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Body Style
Body Wood
Neck Wood
Fbd. Wood
Neck Joint

Top: Bubinga
(2 piece)

Sides: Soft Maple

Anigre (one piece)

624 mm


*Dual Size
Fishman Rare Earth Single Coil

Piezo: Graphtic Ghost

3-way pickup select

Piezo Volume Pot w/ push mid boost

5.7 lb
with battery



In case you have been bored with my work lately and thinking that its all the same shit, well here is something totally different for you. I hope it holds your attention for a short time at least before you go to your local guitar boutique and check out that latest plastic signature model.

This is another landmark instrument for me. To this date, it was the most difficult I have done. I don't even know where to start to explain all of its aspects.

I get angry when anyone tries to order a Zachary guitar by outlining in detail what they want or at least what their preferences may be. They don't understand why I get aggravated. The reason is that I don't think I can produce what they want and the pressure to do so frustrates me. Nothing can really be planned in terms of what I do, the way I do it, or in terms of what the end result will be. I simply don't know myself. Most of this is arrived at by chance and I don't really feel like I am in control of what develops. There must be a higher power which guides me and works through me. Strangely enough, whenever I look at a completed Zachary guitar, I don't feel that I created it at all. I feel detached from it, as if I am looking at someone else's work and I was guided beyond my own volition and simply used as a tool myself in the creation process.

For example, this guitar was supposed to be very similar to my previous hollow body 160809 My intention was to build a virtually identical hollow body. However, as I was making the top, it ended up way too thin for the jazz-style hollow body that I had planned. For several days I was facing a real dilemma as to what I should do. So much for planning, I could no longer do the hollow body I wanted. It was quite anxiety provoking to the point of depression. I had no idea what to do. I had no plans of making anything resembling what you see on this page. I was basically forced to do it, in order to save this piece from the fireplace. I had no choice and needed to be inventive. The top was too thin and drilling it for controls would have been something only a hack would do. It just would not be proper, professional or traditionally correct, things which mean nothing to a hack but are paramount to me. I am not into making Frankensteins here. Everything I do must follow strict historical reference and tradition. No longer could this guitar be what I had planned or even hoped for, it had entered a different realm and it wanted to become a very different guitar. It was in control, not me. I often feel my work is out of my control. I just hoped to save the work and make something of it. I hate waste of any type; time or materials. It felt like I was being dictated to by some other entity outside myself. Someone was speaking to me. You can see how this does not correlate with anyone's wishes for a custom guitar made to their own design and specifications. I hate the whole concept of the "custom" guitar. Its something perpetuated by all those horrible guitar magazines speaking to the hacks word wide and promoting their advertiser's demands.

This is not based on any CNC program, where you load the wood and push a button, know exactly what the machine will produce in a short time "consistently". I hate that word "consistent". Can't you understand that the word "consistent" is the antithesis of Art itself. Yet the mass-producers actually use the concept of "consistency" to sell their products to the uneducated worldwide. The excitement of my work is largely from not knowing what will result and in me acknowledging that its not within my control. Very much like writing music. Nobody really knows where it comes from or where it will end up. Its largely a mystery and must stay that way. A mass produced item made by a computer program is no bewilderment and is by default just a dead object not born from the emotions of a human and thus is devoid of life itself. A commercially mass produced instrument is nothing more than an inanimate object. An musical instrument must be a human creation. This is why a Zachary guitar is so much a reflection of life itself.

Attention Tinkerers - Don't try this at home.
I make all this look deceptively easy but as mentioned I have some unfair assistance from a higher power, which is working through me and guiding me the whole way. You would have a much harder time being on your own. Don't fool yourself, to think you can do something like this. Trust me, you can't. Instead just make it easy on yourself and buy a Taylor T5 at your local guitar boutique. I hear they are very organic.

Once I realized what I had to do to save this guitar, I had some challenging work ahead of me. How will I make this happen? I am amazed and still have no idea how I pulled it off but I do know it wasn't really just me doing it. It was a miracle to achieve this instrument and to actually have it result to be better than I ever imagined. I know I had guidance all the way. I was faced with doing many things I have never done before and was not even set up to do. I knew that even though I could secure the parts I wanted to use, most of it had to be modified to meet my specific design criteria and just to make them fit and work for this project. For example, I was not satisfied in the conventional soundhole mounting of the magnetic pickup. A tinkerer would have taken the easy way out and it would have looked like hell. I will not compromise my ideals or my vision because it eats away at me if I do. This is one of the talents I have or possibly a conditions I suffer from, which most people are not afflicted with. A more adjusted and content individual cannot be an achiever. This instrument is truly a monumental task, which you will appreciate if you keep in mind that this is not a mass produced object, worked out in advance in computer software, like the ones you see in music stores. Rather, this is something, which is the result of a series of human mistakes and imperfections and was not planned in advance in any way.

In case you don't have a perspective on its size, its the exact shape of a Gibson Les Paul. Its a small instrument and it has the vintage Gibson scale. This is a completely hollow body but by design there is a solid block underneath the bridge only, which is just slightly larger than the bridge itself. The top is sanded thin, to a thickness found on a traditional acoustic guitar. There are obviously many things here, which are a first for me, starting with the obvious; the round sound hole and the pickups. Both the Acoustic-Magnetic and the Piezo pickups are something I have never done before on any Z guitar. The headstock face veneer is also a first for me, it was cut from the same wood as the top of the guitar body.

As mentioned above, its not just a matter of installing the parts. Many things needed to be modified physically and functionally in order to make them fit and work for this instrument. The Fishman magnetic pickup needed a major facelift, I didn't want to just screw it to the top. That would have looked stupid on this instrument. This is not a conventional large acoustic with just a temporary pickup added. This is a dedicated electric/acoustic instrument, permanently designed to be what it is; a new category of instrument. The Fishman magnetic pickup was cut up with its edges reshaped. Its internal preamp was then removed and totally rewired. Its original 3V battery and terminal was broken off. Instead, I wanted it to function together with the GraphTech Piezo and to have it be power by the GraphTech's 9V battery. This meant having the Fishman magnetic pickup connected to the GraphTech preamp module, which sends the signal to the 3 way switch and to the common jack. I wanted to have both pickups run off the same jack, which also functions as a power-on switch when the cord is inserted. The Fishman had to be disassembled, its pre-amp taken out, rewired and then the fishman output wire was connected to the Graphtech preamp and power supply. Both pickups are routed to the 3-way mini switch on the control plate, which enables the guitar to use either pickup separately or together. I even modified the mini-switch by shortening its stem to make it more befitting of its location, functionally and aesthetically. Even the Piezo volume knob was customized to make it more appropriate looking. I needed to devise a new mounting system for the Fishman pickup which had all its original mounting hardware removed. Simplicity triumphs again and Velcro was the solution which holds the magnetic pickup in place, as well as the Graphtech preamp and battery inside, fastened to the bridge block.

The line connections are just as ingenious. I came up with using miniature gold plated connectors, as found on computer circuit boards, which can be disassembled in seconds and the whole system removed individually by component. Let's not forget about the pickguard and the control plate, I made them both by hand, drawing them out freehand and measuring everything. They had to be done in one take. I wouldn't have the patience to do more than one attempt anyway. I try to get things right the first time, so I don't waste material and time but having to do it over again.

There were a million other things to design in order for this guitar to come together as a flawless instrument. Spacing for everything needed to be right, Locations of everything needed to be exact and then there was the usual stuff which goes for every Z guitar, like neck pocket, neck placement, fretting, correct neck angle, accurate bridge placement, etc. As I said, don't try this, unless you are prepared to dedicate your life to your art. I truly hate tinkerers because they have not sacrificed and submitted themselves to the art and give only casual interest to it with little persistence and weak effort. In my view, they have not earned the right to even make an attempt. Well, you have to earn your way into heaven in every religion on earth. Art is no different. Its a way of life, it should never be recreation or a hobby because your results will be commensurate. Its torment, agony and suffering. The only way to archive anything.

How does it feel, play and sound? In one word "Revelation".
As you may learn here for the first time and this may be a real revelation for you; the dumb fuck playing the instrument has no business deciding on the strings used ... its the instrument which determines what strings it must have. In other words, the design and and specifications of the instrument is what determines the type of strings it must have. This guitar obviously cried out for acoustic Phosphor Bronze strings with a wound 3rd. With its short scale and small body its a true hot-rod acoustic. It plays as lightning fast as any Zachary solid body but think of an acoustic which sustains like an electric. You get the acoustic tone and attack but with the sustain of an electric, making it the most versatile instrument for almost every type of playing. Its truly an intoxicating experience. Those who know what a Zachary Guitar plays like, can imagine an acoustic playing just like it. Most people don't realize it but I am much more of an acoustic player than an electric player. I feel more at home on an acoustic and in fact for about 10 years I played acoustic exclusively and didn't even own an electric. So this guitar has now become my number one instrument.

Due to its design and sustain characteristics, this is not an instrument which should be played through some dedicated sterile solid state acoustic instrument amp. This is to be played through a tube amp and with some distortion to the sound. Unlike conventional acoustic guitars, this instrument loves distortion. You don't need much of it but you should have some of it. Because of its sustain almost any electric part can be played on it and due to reasons which allude me as well, the sound of each note is thick and huge. Its tone sounds processed, even when its not. Normally you would only achieve such thickness and depth of tone by processing an electric guitar tone through a chorus and delay and other things, but here you get it naturally. Playing this through the Zachary Skank Amp, with a little natural tube overdrive and a Reverb Pedal, produces a big spacious sound, where each single note is big and round. You tend to look at what amazing sound processor its plugged into, but there isn't one.

One of the interesting things which is evident is that using an equal amount of Magnetic and Piezo tone together is far superior tonally than using either pickup individually. I would say the Magnetic pickup can be used by itself but it still lacks the body depth response the piezo offers. The Piezo also offers a totally different attack from the Magnetic pickup. The Piezo offers that harder, much more progressive attack associated with acoustic instruments. The Piezo however, I would not use by itself. Piezo's offer this certain type of hard attack, distinctive to acoustic instruments but they lack all the other satisfying aspects of a Magnetic pickup. The fullest sound attainable and this may be the secret to the tone of this instrument is to use what both the Piezo and the Magnetic pickups offer in conjunction with the hollow construction of this instrument. The Piezo offers that distinctive acoustic attack and body depth response but the rest of the sound in terms of smoothness is comprised by what the Magnetic pickup offers. Using both pickups together is magical and leaves nothing lacking.

You must understand that this is all a surprise to me as well; a revelation. Not having planned or ever made such an instrument or even played one, I had no idea what would it sound like. Come to think of it, how may people have played an acoustic with Bronze wound strings and used both a Magnetic and Piezo pickup simultaneously. Rather you have heard many awful Piezo equipped acoustics, In most live situations you feel like getting out of there because the acoustic sound is so metallic and artificial sounding. This is not the case with this instrument. You get the idea that I an blown away by its sound.

Having said these things, this instrument will not replace an acoustic guitar. It does not have a big unplugged sound. It is meant to be plugged in and when it is this guitar truly comes alive and kicks ass. It kicks the ass of any other acoustic instrument plugged in. This guitar is so versatile - without feeding back, with its long sustain, thick sound, loving distortion - that Led Zeppelin comes to mind or almost any other electric band for that matter. Jimmy Page cold play the entire Zeppelin catalog with only this guitar, and it would be mesmerizing. This is why I say that personally its the only guitar I need.
I imagine the only type of thing it will not give you and that I would not play on it, is uber high-gain shredding or a Pink Floyd solo. "Whole Lot of Love" for sure, Pat Metheny, oh yah, Joe Pass, no problem, most of Hendrix, all of Yes and other progressive playing, Fusion of every kind, Diana Krall guitar parts, the entire Police catalog, Rockabilly maybe but I want more twang for that, It does not offer twang because for that you need a bright thin sounding guitar and this girl is not thin sounding. It would work for many country tunes but not for the twangy stuff. I wouldn't recommend it to Angus Young either, nor would I sell it to the Italian Ibanez brothers either, they need plastic for their plastic music. Al DeMiola all the way. It would be crazy good for Yngwie J. Malmsteen, he could do cleaner classical shredding on it and he would fly on it faster than on his old shitty Strats. Needless to say, Simon and Garfunkel and the rest of the folk stuff would sound very expressive and huge on this guitar. In fact it would overwhelm the singers. As with all Zachary guitars, this is all about Organics and Nature.

So there you have it. What's up next? I have no idea. Its not up to me or anyone else.

Revelation      There's no doubt - the more you suffer the better you get.     Best JR

This is the guitar you've been destined to build for your entire career. I mean, I'm speaking from my perspective here, but this may be your best creation yet and it really speaks to me. WOW WOW WOW. Aside from its beauty and aesthetics, it functionally is the coolest you've ever made. This might be the best acoustic/electric guitar in the world right now. I'm off to buy a lottery ticket, and when I win.........    Seriously, good for you man, I was wondering what was hiding behind the curtain for so long. This one is a real jaw dropper. Congrats.

From a purely structural engineering perspective...the bridge is the single most important innovation here. I have no idea how many times I've seen or been asked to repair a broken bridge on an acoustic where the body has been pulled up and bowed to the point that the guitar might as well become firewood. Here, on your new Z, this travisty will never occur. The bridge block is a MUST and the strings must be strung through the back of the body. Solid and I doubt that it effects the overall volume/resonance in a negative way.

From an aesthetic point of view...the veneer on the headstock is a first for you and is brilliant. Really ties the whole piece together and makes it classy and elegant.

The wiring is so unique on this one. Being able to disassemble something and work on it is VERY important and engineers these days basically produce things that cannot be taken apart and worked on. Just throw it away and buy a new one...planned obsolescence at its worst. But this instrument can be repaired easily if any component breaks for whatever reason. Nice job.

So, don't sell it to anyone but me. I got first dibs. ;)        Z. Fenner

Hey Alex,  Glad to see the new girl. What a beauty. You were right. It wasn't anything like I expected. I have to go back and take another look and absorb what I have just seen. Amazing.
Yes, very cool guitar. Beyond me. I can't even make a decent comment. But since Alex is the only one who will ever get a chance to play it (NFS) -- I sure hope to see a really good video of this guitar in action and hear some tones.    Congrats     Ted Noiz

Dude, the wait for this one was harsh!

You nailed two things that I was curious about: what if there was a Zachary acoustic (sort of on this one) and if you would ever put a piezo system on a guitar. So, you got me again. Every time I wonder what you would do, you do it. Not that I'm complaining!

The choice of woods and the layout of them is brilliant. Its definately not a supermodel but it does look like some serious rock and roll swagger. Dark and dangerous. Bloody knuckles and a furled lip. I'd love to hear it.    Regards,   Jeff

Hey Alex,    An altogether tough instrument to comment on. What can be said? I have no idea how you do it but I did get a "glimmer" of why you do it. Your story on the build of this instrument reminds me of the classic pioneer adventures of old. What you have here is a true, unprecedented original. The sad part (or the best part..depending..) is that it will never be duplicated and the world at large will miss it. You may be one of those rare individuals who do not peak, but constantly improve. I was convinced your best work was comming out around the time of my purchases and even told my wife I want to get a Z before Alex loses it. Hasn't happened and would appear little chance of happening. May the muse never die.      Tony      Oh, and we simply must hear this guitar. Please share some of it.

You have been busy. It's just.........wild. Right off I could tell this was a totally different guitar. Must hear a recording of this guitar very soon. The looks of the guitar and the way you describe it makes me think it is the perfect guitar. I'm more comfortable playing acoustic but would never have thought up something up like this. You're right, must have been divine intervention. You must have been really pissed off about something to get this kind of inspiration.   Eagle

Well this one does really surprise me. I would have thought Alex would call a piezo bridge an abomination. I can tell you, having three guitars with that type of bridge plus magnetic pickups though, that they do have a very interesting sonic quality that is at the very least a cool texture to mix and can add some real percussive attack and bite, not to mention some fun string noise. And they do work in a distorted mode too. I can see that this guitar certainly will make some unique and interesting tones and be extremely revealing of all the talents and warts of its player. So it is not something for the timid, nor is it something you could hide behind. A very cool vibe and look being extremely original in construction yet at the same time being the shape and size of a Les Paul is all at the same time a bit shocking. As the body is small but deep, there is going to be a very unique tone quality to this guitar not ever heard before. I am looking forward very much to hearing a recording of it. I would bet it will make a killer slide and blues machine, and it certainly has that vibe going. So bring it on and let's hear it.   Frank B.

Incredible work. A true hybrid on multiple levels.   Eli

Alex, This one was a while coming so I figured something new and interesting was cooking in the Z Lab.
I like the fact that you improvised and built this one on the fly - unplanned and spontaneous. Cool looking guitar, very light, with an awesome combination of woods as always, and must play great. I don't personally have any experience with Fishman pickups and minimal with piezo pickups - no less both mixed together - so it's hard to imagine exactly how this guitar will sound. Based on what you described - it must be special.... but still hard to imagine.... so, like everyone else I'm looking forward to seeing and hearing it in action.
Orlando (Austalia)

Alex, This one was a while coming so I figured something new and interesting was cooking in the Z Lab.
I like the fact that you improvised and built this one on the fly - unplanned and spontaneous. Cool looking guitar, very light, with an awesome combination of woods as always, and must play great. I don't personally have any experience with Fishman pickups and minimal with Piezo pickups - no less both mixed together - so it's hard to imagine exactly how this guitar will sound. Based on what you described - it must be special.... but still hard to imagine.... so, like everyone else I'm looking forward to seeing and hearing it in action.   Mark Miller

Congratulations! Just saw the new guitar. I think it’s another great accomplishment and a milestone in your craft. I feel you have crossed over into new personal territory. Based on what you have created in the past I am sure it was no easy task, this one shines unlike the others. 160809 (Hollow) was remarkable on her own, but this one says something new.
Cannot wait to hear her play and the blending of her Piezo and magnetic sound. I wonder how pickups would sound blended via a knob rather than selection alone. Every Good Wish,   Yordys

I've emailed you once or twice in the past to discuss your guitars. I just wanted to say I visited your site tonight and was blown away by your new acoustic/hybrid type guitar, as well as the single cut model you have.
Your work is beautiful...I've said it before,

I know, but they are artistic yet look so solid, so well engineered, etc. You are unique among guitar builders. Keep it up. I hope your business is holding up well in the current slow economy.   Cheers. JP Bouffard

291010 : I sure as hell didn't see that one coming! I don't really know what to say, other than that it looks smashing, and while strangely familiar (it is still a guitar) also very different. Kinda hurts my brain. ;-p   David K.


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