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Zachary Guitars – Firebird 060817

Zachary Handcrafted Guitars - Z-Bird Firebird 060817

Body Style:  Z-Bird, Firebird

Body Wood:  Obeche, 1-piece

Neck Wood:  Mahogany

Fingerboard Wood:  Pau Ferro

Scale:  24.75"

Tuners:  Kluson-style

Frets:  24 (Medium, Stainless)

Pickups:  Kent Armstrong P90

Controls:  master Volume & Tone, 3-way LP toggle

Neck Joint:  Spiked, machine screws / metal inserts

Strings:  Zachary Optimum Tensions, 10++ set

Weight: 5.95 lb.     WOW!!!


Inspiration 

I cannot get this image out of my head or my soul. A super resonant instrument with P90 pickups, made of very light and soft woods, no thick plastic covering over anything, Basically, viewing a solid body electric guitar in the same perspective as a fine acoustic instrument. A guitar which is alive. This has always been my dream-guitar concept and what I create with every Zachary Guitar I make. 

Actually, this should be your dream guitar also. Depending on where you are in your guitar knowledge development and experience, you will realize at some point that you have been duped and what the industry promotes, really is not a good buy for you because it will always leave you wanting for something you are missing. What you are missing, is that you really did not buy a musical instrument, you bought an inanimate mass produced product, which you will attempt to be artistically expressive on. This is absurd and will never work. Its like making love to a plastic blowup doll. We all go through this experience, especially early on in our development but unlike most players, I have the ability to do something about it. I no longer have to go looking for the instrument I want to play. I just dream it and then make it. And there is no guitar anywhere, which will match what I make. 

Of course if you are a younger player or regardless of your age, simply young and undeveloped intellectually as a player, you have no clue what I am talking about. You are what I call unaware, you have not been "red pilled" yet and you may never be. This is why when you go into a guitar shop, you are not disgusted as I am. You do not realize that most of the guitars you look at are virtually the same and come out of the same factories. They are made by computer programmed machines, sprayed with thick plastic car paint and put together by people who have no connection to guitars or playing them. They are made to look fancy and they are inexpensive. Its like buying anything at Walmart. You are buying a dead object with no soul. Then you play this dead object and wonder why its so ungratifying. So you buy one after the other of the same and it leaves you empty but you have no idea why. So you keep repeating your behavior, with the same result. Now, if you are not a serious player and don't have much expectations or demands from an instrument, then it really does not matter. You are not really buying guitars to play. You may be an enthusiast but not a player. 

Well I hope you now know why you are left empty and unfulfilled. A guitar cannot be a manufactured object, like a kitchen appliance or any other consumer mass produced item. It has to be crafted and made to feel alive. This you can only get from a handcrafted instrument built by someone who has the passion to create something which he dreamt about and is a result of his passion, excitement and vision. In this way you get an entirely different instrument from the mass produced objects you find in music stores. 

There are two ways to buy a guitar. 

  1. You purchase a guitar based on fantasy and not because its a great instrument. Most would never admit to this but a quality instrument is really not what they are after. Quality, not in terms of a perfect paint job but quality in terms of an instrument which is alive. Tone and feel really is irrelevant to you, as long as its the same model and color as the one played by your guitar heroes and one which has a long legacy. Its all image and not visceral for you. This is actually how most people purchase a guitar.  However, you do not realize that the mass produced Firebird you bought for one third the price of this Zachary Z-bird you see on this page, is nothing like the vintage instrument played by your heroes. Its simply a travesty with a fancy paint job.
  2. Or you can buy a guitar based on how good it is in terms of it being a real instrument. 

Compared to regular products, you can buy a much better instrument from the main manufactures, but you will pay $4000 and more and still you will be limited to their standards of propriety based on original vintage specs.. For this price you will still get a (CNC) computer programmed, machine made, mass produced, vintage reproduction. This in itself is a gross contradiction. Vintage guitars were all hand made. However, at least it will be made in the quantity of hundreds and not buy the thousands and they may get some of the more qualified workers to put it together for you and call it "Custom Shop".

What I do is take vintage guitars to the next level and truly give you all the hallmarks of vintage and also give you something which is entirely hand-made. Instantly, upon completion, a Zachary guitar feels organic, alive and "vintage" the first time its played. This is how to make a guitar not feel like you are playing your toaster.

Is it worth the money to you as a player, or do you want to rather buy 3 toasters instead?

 

Here is my take on the Gibson Firebird. Other than the body shape, it has nothing in common with the Gibson, which inspired it. It does not feel, play or sound like a Gibson. I fell in love with the simplicity of the Gibson budget guitars of the 50s. The wrap-around bridge concept and P90 combination is the ultimate in simplicity, along with, the Gibson toggle switch and master Volume and Tone knobs. The body is made of a wood called Obeche. I bought quite a bit of this wood about 15 years ago and still had it on my shelf. It is very light and very soft, almost like Balsawood. You may not realize it, but the softer the wood, the harder it is to work with, since the softness creates all kinds of structural and handling problems. Imagine building a guitar out of a hard Styrofoam and how this material would hold screws (not well) and scratch and dent, even from looking at it. However, I solved the structural problem but it takes much longer to make a guitar from such a soft wood. Much more steps involved in the build operation. 

What you get is a very light, very resonant and very lively instrument, with a big sound. You can play this guitar standing all night long.
I further added contours to the Firebird body, at the elbow and the belly areas. I also moved the neck more inward on the body, giving the guitar much better balance, without that expected neck-heavy feel of the Gibson Firebird. This results in a balanced, comfortable, ergonomic feel for this otherwise large bodied, odd shaped guitar. I implemented my current Volume knob positioning, close to the bridge and easily reached by the player for volume swells.

I really like the end result in how I improved Firebird guitar model. This is truly a high performance hotrod, meant for the real player.

One detail you may not notice is that the bridge has the intonation adjustment screws removed. They are not needed on this guitar, since I was so exact as to where I placed the bridge. Now the bridge sits completely all the way on the stud screws without the need of those small sharp adjustment screws sticking out to compensate for an inexact bridge placement. Intonation is as good as it gets. I am particularly proud of this. 


 

Zachary Guitars Z-Bird 060817