Zager guitar objective review

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?
Sorry, first time poster but I see a lot of hearsay about Zager and since I actually had one built I thought I'd respond. This was a 900 full size dread but I wanted some custom inlay work and he was nice enough to add that for a small fee, although idk if they still do this as I had another friend get one and they were backed up so they weren't taking custom orders. Yes he was building from the ground up bending woods and building bracework. I think where people get confused is he said they have some smaller parts CNC'd overseas due to the cost of wood being much lower over there. Mr. Zager then does assembly here in the states. My brother was actually his neighbor so I got the opportunity to see him work in person.
 
Moderator side note:

Please be patient with new posters. They all have a five post moderation limit, and Tim and I can't always approve posts in a timely fashion. So if they seem to say one thing then not reply, that might not actually be the case, their reply may be awaiting approval.

Ok back to the topic!
 
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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.
As you said you are posting on Gibson forums I decided to look.
What I found is this post

Exactly same text, but claiming testing Zad80, not 900 and comparing it to different Taylor.

And I do not see Zager guitars in stores to go try them.
 
Sorry, first time poster but I see a lot of hearsay about Zager and since I actually had one built I thought I'd respond. This was a 900 full size dread but I wanted some custom inlay work and he was nice enough to add that for a small fee, although idk if they still do this as I had another friend get one and they were backed up so they weren't taking custom orders. Yes he was building from the ground up bending woods and building bracework. I think where people get confused is he said they have some smaller parts CNC'd overseas due to the cost of wood being much lower over there. Mr. Zager then does assembly here in the states. My brother was actually his neighbor so I got the opportunity to see him work in person.
Thanks for your reply.Was ut done recently? IGlad to hear that Mr. Zager continues working in his shop.

If you can, please share a pic or two of your Zager. Would be nice to see the custom inlay work. The dressing they do even on my production zad50 is quite nice.

As for the cnc machined small parts, it's interesting. My understanding is that if we talking wood processing cnc is used mostly for necks, fret boards and cutting holes on the tops for bridge and pins.
 
Thanks for your review and willingness to give the guitar a chance. However, I have a couple observations.

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

That’s not normal for an acoustic guitar. In fact, those strings are light even by most electric guitarists’ standards. I simply don’t believe these strings would produce the tone and volume I want in an acoustic guitar. They will be super easy to fret, and I suppose that would be “easy to play.” But quite frankly… yuck.

You described some of their claims as being on “the border of misleading.” Honestly, I think that’s generous. The whole commentary about whether they make the instruments in the USA? I’ve never, ever seen an instrument maker go so far out of their way to avoid answering that question. What you quoted as their response to your questions? That’s not acceptable to me. It’s sounds very shark-y.


For what it’s worth, the generic guitar factories in Asia turn out pretty nice guitars these days. Maybe it’s due to CNC machining or something else, but you can get a very good inexpensive guitar pretty easily these days. You can put normal acoustic guitar strings on one and get a professional setup if you really want to optimize it.
 
Thanks for your review and willingness to give the guitar a chance. However, I have a couple observations.

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

That’s not normal for an acoustic guitar. In fact, those strings are light even by most electric guitarists’ standards. I simply don’t believe these strings would produce the tone and volume I want in an acoustic guitar. They will be super easy to fret, and I suppose that would be “easy to play.” But quite frankly… yuck.

You described some of their claims as being on “the border of misleading.” Honestly, I think that’s generous. The whole commentary about whether they make the instruments in the USA? I’ve never, ever seen an instrument maker go so far out of their way to avoid answering that question. What you quoted as their response to your questions? That’s not acceptable to me. It’s sounds very shark-y.


For what it’s worth, the generic guitar factories in Asia turn out pretty nice guitars these days. Maybe it’s due to CNC machining or something else, but you can get a very good inexpensive guitar pretty easily these days. You can put normal acoustic guitar strings on one and get a professional setup if you really want to optimize it.
When looking at Zagers I watched a few Zager's vids with Mr. Zager playing their guitars. In every vid he did it so very gently that I assumed that the guitar would be buzzing otherwise. And as I read your post now I realize that this could also be due to the strings they use.
They claim their customers use their guitars for gigs. I believe this is the case. What strings they use is their choice.

As for your question about their reply to whether they make the guitars in the USA, what I posted is a direct quote from their email answering my question. Again, they did not ignore it, but that was their answer. There is a person above posting about him being to the shop and watching his guitar being built. Don't know if this is credible evidence, as there is (so far) no pictures of the guitar in question let alone the production time pics.

I believe if the guitars were indeed made in their shop in Lincoln, they would openly told so. Them posting the production pics and/or shop tour vids would have served them as the best marketing possible. Does not happen.

And I agree to what you said wrt factories in Asia. For Zager though, it seems important to emphasize on "made here in Lincoln, Nebraska" to try attracting Martin/Taylor/etc. customers. Not sure if this is going well for them.

I did not mind their marketing, but many do. They spend money on customer support and building relationships, while I think they shot themselves in the foot with their drive to make their customers believe that they produce something superior at the superior cost here in US and transfer all the benefits to their customers.

Having said all that, I still think that there is market for their instruments. My Zad50 is far from being a low quality instrument and for a fair price it would be a fair choice. No matter if it were made in Asia.
 
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.
Zager uses 11-50's on all of his models, it's well documented. It would be impossible to get a good sound out of 8's or 9's, trust me I've tried. Sully Erna of Godsmacks owns like 10 Zager's and swears by them. I saw this show in person and trust me he didn't have 8's on it lol.
 
Zager uses 11-50's on all of his models, it's well documented. It would be impossible to get a good sound out of 8's or 9's, trust me I've tried. Sully Erna of Godsmacks owns like 10 Zager's and swears by them. I saw this show in person and trust me he didn't have 8's on it lol.

No, strings are .008 - .042.
This is an OBJECTIVE review.
Contrary to "well documented" I just measure.
These are pictures I just retook:
1000008643.jpg

1000008636.jpg


1000008641.jpg
 
I am looking for a new guitar in the market and figured I wanted a Mahogany one. I guess the algorithm works like this, lol. I've been flooded with a million guitar recommendations and reviews for Martin, Taylor, Yamaha and Zager, which is funny because I've never heard of a Zager. I might get a D-120 though.

Now I went to their website and asked questions about the ZAD50CE, they do look promising. I'm not sure yet, they are cheap and the google reviews look good, basically $2000 cheaper than what I could get from other stores for the same specs. They did tell me if I don't like it, they're gonna return it (please tell me that's true lol) and refund me 100%, so I guess it isn't a bad deal. Not sure what I'll buy but your review caught my attention
 
I am looking for a new guitar in the market and figured I wanted a Mahogany one. I guess the algorithm works like this, lol. I've been flooded with a million guitar recommendations and reviews for Martin, Taylor, Yamaha and Zager, which is funny because I've never heard of a Zager. I might get a D-120 though.

Now I went to their website and asked questions about the ZAD50CE, they do look promising. I'm not sure yet, they are cheap and the google reviews look good, basically $2000 cheaper than what I could get from other stores for the same specs. They did tell me if I don't like it, they're gonna return it (please tell me that's true lol) and refund me 100%, so I guess it isn't a bad deal. Not sure what I'll buy but your review caught my attention
This guitar is not $2000 less than other guitars with the same or similar specs. In fact, looking at their website it’s not even clear to me if the back and sides are solid mahogany. Solid spruce top guitars can be found for much, much less than this.

I had a student recently purchase an amazing Eastman dreadnought for about $700. It was all solid wood and had a perfect gloss finish. The sapele back and sides were beautiful. Tone and playability were top notch.

Most important, we were able to try before his decision to buy.

I’m not so much plugging Eastman as pointing out that there are plenty of guitars from other makers with similar or even better specs than this Zager, and they do not come with some of the other concerns that online threads like these always raise that seem particularly unique to this brand.

Best luck.
 
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No, strings are .008 - .042.
This is an OBJECTIVE review.
Contrary to "well documented" I just measure.
These are pictures I just retook:
View attachment 171915

View attachment 171916


View attachment 171917
Since this thread is alive again, I was reminded of something. Unless it’s on the back, that package of guitar strings in your photo is the only string package I’ve ever seen that doesn’t list string gauges. Ever. Another new member said their string gauges were well-documented and you showed that they were wrong. They didn’t provide actual documentation.

Is their actual documentation somewhere? I’ve spent a bit of time on the Zager website. Maybe it is there, but the site is a bit of a pain to use for basic information because of all the flashy sales stuff.
 
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