being very supportive.

Having said that, some of the answers they provide to direct questions might be worded a bit fuzzy.

For instance, a simple question asking if the guitars are made in the USA got answered saying that no company can claim that as laws now prohibit companies to say so, unless all the materials are sourced in the USA.

Zager then provides a long list of all the parts and their particular sources – e.g. Sitka Spruce (Canada), Mahogany (Indonesia, Brazil), Indian Rosewood (India), etc. with majority of the parts: strings, nut, saddle, pins, frets, hardware, pick guards, etc (all USA).

Where the guitars are made is left for a customer to guess. No production tours or even video reviews are offered or available from the 3rd parties or at least I failed to find them.

Zager marketing is aggressive and IMO sometimes on the border of misleading. To me this was very clear from the beginning, but did not turned me off, as the customer support was there and I though the guitars would speak for themselves no matter marketing. That was one of the reasons I decided to try one.

2.Pricing

With the deal I got on that “used” ZAD50, I think it was OK. The negotiated guitar price I paid in the spring of 2022 (if I discount the listed price for the case / shipping / set-up, “free” perks etc.) would come to $550 or so. Did not care to look at what the list prices are nowadays…

3.The guitar

The guitar is very well made. The build quality is there and I did not discover any flaws. Being one step up from the bottom of their lineup (ZAD20) it’s appearance is very nice.
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This particular guitar tone is good too. Being a spruce/mahogany it is brighter than my rosewood ones and I would not compare it to Martin, as Zager do in their videos, but nonetheless. And, obviously, I can’t judge their higher positioned models with different woods.

Is the body made of solid wood or laminate? I tried my best to answer this to myself. What I believe is the top is made of the solid wood, but the back and sides seem to be laminate judged by the grain patterns.

Tuners and all the other parts are high quality.
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Now to the set-up and how easy is the guitar to play question.

The guitar comes with what Zager calls “Zager E-Z play “Pillow Touch” coated strings. You can see how the marketing is going on here J There is no gauge listed or where the strings are made label on the pack.

Now to the measurements done by me.

Strings are .008 - .042 i.e extra light

The nut measures at 1.737” (i.e. qualifies as 1-3/4)

String spacing at the nut is 1.522” and 2.179” at the saddle

The neck is similar to Martin’s modified low oval and measures 4.5” at the nut and 5.5” at 12th fret circumference including fretboard.

For the comparison here are the measurements of my 2022 Martin GPC16e (with Martin modified low oval neck)
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Martin GPC16e nut measures at 1.750” exactly

String spacing at the nut is 1.538” and 2.165” at the saddle

Martin’s modified low oval neck measures 4.562” at the nut and 5.415” at 12th fret circumference including fretboard.

So as we see, Zager marketing claims that the neck is special and strings spacing is wider than others aren’t true.

With neck relief of .003” the strings height at my ZAD50 is currently at 2.1mm low E and 1.5mm high E
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vs my Martin with neck relief of .008” at 2.1mm low E and 1.75mm high E
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So is ZAD50 easier to play? Yes it is, but with my current Martin setup not by much.

The main difference is coming from the strings. I use Martin’s Flexible Core Tommy Emmanuel 12-54 strings on my Martin vs Pillow touch (Oh, boy) extra lights on Zager.

Strings height between the two guitars is similar with no buzzing on Martin and some buzzing with heavier playing on Zager. If I wanted no buzzing on Zager, I would need to increase the neck relief which in turn would make the strings higher.

Spring spacing is very similar, but with E to e string distance at the nut is 1.522” on Zager vs 1.538” on Martin if you are after more space then contrary to Zager claims that their spacing is wider, Martin nut spacing wins.

The E to e distance is larger at the saddle on Zager measuring at 2.179” vs 2.165” on Martin. With this little difference, it makes the strings closer to the neck edges on Zager and I can feel it from fret 7 up. I like my Martin better.

Neck shape is very similar to me and I do not have a preference here. I like them both. The main difference I feel is that Zager neck is polished vs Martin is satin. However to me it does not matter.

Which setup is better for me? The answer is the Martin and I play it way more than my Zager. Obviously, I like Martin tone much more too :)

So in summary would I recommend Zager guitar? It depends on 3 things. Is this for someone who is new to guitars (as it comes pre-set for easy play)? Is the price right (esp. if the nicer looks is important)? Can a person live with Zager marketing? If the answer for all 3 questions is Yes, then I would suggest to look at the Zager. And the customer support from Zager is excellent.

If it is for someone experienced, then I would not take my freedom to suggest it.

I hope this would be useful for some who is considering Zager guitars.
I tried one. Zager's caused a lot of controversy all over message boards everywhere. The guitar I looked at? A Zad900, about a $2000 dollar git retail, wasn't meaning to, i was looking at an old rosewood Gibson Blue Ridge. But, honestly, the Zager was better in every regard. I did still want to at least try one to see if it is the total piece of crap some people say or did it make decent sounds? Well, first impression was , oh, this is a tiny body! like a 00, so then i figured, i pray it's not boxy sounding, most small gits sound like tiny boxes lol. To my surprise, it did not! Not only that but WOW this thing boomed! Like a killer Martin kind of boom. After playing it only about 3 chords in it was painfully obvious this was VASTLY SUPERIOR to my Taylor 914 deluxe with rosewood back n sides ($7k) I mean, not even close, this reminded me of a high level Martin. Now, i am certain the brand snobs and country snobs will reply how this git is trash because it's not a Martin blah blah blah, but I don't think anyone who has actually played a Zager can say they don't sound good, it sounds like a high $$ Martin to me, its boomy with tons of lovely bass, its amazing to think this was only 2k? It also felt very light, I'm not sure how good the construction is on these, it felt like it was fragile to be honest. But, the spruce top and rosewood back really resonated well, this was a stage ready instrument 100%. Moral of the story? I've been posting on the Gibson forums 10 years and the best advice I've ever received from the old timers was, forget other peoples reviews, go try the guitars out in person for yourself. You may find that an Epiphone or Zager or Breedlove plays better for you than a super expensive be all end all brand. Far too many people on all these message boards get caught up in other people's opinion and not their own. Oh and get this, I bought an Epiphone hummingbird last year, it had more sustain than 3 Gibson acoustics i played right next to, those being a j-45, j-15 and dove. So, yea, i still love Gibson, my favorites are dove and j-45s but i keep my mind open to others brands. Did i buy the Zager? Well, no, but would i trade for one? If it sang like this one YES, and I've owned 55 guitars in my 50 years so I'd certainly acquire one if the opportunity presented itself.
 
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