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Well, i tried one..


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I tried a guitar,one that has caused a great controversy all over message boards everywhere.  The guitar i looked at?  A Zager Zad80ce, about a 1700 dollar git, wasnt meaning to, i was looking at an old laminated rosewood Gibson Blue Ridge.  But, honestly, the Zager was better in every single regard. The controversy stems from the fact that Zager kind of claims to make their guitars in usa, but theyre actually made in Indonesia and finally assembled in America, so made in the usa?  Meh, not really. 

However, i did still want to at least try the guitar to see if it is the total piece of crap some people say or does it make some decent sounds? 

Well, first impressions was , oh, this is a tiny body!  like a 00, so then i figured, i pray its 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 214ce deluxe with rosewood back n sides.  I mean, not even close, this reminded me of a Martin 000-28. 

Now, i am certain the brand snobs and country snobs will reply how this git is trash because its not usa made blah blah blah, but i dont think anyone who has actually played the Zad80 can say it does not sound good, it sounds like a 3500 git to me, its boomy with tons of lovely bass, its amazing to think this was only 1700??

It also felt very light, im not sure how good the construction is on these, it felt like it was fragile to be honest.  But, the cedar top and rosewood back really resonated well, this was a stage ready instrument 100%.  

Moral of the story?   Well, ive been posting on the Gibson forums 10 years and the best advice ive 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 Zagar or Breedlove plays betters 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 the first one?  Yes, and ive owned 55 guitars in my 50 years so id certainly acquire one if the opportunity presented itself.

Edited by Gibson Artist
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A few years ago I went into a local music store that had lots of high end acoustic guitars, I was looking for one with a very rich bottom end. I went through and thumped the bodies with my thumb and selected a few to play. I came home with an Ovation. It sounded unbelievable, but after a while having it slip off my knee constantly unless I was wearing strap, really started to bug me..  This was one of the best playing/sounding acoustics I have ever had, so I cut the knee slipping a lot of slack, I sold it about a year ago..

The point I drifted from was that I tried a few Identical model Ovations, they all sounded different, Including Martins Guilds Seagulls Taylors and more. Finding one that has the sound that pleases you, it doesn't matter what the brand is...

Edited by mihcmac
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That's true, Play many guitars and get the one that you can't live without. Otherwise, You may not ever bond with the 2nd or 3rd choice down the line.  The belly of the Ovation is the bad thing and there are many models to choose from also.  I keep mine on the rack and only play it sitting down.  Sounds great playing the blues.  Wouldn't mind having a Hummingbird though. 

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I agree with you, I think we all form prejudices about brands and what type of guitar we think we should play regardless of how it feels and sounds, I know I do.  I used to live in a densely populated area with a lot of guitar stores both the big box and the small shop.  I could go and play many guitars before making a choice.  Now I live in a remote area and the nearest store with any selection is about an hour away and it's a Guitar Center which is not my favorite store.  I have bought a few online from Sweetwater and the experience worked out well, but I bought purely based on my prejudices without playing them at all.  And as we all have experienced two or three of the same brand and model can vary quite a bit.

About a month ago I went to a small shop that was about a four hour drive.  I had made up my mind I wanted a Collings with and Adirondack top and this shop had two different ones to choose from (one with rosewood body the other mahogany).  I played them both and the shop owner suggested a third guitar I might like that was not Adirondack.  I ended up buying that one because it sounded better to me with the way I play.  So it's a perfect example of how experiencing it first hand is better than deciding based on type of wood, hardware, or what your guitar hero plays.

As to Ovations, I have one that my significant other willed to me when she passed.  That parabolic plastic back is really a great innovation, but the sliding off your lap thing is a problem.  I get past that by using a strap even sitting down, but the one I inherited has a narrow fingerboard and it not comfortable for me to play.  It does have really nice tone and projection though.

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