Zager ZAD 80 CE Reviews 4

25 years playing classical, recently decided to learn steel string strumming and blues. My first steel string guitar had a neck that was too narrow and action too high. I found the testimonials about the Zager and decided to give it a try.

Bought the Zager ZAD-80CE locally from another musician who used it a few years, for $600 with a Martin hard case.

This guitar has a beautiful top with a sweet sound. Neck width at nut is 1 3/4", and the neck is thin and nicely shaped Compared to dreadnoughts owned by my friends it is louder but less bright. I looked inside and the top braces are scalloped in the classic D-28 style, which probably accounts for the volume. I am used to the tone of classical guitars, so I like the cedar top, but I changed out the bridge pins for ebony and use Vintage Bronze Extra Light strings for a rounder tone. The tuner and pre-amp are handy, giving me a good range of sound shaping when plugged in. Some amps have given me feedback problems.

The veneer back is ugly, tuner is not very accurate, but gets you into the ballpark. Wasn't very well setup for my tastes. Should have been provided with a gold end-pin jack to go with the gold tuners instaed of chrome. I didn't see any evidence of the guitar being set up after manufacturing- of course I could be wrong, but the molded plastic compensated saddle and nut still had a factory finish.

I sought out the Zager after reading how well set up it is- well it was disapointing. I found the action to be on the high side, 9/64 bass and 7/64 treble side. With the neck relief set at .020 there was buzzing at the top three frets, meaning the nut was grooved too deep. I had to lower the saddle to 6/64 bass side and 4/64 treble side, file and polish the top three frets, and set the neck relief again. The laminated rosewood back is very ugly, rotary cut and not even book matched. I can see it is made with four pieces of veneer. Sides look okay though and the Top is very pretty with the abalone inlay, if you like that style. The joints in the 5-piece mahogany neckare very obvious.

I chose the Zager for the wider neck, sweet tone, and good setup. I was only disapointed on the last item. It ids fun to play and other guitarists I know like it too. This guitar is made to specification by the Korean company Samick and imported by Zager. As such it looks like alot of other OEM guitars although each may be built to different specs. Considering the huge number of competitors out there, this guitar is overpriced. I could find a solid body guitar for the price of a new Zager; the trick is finding one with a 13/4" neck width and scalloped bracing. If you buy a new Zager there is a 100% no questions money back guarantee, so conceivably you could send your guitar back to Zager until you got a good one.

Chris Andrea rated this unit 4 on 2006-11-13.

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