Here is something which I think is really needed and long overdue. A blog, a forum, a magazine, or whatever you want to call it, which will not hold back in commenting on the truth about the guitar community, guitar industry, music, gear or anything else which directly or indirectly relates to the guitar. Most importantly, a commentary on guitar-related subjects without any profit motive. A commentary which is not sugar coated or which does not exist solely for the almighty dollar. This may not be pretty or polite but it will be sincere and real. In short, it will be pure Zach.
Yes, this is born out of my disgust with guitar magazines. Why do I hate guitar magazines so much? Several important reasons.
1. They do not educate. They will not educate because by telling the truth they would then undermine their own advertisers. Shit would hit the fan and heads would roll. In short the magazine would cease to exist. The advertisers would make sure of that.
2. They do not respect their position and primary obligation to the guitar community (their readers), which they are profiting from. This obligation being the primary responsibility of bringing guitar related information to their readers, independent of any vested interest. The way guitar magazines are set up, this would be impossible.
3. Presenting sugarcoated fluff like they are talking to 12 year olds or middle aged baby boomers who bought a guitar again after 35 years. This is very intellectually insulting and aggravates me greatly. This in itself qualifies them to be my eternal enemy.
The Zach Perspective is something that everyone can contribute to and is invited to do so. So if you can put a few words together and know how to use minimal punctuation and actually have some thoughts in your head, then you are welcome to send in your articles. Send me your commentary. Be creative and educate. Remember the Zach Perspective is YOUR guitar magazine, not the magazine of any advertisers. Also remember that since this is the Zach Perspective, which highlights the "take no prisoners" Zach philosophy and exposes the never-ending BS, stupidity and tremendous ignorance found in the guitar industry. In essence I would like this to be the opposite of any guitar magazine you have ever read.
A most appropriate way to start this page is providing some thoughts from The Notorious Terrible Ted Noiz.
Where's the America we knew?
It is interesting to point out the evolution of the Tele. From real good ones made in the 50s to the complete decline of the Tele (among other guitars). I thought things were always supposed to improve with skill and technology. That of course is not always the case. Contrast a Tele with an F1. There is absolutely no comparison except the basic shape of the instrument.
It's a crazy world we live in. No wonder we're going straight to hell in a handbasket. Americans are no longer thinkers and doers and haven't been for a long time now. We are completely strung out on television, football games, pornography, prozac, booze, Faux (FOX) News, Rush Windbag, and other mindless fluff that is perpetually telling us to lie down and take it easy - that government, Big Brother loves us and has everything under control. All we need to do is give up our guns, kick back and let them do their thing while the Mexicans and the Chinese build our Stratocasters and our television sets. Meantime, the North American Union is well underway, the dollar is sliding, we're freaked out about "terrorism" and controlling every move everyone makes in this country - yet our borders are wide open and the Mexicans are pouring in by the thousands daily.
But, don't worry, Willie O'Reilly, Rush Windbag, and Suck Hannity have everything in order and they will keep the "terrorists" away while we eat our McDonald's and catch the latest episode of "24" and fill our brains with more utter nonsense.
What with all the shit going on in the world today, it is good to see that someone, like yourself, still makes an effort to do something great. Ted
Different String sets for different guitars and music.
Speaking of string gauges. By habit I put 10s on my Pine F1 (120207) when it was completed and played it for a short time like that but then I took them off and put the ZOG 9s on it. The guitar came alive in terms of twang and spank.
You can't go around saying "I play one gauges of strings and that is it!" However, this is not right. I try to point this out on my ZOG order page in a facetious way but its an important matter. Each type of guitar has its voice or the voice its designed to have. The right string set and type of string needs to be used to bring out the voice that the guitar was designed to have.
Conversely, I would not want to put 9s on a Z2 because I don't want to get twang and spank on a Z2, I only want that from a guitar that is meant for that tone and strings which maximize the tone of a traditional Tele with that Tele bridge pup.
For Jazz I would use flatwound 11s for sure. I need that dull thumpy dark sound, with less sustain and a stiffer feel. This is the opposite of twang and spank. Putting 9s on an archtop would be equally ludicrous.
So its unfortunate that some people haven't discovered these nuances of tone production based on the appropriate set of strings in terms of overall tension and string type. String set tension, not only will make the guitar feel different, the quality of your tone will change as well. Not necessarily better or worse tone, just a different tone. Please note, here I am not talking about Optimization, just the relative tension of the various string sets starting on 9s, 10, and 11s and the difference between roundwounds and flatwounds.
Let me help you build a guitar
Hey before i say anything i must say i love the guitars that you have built. i read all of your articles about string tension and that all makes alot of sense. but not the reason im emailing. not even sure if you can help me but i had 5 min so its worth a try. im currently in highschool right now and have played guitar for the past 4 years (not that long i know but loving every minute of it). currently i dont have enough money to purchase one. well not really money to buy any guitars and would much rather make one. i have no idea how to make a guitar neck and was hoping maybe you could give me a few pointers before i go attempt something that right now seems impossible for me. if not ill figure it out eventually but am hopeing to be able to get some advice from someone that knows what hes doing . David
Hey man thanks for the email.
I will disappoint you to say that I get a ton of emails like this asking me to teach or advise people about guitar building. It actually aggravates me greatly. I think I should put a message on my site asking people not to do this. I don't have the time for one thing and more importantly its against all my principles. I believe if you need to ask questions you're not ready, totally on the wrong path and its not for you.
I never asked anyone questions, I wasn't interested in how anyone built a guitar. I set out to either reinvent the wheel or not do it at all. If one wants to do something totally unique and personal then the way others do it is nothing more than a distraction. I just knew exactly what to do. Amazingly from day one I knew exactly what I wanted to do and how to do it. My vision and my guitar was crystal clear. This amazes me as well and this is why I have always maintained that I was guided by divine powers. The first guitar I made is not much different from what I make now. I had almost everything worked out and finalized even before building my first guitar. Like God spoke to me and led me to succeed but also to make mistakes as to force me to go in the unique direction I needed to go. I gained more insight each day from an unknown force. Even now I wake up with answers, ideas and solutions which come to me from apparently nowhere. I equate this to brain surgery.
But I had a lot of guitar knowledge under my belt. This is what you need. If you don't have it, forget it, you will fail miserably or simply get nowhere. I mean everything from intimately knowing guitars in great detail in a technical sense, and also knowing guitar history. If you don't have this, forget it.
You also need to be a player, and I don't mean just a weekend open chord strummer. You need to live and breath guitar. You cannot give any excuses for life getting in the way. You need to be a player so you can use a guitar and not just build one. Again its intimate knowledge.
I had no desire to do it in a way that others do it. I have respect for no one. I don't care what they do because what they do isn't good, they are going down the wrong path, so why would I ask them anything, to be as shitty as they are? What I need to know comes to me. I know exactly what I need to do and the direction I need to go. I have my own compass and I will not ask directions from the blind and the ungifted. To have respect for anyone is to surrender and prove your inferiority. Its totally self defeating. The guy who did the Peanuts cartoons once said "if you give me advice, no matter how good it is I will not use it, because its not me". You should never do it like others, but only as yourself. I know I have been given a certain personality and a talent that enables me to do what I do and what others cannot, so why the hell would I care about the crap of others. Their ways are useless to me. This is why its totally bizarre when I hear people ask question like what books can I buy or what websites can teach me how to build a guitar. Dude you are finished even before you have started and you have no business even attempting it. You will shame the wood or the tools you pick up and ruin. It is not even your decision to create. The privilege is given to you by a higher power. You are either permitted to create or you are not. Its not our decision and if you are given permission, you will know it. It will hit you in the head like a brick. You will also feel the need to create. This is not about building a guitar, this is a desperate to express yourself and to create a small microcosm of your own world that you mold into your own image. You see it involves a lot more then buying some fancy wood and cutting out a deformed Z2 shape into it. A monkey can do that and a Zachary guitar that does not make.
I also suffer for this every day, with blood, sweat and tears, literally. You also need to be prepared to make the sacrifices and feel the pain. Its emotionally devastating. Its draining. After each guitar I feel like they just removed me from the rink of an extreme fight match. I feel totally beat up. This is not a paint by numbers recreational activity.
You need to instinctively know what you need to do or don't even bother, its not for you trust me. You need to very clearly see everything in your path even before you walk the path. What I do is very personal, I have my own unique ways that I received as a gift. It is not for me to divulge it because the gift was given to me and not to you. Its not up to me to do with it whatever others demand. The skill is only on loan to me and its not really mine. I asked for this gift because I had a desperate need to create. I was considered deserving to receive the gift and must respect it greatly. You on the other hand may not deserve it and its not my call, but the call of a higher power. It would not be right for me to just throw it all away to anyone who sends an email and naively want to build a guitar. I would deserve punishment if I took it upon myself to treat the gift so lightly. I would no longer deserve the gift. I am also not working for an instruction place here. I repeat, this is a highly personal and emotional experience for me and its of nobody's business really how I do things. It would be a disrespectful sacrilege for me to treat it lightly or reduce it to a simple activity to be shared like a recipe for pancakes.
The bottom line is that its not about woodworking. Its about completely knowing guitars and how they work. Your dedication must be paramount as a creator and as a guitar player. Not many people have this dedication. You will know it if you feel the calling, it will be no mistaking it. Its not about building a guitar, its about dedicating your life to art and creation. This is not a hobby or a recreational activity, so please do not reduce it to that because it offends me greatly. Also you can't just decide to make a guitar, it does not work like that. As guitar playing or music itself, you either dedicate your life to it and make all the sacrifices necessary or you will get nowhere and be nothing more then a tinkerer.
There are many tinkerers out there. All over the world, they number in the thousands. No shortage of tinkerers. A tinkerer is simply someone who is not guided and they are going nowhere because they have not been called to do this. A tinkerer tries and must do this on their own. A tinkerer thinks that this is something you learn as a task and that is all there is to it. They do it with no soul, no spirituality and no guidance. They haven't been given the gift or heard the calling. You either have the gift or you don't. There is nothing in between. This is not something you learn. There is nothing to learn here. You just do it and you are either guided or you are not. This is why I laugh at these guitar building schools and the fools who think this will make them artists and creators. Its either within you or its not. No amount of instruction will take you there.
Thinking you will make a guitar just because you can't afford to buy one is ludicrous in itself because this is not an inexpensive task and its also the wrong reason to attempt it and will get you nowhere. I guess the more I write the more angry I get at people's ignorance and attitude. Many are inexperienced, young and do not realize the magnitude of what they ask. They have no idea what this is about and reduce it to nothingness. You have reduced it to a simple physical task and forgot that as with music this is totally emotional and spiritual.
House of Horrors
Read no further if you do not want to get freaked out.
JUST in case you thought there were no houses left in the U.S who were not aware of the Zach Revolution:
I just came from giving a lesson to a big time lawyer's teenager in a luxurious Manhattan brownstone. Cool kid who is learning reasonably fast, when he bothers to practice.
In this house were:
1. A Fender “Cyber-Twin”. I don't know if you have ever seen this thing before but it makes a line 6 digital amp seem like the essence of organic goodness. It looks kind of a like a real twin but is all digital. There are LITTLE MOTORS inside to turn the knobs to all the computerized pre sets. You can even put it in "demo mode" and just play and the amp twirls the knobs around like crazy to show you all the horrendous sounds it can make. You could barely tell the difference between the sound of korina and the kid’s little "mini-Fender" (a kid sized strat which costs about $85 I think).
When you turn the tone knob all the way down itsounds almost identical to when it is all the way up. Truly a monstrous contraption, the enemy of all things Zach. The sound could be described as "crappy digital stadium rocker!!". It is the craziest thing....no matter how you play it does not change the sound that comes out of the amp. It also sounds the same at any volume.
2. a brand new fancy high end Taylor acoustic with all the trimmings. It was the pride and joy of this kid's father. He raved about it's "tone" and how beautiful it was.
This was without a doubt one of the poorest sounding acoustic guitars I have ever played. People pay 2-3K for these crappy things that sound like a bad electric/acoustic. Horrifying. Even more horrifying was that the lawyer told me that he used to play professionally...he comes from England and claims to have played with a famous guitar god, who joined a supergroup in the 80s and wrote a huge hit for them and is quite a sharp guy who now makes millions doing tons of movie soundtracks. So this guy claims to have played with this famous player and could not tell that his Taylor and "cyber twin" sound horrible.
Even with all of his years of alleged “experience” he is essentially a microcosm of all that is wrong with the musical instrument business.
The madness continues.
"I could have been the idiot with the cheesy guitar."
You know, I was in a rehearsal with the RIC Wind Ensemble practicing "The Dogbreath Variations" by Frank Zappa and it occured to me exactly why I bought the guitar from you. If I played anything else, it would just be totally laughable. All these other musicians playing high quality instruments like a Steinway piano, Buffet clarinets, etc....and I could have been the idiot with the cheesy guitar. Except, I play the Steinway of electric guitars and everyone knows it. It cuts through the orchestra, is not muddy, and is extremely dynamic. It doesn't have to be cranked to sound great. The conductor and other musicians commented on it's physical beauty as well as the excellent tone. Thanks again. Zack Fenner (RI)
Great story and you hit the nail on the head with that one. Serious musicians, serious instruments and You with your cheesy ESP garage shred machine with a Floyd and death metal plastic paint job. OK, even if that is not what your previous guitar was like, it would still be out of place if it was a Guitar Center special and you would be the schmuck in the orchestra, as you say. You need a one of a kind, classy instrument, handmade like the rest of the instruments there and now you have it. So you should feel totally at home in the orchestra and its the right environment for that gutiar. Also the unique Z2 avant-garde, neo classic shape must go well with the other classic instruments and must make a killer visual for the audience. I love it. Its so appropriate I can just see it. If you can get some pics, send them my way. Alex
Either way his comments are RIGHT ON!! It is exactly what I have been saying for years. Everyone else gets these great instruments but electric solidbody players get crap. And the zach is a great acoustic instrument that fits right in with a Steinway grand. Cool. Eli
The $300 Custom Shop Guitar
A middle aged student of mine just got his first electric guitar after months of borrowing his friend's. He spent less than $300 on a Fender "Telecaster-style" made overseas. It really has very little to do with what a Telecaster is. It is bright red with some sort of figured wood top, has a set neck, is covered in think shiny plastic finish and sports two humbuckers, with a coil spliter/tone control. So, sure, in one way this thing was an abomination.
I bet you think you know where this is going. But you are wrong. I was actually very impressed with his restraint in spending, considering his playing experience. He could have spent 10 times as much if he wanted to but realized his abilities did not warrant that.
I was ALSO impressed that such a usable instrument could be bought used in Manhattan, one of the most expensive cities on the planet for less than $300 at the same store where vintage Blackface Fender Princeton Reverbs sell for well over a thousand dollars every day, much more than they go for on eBay to be sure.
This guitar was basically in mint condition and sounded perfectly OK, even unplugged. Think about that. For less than $300 you can get a completely decent electric solid body guitar. All hail the CNC mass production machine. It allows students to get a usable guitar with amazingly good quality control for next to nothing. Seriously. It is a great thing.
So now the gripe. This guitar felt and sounded as good or BETTER than ANY PRS or Brian Moore or (insert your fancy guitar brand here) I have played in the last 15 years. Actually the neck joint was more solid than a PRS. No creaking there and good sustain and resonance for such a cheap guitar.
Cosmetically and musically it was basically on the same level as guitars that sell EVERY DAY for 2-3 THOUSAND dollars. Both are essentially machine made, mass produced guitars.
This is the real heart of the matter when it comes to guitars, especially solid body electric guitars. No WONDER there is so much confusion in the guitar buying public. They are trying to decide which 2-3k guitar they want to buy (based on advertising and celebrity endorsements) when something one TENTH the price will sound and play just as well. It is insanity. This is why people will go on and on about which type of 1/4" thick exotic wood "top" or "cap" is under the feel and tone killing plastic finish. Because otherwise you have no way of telling which is the $300 guitar and which is the $3000 guitar (except for the extra zero on the price tag).
I have had the same experience with Mexican Strats as well. If you get one of the good ones with a decent set up there is practically nothing that is inferior when compared to the "custom shop" or "relic" Strats or Suhr Strats that sell for 2-3k. I mean, come ON!! Eli (NYC)
The Tom Anderson Freakiness... No "Mystery" at all, just a bit of insincerity in a changing world.
This story ties in very well with the previous article by Eli. Just how much are CNC made guitar worth these days and what will the guitar consumer be willing to pay for them? It all depends on the hype and the stupidity of the guitar consumer. However things just keep getting more difficult for these domestic companies..
Tom Anderson is a "small" guitar manufacturer who himself has never made a guitar but instead uses computer programmed CNC machines, which enables them to make between 800-1000 guitars per year. They call themselves a " a small company". I also learned that they are “the best guitars on the planet”. I thought that was me... so it pisses me off to hear that his CNC machines actually make the best guitars on the planet.
I always thought Anderson Machine-Made Guitars were about as exciting as your typical budget mass-produced Asian guitar, you find in any music store these days. They seem to me tired (Strat/Tele) Fender-designs but with grotesquely figured veneer tops. Very unique and innovative right? Wouldn't you say??? Just the way everyone likes it. A hack-magnet for sure. Anderson knows how to speak the language of the guitar consumer. However it seems that now they are in trouble. Big trouble and it its not any fault of their own. They world has changed. This problem will not go away unless Anderson moves his entire operation to China permanently and charges a fraction of what he does now.. Anderson is not alone with this insurmountable and permanent problem facing all "high end" American guitar producers, the few that are left that is. Most have moved to the third world years ago and will continue to keep moving, wherever labor is cheapest until the last baby boomer can still see a figured top.
Yes, people at Anderson and everywhere must understand that the world has changed dramatically and quickly in the last few years and will continue to change at record pace, like never before witnessed in history. Yes, it is scary and it will result in some extinct species. One of these extinct species is hand-craftsmanship and the other is very ironically expensive CNC machined guitars. Expensive and CNC do not go together very well, unless there is a gimmick. One such very effective gimmick is Historic Reissue or fake-aged Relic or Signature Model or Master Built. It seems that only when these gimmicks are unitized can an inexpensive CNC mass produced guitar be sold for huge prices. All thanks to a good dose of Nostalgia. Take away these gimmicks and what are you left with. Nothing more than a plastic mass produced thing with a wallpaper top. Great for $300 or maybe as high as $600 but not for $2500. Because the same guitar is now produced for $300 - $600 and can be found at any low end music store..
Read on and make up your own conclusions. If you are the average guitar consumer or just an active anonymous guitar chat room member, you may not have the intelligence to pick up on what this situation is all about. However, there is a chance that you just may learn something and graduate to the next level of guitar knowledge, as awful as that sounds.
Roger D. from CA sent me this strange discovery. I had not heard of it, since I have other things to do with my spare time and I wasn't in the market for an Anderson guitar. However, when I read it, the presentation and insincerity did shock me and I found it fascinating, since I take an interest in anything guitar oriented, the good, the bad, the ugly and even the stupid and idiotic.
Hi Alex, Hope all is well with you. I thought you might be interested in this very unusual announcement from Tom Anderson, although you perhaps may have already heard about it. Roger
Form the Tom Anderson Guitarworks website, posted a few months ago (around the end of 2006) on their home page:
Here’s the scoop from the horse's mouth about what’s happening around here.
I have a great staff here, probably the best I’ve had in the last 20 years. We have consistently delivered what Roy would say are “the best guitars on the planet”. We have also delivered a level of customer service that I believe is second to none.
After 22 years of being at the helm of Tom Anderson Guitarworks, I have come to realize that being the boss is not what I’m good at. What I do best and love doing is designing and building guitars. While I have consistently been involved in the building of our instruments, over 12,000 to date(!), it’s the being the boss part that is wearing me out. Contrary to rumors you may have heard, I do not have cancer, have not run off with my secretary (I don’t even have one), and the company is not upside down financially. We have always been fortunate enough to have more orders than we could produce and have been able to deliver the orders we do take in a timely manor. We have also been able to get paid for doing it. That’s not something everyone can say.
As of the end of March the company will shrink down to just me. I will continue to build guitars by myself--after all these years, guitar making is still my passion. Our goal is to deliver any guitars you have on order through March 31st. If the shop dissolves before that time, I will personally fulfill any orders that currently have customer’s names on them. I will also be here to continue to service all those guitars you own.
It is not clear at this point in time what I will be doing after these commitments are met in regards to sales. Being alone I will obviously be making a much smaller number of guitars so I do not yet know what the dealer network will look like.
There has also been concern about everyone else here at the shop. We are all doing our best to find a positive future for all. As far as I am concerned, everyone here is as good at what they do as anyone in the world, and should be an asset wherever they go. My hope is that they can further the craft of quality guitar making wherever they land.
I do want to thank all you Anderson owners for all you have done to promote our guitars and for the friendship we have shared. If you have emailed me about this please accept this as an answer, as my inbox is quite overloaded right now and I have much to do to take care of the business at hand. Tom Anderson
My reply to Roger D.:
Good to hear from you again. No I haven't heard about this Roger, it is not exactly a priority for me. I don't have the time to spend on keeping track of "small guitar manufacturers" which handcraft 800-1000 guitars per year with a little help from CNC machines. People who have mid size companies that run CNC machines, which make their guitars, don't particularly interest me. There is nothing I can learn from them. Although this Anderson situation is quite riveting and I am scratching my head at this very moment as others are as well I am sure.
The way Anderson chose to represent himself is quire unusual in that he chooses not to reveal his reasons. Sounds rather dishonest actually, unless he is ill or has joined a cult, has mental illness, or has been charged by the IRS or something like that. He basically sounds like he shut his business down or it was shut down for him.
He will not make guitars himself because he does not know how. He has several $200K CNC machines, so he will attempt to run those himself??? ...I don't think so. Something does not make sense here.
If he was to build guitars by hand like me, he certainly will not be able to have a dealer network. He will make one or two guitars a month. Not even enough to stock one store but he could call himself a guitar builder at least. He seems to treat people as the idiots they are. Good for you Tom. He knows people who bought his products were dumbasses and would actually believe this story. Too funny. Something is rotten in Denmark.
From a Guitar Magazine website, I read:
A message from luthier Tom Anderson on his company website reveals that, from April 2007 onwards, Tom Anderson Guitarworks will continue as a one-man operation. As for the reasons behind the downsizing, Anderson offers this: “It’s the being the boss part that is wearing me out. Contrary to rumours you may have heard, I do not have cancer, have not run off with my secretary (I don’t even have one), and the company is not upside down financially.”
Then at the same time I read this from an Anderson dealer on the Internet. He sure likes his Andersons and is puzzled as to what is happening. I think I know.
What's going on here? I can’t figure out what’s going on in the guitar business lately. We usually handle a load of Anderson action, whether business is slow or not, but lately there’s been nothing going on. Are things cooling down because summer is upon us? Is it the economy? The price of gas? What’s the deal? Has Guitar Center taken over the world, and ruined guitar related business forever? If you have a clue, please pass it on to me – I really want to know what’s up. (Also....I've put big price reduction hyper-sale on all the Atom's we have at this time; maybe that will stir up some business. Call/Email me!) In other news not related to bad business – my Atom experiment is still going strong. I’ve played my new Atom all over Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Missouri – and so on. It’s true love. The guitar has moved into my number one spot in the rotation (which is saying a lot since my Drop Top T has been there for 5 years). It’s gold I tell ya, pure gold. If you get a chance, try one. Entry date 5/31/2006, last edit 6/2/2006
Then sometime in early 2007 I went back to the Anderson site to read the original message from 2006 because it still puzzled me. What I found is that the original message was deleted and to my surprise found this new message written by an Anderson employee, which is followed with a new message from Tom Anderson himself. Freak me out!
Welcome to Tom Anderson Guitarworks! May the world be filled with peace, tolerance and understanding. It is our pleasure to once again have you here with us. If you read the latest message from Tom you know all is well, and maybe better, than it has ever been. A fitting posture for the world’s best guitars.
(And moving right along: Perhaps our first magazine ad from years ago still says it best: “We are a small American Company dedicated to creating the world’s finest feeling, playing and sounding electric guitars—Period!” We have been building guitars in California for well over two decades now—Tom himself, over three. Many of us at Anderson Guitars grew up completely surrounded by and continually gigging out with the now legendary instruments of the 50’s and 60’s. And then there were those times when you would happen upon that one “magical” instrument (better than anything else of the era) and you knew you were holding something special. Those were transcendent moments as an instrument of elevated response, resonant tonality and ease of playability can lift your performance to another level.
Many times these older instruments only possessed one of these elevated attributes and it still made a big difference. It is from a multitude of these experiences that we began a deep understanding and feel for all the aspects required to create a most amazing and unparalleled guitar—every time and for everyone! We have a need to merge that elusive “magical” quality with a passion for perfection, resulting in an unimpeded and inspired instrument from Anderson that will allow your music to flow forth more effortlessly than ever before. It’s so good! Happy Playing! Roy
Wait just a minute! Vintage guitars of the 50s and 60s were not made by CNC machines like Andersons, they were made by old ladies in Michigan or Hispanics in California. There is a big difference there. Old ladies and Mexicans make mistakes when doing things by hand, those vintage guitars are far from what is now considered as perfect. They are inconsistent in measurement, asymmetrical, flawed in various ways, even though they may be consistently good precisely because of these human imperfections. Strange concept for the CNC lovers, producers and players alike.
In contrast Andersons are made by computer program, untouched by old ladies or Mexicans, so they should be beyond perfect, with tight tolerances and a thick plastic paint-covering in order to keep the sound in the guitar and not let it come out. Not a bad idea, actually trapping the tone so its not lost. So, according to the average guitar consumer and the nasty guitar mags, Andersons would be considered to be way better guitars then any handmade vintage guitar, since they are made entirely differently, devoid of much human contact and thus have absolutely nothing to do with vintage guitars. Alex
An update from the horse’s mouth (Tom of course).
Your response to my plan to phase out our current operation and become a one man shop has been overwhelming! Thank you so very, very much for your outpouring of support for our guitars and the company as a whole. You have led me to reconsider what makes the most sense for Tom Anderson Guitarworks and for me personally in the future. I won't be going solo at the end of March, and the company and I will continue making the very same guitars Roy calls “the best guitars on the planet.” We will be changing how we are structured, but your experience should stay the same. Starting in April we will build and ship a more limited number of guitars for a while as we reorganize. As we progress we will keep you informed. Thank you again so much for all your kind words, your patience and your best wishes. I look forward to our future together! Tom Anderson
My reply to Roger D.
This lame-ass drivel from Anderson is starting to irritate me and make me sick to my stomach. My question is, what the hell is this guy trying to pull? I sense considerable dishonesty in all of this. I would go along with all of it if he actually had something to show for it and back up his bullshit with. All would be excused and viewed as humorous... as a joke on his customers. I will go along with that.
Problem is, I took a look at what all the fuss is about each time I went to NAMM in the past and I was very disappointed in the Anderson stuff. His guitars are about as exciting as it is for a teenage boy to kiss his own sister. Tired old shapes, thick plastic finishes and those puke tops. There is always some goofball who is standing by drooling over them. Then he goes to the PRS booth and drools some more. Ouch, the typical guitar consumer, where does he come from?
Give me a break, it not only bores me, it actually makes me sick and angry to look at guitar looking object like that. Its nothing short of irritating and an insult to anyone's intelligence who can actually play the guitar. And freaky shit Anderson is spewing is almost scary and seems to be filled with contempt towards the mental midgets who he is talking to and who may be inclined to buy his stuff. It seems to me he is playing games with them and is enjoying it. Good for Tom but I think maybe he should be more honest with his customers. Why doesn't he just come clean and explain the situation. Why not be honest instead of playing games?
The truth is what he sells can realistically be had for around $300-$600, made on the same machine he uses. So I think his market has dried up and he cannot really stay in business any longer, hence the one man show idea. He cannot do it by himself however because he does not build guitars himself by hand and is certainly not going to start now. He is set up for CNC production and he either does it in a way that the CNC machines run most of the day or its not worth it and he folds his business. CNC machines are too expensive to stay idle. If he sells his machines, he is out of business. If he continues then he needs people to run the CNC as well as do the final assembly and sell his guitars for which there is no market any longer. If he stays in business he has to produce large numbers and if he produces large numbers he then has to also sell them somehow in large numbers. Who is buying? It must be a real dilemma. He is backed into a corner.
This is not the 80s or the 90s any longer and he either takes it all to China like everyone else and charges a fraction of what he does now or he retires for good and sells real estate or something. It sounds like he cannot make up his mind and someone has convinced him to try to make another go of it in vain. He needs a serious gimmick to make it or else it will not work. Problem is he cannot have too many gimmicks because he has no tradition behind him as Fender and Gibson do. The world has changed so much that selling a fancy machine-made Strat or Tele (with numbuckers) just does not elicit very much excitement for the baby boomers, especially when a guitar made in exactly the same way, by the same computers, with the same materials, resulting in the same quality, will sell around $600 or less. They can get this exact guitar anywhere under a variety of brand names by any number of companies based in the USA or Asia.
Seven years later my IKEA guitar is creating a real stir, including the Esquire magazine article.
Why does an innocent little gutiar arouse so much emotion and freak people out so much?
Read the rest of this post and related links by going here: http://ikeahacker.blogspot.com/2007/02/play-it-again-zach.html
I think our Z friends would enjoy reading this and should be posted on a page somewhere.
Follow this link for a good laugh. You'll find a pretty equal amount of lovers and haters. But man, the idiots are just plain lame. "I don't like this, or I don't like that." Bunch of fucking morons that have nothing better to complain about. Zack F
More Discussion about the present and future of Guitar Manufacturing
Yeah, I just had read the article when I got in late tonight. It is an interesting thought....that the advent of the CNC machine has meant the serious decline in “small” companies that make essentially the same CNC product as the Fender mass-production monster. In other words, it has spelled disaster for the “smaller” companies to focus mainly on the same cosmetic “tolerance” issues as the big guys (Taylor, PRS, etc.) because if and when people figure out that they can get just as good of a CNC made guitar for $300 or $600 as one that costs $2500...the guy charging $2500 is screwed. Which is only fair.
It goes hand in glove with my story of the beautiful shiny $300 Fender made overseas by CNC machines. I have played some Andersons years ago...it really is nothing all that different than the $300 Fender my student bought. In fact with the fancy top and high tech looking bridge....his “Tele” reminded me very much of an Anderson. Cosmetically flawless, decent set up, two humbuckers with a coil splitter...it is practically the same guitar. Either way the Anderson was certainly NOT worth 2k more than the overseas Fender. What are people really getting for their $2000? Not nearly as much as they think when they call the Anderson the best guitar ever. It is a cold hard shiny flawless product much like all the rest.
For the life of me I cannot imagine an Anderson is much better than my student’s $300 flawless set neck Fender. They look almost identical. Granted the Anderson is chambered I think.....but it also retails for upwards of $4000. Does that chamber (under the thick plastic finish) really make the guitar worth literally 10 times as much? Not worth $4000 for a shiny guitar....even with lots of inane chatter on the various Anderson dealer's sites, about how great and innovative Andersons are and what good buddies Ansderson dealers are with PRS and how great (but different from one another, naturally) both PRS and Anderson guitars are. Everyone should own both! Load of hooey. Ug...i have already wasted enough time thinking about Anderson guitars. Time to crash... Eli
Yes, that is exactly right. This is why I started the article saying that it ties in with Eli's previous story very well. Eli's student actually got the equivalent of an Anderson for $300, although his guitar does not receive the same marketing or image. Its made exactly the same way and is not any worse. Technology and Asian manufacturing has gotten to being equivalent to what Anderson and other domestic CNC operations can do or actually it goes beyond it in every way. Even more advanced CNC, more resources, more efficiency, better access to materials and instead of paying their workers $10-$15 per hour, they pay $1 per hour. I hope $2. LOL
The only people who look really stupid in all of this are the Morons on the guitar forums who own Anderson, Suhr, Grosh or equivalent products and deny the fact that your student got the same thing for $300. This is a major case of cognitive dissonance for them.
Its both funny and sad to think that with CNC manufacturing the guitar is no different from any other manufactured item like a plastic toy, dollar-store item, or automobile. It is made from several prefabricated components, which comes off the CNC machine almost totally finished. These components then only need to be assembled, painted and buffed also by robots.
Even though handcraftsmanship as word is still thrown around as a marketing gimmick, the goal of guitar manufacturers is to eliminate the human as much as possible form the manufacturing process. The one reason there are any humans even in these factories and the only reason they even touch the guitar during manufacturing is because they haven't invented a machine for every single task yet. For those who worship consistency and above-human precision will be happy to see that every product and every brand will be uniform, since manufacturing methods and machines are identical. Just walk into any music store and look at the guitars hanging. Its all the same stuff sadly with different brands written on them. So in fact brand names will cease to even matter. The only thing which will separate one guitar from the other is maybe shape and some sort of gimmick. Other than that it will be the same product, maybe coming out of the same mass production facility.
I am repulsed by making musical instruments in this way. Soon humans will be engineered and manufactured in this way as well.
What a world awaits us in the future. Alex
Where exactly does ZOG fit in for the gutiar consumer?
ZOG to be the standard in string sets but hopefully for the right reasons.
The question was raised whether violins and other string instruments have correct strings. I don't know anything about bowed instruments. I don't even know if their string sets are correct or not. So I cannot help in that area.Optimized strings pertain to all string instruments. Why would you want random gauges on a violin either? I nice Progressive Tension would be "optimal" for any instrument. Would it not?
I know one thing, if one or two big name guitar players were to announce they switched over to ZOG, literally the whole world would switch over to ZOG overnight. The sad thing would be that they would switch over as mindlessly as some resist the switch now. Ignorance creates resistance but it also creates gullibility. It all depends what their ego will allow. This endorser/consumer relationship based on gullibility is what sustains the industry now and huge amounts are spent on advertising and endorsements. It is an essential part of the industry.
The ignorant and the inexperienced literally cannot determine what is right and what is not. They need to be told what to purchase. The "celebrities" will gladly push any product but only for a fee. This is how they all make their living, not actually from their music. In this day of free internet downloads and DVD's, their music simply gets them in the door to be able to endorse products. Endorsement is the goal and the mission. If ZOG was advertized and endorsed widely, the consumers would switch over to ZOG and accept it as correct. I am willing to bet that 90% of them would not have a clue and would not five a shit as to why. They would use ZOG just because Eric Clapton and Steve Vai had done so.
This would be the sad part of it all and I actually hope they don't switch over for this reason. If only the intelligent and real players play ZOG, then it is fine with me. It is impossible for me to respect the guitar consumer. I cannot figure out how I can get these "casual public toilet users" out of the guitar hobby. I call them "casual toilet users" because they approach the guitar like someone entering a public toilet. They stay for a short time, leave their crap, degrade and stink up the whole artform and then leave with no responsibility or consequence. Some dump their guitar on ebay in a matter of days and move on to to another public toilet.
Exactly as they do on chat forums. Its a "drive-by" commitment only. They bring the guitar down to their juvenile, disrespectful, no-talent, lowest commone denomenator. However, they control and own the industry because of their vast numbers and have already destroyed it years ago. As they will age and loose interest in even their casual pretend participation, I am hoping the guitar will bounce back to some level of dignity as a musical instrument..
My roots are in classical piano and I was shocked from day one of being cognizant about the guitar. I was surprised at the type of people who dominate the guitar world, from the untalented who make it to "Rockstar" status, to the huge masses of casual, hobby dabblers. This simply does not happen in the classical world. You either give it all you got, have the talent for it or get the fuck out and go bowling or fly model airplanes on the weekends.
I am reading an article on Ken Parker and how he has ultimately failed in his quest and mission. He lost his company, his marriage and maybe his money as well. This scenario is precisely what makes it so hard for Parker, Steinberger, myself and countless others, to introduce anything which is superior. The masses don't want anything better. Lets face it, they don't need anything remotely good anyway, they would not know what to do with it. They would not be able to use it. They want fake-aged, computer-made, mass-produced symbols of pop culture, or glossy plastic atrocities, NOT musical instruments. Just ask the guitar boutiques who their customers are. This is the result of an industry dominated almost totally by consumers who cannot play. None of it is surprising really. I can't think of any other industry dominated by this vast amount of ignorance. Can you?
It is inevitable that ZOG will become the standard string of the guitar world but I hope it will not be excepted for the wrong reasons due to endorsements and advertising. I hope it because the only string on store shelves only because people actually realize and understand what ZOG offers and the actual problem it solves.
Fixing the PRS...Can the PRS be fixed?
This is an email I received from someone who has been looking at my site for years and finally contacted me. He has an interesting question, however the answer should be obvious.
Firstly, Hi. I've never contacted you before but I've been a frequent visitor to your site for many years. I had a lapse at one point, due to a variety of reasons I will not get into here, but I'm back now. I've always admired your work from the first time I set eyes on it, I also greatly admire that you have the guts to stick it to all the market hype bullshit- The use of pine - The thin finishes- and mainly the way you throw it all in the faces of your readers; hitting them with more sense and reason than all the guitar magazines in the world would afford them in 10 lifetimes.
But anyway: on to the point of my email. Before my 'lapse' the only body styles you were producing were the Z1 and the Z2. Since my return I've noticed that you've fixed the Les Paul jr, the Firebird, the Strat, the Tele... and I think its fantastic. All these designs had potential, but many flaws in their execution, which ruined them as a whole.
Which brings me to my thought... When will you fix the PRS?
I couldnt get this thought out of my mind whilst viewing all your work. It seemed to be staring me in the face; you surely are destined to do it eventually? You say yourself that it was your dis-satisfaction with a crappy PRS you bought that drove you to build initially... you're more than capable of fixing the guitar's flaws, so why have you not done it yet? Am I missing something? The design undeniably has potential.
As a design, the PRS definitely has its advantages, but the terrible excecution of the design has riddled it with flaws that are far too major to neglect. So why not fix it? fix the horrible, unergonomic heel, fix the soul-less, commercial sound and feel of it, free it from the thick plastic shackles that its tone is suppressed and eliminated by!
Seriously, I would love to see you fix the PRS. This is just my opinion. Nothing more or less. Ignore it if you like, but I would love to hear your thoughts on this. I'll never buy a Zach. I used to want to purchase one, but my current physical state has left my playing seriously impaired, so unfortunately a zach would be wasted on me. I'll continue to visit your site and enjoy the guitar porn though! Thanks for your time, Dave.
My Reply on fixing the PRS
Why I have not, cannot and will not fix the PRS
First of all I only fix and make guitar styles that I like, get excited about and think are cool. This I don't feel about the PRS, in fact it turns me off when both looking at those guitars and also playing them. The worst thing that a guitar can do to you.
If one looks at guitars a bit more technically, not just with the eyes of the player but more with the eyes of a builder, one will quickly realize that the PRS cannot be fixed.
What exactly is a PRS?
There is nothing there. In magazine articles sucking up to PRS, it is often stated that the PRS is revolutionary and unique since it mixed together both Gibson and Fender in one guitar. Theoretically this may seem like a fantastic marketing strategy to a young hustler, however sticking a bad Fender trem on a set neck guitar with humbuckers is not exactly the same as landing on the moon. The other question is, do people really want such a compromise of a guitar. Its not a good Gibson and not a good Fender. Then what the hell is it? Well... its a PRS.
So let's leave the PRS be a PRS. Its exactly what it is. A bad compromise which created its own market through massive advertising. It has literally bought its own position as a major guitar producer.
The failure in its marketing has been the miscalculation that people would buy it for the fact that its both a Fender and a Gibson in one guitar. Well its not, its poorly executed, its a disgrace to both the Fender and Gibson designs and traditions and I don't think anyone has ever bought a PRS because of this supposed marriage between the two worlds. People buy PRS for being PRS. Which is a horrible thought but it is true. You fill in the blanks here and you give your own description of what exactly is a PRS.
The body is uncomfortable and the sharp edges cut into your picking forearm. If you round this off, it will change the look entirely and you will no longer have a PRS body. PRS chose to use the Gibson SG neck joint and construction. The worst neck and body connection in history. They tried to compensate for this by increasing the size of the heel and resulting in that monstrosity. How does one improve on this? Changing the neck position by giving it a larger neck to body joint area will also move the bridge back on a body which was not designed for it and it would look odd. One could give it a larger neck to body contact but as I stated above this would move the bridge more toward the end of the guitar. On a PRS body that would not look or balance right.
I suppose one could make a better shaped neck, which is desperately needed. PRS must have the most horrible heck contour I ever felt. It makes me feel handicapped as a player as soon as I pick it up. This could be changed. The shape of the neck contour, thickness and the fingerbaord width could all be improved. However, you would still have a PRS in terms of all the other debilitating factors.
I suppose the 15 coats of plastic BMW paint should be banned on any gutiar but then nobody will buy the PRS. Its mostly the non-players who buy PRS and the elimination of the paintjob would be a death sentence for sales. They would not be making additions to their factory but tearing parts of it down.
So, unlike the Telecaster, Firebird, Les Paul and others that I have adopted and worked with to mold into a Zachary, the PRS is just too unique I must say of its own abomination to even bother with. Unlike these other guitars, the PRS was strictly designed as a commercial marketing project not designed as a players guitar. This is why it makes it so hard for anyone to make a great player out of it. One would need to literally change everything about it and at the end it would not resemble or have anything to do with PRS.
Because there is absolutely no innovation or evolution involved within the PRS design. Since it is a mixture of everything bad from Fender and Gibson, it also does not have anything truly unique about it. Unlike the Telecaster, which has its very unique and recognizable sound. When making the Zachary F1, it is paramount for me to preserve everything good and unique about a Telecaster and only change those factors which will not detract in any way from what a Telecaster is. This cannot be done with a PRS. There is nothing good there to preserve and why would anyone want to preserver anything to do with a PRS design.
So let's separate the marketing success from the actual merits of the guitar. The two have nothing to do with each other. Even though every production company has copied and has their own PRS to reach all the potential PRS purchasers. This is purely a sales and marketing trick. PRS has made a horrible thing and has spent millions marketing and shoving this down the throats of the ignorant masses who get drawn into the guitar hobby. All production companies and guitar brand marketers want to take advantage and benefit from the trickle down effect of the massive PRS marketing muscle. I will however not be one who will ever use PRS for any inspiration of a Zachary model. Simply because there is nothing there that I like and there is nothing there that I can even fix. I just look at it and shake my head in disappointment wondering who the hell buys this stuff. Its quite a depressing statement on the guitar consumer.
When you first play a Zachary
The whole thing with developing a good relationship with a Z is twofold. First you have to "get" how good it is...then you really have to work to take advantage of it. If you go straight to a pod or similar device you have copped out....you are missing what is really special. So hopefully this guy can open his ears a bit and then really dig in on a technical level and "meld" with the instrument.
I was teaching somebody "burning of the midnight lamp" this morning....you know those funny whammy bar/wah things Hendrix does in that tune? I was trying to demonstrate this to this student with his Strat (I had Korina....so no trem).....I had forgotten how impossible to use those Strat trems are....man, it had three springs and I could barely get it to work! I have been spoiled by shadow and plink with the feather touch trem. My right hand was actually hurting. If you look at the Woodstock vid it looks like he has FOUR springs....Hendrix must have been strong as hell to have played the star spangled banner on that thing with four springs. Eli
Observations and Predictions ... waiting for the 60s to be finally over.
You want to hear something both funny and disturbing? I was talking to a friend recently. I mentioned the store Willie's American Guitars. It turns out he knows them quite well since he lives there locally. Willie's is one of the stores I called about carrying the strings and where the owner told me that "if there was anything wrong with guitar strings then how come guitar players do not complain, they would hear it because they sell tons of strings".
My friend tells me that he knows for a fact that when someone goes into Willie's asking to buy a vintage guitar and starts asking if the guitar is playable or how well it plays or what issues it may have, or if it needs new frets, etc., they just look at the guy like he is insane, a freak or just plain stupid and will not deal with him. Like there is something wrong with the guy who dares to ask any questions and especially about playability of a vintage guitar. These are not questions which are relevant at Willie's. Can you imagine this attitude?
I got a few vintage guitars but they are exclusively for playing and I set them up like Zachs, with new frets and anything else which is needed to make them play perfectly and up to date. I thought this was sad and disturbing but not surprising about Willie's. There are a lot of cheesy shysters out there like Willie's.
My friend just told me this without me even saying anything about this topic or even asking him about it. I just mentioned my experience with the owner of the store and my surprise at what he told me about strings, at which I became speechless. I also heard that the owner has been divorced for a long time but his ex wife is still part owner, maybe 50% or more, so they are only into making money and nothing else. She wants to see the money. My friend told me, and which I know, Willie's likes to advertise, that rockstars and famous players apparently have been calling Willie's for several decades to purchase these "vintage guitars". In reality its the investors who call and buy. You can imagine that none of these people would ask any of the questions a player would. So this is why Willie's is irritated at these questions. They don't hear them very often.
What a different world this is from the Zach world. No wonder I lost my respect for "rockstars". Many of them are no smarter then the average stupid guitar consumer and non-player.
Another guy who is a Z owner now, told me he was suckered into buying a Dumble amp for some $18K and it was the worst amp he owned. He says it was absolutely horrible. After trying to get it to sound good through various mods, he sold the amp through a dealer to John Mayer and made thousands of dollars on the deal. He is now laughing about the whole situation. He kept telling me how horrible these Dumbles are.
Dumble is a whole other bizarre situation for which I have no explanation for. Just a weird and unexplained phenomena. Along with Klon. However, Dumble takes the cake for "Twilight Zone" status. Apparently John Mayer has bought up as many Dumbles as he could, he now has many of them but does not use them because he is paid by another company to play their amps. Talking with this former Dumble owner, he says he does not really know anyone who actually uses a Dumble. They may own it but don't use it.
Stupidity of others is what has always driven me
Come on dudes, bring it on. Show me what you got and let me blow it away. My question has always been why these "rockstars" are not calling me wanting to try a Zach. Just out of curiosity more than anything else. I know as a guitar player I am curious about anything to do with guitars, especially something as unique as a Zach. I would certainly be interested in knowing more about it. So where is Andy Summers, or John Mayer, Joe Walsh, Ritchie Sambora, Mark Knopfler, Billy Gibbons and the rest of them? Aren't they even a bit curious what all the fuss is about these Zachs? I know I would be. I would love to really blow them away and make them reconsider what they really know about guitars. It seems like these guys a clueless and hiding in caves or something. Yet, they buy the crappy Dumbles and Klon and whatever else is fed to them from various sources.
Now don't get me wrong here. If a Dumble was at the level of a $600 Fender printed circuit board, made in Mexico, mass-produced amp, it would be a fine amp and the exorbitant price would be justified as simply the usual California hype. The puzzling and disturbing part is that these Dumbles are actually really fucking awful. I mean awful bad. The former Dumble owner told me laughing that I would not believe how awful his amp was which he purchased right from Dumble himself for $18K after a long wait and then sold to Mayer for about $6K more.
This is the perversion and the repulsive side of the guitar world. I am glad I am not part of it. I feel dirty just talking about it. I am hoping as "rockstars" and their demographic start dying off, the sooner the better, along with most guitar consumers, who are now in their 50s and 60s (throw backs from the hippie days, which they never were actually), we will have only sensible participants in the guitar world of the future. People who are not brainwashed or driven by marketing, nostalgia and fantasy but more by logic, purpose, reality and music.
Thank god that to a 15 year old kid playing guitar today, a vintage guitar is meaningless and is nothing more than a dirty, warped, dried up piece of unplayable garage-sale junk, worth the $100 its truly worth. In a way its refreshing also that to this much smaller new generation Eric Clapton is nothing more than an average "meant and potatoes" player who has been playing the same blues licks for 40 years and his reissue guitar is absurdly meaningless and only worth the $25K if they throw in a new car with it. I am predicting it will be a very different guitar world in the future. Just keep your eyes and ears open. Once the 60s are finally over, we will enter the true golden era of the guitar.
This is the funniest joke I heard for a long time. It will crack you up.
The new, very first Taylor electric solid body guitar is here.
What did you expect? Were you really that stupid to think they could do better? How could they?
Do you really thing that Socialist Hippies turned Capitalist Industrialists can build a guitar? They don't even know what a guitar is, nor do they care. Its all a big scam and marketing. Two page color ads and running poor Doyle Dykes ragged non stop to influence the minds of the ignorant, is the norm. As long as those CNC machines are programmed and running literally 3 shifts 24 hours a day, everything is right on track.
My question is as always, WHO THE HELL BUYS THIS STUFF? Awful sounding and sterile feeling guitars.
Thank God, I am not part of the guitar industry.
I recently read Bob Taylor say that they make 300 guitars per day. Yes, that is PER DAY. Can you imagine that? Most of them are acoustics so they take a lot longer to make then electrics and they can do 300 per day. That's enough to send me into a seizure. It takes me a month to make just one guitar.
So here is the funny story, the joke of the year. I found these quotes on the Internet.
Are you guys making a solid body?
For years - decades even - Bob Taylor's answer to that question was "NO !!!" Not for some complicated business reason, or even because we've focused on acoustics for so long. Bob's thinking was simple: he wasn't going to build a solid body electric unless he felt there was a real reason to. In other words, he wouldn't put the Taylor name on a guitar that was just another version of what already existed. For this new electric guitar to happen, it had to be new, unique and worthy of a place alongside the guitars that electric players have loved for generations.
Bob's thinking was simple: he wasn't going to build a solid body electric
unless he felt there was a real reason tountil his marketing guy, banker, and wife got him in a neck lock and informed him he was just throwing away good money.
Unique design? Looks like a Gibson Les Paul variant to me.
Taylor is the modern Martin. Martin lost a lot of money in developing and marketing their electrics twenty five years ago. It seems that Taylor is going down the same road. Who buys the bulk of electric guitars? Teenaged boys, that's who! Ibanez shot to the top of the electric guitar heap in the '80's when they got guitar idols Steve Vai and Joe Satriani to play their guitars. Teenage guitar wannabees around the world bought their products so they could be like their heroes. Taylor has to get a "guitar god" to play the thing on videos and in concert for the project to be profitable.
Guitar Gods coming up. I am sure they are standing in a long line wanting a bit of money, regardless of what the hell the product is. I sure hate endorsers. How can anyone respect an endorser? They are nothing more than prostitutes. If it involves giving Bob Taylor a blow, they will even do that. So let's see who the first cheap slut will be. Guitar god or blowboy, its one in the same.
I just have one piece of advice for Bob Taylor. Make sure you don't vote for Hillary Clinton. She will take away your personal ownership and redistribute your considerable wealth fairly among all the people. This is bad news for all the fraudulent hippies out there from the 60s who turned into capitalists. ...In the meantime we will see another computer/machine made plastic guitar hanging in better music stores around the world. Alex
Hey- I can relate to your desire to build 'the perfect beast' of a guitar. Personally, I've learned in my 30 years of playing that baubles, beads and beauty don't make for a fine playing/sounding instrument. As for the 'machines' that make the guitars these days, IMHO there is nothing wrong with applying technology to aid the supply and demand for a decent, affordable instrument when a guitar by a corporate monolith like Fender is in such demand.
Descent and affordable instrumentsa re fine for the 300 - 500 range but wake up I am talking about the $2000 - $3000 and up CNC-made guitars that are a rip off. For that price nobody whould pay for a CNC guitar. They can have a Zachary handmade gutiar. If they qualify to be allowed to buy one. Does Fender qualify any of their customers before selling them an instrument. I think they should. That would be funny. All the no-talent baby boomer coorprate types would not get their Relic Fenders, What a bummer that would be.
So what I am trying to say is, if you want to buy a CNC machine made gutiar, please do not pay more than $500 for it or the Fender custom shop will continue laughing at you. Why do you think Paul Smith has that goofy grin on his face all the time. He is laughing at the morons who buy the shit with his name on it.
Yes, there's a certain charm in a one-up, hand cut, routed and assembled instrument. That's what the Custom Shop is for (it really is a low volume considering Fenders size). That's what Zachary guitars are for. There's room for everyone.
No that is not what the Fender Custom Shop is for. They do not make gutiars by hand. I bet there is nobody in the Fender Custom Shop who can even make a guitar. All the stuff they have comes off the regular line. They may load in nicer looking wood but that is all. They take it off the the CNC machines and have it assembled by some hyped up individuals who really have no credentials and are off the line as well most of them, except that Fender now uses their names for marketing purposes. These people then install the parts on these Custom Shop Fenders, instead of the Mexicans on the regular line. They are making kit guitars no different then what anyone ordering a neck and body would do.
I remember reading a machine shop publication a few years ago about the Fender Custom Shop buying several HAAS CNC machines. So no, having worked at Fender you should not comfuse that with hand building gutiars it is not. It is a nothing more than a scam. You shold know this if you truly worked there.
I worked for Fender for 8 years as a CNC maintenance technician. Never had a better job, never worked for a better company.
I am sure that as a CNC maintenance person you had a great time. Just dont work there if you have anything to do with gutiar building. You would be disgusted and wasted in terms of any talents you may have.
Despite the volume of instruments and amplifiers they build, they have a passion for great gear (for the most part), innovation and are quite 'in tune' with players (unlike some hang-on dinosaurs like Gibson, etc.)
They like to think that they are in tune with the market. Their passion is for the market and profit, not for the gear. Most of the people in administration and also on the line, do not play any guitar. They do send out scouts and do watch the market for the direction they must take. Most of the time they are way off but it does not matter because largely they don't do what peole may need, they dictate the market. They even dictate to their hundreds of endorsers. Fender pulls the shots on what they play and what is being offered, not the other way around. Endorsers are not business people and Fender is smart enough to know not to trust them. With massive distribution like that, they can start trends and fads as they wish. This is becuase of the general ignorance of the average gutiar consumer. What they hell do they know. Fender knows this and uses it to their advantage.
Gibson is not a dinosour. Its no different from Fender. They use the same CNC machines. I wish Gibson was a dinasour. Then they would make gutiars by hand as they did up to the 1965. The current Gibson is not really Gibson, only by name. Just as Fender has nothing to do with what Leo built. The sad thing is that their whole structure is based on what Leo did with his workers, working largely by hand. Without that the current Fender would not even exist.
A CNC machine can turn out much better quality cuts at much higher precision than a hand luthier, period.
Well, this statement comes form a CNC maintenance person who has never played a Zachary. You also have limited knowldge of gutiars, regardless of how long you have played. You should know that the worse thing about a guitar is if has no soul. If its sterily its useless. Precision is actually what ruins a guitar. Just pick up any modern high end CNC gutiar and you will notice it if you have awareness. Imperfections as in music are crucial to musical isntruments. Its a very personal object that people must bond with. Humans by nature are very inperfect phisically and have a difficult time bonding with something that is overly perfect. Imperfection is actually a crucial element for gutiars and this is precisely what is needed for a great instrument. Just like a drum machine is unlistenable a CNC machine made gutiar is unplayable or is repulsive. The magic reason why vintage gutiars feel different is precisely because of their imperfection and inconsistency. This is what poeple bond to. The same goes for a guitar which has been broken in and well used for years. It has becoem phisically imperfect. Precision is the last thing you need in a gutiar. This is not to say that the build quality and fit should not be accurate. This shold be a function of the person and his skill, not that of a machine. Since nobody at fender is actually skilled to make a gutiar by hand and Fender certainly cannot train them, nor would it work for their massive numbers of mass production. CNC machines area a godsend and defines their entire operation. They would not exist without this technology.
If it wasn't for CNC their would be thousands of highly skilled instrument makers around the world making handcrafted gutiars. It would sort of be like the days of Stradivarius, not an army of minimum wage Mexicans who have no idea what they are even asked to do.
Most of the finishing, assembly (neck specs and finishing, hardware assembly) is still done 'by hand' by people requiring a fair salary at a fairly skilled profession.
This is to the dislike of Fender I am sure. People are a necessary evil for them and still a huge expense. It only means that they have not invented a programmed machine to do those tasks. Taylor and PRS has done an impressive jog and automating almost everything, including the buffing of the finished guitars by robots.
I've played some pretty putrid 'hand made' guitars and then some pretty damn good ones.
I even have a page on my website saying that I hate most handcrafted gutiars. This is because there is nowhere to hide when making a gutiar by hand. If the builder does not know what they are doing, then the whole thing turns into a mess or a very bad object. So yes, there are some putrid hand made gutiars out there.
I've also played many fine 'off the shelfers'. Right now I have an extraordinary 1966 relic Strat (the tone gives me goosebumps) and a cheapo (well worth the moolah) Mexi 60th Anniversary that I play out with. I can drop it, spill beer on it, get drunk and forget it at the gig and not think twice about fetching me another one. And honestly, I'm not partial to Fender. I love the sound, feel and playability of Strats (when you get the good stuff!) Sure, they're not perfect but nothing is.
You only think you have an exraordinary CNC made fake aged Strat. This is because you have not played a Zachary. This may not matter if you are not a good player. The better a player you are, the more you will notice the differences.
Keep in mind that your Exraordinary Relic Strat and your Mixican strat were made the exact same way on the same machines. Except that one was assembled and scratched and dented by workers who are paid more then the Mixicans are. That is the only difference and better parts maybe but not necessarily. Your Relic Custom Shop Strat is only marketed differently.
A Strat by nature has a lot of desing faults having been designed by Leo a non-player. It has some elements of genius as well but it is essentially a low quality cheap gutiar designed to be mass produced with primitive machinery by limited skilled workers, most of them Mixicans living in CA. Is your Strat really a good player? If you havn't played a Zachary then you may actually believe that. Also if you like tiny necks with tiny frets, lacquered fingerborads, badly sized necks with no edge space, overly magnetic pickups, terrible unuseable tremelos, loose neck joints and idiotic wiring, to name jsut a few things, then you will love a Strat. The current Fender Custom Shop makes sure to preserve all these faults because its what the baby boomers want, or at least they are told this is what they want. After all, for them the 60s are still not yet over. Their last great hope of their generation, Hillary Clinton, may be president and finally change the world for the better. ... Why did I need to mention Hillary, she says she is not a lesbian?
Alex, I’m guilty of everything you have proclaimed that guitarists do. Like a moth to a flame the shiny new guitars at the local music store have drawn me in. I’m guilty of taking the bait and paying extra for several signature models with the newest “innovations”. I’m guilty of believing that the more a guitar costs the better it is. I’m telling you this because I’m done with it. Since discovering Zachary guitars over a year ago the turmoil has been stewing inside of me. At first it was just denial. How could any guitar made from dumpster wood be superior to my precious LP or JEM or Fly. Over the past year it has been apparent just what these guitars are to me. Each one has been fun to own. They’re beautiful to look at and come with their own bragging rights. Ultimately my modest collection has left me unfulfilled. My LP was my prize possession when I bought it in 1978. It was the guitar to have. Now I find it heavy, clumsy and limiting. Being a huge Vai fan I had to have a JEM. That guitar took by breath away when I opened to case for the first time, but I immediately hated the Evolution pickups. I do love all of the innovations in my Parker Fly, but I’ve become a tone snob over the years and the tone is just not there. I visited the newly opened Guitar Center just up the road from my house and couldn’t get excited about anything. That’s when I realized that it’s time to finally get the Zachary.
OK. It should be obvious by now that I’m not a great writer, but I wanted you to know where I’m coming from and that I would like to order a Z2-T. I’m an artist (printmaker) and I know all too well what if feels like to create something from nothing only to sell it to a stranger. Few people realize the emotional attachment that accompanies the sale of an original piece of art. Over the years my guitar playing has replaced making prints and drawings. I try to play every day even if it’s only for a few minutes. I guess I can go on and on and try to qualify myself as worthy of owning one of your guitars. I’ll leave it at this and if you want to know more just ask. As far as the guitar, I just love the Black Limba on 250206 Voo Doo Chile and would like to have a Z2-T as close to it as I can. I hope that you haven’t used up your stock of Black Limba on that fabulous G3 T-bird.
I’ll eagerly wait for your reply and we can work out the particulars then providing you even agree to making a guitar for me. Thanks, Terry
Tony Gets It! and sums it up very nicely
Hi Alex. I never hang out on forums... never use them but I spent time looking through whatever I could find with your name on it. It's funny, Jay the bass player showed your guitar on one bass forum and everyone loved it and was jealous but these same idiots still find bad things to say about the builder.
It's your web sight and attitude that does it. They do not understand that you are not competing with anyone. Would Picasso or Michelangelo or Rembrandt compete with paint by number sets or their designers?? I can't understand why every other "custom guitar" site (and I've now checked quite a few out) makes me feel like I'm entering a funeral parlor. In a funny way, ordering your own "custom guitar" is kind of like planning your own funeral. These sites are all so generic they could be provided by the same place. Invariably they go on about their story and their vision and their fine woods / hardware / finishes. They all have almost nothing interesting on their home page and not much to! follow... A few pictures of a couple of guitars, some bullshit about their quality of craftsmanship, how to order and a contact link to prices (none are ever listed). They all have some elegant borders and neat little arrangements of pictures and write ups and real pretty font for their titles and headings. Every one of them. You can usually get through everything they have to say in about 10 or 15 minutes (that's being generous)... Sooooo boring.... Whereas you my friend are pure rock and roll. You kick ass in a serious way! How can any musician who wants an electric guitar mind or care? Are we not all rockers? Has this generation become so lazy and complacent it can't be challenged or rocked? (rhetorical questions BTW) What about the first time we all heard Nirvana? Didn't we all get blown away? Love 'em or hate 'em you HAD to respect them! Nirvana said "FUCK YOU" to all their idiot fans, they were all being educated and didn't even know it and everybody loved them but they don't see or appreciate that in you. Most guys thought they could be Cobains friend if they ever met him, like they knew what he was all about, but he saw through all their B.S. and they were the ones he was saying FU to. And then come the imitators. Well, Every great artist has it's imitators and yours are coming out of the woodwork. They are all complete assholes for trying to discredit what they don't understand and then trying to take credit for the time and energy you've put into learning and re-creating these things.
Your site was one of the first guitar sites I had been on and I took it they (guitar sites) were all full of interesting things and innovations. Sadly, this isn't so (Que mall music....yawn....) I am still plumbing the depths of your site and I think, your mind and I always come away fascinated. As Ted Noize would say, and I heartily second....FUCK THE REST!! Tony
Where You Raped by Paul Reed Smith ?
Bling - 1. Any shiny thing which distracts morons such as rappers.
2. Often takes the form of jewellery, may be expensive but is commonly cheap, used to give the impression of wealth. Adored by Chav's.
3. Gaudy over the top hideous and wholly unneccessary.
I liked the looks of the PRS and was attracted to its bling. Being at least something of a player, I hated the stupid neck heel. I have owned many guitars, but never a PRS because even I could recognize it was not a players guitar, unless that player was being paid a lot. Honestly, I don't know anyone who plays a PRS that isn't endorsed. Meaning I have never in my life honestly met a person who purchased one. I don't know what they are thinking. I just think they are ignorant. But let me make a long winded guess.
Computer career mentality:
I don't think its the career particularly, but people who believe in technology tend to go for that kind of career. I got into it before it was a big thing because (at the time '79) it was a good way to make a lot of money very quickly. It isn't any more, its just another job. So there are some guys who made money that way that are in the market for expensive toys. We (the old guys with disposable income) are the target of the PRS and Taylor marketing machine.
The immediate PRS and Taylor obvious strategy is simply that people with money liking pretty things. And a PRS is very pretty if you have never seen a Z. Yes its gaudy. Like a BMW. It says I can afford an expensive toy. Its really that simple. Like women with diamonds. Its people who don't know better, not through stupidity, simply ignorance. If you can also make music with it that is cool too. At least you would hope that is part of the process. Definitely not for a lot of guys.
And the truly analytical mind will tend to decide that a machine made guitar is good. It takes experience, time, and good fortune to learn the truth. Here is why:
Let's say you go and shop G&Ls (for example please - I don't want to start a discussion about G&L). The US ones are still hand made. Some of them are really very good, much better than a lot of machine made guitars. But those get picked off the rack and sold very quickly (or you can get lucky with a custom order). Others are just OK. Personally I don't see that based on WHAT YOU WILL FIND ON THE RACK they are CONSISTENTLY better than some machine made guitars. Actually I think the AVERAGE still on the rack high end USA Fender (made on machines) might be better than the AVERAGE still on the rack hand made G&L. And there are hardly any hand made guitars for any average guy to sample anywhere at all, so what is he going to think? If you are a SMART guy, you go and get a relationship with a small retailer, and sample his guitars as he gets them in the door, so you can snag one. But this takes months maybe. And we are talking about the average guy still.
So for the average guy shopping in the average place where one can go to sample guitars, I would have to say that there is no reason to think a machine made guitar is inferior. The technology guy knows they are more CONSISTENT. That is certain and provable. Of course WE know that means that the truly superior guitar cannot come from that kind of process. But those are not available at all in the marketplace of the average guy. But he does not know that. He thinks that if you are looking for a good guitar you should go somewhere that has lots of guitars to choose from. (Actually it might be completely wrong at every level, but if you don't have real experience its very hard to know that.)
They go to Guitar Center, because for the most part, that's all there seems to be, unless you get out there and search. For certain, Strip Mall Music isn't going to cut it. Also there is a tendency to think if you pay more money will you get a better guitar. Maybe. So they get sucked in. Actually its even worse if they get sucked into Bob's Vintage Guitars (or whatever). You have to do a lot of hands on research and be a real player to know the truth about that.
And the whole Guitar Center thing. All of the decent guitars get picked off so fast. And you can't really play one there. It's so NOISY and the bulk of teenage boys trying to shred junk guitars through solid state amps. Don't get me started. Still lots of guys go through there. Some of them are not clueless. As a matter of fact, if you don't want to spend a lot of money you can snag a decent guitar if you catch one coming out of the box at the right time. So when the decent Fender or Gibson (or import) hits the rack it disappears. And what's left is the crap. So the average guy looking for a good guitar keeps playing the crap until the Evil Guitar Center Salesman hands him the PRS. They sit up there on the high spot on the wall. Maybe this one actually has decent fretwork and intonation, and it looks blingy. He wants a guitar today. Actually at this point he is getting weary of the process. He does not want to keep shopping. He has seen the PRS ads and has been told by Guitar Player Magazine (paid HOW MUCH by PRS for ADS?) that they are good. He can afford it because he is a Lawyer/Doctor/Plumbing Contractor, etc. So out comes the VISA and home he goes. He may actually be a good player (probably not). Then because he spent so much money and he continues to read the advertising, he is brainwashed into thinking he has a great guitar. So much so that he keeps buying them because now he is bored with that weird shiny blue color, then the red. Since they are not organic and distinctively unique in any way he does not fall in love with them. He is lost. He's not stupid, he is just ignorant and a victim. And why should he consider anything else, once he is convinced he has the ultimate guitar. The advertising keeps coming at him. He has no friends to show him a Z. (jeez go figure - how many are there?) Poor guy.
Actually when you think about the entire process it sounds almost like rape. I am so glad I know better. These guys are victims.
And there is NO WAY to build enough Z's to put them in Guitar Center without using machines, so this discussion is completely irrelevant. So the PRS machine will continue to march on, consuming the ignorant and unwitting. I for one am appreciative that I have been saved and that the list for Zs was not impossible.
Frank Baker (CA)
eBay is not a Joke ... only a reflection of the guitar enthusiast mentality.
OK, ignorance and stupidity is disgusting, eBay only displays it ad nauseam.
Ebay is entertaining. Go to guitars and sort by price highest first. Very funny stuff. I wonder is it all a joke? If so have no pity on those who bite, they are victims only of their own stupidity. The sellers are either evil or fools trying to recover. Of course who can deny an entrepreneur the right to take advantage of fools. Is that not what this economy is based upon? Frank
This stuff is funny. Its mostly vintage BS at the very high end. As I have been saying for some time, the vintage market is done and you will see the prices dive-bomb in the next few years. They will not tell you this however to keep the BS going and not to cut their own throats. However that is not stopping this crack dealer from trying to reach the half million dollar mark for the Les Paul. They were predicting that it will reach that a few years ago. They think the more they wish for it the more likely it will happen. That was true in the vintage market until recently. The more hype they create and the more rich players and collectors and magazines telling you of the ultimate tone coming from these instruments the more they can pump up the perceived value. A market driven by pure BS functioned on that principle, however as we know the world economy has changed drastically in the last few years. Here is your next Les Paul at $450,000.
I went stopped off in San Jose a in around 97 and went into a Guitar Center for no particular reason. I saw the same guitar, except sunburst. I pretended I was interested and asked if I could take some pics of it. I was already thinking of developing hte G1 model even then. I always like these simple LPs with P90s. The kid working there said fine and was trying to sell it to me for about $3200 I think it was. To me it was worth 1K at the most. I played it briefly unplugged, didn't really make much of a sound, the action was terrible and I was shocked at the terrible neck on it. This neck had no shaping, just a huge baseball bat. I mean it was humongous huge and round. Not very playable for reasons of shape and the bad action. I thought the first thing I would do is to shave the neck so I could play it but that would have defeated the purpose of even buying it. So I took my pics instead. What was strange to me is that this model was supposed to be a budget LP for kids, students and woman players. It shows you just how disinterested and incompetent they were even then when mass producing guitars. They did not notice or give a shit that the market this model was intended for would actually need a smaller than normal neck, or at least a regular Gibson neck in thickness and shape. Not a monster neck. I have no idea what kid, student or woman could have played this guitar in the 50s or at any time for that matter. This particular guitar, in this ebay listing, looks to be a refinished one, despite what the honest ebay seller claims. Its way too shiny. Vintage lacquer, just from age, will loose its shine and real lacquer was never this shiny in the first place. It looks polyester to me. Also I don't think there was ever any natural color Les Paul Special/Junior made. Never heard of it. They originally came in two finishes, either TV yellow or brown sunburst. Now take a look at what this guy is trying to get for the same guitar I saw for around 3K 10 years ago. $27.500
I cannot stand to look at all this BS. These guitars are fine....for 1k, like you said Alex. Seeing $ 27k and $ 450k....it is just the ultimate gross out. Eli
Is Alex in an enviable position or not?
Alex, Great to see you are still fighting the good fight to break new ground and make the best guitars possible. I've been tuning into your website now for at least five or six years and although I've never actually had the opportunity to play one of your guitars, you can tell they are getting better and better, and I believe this is because you actually love your guitars, and don't give a shit about the money. I say this because if you were in it for the coin, you'd be doing the same as all the other big names, churning out flashy, poly smothered crap and charging five or six times what it's actually worth.
All anyone has to do is check out the pics of your completed and sold guitars; you take brutally CLOSEUP pics! it's like your daring anyone to find a fault in the workmanship, and by that, I mean the stuff that actually matters, like the neck joint and string alignment. It baffles me to no end that people will pay thousands of dollars for a Fender'' custom shop'' guitar that has a sloppy neck joint or weighs eight pound or more, or has been hacked and chipped to make it look old. In all fairness, some of them are probably pretty decent guitars, but like you've been saying for years, they're ALL cut on CNC machines and aren't worth more than $500.
I read on your site a letter from one of your customers, this guy Eli from NYC and he nailed it when he says the Mexican stuff if well set up, in most cases is in no way inferior to the Custom Shop stuff. I have to admit, I love Strats and Teles (actually, the ones I assembled myself from aftermarket parts, lightweight bodies and fat necks with big frets and with no freaking neck gaps). I have absolutely no desire to check out the guitar shops cause it's all the same hyped, poly smothered stuff that the big names have been pushing for as long as I can remember, nothing innovative......... just the same old stuff that they candy coat a different colour, or scratch (rolling my eyes) to get people to cough up their cash.
I was reading not long ago on a forum where they were discussing sloppy neck pockets; the discussion was pretty basic, does it affect tone and stability? well to me, yes and yes. One guy said all a tight neck joint indicates is that the guitar was ''thoughtfully" assembled...........ok..........I've seen a lot of Fender guitars, some with and without nice, tight neck to body assembly.
Another thing I noticed is that you don't get a discount if you buy a guitar with a big gap. I'd bet both my balls and thumbs that you wouldn't even consider trying to pass something like that off on a customer. I'm not trying to bash Fender, but to me no real Fender guitars have been made since 1965, and even within Leo's era there were some duds, and it's like you say, Strats and Teles were designed as cheap guitars that would be easy to manufacture by semi-skilled labor. I love playing my Partsocasters , they're cheap, fun guitars, that I built for about $500 each with top notch parts ( would have cost me $3000 for the same toys from the custom shop) but they sure as hell aren't a Z2...........I remember the first time I saw a pic of a Z2, and it was like looking at a Formula 1 race car, designed and built to haul some serious ass! Definitely not a guitar for the masses, but then again not everyone should try to take on an F1 racer.
You're not in an enviable position, simply because guitar players in most cases are like religious zealots and generally aren't very open minded, they'll stick to a brand of guitar the same way a religious fanatic will adhere to a doctrine no matter what common sense or logic they may be exposed to.
Alex, don't forget that Aristotle was brushed off as a fool when he tried to convince people that the world was actually round.........don't stop what your doing,
Actually, guitar players are not like religious zealots and they don't simply stick to any brand of guitar. I would not even call 80% of the market guitar players, it is more accurate to call them guitar consumers. They are nothing more. They are a very ignorant and uneducated bunch, who actually have very little to do with guitars. For most, the guitar does not represent a musical instrument, nor are they really looking for a serious instrument. This is why they don't actually stick to any brand because they like the brand for any particular reason. They are influenced by marketing alone. New guitar producer can buy the market if they spend enough on advertising and endorsements.
Just take a look how no company can ever hope to mass produce, distribute or sell guitars without advertising or celebrity endorsers. Most of the guitar consumers have no idea what a good guitar even is, nor does it matter to them. The more ads and the more endorsers, the faster a company will sell the product. This is because they know very well who comprises the market. The consumer must have an image and must be told what they should buy.
The market is not musicians for the most part. They are consumers in an aspirational market. This means that most are idiots who don't know very much about guitars and are only casual users at best, many can't even play. When all it takes is the price of a ticket to enter the game you end up with the lowest common denominator as consumers in the industry made up of uneducated and largely disinterested users. This greatly lowers the level of the industry. Any moron is admitted. This is why the majority of the industry is comprised of casual users at best. A casual user or a non player has very different needs, compared to a dedicated, educated, mature player. A musician seeks a musical instrument, a non musician looks for something very different. To confirm this just take a survey of what guitar products sell the best and then take a close look at who buys them.
I am sure glad I am not a part of the guitar industry because it continuously makes me repulsed. The requirement I have is for me to be motivated to create instruments, I must first respect who I am creating them for. Alex
Some feel my philosophy is different
My philosophy is really not different. I believe most people, given my circumstances, would naturally have the same philosophy. The type of artistic expression is irrelevant, the philosophy would be the same. However, given the current technology in mass-manufacturing, not many have my concerns however.
The difference is that I am the producer of the items, it takes me a long time to make each piece and I do it with my hands. So its a personal relationship with the piece of wood, the whole process and hence the finished product. I can only do a very limited number. So I cannot be a normal retail operation. I was never excited by selling things. I am not sure where the challenge or the meaning would be in selling things. It seems totally pointless to me. There is no emotion or creativity in that. The goal becomes just to sell as many units as possible, indiscriminately. There ceases to be any relationship either with the items or with the person purchasing it. The only goal is quantity sold. I actually loose respect for people who do selling. Something is just missing. There is no emotion or spirituality involved. It makes me uneasy. Its like visiting a prostitute for a quick and totally impersonal transaction.
I don't agree that a beginner or one simply who is a very casually uninvolved user of a product will get much benefit from something more special. To be discriminating demands intelligence, experience and competence. Its like showing someone who is unaware of high end stereos what the sound difference is between a cheaper system and an audiophile system, they would simply not hear it and not even care. They may actually want to trade it in for a large screen TV or something. It all boils down to education.
Given the descent quality of today's budget instruments, I don't believe a beginner will get any benefit from any of my guitars. In fact without the thick plastic finish my guitars are more fragile. As long as a cheap guitar works and is set up well, I don't believe a beginner or a casual player will notice or get any benefit from what I make. I hope I am wrong but this is what I feel intuitively, so I don't think a casual player needs anything I may, other than to satisfy their curiosity or impulses when it comes to being a consumer.
So, it would be a waste for a casual, unknowledgeable player to own a Z guitar. Not so much because I am arrogant bastard or exclusionary in any way but because it would be inappropriate to take their money for something they don't need and really cannot use. Like selling an exotic performance car to a soccer mom. The sports car would be wasted by not being used by the right person and in the right manner.
In terms of what I have to offer, it will not be perceptible by an inexperienced player anyway. Your typical consumer jerk who plays a few chords they learned in the late 60s, will be bored with any guitar they buy and I don't want to find my work on ebay a month later for $500 because they now want something else, which Satriani is selling. I keep using Satriani as an example because he seems so greedy and opportunistic to me. It seems he will do anything for a dollar. Most are all like him though.
Unfortunately there are no standards to attain in order to become a guitar consumer, as there is for becoming a surgeon. I wish there was. Education is the key, not even so much playing ability. I think the guitar industry is very unique in that it has more to do with the fashion industry, than with music or art. Come to think of it, it has very little to do with art. This is the root of my frustration, creating instruments for a specific type of player, who largely is very uncommon and virtually does not even exist. If feels very lonely where I am standing. If an instrument is purchased for the wrong reason, the instrument instantly looses its meaning and purpose. It actually ceases being a musical instrument and I make musical instruments.
My earliest roots are in classical music and when I discovered the guitar it always seemed odd to me that millions of people were buying guitars who could not really play them. This is a totally absurd notion in the classical music world. "Look at my new Strad reissue, aged relic, made in the custom shop to be totally exact to the last wear mark, scratch and crack. An exact copy of what Paganini played in 1854 at his famous Duesenberg concert in front of the count of Bavaria. Its an exact reissue of the violin which made women melt in the audience. Its the first time it was discovered that women were capable of orgasms, but only when this violin is played."
Most guitar enthusiasts are self taught with no systematic approach to the instrument. Many simply use the guitar as a fashion statement and/or a collectable and the guitar industry is driven by pop culture more than art. Anyone from a classical background simply finds this hideous and uncomfortable. Most of these values are non existent historically or in the classical world . Thanks to Elvis, anyone can be Elvis.
Of course any retailer would not consider my considerations a problem and would think of it as ridiculous and bizarre behavior. They will just take your money, as much of it as they can. I have contempt for such individuals, more than I can describe. This is why I am uneasy inside a music store and try not to even go near one. For me its like going to a slaughterhouse. Its just a different world and a different language. One that I don't speak.
Players Wanted !
Guitar Consumers mostly Juveniles
Frank Baker says regarding the new Hard Times (HT) model Zachary guitar:
I like it. Very straight. A tool not a toy. Just what a real player needs. Of course it will make the right sounds. At this price point you are knocking on the door of mass produced guitars, that must invite a lot of real players. Frank Baker
Well, you know the truth but others may not. I agree the market will be flooded with all kinds of guitars, ranging from the Asian budget stuff to the super expensive lawyer/doctor collections. I hear lawyers are looking for jobs as well. Basically, its not a good scene. Personally I don't think offering a less expensive model will make any difference. I have this guess that if people want to buy, they will buy. A thousand dollars here or there will not make a difference. At least it would not make a difference in my shopping.
Regardless, making these HT model does take me less time and I could do 2 per month for sure. If people would be smart enough to know what they are getting, I would pass on the savings, it would work out fine and they would get the best guitar they ever had.
As I had discovered and discussed before, the market is mainly made up of millions of very casual guitar fans. Not players. This also consists of a large group of people who do play but know very little about guitars and are filled with misinformation, dogmas, clichés, etc. In fact prejudices. No different than racial prejudices or stereotypes. They know so little that the knowledge they do have is totally from guitar ads and magazines (also purposeful marketing). These people are simply not smart enough to even realize what they are looking at when they see a Z. In fact they may just walk right past it most likely. Like the guy who thinks he must play a Strat for blues, a LP sustains more, a Maple top gives a brighter sound, that he will not be able to play a wide neck, that fat frets are not comfortable, a guitar must be heavy or have fancy wood to sound good, or that if it does not have a certain headstock its no good and does not work. This sort of shit.
They are clueless and it makes you sick even talking to them. The result of very little experience. Actually its far better if one did have lots of different guitars in the past, it gives the person lots of invaluable experience and those are the people who are totally ready for a Z. They are fully familiar with different guitars, designs and their shortcomings. They also really know what they want and the marketing shit they heard has been thrown out the window. They have too much personal experience to believe it and can make up their own minds. Others may claim to be making up their won minds but the are really not. Its indoctrination of the ignorant.
The guy who always wanted a LP or PRS is not even going to know what a Z is or even care. Regardless of his age, he is basically only 14 years old intellectually, when it comes to guitars. He is no more than a kid looking for the shiny toy he was told he must have to belong. He is also NOT buying it for playing but for the wrong reasons.
Did I raise the bar too high? This may be a serious problem and dimish Z sales.
Z players are already hard to find.
Since I don't pay anyone to play my guitars, the professional whores would scoff at the idea of playing any gear which does not pay them. Therefore, Z guitars, as good as they are, must go to amateur players, some of who are not stellar performers and may not have been at the front of the line when talent was being handed out by God.
I can understand why some realistic guitar enthusiasts shy away from a Z. The bottom line is that if you are not a player of a certain level, a Z will be not be the right instrument for you and may even be ridiculous for you to play and own. While most pros get paid to play really shitting guitars, which are way beneath them, some Zs are played by shitty guitar players, who are beneath a Z. The truth is that a Z is too good for most guitar consumers and go on being way underutilized.
I know these are not nice things to say and no ass kissing business person/salesman would ever utter such insults at their potential customers, however, I am not a businessman, nor am I a salesman. Sincerity is the key to what I do. Some things just have to be clarified and mentioned.
Eli Friedmann, owner of 4 Zs with a 5th coming, and having the intellect that he does, explains it this way.
So basically what I am saying is that the vids of the Z guitars need to be AS GOOD AS THE GUITARS ARE THEMSELVES....and that is a damn hard thing to make happen. Damn hard. This is no insult to Mark and Frank...not at all....but going on the evidence of what we have put on youtube none of us are as good at playing guitar as you are at building guitars. I know...it sounds crazy...but anything less than that will not suffice. You have raised the bar that high. The vids must be undeniably amazing according to multiple criteria or they will be no match for the level of the Z guitar. This is why I get so obsessed with the limits of the sound quality on youtube. The vids must be of already famous players playing Zs OR an unknown playing something really perfect and great. That is my take on it anyway. Eli Friedmann, NYC
PATHETIC "handmade custom guitars"
As I've told you, I'm not one of these "forum guys" so I don't really hear the "word on the street" about many guitars makers, (such as yourself), I was told about you while doing some equipment trade a while back. So after all the time I've spent on your site I felt the need to check out some other guys "handmade" guitars.
All I can say is, WHAT THE FUCK? Well actually, I have to admit that I found a handful of pretty nice looking guitars, but the rest..........The majority of these fuckin' things look like they came off from one of the big names' fuckin' CNC machines, just flat out copies, looking like anything that can be found in about any music store, they're even using the same electronics.
Do these guys really call themselves artist's, craftsman? Their guitars look like they bought a kit and finished it off. 99% of the ones that stood apart are just weird. Like this fuckin' Gander, from the guy who was talking shit to you. Have you seen this guy's fucking shit? I'm sure you probably have. The most FUCKED UP guitars I've ever seen in my 39 years in this world.
I found quite an extensive listing of builders and went through them all. Now I can see very clearly why some of these guys as so down on you, they're the ones that couldn't begin to do what you do. I had some doubts at first, partly because of so much bias on both sides of the issue, but as time goes on those doubts subside more and more. Most of these other guys couldn't begin to CREATE something ORIGINAL with raw, natural appeal to stand up next to what you're doing. Naturally they hate you, you make people see them for what they are, copycat hacks that can paint. Dan
I have a page on this site where I begin to explain that I actually hate the so called "handmade custom guitars" you see out there. There is so much bad, unimaginative, clumsy shit out there, that it gives the word "handmade" and "custom" a really bad image. In a certain way I understand how some would keep away from all that shit.
Some of these "custom" builders even encourage their customers to design their own guitars, then you get some atrocious scary horse manure. Its like the stupid leading the stupid. Idiot designed handcrafted custom guitars. What a nightmare. So you have witnessed it correctly. Good for you for having the sensibility, the perceptions and the intellect to do so.
The problem is this. Most of these so called "luthiers" have no artistic talent. Add to this that they don't play the guitar worth two shits and don't actually know much about guitars. All they know is to copy the mass produced guitars. They think this is where its at. Hilarious! Can you imagine what loser would make a guitar by hand, just to copy a mass produced PRS or other shit plastic crap out there you find on any Guitar Center wall. Why would anyone want to buy a handcrafted custom guitar which copies a factory CNC guitar? An idiot just like the idiot who makes it.
Well, these "luthiers" are very limited in their ability and creativity and are they ever going down the wrong path. Its both funny and sad to see. Its hilarious and its repulsive at the same time. Painful actually.
Needless to say, I have no respect for "luthiers". I also know why they hate me.
They must go to the circle jerk forums for support. Alex
I will continue to ram it down your throats, in no uncertain words.
My primary roll and mission in life is not guitar building, its to fight ignorance.
I love your instruments. I've been spending a lot of time on your sight reading everything. I was really fascinated by your strings page. Truly interesting and so very logical when you think about it. But of course it's the guitars that run the show. I have to say I find them beautiful. I find your guitars beautiful because of their simplicity and purposeful design. I love the simplicity, the direct connection to the wood and those shapes. Those objects couldn't be anything else but guitars. It's so obvious.
Sometimes I want to cry when I see a most of the new guitars coming out. I mean people are so lacking in imagination that they are now copying PRS. Talk about taking the wrong fork in the road! Most guitarists are too conservative. Maybe it's because, as you say, they're afraid to lose their investment or they're hoping that what they buy will end up paying their mortgage some day!!! I think bass players are a lot more open to new ideas and designs.
I've always loved simple guitars (in fact simple designs in general) like the Tele (my favourite) and the Les Paul Junior. I was never a fan of Ricks until I saw your "fixed" Rickenbacker. It is truly inspired and beautiful.
Unfortunately it took me a while to "get it". I do own some plastic-covered guitars. Although I also own a custom-made Tele from a small builder. Light, airy, singing wood. I rap the body and it just rings. That's what a guitar is supposed to be : a piece of wood. But you know what I like most about it: it makes me work, it doesn't accept sloppy playing. It makes me a better guitarist. And I suspect your guitars make people better guitarists too. It's like the difference between riding a Honda Touring bike and a Ducati.
I hope I can get a Zachary some day because as I get older I feel the need to get back to nature and what's more natural (and sensuous) than a piece of naked wood (well maybe a milk-white thigh....). And if that piece of wood can also make music, fuck, what more do you want?
You're doing guitarists everywhere a huge favour by ramming your philosophy down their throats. They just don't know it yet. A lot of us need to hear this shit. And to get with the program. You know, maybe this recession will help some of the lost souls out there return to earth and find the truth about what a guitar should be. And you Hard TimeZ is the only guitar I know of that tackles this head-on. From what I've seen this past year the musical instrument industry hasn't gotten the memo yet that the world is hurting financially. Shit, Fender raised their prices in January. I guess that tells it all. So once again you're one step ahead of the herd.
You should be proud. Long life and much success to you. Daniel
Thanks for the great email Daniel. I see you have a good intellect. I don't hold as much hope for the average guitar consumer. They know so little about gutiars, art in general or even history and culture, that they don't appreciate something which is real and special. Have you even thought that the guitar consumer and the endorsing paid-off professional player would this completely kill handcrafted instrument making. Its a lost art. Almost totally gone. They don't want it or have a need for it. Handcrafted guitars do not pay the pro, who is nothing more than a whore for money. You cannot sell pearls to pigs. Stradivarius would be driving a cab today and only a few would appreciate what he did. Ignorance is a huge problem in every aspect of life. Ignorance is our biggest threat and many will die around the world because of it. The terrible education system really puts the nail in the coffin. Alex
Why I Hate Endorsees
- endorsees have destroyed handcraftsmanship and they continue doing it every day
I don't hold as much hope for the average guitar consumer. They know so little about gutiars, art in general or even history and culture, that they don't appreciate something which is real and special. Have you even thought that the guitar consumer and the endorsed paid-off professional player would completely kill handcrafted instrument making? Its a lost art. Almost totally gone now. They don't want it or have any need for it. Handcrafted guitars do not pay the pro, who is nothing more than a whore for money. You give them enough money and they will do almost anything. You cannot sell pearls to pigs either. Ignorant peolple are nothing more than pigs. Stradivarius would be driving a cab today and only a few would appreciate what he did. Ignorance is a huge problem in every aspect of life. Ignorance is our biggest threat and many will continue to die around the world because of it. Many get rich by keeping people ignorant. The terrible education system really puts the nail in the coffin. Alex
You're probably right about consumers. It would explain why there are so many garbage products. The experts say it's because we make buying decisions based on emotions rather than logic. And there are far too many endorsees who "play" their guitars in ads but never on stage. Dan
"Serious questions meriting serious honest answers" Jackson Lee, Worcester, Mass.
This should normally be on the Idiot's Page, however I suspect there are hundreds like this person and its a good opportunity to educate the lower masses once again. Its really what I do here and the purpose of this website, unlike the purpose of your local guitar boutique who just wants to get a hold of your credit card regardless of what an idiot you may be. In fact, the bigger the idiot you are the more they love you.
Here at Zachary Guitars, I insist that you know guitars. If you don't, I have no respect for you and will treat you like shit, slap you down and send you running for the guitar forums where you should go and continue jerking off with all your other idiot buds. The Gear page will be a good one for you. There you will be in a circle of other idiots just like you. In fact some will be even stupider than you are and may actually make you shudder as well.
The ignorance of this guy struck me to the point that I really could not reply to things so painfully obvious. So I ran his questions by Eli who gave a good analysis and accurate comments. I then added a few specific details of my own.
In some ways, ignorance fascinates me. Ignorance is not the same as stupidity. A stupid person has no capacity to learn but an ignorant one does. An ignorant individual can be educated and saved. This is why my work is so rewarding. I try to get into the mind of an ignorant individual and attempt to find out what information, experience and reasoning they lack. My part is to educated; providing information and knowledge in order to wipe out the ignorance and elevate the individual to a previously unattained level. The idiot usually walks away a different individual. The Z process is very rewarding and constructive for both sides.
Apparent, is that he has no knowledge of guitar building, limited knowledge of guitars in general, has never seen or touched a handcrafted guitar, has most likely a beginner ability to play and absolutely no knowledge of me, what I do and the way in which I do it. Therefore his questions sound naive and somewhat insultingly irritating, to me at least. I was at the point of scratching my head in amazement that he did not get it.
This was the usual anonymous comentator with no introduction or signature accompanying his e-mail. After asking for his name he gave me this: My name is Jackson (Jake) Lee, Worcester, Mass. I hope its not the Jake E. Lee of Ozzy fame. That would make me loose all hope.
Here are his comments and questions.
This will probably be viewed as an idiot page comment though my intentions are not to cut anyone down, I view the following as serious questions meriting serious honest answers.
1) If you used a cnc machine simply to cut your body shapes and do the routing for you and then hand assembled and finished them using all the same materials would you not end up with the same guitar? Sound the same? Look the same? Feel the same? Just done a bit quicker?
2) A large part of your website is devoted to bashing big name guitar companies and the musicians who purchase their products. So isn't it a little hypocritical and underhanded to use all of those big names all over your website for search engine purposes. The impression I get is that you want to be distanced from those companies so why do you associate yourself with them for search results especially if you are so particular about who you are selling to? Is it that the whole "I don't want to sell you a guitar" thing is a marketing ploy? A modified version of the marketing games that the big names play?
I'm having trouble determining how much truth there is in some of the things you say especially with inconsistencies such as named in part 2. I would like an honest rebuttal.
Eli and I have a discussion about these questions.
Well he does not understand the bond that occurs when a real craftsman makes a guitar instead of having a computer do it for him. It’s kind of like the cliché “if you have to ask...you’ll never know”. As far as the search engine stuff....well he is only partially on target....i assume PART of the motivation for sprinkling your site with mentions of other brands is to get some accidental hits from people searching for “the usual suspects”....true enough....however he does not get that you use these famous brands as motivations to better yourself. Eli
Oh, by the way, the reason I use well known titles, brands and tags for my pages is for two reasons.
One is for the comedic irony and mockery of these brands, the second and more important reason is to manipulate the search results and to actually trick anyone to click on my pages in order to give them the rare chance to be educated. Seeing what I do will elevate them to a whole new level outside of their limited Guitar Center experience. They will either have a revelation of something new on their own and educate themselves or they can contact me and I will educate them if they don't get it on their own, like this guy did here. So its a very valuable service, which I offer free of charge. I educate them to add new ways of looking at guitars and to know about types of instruments they never even knew existed, based on a different philosophy, priority and purpose in making and selling these instruments. Something totally different to what they have known before based on the limited knowledge they had been given by other sources. They have been intentionally kept ignorant for a reason and I can change that. Alex
It amazes me how misunderstood I am to this guy. Not that it matters, this is only some anonymous ebay troll. However, it may reflect thousands of others out there who casually come in contact with my site and piss their pants in disbelief. Notice how he thinks my qualification process is actually insincere and some marketing ploy. I basically come across to him as possibly insincere ... as a clever marketer, more than anything. Maybe he thinks I premeditate all these "tricks" to sell as many Z guitars as possible to hacks everywhere. I have no idea why he gets this impression, other than just being an idiot. Anyhow, I think this qualification thing is totally bizarre to these people who think that there must be something disingenuous involved on my part if I am selective as to who gets my work of passion. I find this a fascinating statement on the current human condition. This is actually a very interesting email in terms of human perception. Its study worthy. I am not sure what to make of this person. Or he may just be an inordinately stupid individual. Even stupider than the usual. I find it intriguing however how someone unfamiliar with me views my website and my intentions. Alex
You can never be sure what people’s reactions are if you don’t actually hear their opinion...and in most cases they never email you. Eli
He gets that impression because the world is about selling things to people....so why should he expect anything different from you? He does not understand your unique take on your business....so he is trying to fit it into the typical business framework....ie. selling people items....the more the better.
In the context of the world.....it IS out of the ordinary....so the first thing that comes to mind is that you are simply posing as this renegade and in fact are just another guy selling stuff to whoever he can.
Anyway, there is a worthwhile discussion to be had on this analysis of human psychology as seen through the lens of the guitar business....but at the same time there is only so much you can learn from these random guys emailing you because they have nothing better to do.
He simply does not understand why building things with your own hands is cool....as opposed to just hitting a button on a computer. That is really to bad. When things are made by hand by a skilled person you can sense it just on an intuitive level. Mojo.
You should just understand....he is attempting to fit your approach into the world he knows...the world of selling. Obviously you are trying to get attention....as we all do if we want to make an impression on the world....however what he misses altogether is that the whole “I don’t want to sell you a guitar” thing is simply a reaction to the fact that most people who buy fancy guitars on the internet do not really play the guitar or will simply miss how kick-ass Zachary guitars are and sell them on ebay....thus screwing up your whole thing.
He does not get that the reason you put all those names in your site to get hits is YES....to get attention being a tiny operation that cannot afford to advertise like PRS and Gibson and Fender.....but the equally important thing is to expose the typical lazy guitar consumer who was just searching for pics of a Gibson or a Fender to something that might blow their mind....actually helping and educating these folks. One minute they are searching for yet another picture of a vintage Les Paul or something...and then BANG a giant picture of a Z2-T appears in high resolution in front of their face. That is a valuable thing to happen to a person. Eli
It just struck me as interesting how I actually come across as a crook to someone who has been conditioned that pandering, greed and profit is the norm. Or that fake pleasantries which bring increased profits is the way to go. That seems to be the business model these days. Immediately he thinks there must be some kind of a trick employed here and what I do is not for real. He has never heard of anyone not doing it for the money. He becomes very skeptical. Its not even normal to him. ... the conclusion being that anyone who is not out for the money is not to be trusted..
This saddens me for sure. I guess he really does not know me to even imagine this scenario. I sure suffer the results of being selective in who to sell to. Those who I had not sold to can surely attest to this. It comes right out of my wallet or should I say, money does not go into my wallet. Not too many others would be principled to this extent and make this sacrifice. To give up my livelihood and success as a guitar builder, just in order to be certain Z guitars are going to the right people. People who can actually use them. This seems to be not permissible to ask and a dubious intention. Even with this vigilance on my part I have not been successful every time. Some Zs did end up in the hands of the worst pieces of human filth and that is putting it nicely. You know who you are.
I guess this guy has never done anything out of pure passion and excitement to understand where I am coming from. Its sad really that this requirement of mine seems suspicious to him. It seems evident right away that he is not a player because a player would instantly understand that a non-player should not end up with these guitars. A non-player would not think of it however. So its a dead give away as to who he is.
I must add something regarding his CNC comment. He thinks that a guitar made by CNC and by hand should pretty well be the same in the end, except that one takes longer to do. Nothing is further from the truth. A handmade guitar is totally different from a computer-program-made instrument. The two have not much in common with each other. They don't look, feel or sound anything alike. Its like comparing the cooking of a trained chef to commercial fast food. CNC guitars are the equivalent of fast food. The whole philosophy and marketing is virtually identical. Even the characters involved are alike, both the sellers and the consumers. When someone claims to have built a "handcrafted" guitar and it looks like a PRS or even more severely perverse in the same direction, you know its a hoax of the first order and the guy had the parts made by CNC and sprayed it with BMW paint over the most unnaturally exaggerated grotesque grain he can find. Its as handmade and organic as a blow up sex doll. Most importantly, you know the guy has no clue as to what a handmade guitar should be like and is also a fraud as a guitar builder.
A handmade guitar by nature is not perfect and is naturally full of flaws and is imprecise ... as it should be. These are the flaws of the hand and the various tools directed by the hand. These imperfections speak to the player, if the player is a human of course. Humans are also naturally imperfect or flawed and can only bond with something which is imperfect and flawed. Yes, this may shock some but only because they have been fed garbage marketing information to the contrary by those who are in the business of selling computer-made guitar shaped objects, mass-produced by robotics. In fact, if you take a CNC guitar and smash it up, sand it, take the finish off and make it generally asymmetrical and flawed, it will instantly feel 100 times better and will better fit your hands and your senses. Eliminate the perfection and you get a good feeling and much more desirable guitar. This is what they do with the fake-aged guitars. They intended on making it look old but did not realize they are also making it feel better. They had no idea that a CNC-made guitar sprayed with thick plastic can be improved greatly by scraping off the paint and in effect wearing the guitar out to make it imperfect. They literally take a CNC-made instrument and introduce flaws to it, unbeknown to them they actually make it into a better guitar, even though they look hideous being fake aged and the hack who buys it buys it fake aged for all the wrong reasons. I have been saying that a guitar should be imperfect and flawed for over 12 years and the morons had no idea what I was talking about and laughed. Yes, it was a real shocker to anyone listening to CNC mass-producers for many years.. That is not what they had been taught, but the complete opposite. They were taught that CNC precision makes a better guitar, yet the best players were playing vintage guitars before PRS gave them endorsement money to at least show up in ads with CNC guitars instead. These vintage players at the same time had no idea why their old guitars were much better than the new CNC ones. The reason being this issue of absolute perfection, precession and the plastic finishes, which do not belong in guitar making. Its only good if you are making airplane parts.
Playing a guitar and essentially wearing it out actually introduces flaws to the instrument and to everyone's surprise it feels a lot better. CNC-made guitars are simply awful, no matter what the marketers with the deep pockets and an army of cheesy endorsers can put into the brain of ignorant consumers. However, the typical "circle jerk" guitar-forum rat or the middle aged yuppie, Lexus driving, weekend SRV clone, would never think twice about it. They have been told repeatedly by the CNC users that the higher the tolerances, the better the guitar. The truth being that the only reason for CNC is to increase the output of units made and the decrease in the number of people they need to employ. It also enables them to hire unskilled dispensable slave labor, and not have to rely on anyone with the skills of the old world craftsman. No need for skilled craftsman any longer, once you have CNC. This is also the way the whole industry can be taken outside of the USA and brought to any rogue nation of the world in order to greatly save on labor cost. The speed of CNC production, coupled with very cheap labor, will get you what you see in guitars stores today. American-made CNC guitars can only be sold to you if you are fed a big lie and are bombarded with endorsers.
No guitar builders needed at a guitar factory. They even do fret leveling by using that clumsy Plek machine, another CNC atrocity, which makes it possible to do frets jobs without anyone at the factory actually knowing how to do a fret job. The goal is the elimination of as much human contact as possible from the process of guitar making. The only thing you mainly see people doing in factory pics is the workers hand sanding the CNC made parts to remove the tool marks after the parts come off the CNC machines. They all glorify this operation to prove to the ignorant that the guitars do have some human contact, with the deception of suggesting that the guitars are hand made. Their ultimate goal is to have a fully automated factory with no humans anywhere. They are close to reaching that point now.
A real handmade guitar starts where a well played-in, warn-in machine made guitar ends up after decades of use. Only that that a good handmade guitar is actually played and felt as its being shaped. It is made by feel and not by computer program. Neck shape is dictated not by a consistent computer program but by the feel of the builder as the wood is being carved. The patters of ergonomic fit which result from the shaping which results from decades of playing is the defining factor of a handcrafted instruments, which start off being already hand shaped at inception. Therefore high tolerances to the thousands of a millimeter and any type of consistency and perfect symmetry is the death of a guitar. It is simply the opposite of what a guitar needs. If you get a perfectly made, highly precise CNC guitar, you better get the scraper and sandpaper out and go at it, maybe even the paint remover because touching plastic is also a detestable experience. The morons would never know it because they see the whores everywhere, who are paid big dollars to show off these sterile dead things as being the "best", intimidating the guitar consumer into never thinking otherwise. Its a powerful brainwashing effect and the guitar mags simply finish the job and close the sale. They know very well the profile of the typical guitar consumer and exploit it to no end. The quintessential guitar consumer is someone who does not play much, does not play well and had very limited knowledge about guitars. Its the person who is buying fashion and not an instrument. Or it could be a somewhat different individual. A person who may have played all their lives but is not technically knowledgeable about guitars or instruments in general. The local guitar hero type, who is desperate to be mimic his idols to which he aspires. The kind of person who only knows a 62 Chevy and knows nothing else. A mindless fool constantly begging for endorsement money, which to him is the ultimate sign of recognition.
Its really sad to see what the mass producers made the guitar market into. Endorsers and endorsees in effect kill the existence of the handcrafted instrument by keeping the consumer ignorant about them. The CNC mass producers, are out to destroy any knowledge and thus demand of real handcrafted instruments. Consequently they also kill the existence of craftsmen who have the skill to actually make an instrument. This is so they can sell their CNC-produced items, which they can only do if they keep the consumer ignorant. Nobody at a guitar factory could actually make you a guitar. Does anyone realize this? Its practically humorous its so disgraceful. Its also a con job of the first order and it continues in full force with no end in sight. As long as money is offered, there is the whore taking it and an idiot falling for the hoax.
A CNC-made guitar is a sterile artificial object only in the shape of a guitar and one ultimately cannot bond with it. It is physiologically and emotionally impossible to bond with a computer-made piece of plastic. One can fool one's self into believing that its of the "highest quality", since accuracy. high precision and consistence have been chiseled into the brain of the guitar consumer as being synonymous with a great guitar and the best guitars. However, even accuracy is only as precise as the computer program. One can find CNC-made guitars which can be really off and sloppy. Bridges in the wrong place, neck angles mismatched, neck pockets oversized, awkward uncomfortable neck contours, etc. Accuracy is only as good as the designer, programmer and the proportion of the material to the cutter. This may result in not only lifeless but also a sloppy product. When accuracy and consistency is equated as making a good guitar, its the biggest lie there is. However, if it was not for this lie, the mass producers would not sell any guitars. They would have to close their doors and build furniture, which would be the proper thing for them to do and which some would say is what they now do anyway.
The intent and goal of the ads from the large mass producers of CNC made guitars, with the invaluable help of the guitar magazines is to make the unsuspecting moron ignore everything which is not mass produced. Its a sad situation but whoever has the big money has the big guns and can make you believe anything they want. Remember at one time, not long ago, all instruments were hand made. Its the natural way to make an instrument. Yet the vermin greedy slobs have brainwashed these idiots into buying their shitless plastic crap and pay $3000 for something which is only worth $300, based on CNC production and low labor costs. They have succeeded. You go into any music store and you see the $3000 guitar hanging up next to the $300 guitar and they are virtually identical in looks, feel, tone and made the exact same way, on the same CNC machines. Both are almost the exact same guitar, except for the brand name and the endorser associated with each guitar. One is endorsed by some unknown death metal band in Ohio and the other is endorsed by Carlos Santana, Al DiMeola and Slash. Carlos is spiritual and knows the divine, Al can only play fast on a plastic guitar and if you buy that $3000 plastic guitar you will also get the lifestyle of Slash. You will be in touch with God as Carlos, play as well as DiMeola and party like Slash, all with from the same purchase. Not a bad deal. With the $300 CNC guitar, you will only get ugly fat chicks with tattoos and piercings. Its clear which guitar is more desirable to the Lexus driver and which one the parking lot attendant kid will buy.
Its a great big scam but the dumb ones sure eat it up. These "liberal" industrialists turned the whole world around in the minds of the idiots. The CNC mass producers, using virtually no human contact and plastic paint have become the revered "luthiers" of our time and someone like myself who makes one guitar at a time from raw lumber, toiling for weeks to make a true handcrafted instrument, has been turned into the deviant, devious trickster. That's how sick it has gotten, with a little help from our wonderful guitar icons who will do anything for a dollar.
This questioner may belong on the Idiot page. Maybe on the top of the page. It pains me how he even needs to ask these questions instead of seeing the obvious. I bet they love him at the local guitar boutique as they show him all their "handcrafted" guitars (made by CNC), next to a life size cutout of Slash or John Mayer Alex
Indeed....I agree with all the stuff about him being thrown by your unique approach.....in some ways I can understand his confusion....you operate outside the norm in many ways and people are very cynical at this point....everything is a sales pitch so that is what they are used to. As far as CNC, he is missed the boat on that one. I like your idea that because we are flawed humans and thus handmade guitars have flaws, the two things work well together and can relate. Naturally, hand made guitars are ONLY better than a CNC guitar if the person doing the hand making is a real talent. If they are not, you are better off with a CNC guitar. It will be cheaper and probably a better guitar. Let us just say that the high demand for “fake handmade CNC guitars” is a sad thing. Eli
Well, that is the rebuttal.....of course the ultimate rebuttal (and this only works on a real player) is to feel and play a Z guitar in person...then you understand this is not some BS operation. Eli
Stupidly Authentic or Radical Genius?
By Grant Gardner G U I T A R D E D !
There’s something powerful about stupid authenticity. Zachary Guitars is one of my favorite examples. The website for the guitar maker looks like it was made by my 12-year old cousin. Not to disparage my cousin, but this is no compliment. Actually, my cousin would probably craft a more (traditionally) logical website.
Zachary Guitars' IKEA Butcher Block Tele That being said, lurking beneath the surface of Mary-Kate and Ashley pics, wild rants about why PRS is the devil, and why Zachary Guitars are better than sex, are some of the finest solid-body electric guitars I’ve ever seen. Be sure to take a look at the guitars currently for sale, aptly captioned, “SHOCK and AWE - XXX Hardcore Guitar Porn”. Let’s just say that if Fretboard Journal is Playboy, Zachary Guitars is Hustler. Personal favorites include the IKEA Butcher Block Tele, the Danny Gatton, and the Bug Infested.
With the exception of Steve Klein’s electrics, these are my favorite. Rocking the zero-fret action for a balanced sound that only the most GUITARDED! geeks would look for, these babies are made for players. According to the website, prospective Zachary Guitar owners must qualify to buy one of these guitars. I’ve yet to investigate the validity of this claim. Even if it’s false, it’s brilliant. The idea of keeping these masterpieces out of the hands of doctors and lawyers amuses me to no end. There is nothing less holy than a great guitar perched atop a mantle, never to be played. Talk about false idols.
I first encountered Zachary Guitars at Yale’s annual guitar extravaganza (a truly GUITARDED! event if there ever was one). Seth Josel, electric guru and avid presenter of New Art Music, gave a lecture/demonstration about the history of the electric guitar’s role in New Art Music as well as an evening concert. Even from the cheap seats, I could tell his guitar was the real deal. My geeky guitar glands kicked into action triggering a series of uncontrollable biological urges that led me to the stage to examine his guitar. I was immediately converted.
When I discovered Zachary Guitars’ insane website and anti-corporate attitude I was all the more pleased. Don’t get me wrong; I love American capitalism. But NAMM, Guitar Center, and the big instrument manufacturers are in the business of selling (and price-fixing) commodities. I’m perfectly happy with my car being made by robots in China, but not my guitar. Hence they’re called manufacturers. Anyone headed into Guitar Center better expect production line material. After all, it is owned by Bain Capital Partners (and they know a lot about music). But I can’t help feel like an East German in 1988 every time I shop there. Except instead of one kind of soap with one kind of label, we have one kind of soap with 8,451 kinds of labels. A hilarious corporate description online claims, “What AutoZone is to the garage, Guitar Center is to the garage band.” A clearer analogy would read, “What McDonald’s is to Chez Panisse, Guitar Center is to Zachary Guitars.” But Guitar Center won’t necessarily make you fat and kill you. Or will it?
Maybe we need a Slow Food movement equivalent for guitar (Slow Guitar movement?). Imagine trekking to the woods to chop down the tree from which your axe would be carved (pun intended)! Or winding the coils for your own pickups! Or personally euthanizing the sheep to get the catgut required for your strings! Perhaps I’ve gone too far…
Or maybe I haven’t. Upon reflection, my initial reaction of the “stupid authenticity” of Zachary Guitars is misguided. It’s the radical philosophy behind it I’m drawn to. Perhaps in our current cultural climate radicalism merely takes the face of naïveté. At a recent colloquium I attended on Carla Bley’s music, scholar Amy Beal noted Carla is fond of saying, “Once you lose your ignorance, it’s hard to get it back.” I’d definitely like to get some of mine back. I think one of Zachary Guitars’ monstrosities would help.
In case you may have forgotten, Christmas is just around the corner and my P.O. box is listed on my site. Feel free to have one shipped directly to me. Now that I’ve trashed the major manufacturers and distributors I’m going to need one - my chances of endorsement are shot.
NAMM 2010 Show Review - the review you will not read anywhere else
The new Zachary 7-string 130110 is finished, just in time of the NAMM show. Years ago I quickly realized what a joke the NAMM show was. Its useless for anyone who is not renting huge blocks of real estate on the main floor. Then you spend an obscene fortune. All for what? You need to have all the hype and endorsers to go along with it and then you must go to China to get your crap made. Its no longer the NAMM show, it should be called Music Expo China. There is very little American or European made gear any more. Its all China crap ranging from no-name brands to your famous revered brand names with celebrity endorsers attached. Its a real racket and mostly smoke and mirrors designed deceive the clueless. Its the game you must play if you want to be included as "legitimate", but now the game has become depressing.
Someone is getting rich off this NAMM thing because its a total rip off. I remember pricing it out a few years ago and by the time I added up all the expenses, it came to something like $5K for a 4x10 table in the basement of the show. Maybe the show itself is owned by the Chinese, after all they produce most of the gear shown at NAMM. They may as well own the show itself. I never really knew what NAMM did accomplish for anyone. Its constantly sold as an event which must be attended by everyone in the industry. It seems to be all BS with no purpose, other than an excuse to waste money. Some of the smaller companies have knowledgeable people with still some spark of creativity but they are in trouble and know their destination must be China to survive. The show spectators consisting of thousands of your typical music jerks, minimum wage losers, jaded store owners, wholesalers and obnoxious low level sales reps, They attend for 3 days and only pretend to have a reason to be there. If Disneyland wasn't across the street, it would be a total bore and waste of time as well as money. Think of being amongst thousands of Guitar Center sales associates in a very noisy and crowded environment. Some of them are the worst idiots anyone with a brain can suffer encountering. Well, I shouldn't be so judgmental, what they are is just typical people. Picture yourself in a very crowded Guitar Center on any Saturday, filled with idiots to the rafters, most of who have really not much connection to music or playing. For me its never pleasant to see music as a business run by people in suits. They whole place seems artificial and insincere to me. Like a grossly figured veneer top. Pretence with no substance. NAMM suffers from trying too hard and it shows. Its like the ugly girl who tries to bring attention to herself by stuffing her braw, No thanks.
All it is, is a small group of big corporations, you know who they are, ruling the industry and all the smaller companies trying to fight for the scrums they leave behind. Pathetic. The music media is kissing the asses of the big fish and ignoring the rest. They go where the money is. Everyone is focused on making money but they all share this dirty little secret that its hard to make money these days in the music products industry and that most of them manufacture nothing at all and only order from China. This they will never admit to however, because its all part of the deception and the facade.
Then you have those obnoxious ass kissing endorsers, who will endorse anything as long as they get paid for it. I know, you can't blame them on some level, they need to make a living in trying to avoid having a regular job but still its always sad that it has to come to this. People selling their dignity to make a buck. I always knew that endorsers were very similar in character and behavior to street prostitutes. They also remind me of little politicians pandering to whoever will pay them a buck. Makes my skin crawl. Well in this sad state of the music industry, where you cannot make money selling your recordings any longer, desperation sets in more than ever. The wonderful world of digital technology has eliminated the most important product a musicians ha; their recordings. Now they are without a product, running around like chickens with their heads cut off, not knowing what happened, yet pretending how wonderful everything is just to look cool. How can you have a music industry, which has no product to sell? Nice going technology, what else do you have in store for us? We love that Auto Tune and Pro Tools. How about trading all that in for the vinyl record, which you can at least sell in the millions if you write a good enough song? It sounds like a better deal to me. What do you think?
So there is really no more NAMM show any more, You may not have noticed that you have lost most of the American instrument manufacturing. It happened so fast. This is not the old America any more, where the NAMM show was a proud showcase of American hard work, ambition, ingenuity and creativity. These days its pick up the phone and call a Chinese factory. In some ways anyone can get into the instrument products industry, in terms of getting product made. All you need is an office with a phone and on the other end of the line they ask you how many container loads you want and what the name on the headstock should say. Be creative and make it PMS and get it with lots of inlays and insanely figured tops under thick plastic paint. Not a problem, they can do that. Unit price is $299 and a 2 container order brings down the unit price to $249. Buying the rights to an old defunct American brand name to put that on your headstock will not hurt either. Find a crappy old low end manufacturer's name, which went out of business in the early 70s and use that for your new Chinese guitars. Instant brand recognition. You have seen it, you know what I am talking about. Those American manufacturers who pioneered many products have all gone to China now. In fact, most of who you see at NAMM will also be at the China show in a few months ordering the plastic guitars and cheap amps with their famous brand names on them, which you all revere so much and will find at your neighborhood GC. You noticed how low today's prices are? Wonder why? You like it, do you?
Well, think about it for a minute. Its no magic. instead of paying an American fair wages, they pay impoverished uneducated workers from the country side $1 an hour and won't even tell them what they are making. You think slavery has gone away? They only renamed it to make it politically correct for you. You say, who cares. Well it will all come back and bite you in the ass. It already has. I hope you are smart enough to realize that you have already lost most of your opportunities in America, which you previously had. You can no longer make instruments in the USA and you cannot work for a manufacturer in the USA either because they hardly exist any more. You cannot also never hope to start your own company making instruments in the USA. Who the hell will pay $15 an hour to an American worker, legal or not, to make music products? How could you as a music gear manufacturer pay your workers $15 an hour when others in the industry can get away with paying $1 an hour? Besides, you and your buddies just love those $200 tube amps "designed by that famous American amp guru" and now made in China. So you support the process.
What does this all mean? It means you have lost your opportunities, your dreams, your freedoms and your country, in a very short time. Remember that America had complete manufacturing across all segments of the market. The low end, middle and the high end. It was all made in America by Americans.They made everything from the cheap-ass Danolectro sold at Sears to the high end Gibson and everything in between. In the past you could also dream of starting up your own company as well. Forget that now, not any longer, unless you go to China. In the past they didn't call China, instead they exported American product all over the world, Now only remnants of the high end market segment remain as made in America. You can still buy a plastic $3000 American PRS guitar. Its the same as a $300 plastic guitar made in China, made by the same robots and painted with the same epoxy automotive paint, but marketed very differently of course, which they know makes all the difference for the idiots. These days American opportunity has greatly diminished. Someone has pulled the rug right out from under you. For those of you who are too young to comprehend any of this, you think that this is the norm because its all you have known. Its exactly where they want you and what they want you to think. Yeah, the economy is coming back ... too what I ask? There is nothing for it to come back to. All this while the guitar market is gradually disappearing.
Does any of this matter? Maybe not and maybe I am full of shit. You wait and see and decide for yourself.
Now cheer up and go on down to your neighborhood Guitar Center and buy that $200 amp, complete with master volume, speaker cabinet and a free guitar bag thrown in, all made in Asia but remember that you are totally fucked and should instead be spending your money on Chinese lessons. What happened, you ask? I don't know, ask NAMM to tell you what happened.
I can tell you, I am sure glad I am not part of the music industry, I am repulsed by it and saddened at the same time. For me its just about creating art. That's my only goal. It looks like I am a party of one though, maybe the last guitar maker.
How is this for the NAMM 2010 review and I wasn't even there? Believe me, you did not miss a thing by not attending either.
If I had a Smart Page, these comments would be on it
The Z Headstock
I have seen people rag on your headstock design on those circle jerk forums. I had an interesting incedent Saturday in relation to this. I worked a holiday recital for my students and accidently knocked over one of the other teacher's epiphone acoustic guitars...and the headstock snapped off. Though I was extremely sorry and apologetic, and of course offered to repair it, I couldn't help thinking that if my Z fell the same way (or any Z for that matter) there would be no worries and no repair to be made. That cut on Gibson, Martin, Taylor, 'you name it' headstock is a DESIGN FLAW. It is the single most common break on those guitars because of the cut and angle in the headstock. They are so delicate and can't even handle falling face first off a stand and onto a carpet. So here's a big FUCK YOU to those idiots who say; "I like Z guitars but that headstock is ugly" or "I just can't get over the headstock". They are all misguided and foolish. The Zachary headstock is the finest improvement in guitar evolution to date. So many people only see the headstock as a 'pretty piece' or 'ornament' to the guitar without ever questioning its paramount function or structural integrity. That irritates me...and I don't even build guitars. Z, Fenner
It's all for ME ... and not for you
Alex, I think the real key is your statement about making everything "for YOU". This is a huge difference in philosophy and not one that many people/consumers/collectors can understand....so they berate it as being "stuck up" or "hostile" or "egotistic". Here's the real kicker...wait for it...this equates PERFECTLY with the whole concept of music as well. Think about this deeply for a moment. When any talented or gifted musician makes music, even when it is playing another's composition, they make the performance "THEIRS". They place their own stamp on the music. When a guitar player jams during his woodshedding, he or she is playing for...wait for it...THEM. They're not making music according to the dictates of somebody else. Someone might argue that commercial music is made for the consumption of the public, and this would be true to some extent; however, any true artist (who endures...whose music gets accolades aside from being placed in euro-techno-pop venues) is still making the music uniquely their own. They are setting up their tone (instrument/effects/amps/etc.) for THEM. They resent being told how to play, how to route effects, how to set up their amp, etc. etc. etc. from ANYONE ELSE. This results in originality and passion...which then translates to the buying public.
Do you see the parallel here? They resent you for making instruments for YOU - for making them the best they can be and NOT trying to cater to the "custom" market with all its crazy ideas that never get carried to perfection because the non-luthier is trying to design the instrument "through" the actual guitar-builder. Yet they themselves resent being told how to setup their own rigs and craft their own tone, and they cannot look in the mirror and then understand why it is that you build Zachary guitars in the fashion/way that you do.
It's actually quite a study in psychology once you ponder it for a bit. Jay
Selling my guitars to those who cannot play them is my dream.
I understand that hundreds of hours of work go into making a real instrument and the emotional bond is very strong to have something so well made and not be able to use it is a real crime. to let it waste away and never get to sing as was intended. I also agree that the craftsman makes the guitar, not the materials although I do admit a pretty piece of wood on a finely made instrument does turn heads but if it don't turn EARS who cares.
Keep your head up Buddy, there is a place for those of us who do not compromise.
I know no one man is perfect but to strive for perfection shouldn't be a sin.
Fuck the circle jerks, they don't own straps because they'e never stood up and played let alone made a dollar from gigging.
The rise of the talentless schmuck in our digital world
I hardly every watch TV, don't have the time for it but I was looking for one of those shows on how things are made. As you may imagine I take a real interest in that sort of thing. Instead they were showing a documentary on the Porn industry. What it was about is how much trouble the Porn industry is in now and they don't know what to do about it.
This has direct relevance to what I was saying about the recording/music industry.
The porn industry can no longer sell their product because due to the digital world porn can be had for free everywhere. It can be stolen, copied and shared freely. They are in serious trouble and their industry can disappear. Why would anyone want to pay for it when its free? Not that porn will every disappear but it can no longer be sold for a profit. This is a major change in the world as we know it. As happened to the Recording industry a bomb was also dropped on the Porn industry. The rug was pulled out from under them.
This is parallel to what has happened to the recording industry. I am not even sure what to do if I do write a great song. Do I just put it out there for anyone to consume it for free? If I write a good song, maybe a classic, I should just share it because it will be stolen and used anyway. Its automatically in the public domain now in the digital world. What will stop some fucking piece of shits from claiming that they actually wrote it years before I did. Or that their uncle wrote it or whatever. This is all really fucked up and paralyses all of us who create anything new. Its a real dilemma. Its the world of the hacker and the talentless schmuck to steal whatever they want. The anonymous petty criminal now rules the world. Its not that petty however. It results in the elimination whole major industries and the thwarting of some veritable creative content and creative minds. Its tragic. If you are an uncreative individual its your day to rejoice, however if you are a creator its time to lament in disgust.
Some circle jerker on a guitar forum can claim to have written Frank Baker's latest tune and Frank stole it and is now claiming its his. Can Frank even object to this?
When it comes to the internet, everyone can steal anything you do and claim it as their own. Its the world of the talentless criminal. Digital technology is their friend and weapon.
I listen to this computer show and the host puts out this informative newsletter every week about computers and how to use them, etc. She has found several people who took it word for word and posted it on their own websites, claiming as their own material and looking smart about it. There is no end in sight. How can anyone move forward in this way and get rewarded for their work. I can see this really stifling creativity, originality and innovation.
Eli sets me off , again ... This time regarding the Zachary Hollow Body.
I was just at the guitar store today getting picks, etc. and saw their new hollow body guitar. Zero vibe. PRS is so nebulous as a guitar. It lacks vibe. Eli
Its funny how unrelated the Zachary Hollow is to a hollow PRS. The Z hollow is much more akin to a handmade violin. Its made essentially the same way as violins and all instruments were made throughout history. If you transported me back in time and put me in the shop of any violin maker, in any country in Europe, at any time in the last 500 years, I could make a Zachary guitar. In fact if Eli stopped any orchestral string player and showed his Z hollow, they could instantly relate to it, know it and feel comfortable around it, even if they didn't play the guitar at all. It would not be like showing a classical player an unsightly and hideous example of your average plastic-covered electric guitar. They would just recoil in distaste at anything like that. However the Z Hollow would resonate with them instantly, to the point that they felt they could and would like to actually play it. They would recognize it as an instrument, not as a toy or an inanimate object, prop, or just a mockup of an instrument. A classical musician is imbued with tradition and history and they would instantly know a Zachary guitar and "get it".
Diametrically opposed to this sensibility is the scene you would witness if you went into a guitar shop, The blowboys working there would not know what to make of a Zachary guitar. I imagine that they would think its one of these oddball, off-brand, budget, low end, cheap guitars from the 60s, made in Czechoslovakia or something. Their image of what a guitar is and what is should be is very limited and distorted. One could actually conduct a scientific study in cognition, using guitars. The average guitar enthusiast is a guitar-knowledge illiterate. One's reaction and perception of any guitar has a much deeper meaning, being indicative of one's total intellectual development, capability and cultural development. In short, it has to do with their educational level. Given the appalling education system found in North America, the average consumer is an unschooled and unintelligent Neanderthal when it comes to any cultural matters. If its not marketed by large commercial forces, it is either unnoticed or incomprehensible. Of course there are exceptions and this is to the benefit and the survival of the few more refined endeavors in society.
One's reaction, type and level of emotional response, to the Zachary guitar, all points to one's level exposure to the world of art and culture. The intelligence level of your average music store staff is painfully insulting to anyone at a higher intellectual level; like walking into a preschool environment. Its absolutely amazing when you think of how distorted, limited and conditioned their limited guitar and instrument knowledge is. You may very well be one of these people.
How can anyone expect these individuals to even recognize quality when they have no clue what quality is. Quality to them is the flawless plastic paint job, over grossly figured wood. This is what they were thought incessantly by the guitar magazines and guitar adds of mass manufacturers, who spend fortunes on advertising. The music store owner, store staff and customer is usually one in the same individual. They speak the same language and are part of the exact same subculture. Not the subculture of the musician and lover of art but the subculture of the indoctrinated consumer with the misplaced purpose for being a guitar owner. The guitar magazines will regurgitate this ignorance and perpetuate it, which will guarantee the loyalty and business of their advertisers. It all has to do with the conditioning of the consumer, a large part of which is the dummying down of the individual as to only giving them very selected information. Hence, the average guitar consumer, one who may purchase expensive guitars, is a conditioned, dumbed down creature.
So what comes first the chicken or the egg? Is there an absence of handmade guitars because there is no appreciation and comprehension of them or is there no comprehension and appreciation of them because there are no handmade instruments to educate the masses? The unmistakable end result is that there are no handmade instruments anywhere to speak of. Ignorance has made handmade instruments obsolete and at the same time the absence of handmade instruments has failed to educate the ignorant. So, what is left? A sea of ignorance, exacerbated by the guitar chat groups online. Just walk into your neighborhood guitar store and see what you find in terms of the people and the instruments. The level of knowledge is that of a preschool playground.
I am disgusted when I hear the guitar media claim that this is the "golden period" of guitar making. This is a travesty what you see now. There is very little guitar making, but there is a lot of mass manufacturing by only a few large factories found mostly in Asia. When you go to a guitar store and if you ever wonder why all the stuff seems to be the same, except for the brand name on the item; its because it IS all the same. They come out of the same few factories and made by the same machines. Guitar manufacturing and the guitar selection all around you is indicative of the world you live in.
The education level of the average person is very low in terms of their instrument and music knowledge. They are simply uneducated and uncultured. They only know manufactured mass-produced goods and the way these products unmistakably always look. They have no knowledge of traditional instrument building by master craftsmen, with hand skills acquired from years of practice and experience. Does the average person even know how an instrument is made by hand? I don't think so. Has the average person ever made a bird house? When was the last time they picked up a screwdriver? They have never even stepped into an instrument maker's shop in their life. All they did is go to Guitar Center and talk with the moron with the ring through his nose, purple hair, tattoo on his tongue and fresh from state-funded rehab. Its a disgusting scene and so unfortunate for everyone, if you are aware of it or not. If you have been nurtured with an above average level of intellectual and cultural awareness, the current debased environment must be distastefully nauseating to you. Like walking into any debased environment; offensive intellectually and emotionally.
The ignorance is just overwhelming and makes the world seem disgustingly cheesy everywhere you look. Its your world people. You have to live in the world you supported in creating. You have lost your skills and lost your appreciation for many things. In turn, you have lost your freedom and opportunities and now live within a dollar store, among products to which you have no visceral connection. You have become as artificial as your CNC made, plastic finished, "historic reissue", signature model guitar. This is why cheesy debased products dominate everywhere you look, with the artificially low prices, based on the artificially low Chinese currency. Have you woken up yet. You will soon enough and reality will be you nightmare, not your dreams.
Something is going to blow people and it will not be a pretty sight. Shit will hit the fan and it will be a sticky mess.
Eli then continues:
Here is the thing about guitar stores and music stores:
The people who work there are those people who wanted to be musicians but did not have the drive and creativity to make it happen....so now they just sell guitars and sit around. The funny thing is it is the same vibe whether it is a guitar center, a sam ash, rudy’s, etc etc. it is all the same.
I have met some exceptional folks here and there but by and large it is not a fun or inspiring place to be.
I would not expect much from this environment.
It is a world of failed half dreams and mass produced profit based anonymous junk.
The hollow Z is the perfect antidote. It has loads of vibe and plays more effortlessly than all the PLEK machined Gibsons, PRS, Fender, etc.
That is why your work is so critical. Every Z must sound better and play better than all this stuff. I try to demonstrate that every day.
A guitar store is a bad environment for a Z guitar. Think about it. The things that make a Z special are almost unrelated to what the salesmen at a guitar store extols as the primary selling points of a PRS or other glossy machine-made guitar. So really a Z has no place at a mass produced guitar display room.
Eli plays in a band called MixTape. He often has people asking him about his gear, since its so unique. Here is our discussion on this issue, regarding his presentation of his Z gear to the unsuspecting.
I don't ever want this to be a sales job. There is nothing to sell here. I told you that every time I ever go up to someone, they cannot comprehend it, its just way too much info and an alien approach to them. It does not fit into any category they have been conditioned to recognize. Of course the first reaction they have is to dismiss it as some farce. Their idols and and faith in what they have been told, they cannot accept as being shakable. Depending on their education level, in terms of guitars and even generally, they will not know what to even make of my info. Its a funny scene. On a certain level its so pleasurable for me, I smile as I write this. I have the chance to play with them like a cat does with a mouse. Its like I take decades worth of knowledge and attempt to forcefully shove it into their scull with some blunt tool. All this new info does not fit and the only way it can be made to fit is if what is in their scull is discarded first. There is just not enough room in there. Remember these people have learned everythint they know about guitars and even music from commercial endorsers, mass manufacturers, retailers and guitar magazines with the agenda of dispatching commercial interst of their advertizers.
They literally cannot take it. They get overwhelmed and then they wonder why nobody has ever told them these things before. So they figure it must not be legitimate. Remember what stupid individual, the owner of Willie's American Guiatars, a famously stupid vintage guitar dealer said? When I explained ZOG to him, his response was that "if there was something wrong with strings, guitar players would have complained about it already". That's what you get from a person who should have nothing to do with guitars. He is not a player and is only there to make money explpotomg tje stupidity of other non-players, who buy all that overpirces junk. Now I have digressed. This is a seperate commentary on vintage guitars.
The Zachary information can be very overwhelming and at first results in disinterst and rejection. They figure it must be a hoax and not legit. I have the pleasure of debunking their religious faith and knocking down their idols. This is a rather fun sport to engage in. However, they see that I seem to know my stuff, so they literally don't know what to make of it. Total confusion ensues. Meanwhile I am the instigator of all of this which is what makes it satisfying.
I show them a reality which is the opposite of what they have always believed. Its literally painful for them. They go through several different emotions; wonder, confusion, disbelief, confusion, and yes, anger.
Its a different matter when they come to me after already seeing my work. Then there is none of this cat and mouse game. They recognize what it all is. They had the time to absorb and digest it all. They have already educated themselves. Instead of anger there is awe and respect. Usual these are indiviudals of a naturally higher intelligence level to start with. Sure there is also the occasional dummy who likes what he sees in a purely superficial sense and is just impulsive, but I usually filter them out quickly. I have a way of getting inside their circuitry.
This is a real study of the human condition.
So back to this guitar player you met. He saw you play, he saw that you can play, he saw you got a great tone and I believe you mentioned the name Zachary. If he is not interested enough at this point to seek it out, not so much to buy any Z gear, but just for his own interest to educate himself for purposes of personal growth, as I do very often do when I want to learn about something and advance myself. If your playing and what he saw and heard does not arrouse him to a specificly high level excitement, curiosity and interest; then game over. If this does not take place then this guy really does not want and should not get anything Z, no matter how well he plays and what band he plays in.
The reason its interesting for you to tell most of them to just go to the website, because by doing that they will jump right into the deep end, without even knowing it. Its a more pure indication of what Z philosophy will do to them. They will either swim or drown.
Just some thoughts. Alex
The cult of the "Relic Guitar"
The other day a friend and I were chatting about our favorite subject... guitars. We eventually got around to talking about the most ridiculous trend of all time the signature, artificially aged or relic guitar.
As if relics weren't bad enough we have noticed that people with more money than sense can now drop boatloads of cash for an instrument that looks exactly like their favorite players go-to guitar. Right down to the smallest scratch, ding and paint run.
Specifically the Van Halen "Franken Strat" deal has got to be the funniest thing I have ever seen. 25K for a guitar just like the iconic players super guitar perfect in every detail.
We wondered what would happen if EVH were to be playing the original and got a new gouge in the body? Would all the exact replica owners have to ship these guitars back for cosmetic surgery? How much could they charge to add all the updated disfigurement to keep up appearances?
It gets better... Imagine the kid gloves the owners must use to handle them.
In order to preserve the integrity of the initial and substantial investment you can't get any blemish of any kind on these beat up and mangled guitars.
Keep on rockin' Matt Flaherty
From Artistic to Autistic in One Generation
Help me please, I have been besieged by psycho tuning whack jobs.
Anyone out there using regular tuning any more? Please come forward, I want you and I need you.
Are you surprised at this? I should have seen this coming.
According to my stats, if we go by the percentage of inquiries I get for ZOG, I would have to report that playing a guitar in regular tuning is a damn rare occurrence in the world today. In fact I would surmise that very few can even play in regular tuning today and have no inclination to do so. Consequently all of the great guitar playing legacy is lost, no longer is the achievement of seminal players throughout the history of the guitar valued.
It seems like every inquiry I get for string sets is just another freak who has some whacked out tuning that he came up with, which gives him license to be a fucking hack and not even learn how to play the guitar. I am guessing that these freaks are not into any of the music we grew up with and cherish but some new talentless metal noise through some cheesy digital amp. It must be the only thing they know about and the only thing they can do.
This is especially true for people in foreign countries who may be even more out of touch and are unfamiliar with the standards of guitar musicianship one should aspire to. I think they simply don’t know and set out to make noise, due to ignorance. They are clumsily trying to reinvent the guitar because they don’t know its already been invented and then some. These low and strange tunings enables them to create even more hideous noise than regular tunings will allow. Its a copout for never actually having to learn how to play a guitar the proper way. Or it could be people with such limited intelligence that they never learned how to tune a guitar. I heard there is major epidemic of dyslexia and autism. We have gone from Artistic to Autistic in one generation. Yet another reason for me to be depressed about the word I live in. Playing guitar used to take intelligence, talent and years of effort in order to adhere to the rules of theory and structure, even for simpler forms, such as the blues. Now any retard can just tune their strings wherever they want and the mush comes out of the shred model in the digital amp.
It bugs my ass, to say the least and I either give them the Z slap or don’t reply at all. Another sad evidence of the direction of the guitar. From Artistic to Autistic in one generation. It must be the hormones and chemicals in the food supply. The new guitar hero of the day is some ugly obese bastard, who cannot tune his guitar and plays with the ability of an 8 year old from 30 years ago. Is that "progressive"?
Its sad when talent of the performers is lost but its much sadder if the quality of the audience diminishes. Then its all lost.
When the audience no longer demands greatness or even knows how to recognize it and does not value it, art will be debased. All the knowledge and achievement of previous decades and centuries can be lost in one generation. Its a sad world.
Give me some Joe Pass please.
"Joe who?" ...they say. "What does he tune down to?"
We Will All Miss Ed Roman !
Ed Roman just died. He will be greatly missed for the simple reason that he was a fierce critic of the entire guitar industry. You will find very few like him who would jeopardize their own self interest and make an enemy of the guitar industrial complex. Its an industry controlled by a few, a closed group with considerable power of control. You will see if you care to study it. To a lesser individual, its much more prudent to suck up to the industry and play the game then to attack them. Anyone who attacks them will not fare well in the end and will have a difficult time succeeding in the industry as defined by the industry itself. It sounds like politics, because it is. Ed Roman had courage to voice his opinions and did not care if the guitar industrial complex, or any of you lilliputian rats for that matter, liked him or not. This alone made Ed Roman a real original and worthy of anyone’s respect. Most of you would kiss ass, or suck cock before you would go against the establishment. How can I not have respect for someone like Ed, whatever business he was in or whatever quality his products may have been. None of that matters. What did matter is that he did it his own way and stuck his neck out. Instead of being a cowardly anonymous juvenile internet vermin, like many of you out there, he was not afraid to be public, he built businesses, he employed people, he loved his country, voiced his opinions openly, stood by what he said and actually stood for something he believed in. He was bashed all over the place by envious irrelevant little jerks losers who were threatened by his openness, conviction, assertiveness and vast knowledge of the industry.
What was Ed guilty of? He misrepresented himself and this was his only crime and downfall. Ed was not a guitarist and Ed was not a guitar builder. He was neither. Yet, he lied to himself in believing that he was both. He then lived and perpetuated his lie to himself. No crime in that however, it was his personal conflict. He sure would have loved to be both. He did everything to pretend to be a player and a builder but I knew from that start that he was neither. Nobody should fault him for that. It seems that he had an inferiority problem all of his life and felt he had to overcompensate and play the role. He was pompous and grandiose because of it. Once you understand this you will see that Ed was as good and honest as anyone can be but he had this problem, not unlike many others walking around. In fact he was so good and honest that he struggled to make his living from the guitars business and did not steal millions or billions on Wall Street or by becoming your congressman. Ed was not evil, unlike your average politician or money changer. Ed simply struggled to pretend to be something he was not. Had he been talented as a guitarist or a guitar builder a very different Ed would have emerged. In essence Ed was no different from a vast number of people who have issues of inadequacy stemming from possibly early childhood. These emotional issues made Ed feel that he had to misrepresent himself and his products in order to pretend to be what he wasn’t and to feel important in an industry dominated by Wall Street types. In essence Ed felt small. This is no crime at all. Its also not business fraud.
I had never purchased anything from Ed and he had nothing that I wanted. Thus I cannot go crying to any guitar forum to claim he ripped me off. Even if I would have been interested in what he offered I have enough knowledge to evaluate a guitar product I am buying, usually instantly, without even touching it. With shock I understand that many guitar enthusiasts don’t know much about guitars so they have no clue as to what they are buying. This is why they need endorsers to tell them what they should buy. If you purchased from him and were not knowledgeable enough to know what you were buying than its your fault. You went to Ed, he did not put a gun to your head and force you to buy from him. Regardless of what Ed claimed his product was its your responsibility to be able to judge it before you buy it. Ed was not guilty of any dishonesty other than being dishonest with himself. He misrepresented his self image to himself as a form of catharsis; a condition many of you I am sure also suffer from. However, Ed was bashed for it because he did it publicly instead of hiding in anonymity as many of you do. If you fell for is self proclaimed image, then you are the IDIOT.
Regardless of what Ed Roman’s product was like, good, bad or horrible, regardless of how much Ed had misrepresented himself due to personality issues of inadequacy in his own mind, his overall message however was brutally honest. Ed’s pompousness and often ostentatious presentation was to me nothing more than whimsical and made him into an almost comical figure, yet in an endearing and harmless way. In a way much needed in the repetitive monotonous guitar industry of boring pretence, cliches and platitudes geared to you the Idiot. Ed brought much needed color to the otherwise drab and obnoxious, disingenuous and vacuous guitar industry where everyone wants to play the righteously proper corporate role to gain credibility. Credibility based on what? The guitar industry that has merged with Madison avenue and Wall Street. Somehow the radical, rebellious, free thinking bohemians who invented the guitar subculture had given way to the suits and ties of Guitar Center management, aeroplane hanger size warenouses of Chinese products, lawyers, marketers and accountants. It begs the question where the Woodstock crowd were frauds and was the whole movement orchestrated by Brooklyn lawyers and entrepreneurs looking for a quick buck before realizing the gates were crashed. It wasn’t a free movement for long, only briefly before the investors moved in.
Seeing Ed walk about at the Anaheim NAMM show, short, fat and looking like a slob was a real pleasant change from seeing all your big famous brand CEOs or the myriad of little oriental men in black suits. To me that is not “guitar". Ed looked like a slob and he was happy to be a slob. Even there he was honest and not trying to fool you. He always looked like he just finished that massive Carl’s Junior burger. Cheap food and cheap women, you get what you see. Try that with Fender. You got it from Leo but Leo would not have survived either. He knew he had to get out back in 1965. Leo was a slob also by the way. When the suits moved in to resume making your beloved Strats, they had no use for a slob like Leo. Leo then started his new little fiddle factory and refused to use CNC machines. They could not wait for his death to buy those CNC robots. Ed actually looked like the loser kid from 1969 who hitched a ride to a concert in upstate NY, then got fat and ugly over the years but did not change in attitude and did not put on a suit to impress you. Ugly guys in suits is what the NAMM show gives you. They call it “professionalism”.
It angers me that all you guitar players have lost all connection to the traditions of guitar philosophy and life style. After all what is guitar. Its a way of life and that way of life is not mass produced by CNC machines, marketed through Wal-Mart type big box music stores and packaged just right not to offend your a middle aged fat woman in her SUV who has a credit card and is now the most likely consumer at the strip mall. I wish we had more slobs like Ed in the guitar world. Ed would park his white Vegas limousine outside the Hilton so everyone will see it with the sign on it “Not for Hire” then would walk around the NAMM show looking like a slob. You got to love the contradiction and this is the essence of Rock and Roll. Ed had character and most likely most of you do not. Shame on you. If Hendrix resurrected from the dead and came back you would most likely run him out of town. Do you really believe anyone would even like his music and playing? Its out of fashion and not appropriate and his primitive gear is offensive now in this convergence of guitar with personal electronics. Hendrix costume would no longer be appropriate and they would dress him up in a suit and tie to greet you the Fender exhibit, selling you a $25K version of his hand-pated and burned Strat, exclusively sold at Guitar Center. You cannot buy character, you have to be born with it. I don’t care who you are, what big corporation you work for, which guitar magazine you are the editor of, how large of a guitar company you have inherited from your relative, how big your guitar store chain is, you are ZERO in my book. You have no character and you don’t belong anywhere near guitars. You are shameful and are destroying the guitar legacy. You know deep inside you don’t belong there, you are doing it for all the wrong reasons.
On Ed Roman’s website, among the tacky models and cheesy guitars there was a lot of information for you to learn, which you would not read anywhere, definitely not fond in your favourite guitar magazines owned by the shysters from Brooklyn. Ed was like the weird neighbour who may overstate things but he was harmless, almost loveable and made a lot of sense in a profound way if you were intelligent enough to perceive it and make use of it. Ed was not a criminal as are your “respected” representatives in government with law degrees, who should all be in jail for major crimes against society. The difference is that you have no power to attack the politicians and the money changers, you could however attack poor Ed and get away with it. This is because Ed had no real power over you as the politicians and law makers do. Ed was just an "ordinary Ed" from among the crowd of hundreds of thousands. Ed’s goal was not to steal from you. Ed simply wanted to deliver something he was not able to quite deliver, so he often pretended to and fell short. Its not that he didn’t want to deliver, he wished he could. Ok, so you were the stupid one to fall for it. Ed said he was selling you a gold coin and you got a brass coin. Still gold colored from a distance but you were too stupid not to know the difference between gold and brass. You are the moron. Ed did wish to give you the gold coin though. Its the sentiment that counts.
I had met Ed only once face to face. Early on in my guitar building history I displayed 6 of my guitars at the Philadelphia guitar show. Ed was there and also had a booth with some cheep 3rd rate hookers standing around. It was entertaining and I welcomed the spectacle. No harm done, only some color added to an otherwise grotesque more offensively cheesy PRS-frenzy show, which I did find vomit educing. I heard about Ed Roman and was impressed with all the info and insight on his website and decided to show him my gutiars. I was simply curious to see what he would say about my work. He looked at them and was truly puzzled. He did not know what to say for some time. I think he was expecting another guy to show him the latest PRS copy, trying to outdo PRS in distastefulness. These were the late 90s with all the PRS frenzy of grossly figured tops and thick gloss plastic finishes, which people creamed their pants over. I know the type, they were there in the hundreds. You were maybe among the schmucks. Diametrically opposed, my guitars were plain looking, oil finished, handmade instruments; very different from what Ed was expecting or was used to seeing everywhere. He didn’t quite know what to make of them. After getting a mild shock, Ed said that they were not his style and not what he was looking for. He was low key and polite about it. I was fully expecting him to say exactly this after seeing what was on his website. Cool, no problem, he was honest, he did not try to offend me and he did not try to suck me into any business deal or sell me anything. I thanked him for looking and we parted company. That was the end of it. Neither one of us was interested in what the other offered. No harm done and we didn’t hate each other. Obviously we had different taste.
There will be only a few of us who will speak in the wilderness against the big corporate guitar monster. Most of you are clueless and gutless, too stupid to even give a shit and thus have no ability to take a stand or accomplish anything individualistic in life. I know its scary to be an individual. You don’t want to stick your necks out, unless its anonymously on a guitar forum, and with the emotional support of other dumb fucks just like you. There you pretend to have a big mouth and be a brave man. For lack of intellect much of what Ed Roman talked about mostly went over your heads. What was being voiced seemed to you as nothing but negativity and an attack on your mass marketed, force fed idols but what you didn't realize is that’s only on the surface and you failed to digest his information. You are just afraid of the underlying truth. Ed was not afraid to point out the crap. Ed gave you the truth about the guitar industry and its players. Some of us are pointing out that you are being fucked up the ass but you don’t want to admit it. You will one day but it will be too late.
The guitar industry is no different from the much larger picture of the world you live in. Everything bad about the guitar industry is what is bad about the world and its political issues. The guitar industry and its marketing is simply a mirror on life. You are being screwed from every direction and you not only take it but even loyally support it and pretend to enjoy it. What does that say about you? Ed Roman was a man who identified the problems, exposed them and refused to accept them. It takes both brains and courage to go against the grain, regardless of what industry it may be. Its all the same bull crap and the question remains; do you stand against it or become a Judas Goat and sell your own mother to the death camps for your own immediate gain and acceptance of the establishment who you have no objection to sucking off or should I say “endorsing". This goes for any area of life and any profession you may be in. The same story is repeated throughout history and the weak and disingenuous have always sided with those in power, regardless of any principles, ethics or moral concerns and regardless of who is in power. Something tells me Ed Roman would not have joined the proverbial Vichy Government but many of you would would march with the Bolsheviks without a second thought, in order to put a few silver coins in your pocket and be given some sort of title by the regime. Its all Biblical you see. Noting new under the sun. You would be in it just for yourself in the most shameful and cowardly fashion. This is why Ed Roman will be missed because he was rare in a sea of quislings.
Be honest for just a moment and admit that you had learned a lot from Ed Roman over the years. He may have been the first person to make you think about things you would have not had the brains, initiative or courage to think about on your own, be it some technical aspect of guitar design or the dishonesty of guitar marketing schemes. Be honest and give him credit for making your aware and making your think possibly for the first time in questioning the guitar industry and its motives, any guitar related product or any dubious character playing a role in the guitar industry. You are not as smart as you think you are. You learned a lot from Ed, even if you admit it or not. The guitar media sure would not make you question anything about their own industry. They will not cut their own throats. Remember, they are not reporting the guitar news to you as an obligation, they are only promoting those who pay them or who will advance their position. Its selective collaboration and its rotten to the core. Their intention is to keep you stupid. A stupid person is the best consumer. People like Ed Roman made you aware of these conditions in the hope that you learn in the process and you will be less enamoured by bull crap. You should view your neighbourhood guitar boutique in a whole different way now. The idols of your ignorance are suddenly and harshly redefined.
I feel sorry for Ed having to deal for all those thousands of assholes over the years. That's enough to kill anyone. Take an unhealthy lifestyle of fast food, no exercise and add the bombardment of thousands of idiots. The grim reaper comes calling. Its always very difficult for a single person to attempt to educate the vast ignorant masses; virtually impossible. Throughout history the clever tyrants did not bother with educating the unwashed trash of society, they kept them ignorant and stupid and just marched them off to war. Its all they were good for and they served an important purpose. They went willingly and whole nations and races were virtually wiped out in a few battles. This practice is still alive and well all over the world today. The ignorant will fail to see things in front of their eyes and intellectually will be incapable of understanding any of it anyhow. They can be very effectively manipulated by authority into doing virtually anything. The ignorant trust and obey authority. They will march in lockstep into the trenches where they will parish with no trace and no concern from anyone. Then they are thrown into mass graves and parish without even a trace of ever existing. The ignorant will not foresee their fate but they will instead turn against those who attempt to teach them and pull the wail away from their blind eyes, show the truth and offer an alternative. Religion takes on many forms and some of it are the cornerstones of healthy society but secular religions are deadly and destructive. Hence it must not have been easy for Ed to try to educate but I know he liked people much more than I do, even though he had contempt for the stupider ones. I have no patience for morons at all and don't deal with them period.
I just heard something profound in a video interview with Ed Roman. The interviewer asked what the number one advice ED Roman would give someone. Ed replied “never believe anything you read in a guitar magazine”. This should tell you what you need to know about the man and enough to respect him, his courage, his passion and his intellect.
This is why Ed Roman will be missed. I wish we had a whole bunch of Ed Romans. RIP Ed.
It was good to know you were at least there to stir the pot, when nobody else would. Without stirring the pot, the contents will just burn.
I guess as usual further explanation is needed.
1. Love the vibe and the verbiage and now need to look at the guitars.
2. I will dissent and state that while I understand your Vulcan Mind-Meld with Ed Roman as far as dissing the guitar establishment marketing, imnsho he was a complete douchebag who ran one of the most moronic retail outlets in history as in “don’t touch the guitar without asking” and then have some bored dumbass looking over your shoulder while you just want to put hands on some wood that will speak to you and reach into your wallet. Jeffrey
You could be right. I never bought anything from him and was never at his store and would never do it, so that is not an issue for me. I am simply stating that the man himself wanted to deliver but had a lot of limitations and could not. He was mostly dishonest to himself as to who he was. Fundamentally I know he was not a criminal or a bad person. Just had a personality problem a bit more severe than most.
Kind of like the kid at school who was not talented or good looking, so he would constantly lie about his imaginary accomplishments to try to elevate himself in his own eyes but could never prove them of course. He was aspirational in his self imagine and abilities. Not a bad kid but just one with an inferiority problem. When that kid grew up he became Ed Roman. There are a lot of them walking the streets.
He did accomplish quite a bit along the way though, when you think about it. Its not like he was a "union bum" or a government worker parasite, living on tax revenue whom society is forced to pay. Ed had to do it all himself. It takes a little more work, talent and risk to do it that way and there is no pension in the end. Give it a try sometimes and see how you do. Also, Ed had no protection from accountability, as many of the laziest and most incompetent in our society have. You are not permitted to be angry at the ruling class even if you want to. Even if gross incompetence or negligence is committed against you. Even your neighbor, the humble teacher, is part of the ruling class and they know it. The arrogant bureaucrats have power over you and if you get out of line they are protected by the biggest guns in the land. Try complaining and see how far you get. Its not like Ed was a junky or a pimp on the street or a big time fraud artist either. Just a little fraud artist, which did not hurt anyone but the idiots, who deserved it. One of the many differences between Ed and I, is that he dealt with the idiots and sometimes fucked them over by not delivering what was expected. I chose not to deal with the idiots at all.
Some of the big-time scammers are running for president right now or working in politics and government on some level or are in finance. They are usually internationally connected also to help them steal even more easily. They are not stupid to bother with little shit things like guitars. Society has respect for the nastiest of the big vermin. Remember if you shoplift from WalMart, you go to jail but if you steel a billion dollars from individuals or the taxpayer, nothing happens. So keep things in perspective is what I say. Alex