Zachary Handcrafted Guitars - ZT Broadcaster 201214
Body Style: ZT (40 mm thick)
Body Wood: Mahogany, 1-piece
Neck Wood: Maple
Fingerboard Wood: Maple
Scale: 624 mm (vintage Gibson)
Tuners: Kluson style
Frets: 24 (large & medium mix)
Pickups: neck - custom, bridge - DiMarzio Twang King
Controls: master volume, LP selector
Neck Joint: Spiked, machine screws, metal inserts
Strings: Zachary Optimum Tensions, 10++ set
Weight: 7.45 lb
Availability: Not For Sale
This is an iconic guitar and I knew it as soon as it was approaching its completion. Everything just came together on it perfectly. Its my new ZT body shape, which updates the tired clumsy, bulbous look of the Telecaster or Broadcaster. The way the ZT body shape came about is to be first digitally scanned directly off an original vintage Telecaster reissue; so its accurate in size and contours. Then I did my modifications to update its look and improve its ergonomics, weight and high fret access. Of course I always make all Z guitars with 24 frets. Back in the 50s and 60s players rarely played above the 12-th fret but times have changed. I suppose that most who buy vintage reissues, or want to stick to traditional models, never play above the 12-th fret either but for the rest of you, why would you not have two full octaves. What do you think about that Yngwie Malmsteen, or Jeff Beck for that matter. Never just accept what "they" give you; the corporate power structures of society.
Something which may not be apparent form the pictures of this guitar, is the extra wide neck. I had to modify my neck template to cut this neck, so I ended up with a neck, which is 46.8 mm (1.83") wide at the nut. Regular Zachary guitars are 45.5 mm at the nut. I did not know what it would feel like and was a bit apprehensive but I found that as wide as this neck is, its wonderful to play. Don't try to go back to a regular Fender with a 41 mm width at the nut, after playing this guitar because the Fender will feel like some kid's toy and you'll realize how cramped you really are.
The theme here was to produce a very vintage vibe but also somewhat historically correct. To create the quintessential Tele but in hotrod form. In fact I wanted to go back to the prototypes, which Fender built in 1949, prior to Broadcaster production. Leo Fender built a few prototypes which were actually thinner than the production Telecaster model; just a bit over 1.5" at 40 mm. I had this body cut and on my shelf but did not know what to do with it. It was made up of two off-cuts of Mahogany and it was thinner than the correct Broadcaster thickness of 44-46 mm. The grain also did not match. Otherwise, it was a nice body and I don't like wasting anything, especially wood. I am also not a fan of fancy wood and did not feel like gluing on a cap and back and sandwiching the existing body. So I used the Fender Tele prototype theme and it worked out perfectly. The body is the exact same thickness of those early Fender Broadcaster prototypes, 40 mm. I also decided to put a vintage Gibson scale neck on it and a hot rod was born.
So what you got here is a thinner Tele body, with a shorter scale neck, but which is really wide at the nut. Its a totally different playing experience but very addictive.
The neck pickup is a custom made Kent Armstrong, without a cover and with staggered magnets (in case you did not notice), made to my exact specs. Eliminating the neck pickup cover results in a brighter and more defined neck tone. The bridge pickup is a DiMarzio Twang King, which gives a killer vintage, bright, cut-through-anything, tone. Exactly what you demand from a Telecaster. The pickups match each other perfectly in volume, with the bridge a little louder than the neck, as should be. The neck pickup gives this woody tone, the bridge pickup can shatter glass and the in-between sound is chiming, like a bell.
I left the control cavity open and the pickguard is made of the original fiber resin soaked material the original Telecasters had for the first 4 years of Telecaster production; called the Blackguards. The difference is, if we were to be honest and not just regurgitate all the hype and crap, those blackguards were awful guitars to play. They did have that raw, simplistic, made in the barn look and feel to them and this guitar captures that perfectly but also gives you a marvelous playing instrument. So this is a no brainer Vince Gill, which do you choose?
I painted it white but played it so much in the first 2 weeks that all the paint wore off and its been made into a relic.
This is as much of an enjoyable, desirable and addictive guitar as you can ever expect to find. It just begs to be played and its captivating. How can you get a more perfect guitar. Remember its all hand made, every operation is hand directed, the neck is hand carved, unlike the CNC machine made bodies and necks they take off the line to make you a Fender Custom Shop relic.
Its like the perfect woman we dream about but does not exist and can never exist. Well, this guitar does exist.
Call me crazy but as flawed as women are these days, I am symbolically making the iconic woman, over and over again.
Update - As you can see in the original pics shown here, taken right after the completion of this guitar, the antiquing (relicing) of the hardware is not consistent throughout. I went back disassembled some of the hardware and corrected the details, down to the last screw. Now this instrument is very consistent in terms of aesthetics. Just looking after the minute details, which would not torment the average person. However, I don't do the work of an average individual.
Fender prototypes prior to the production, mass-produced Broadcaster release. Notice the lap steel roots of this first production solid body guitar. These Fender prototypes from 1949 also had the thinner 40 mm body thickness, as compared to the production Telecaster with a 1.75" (44.5 mm) thicker body.