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andyberger

ZT-3 Initial Impressions

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so i went to go check out the new zt-3 at my local steinberger dealer. (had to drive almost 2 hrs to get there)

plugged it in, and loved the way it felt. the neck is larger than my 1990's gr-4, but very comfortable;

love the fretboard, and the metal lap thing really makes it much more comfortable to play, i thought it would useless, and i was wondering why you would need it on a non-broom shaped guitar, but it really puts the guitar in a much more natural playing position.

 

i noticed that the QA doesn't seem to be too tight, as the plastic cover on the back

did not fit correctly, and the finish was not as nice as one would expect on a $1,700 guitar.

 

i tried using the trans-trem, and it seemed to work pretty well, though the g and b strings wouldn't be exactly in tune when i transposed to different keys. (close, but not exact)

 

and even though i thought the quality could have been better for the money, i am such a die hard steinberger fan, that i had to have it. (as the gr-4 has been my main guitar since i started playing. ole reliable.) i passed on the synapses after seeing how poor the fit and finish was on the 3 guitars i got to try, and i didn't like the rolling capo. (although i do like it being a baritone.)

 

so i pay for the guitar, and ask for them to fix the set-up so it would be in tune when i transposed.

i was told it would take and hour and a half, maybe more. but i really didn't want to make another trip back out there, so i decided i would wait.

 

three and a half hours later, and they're still not done, and i need to leave, so i say, i'll just take it and adjust it myself when i get home.

 

two hours later i'm home. i take the guitar out of the bag, and strum an open e chord. (kerrang) out of tune. not just a little, but waaay out. odd, i think. oh well. tune it up to standard E, strum, ahh, better.

try transposing half a step down. (blereng!) waaay out of tune. try a different key, even worse, and another... all bad.

 

when i tried it in the store, (before adjustments) it was about 95% in good tune. now, 65%... what's going on?

 

i read the manual on how to set up the trans trem, and start following the instructions. back and forth, back and forth tuning, tuning, tuning.... and i can't even get it back to how it was at the store.

 

what gives?! something is not kosher here.

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be-em; thanks for the link. i actually saw that soon after i posted and was able to get the transposing to about 95% in tune.

it seems that 100% dead on accurate tuning is not really to be expected. but it is close.

the only thing about the video is that it does not show how to calibrate the string length.

it'll be 100% in tune when i transpose up to F#, and it'll be 98% in tune when i drop to D

but it'll be a bit off when i bring it back to E. (93%?) everything will be slightly sharp, but in tune relative to itself.

according to the video, i have to adjust some doohickys to make the stings shorter or longer, but it does not go into detail on how to do that. i haven't really looked to do that yet, because i was just happy to get it mostly working, and spent a good deal of time just playing it.

it really is a super comfortable guitar to play, and i seem to be able to play better and cleaner on this guitar than on my other guitars. (esp ltd m-1000, steinberger gr-4) i don't know why, but tremolo picking is super easy on this guitar. (ymmv)

 

* had a horrible accident that made me want to cry.

i had leaned my guitar against my amp (as i've always done with my gr-4)

and the guitar fell over, taking a big chunk out of the finish, down to the wood.

i believe it was because of where the guitar jack is located.

when setting it down the cord gets in the way of having it rest straight up and down.

it causes it to lean towards the top of the guitar (towards the low E string.)

 

for the rest of you, please be forewarned.

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Andy,

 

Sorry to hear about your accident. I just did the same thing with a new Spector bass.

 

Anyway, could you comment on the versatility of tone? How does it compare with the original GLs? I'm looking to buy one to replace my beloved GL4TA that was stolen in May. I'd kind of like a single guitar that can cover "all of the food groups:" jazzy neck, heavy humbucking bridge, and strat-like single coil (middle/neck) sounds,

 

 

-u

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i've never been a huge fan of the tone on the stock pickups, but i feel overall, the sound of the tz's are a bit warmer than the originals; probably owing to the new wood necks. and i will say that it is possible to get a pretty good range of tones, thanks to the pull pot things. (you can switch from humbucking to single coil modes.)

it's not a metal guitar, and it's not a jazz hollowbody, but i think it can be used as a jack of all trades type of guitar, which is why i got mine.

 

but ultimately, i have to say, go and try one for yourself.

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new york music

7144 market st.

boardman' date=' oh 44512

330.758.4705[/quote']

 

I'm in weekly contact with them (even though they are 3 hours away)--as of yesterday, they still have none in stock.

 

 

-u

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Here's my take so far:

 

While I typically use light strings (it's shipped with standards), the guitar feels great. For those of you who haven't played this yet and are interested:

 

Good stuff:

- Decent action and good speed.

- At first it's weird playing and not seeing that headstock. 30 mins in though, I like it much better without the headstock.

- The leg kickstand thing is great. I have a bad back, so putting my left leg up on a footstool all the time tweaks me out a bit. With the ZT3's kickstand, I can sit normal and still get the same positioning.

- Great access to the 24th fret.

- No hum after strum. You hit and stop a chord and you don't hear any ringing.

- Neck width and thickness is nice.

 

Not-so-good stuff:

- The sound is a little dull, but I'm used to the JEM's very hot pickups so I'm probably a little spoiled. Too bad there aren't options for EMG's. I will definitely want to change out the pickups at some point.

- I really can't tell much differences between the pickups, regardless of configuration.

- Cord jack is in a weird place. It really needs to be angled up. If you set your guitar down, it'll tip over. Be warned!

- It's bottom heavy. How can it not be? There's barely anthing from the neck up (sounds like some people I know).

- Doesn't come with all the wrenches for all the pieces. I guess there are nuts that they don't want you to mess with.

- My transtrem did not work out of the box. I have to go to a warranty company on day #2 of owning the instrument to see if they can make it work.

- The finish is so so. There is actually a scratch under the top layer on the top of my guitar. It's about 1/2" long. Not a huge deal, but that's a little shoddy for a $1,700 guitar.

- ...forgot one...It doesn't come with the famous rolling capo.

- You can only use the whammy bar when you are in middle (E) tuning. You can't use it in D#, D, F, or F#.

 

Hope that helps someone with choosing to go after this instrument or not!

 

-K

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Andy' date='

 

Sorry to hear about your accident. I just did the same thing with a new Spector bass.

 

Anyway, could you comment on the versatility of tone? How does it compare with the original GLs? I'm looking to buy one to replace my beloved GL4TA that was stolen in May. I'd kind of like a single guitar that can cover "all of the food groups:" jazzy neck, heavy humbucking bridge, and strat-like single coil (middle/neck) sounds,

 

 

-u[/quote']

 

Wow! Oh man, the words "my beloved GL4TA" resonated with me. Sorry to hear about your loss, man. Seriously. That was the sweetest axe I have ever owned. I sold my white GL4TA in the early 00s. Not smart. At all. Of course, I realize that nowadays.

 

I will be putting EMGs into the ZT-3. I'm still deciding whether to us the 89 or 81TW in the bridge position (have both, unopened so I can send the other one back). I will put an 89R in the neck position. I got the ZT-3 earlier this week, and the pickups. Time is pretty tight, so I may drive it to the shop to have them put in. I'll probably go with the 89 in the bridge position, since the old GL4TA used an 85 in the bridge position and the 89 is very similar to the 85, just splittable.

 

The tone versatility of the ZT-3 -- even with the "custom voiced" Gibson pickups -- is significant. Lotta sweetness. I'm sure you already know that by now, maybe you own one already. The EMGs will make this thing sound even sweeter. I have used EMGs for a long, long time and I love 'em. My ZT-3 must be loaded with EMGs.

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