I was prompted to see your guitar site when one of our dealers came in, and I must say, your web page needs a total do-over and fast. Why do you do this to yourself? The Idiot's Page is not amusing at all. You are limiting yourself to a very small market. Be a freak like this and stay angry with your results. Your website testimonials seem totally fake to me. Do you actually make that shit up? You would do better leaving all that crap out. Suit yourself. Get professional! Change! Take care. Charlie Story (Grosh Guitars)
Top and Back: Maple Plywood
Side: Soft Maple
Master Volume & Tone
6-way Rotary Selector
This is a hollow body with Soft Maple body, Plywood top and back, Gibson vintage scale, Sycamore neck, Ebony fingerboard, Custom P90 pickups and a six-way rotary pickup selector, giving you the following options. Notice that the first three positions are your standard traditional pickup sellections. Starting with the furthest position away from the player (wired backwards, where position 1 should be position 6), but I like it like this:
1. Neck only;
2. Neck / Bridge in parallel;
3. Bridge only;
4. Neck / Bridge in series;
5. Neck / Bridge in parallel (out of phase);
6. Neck / Bridge in series (out of phase);
Audio and Video Files In Process
Go to youtube and search for postings by eligit Watch Eli play the Hollow and demonstrate this amazing guitar for you.
The Best In The World
This guitar has been in gestation for 4 years. Mainly due to my procrastination. There were too many things to work out in terms of construction and design, which I was uncertain of. This took everything I had. Instead of just looking good, a Zachary guitar has to really work well as a player's instrument. Like no other guitar, in fact.
I spent all this time building this guitar repeatedly in my mind. Eli patiently waited for years until I worked it all out, changing course often and considering many variables. Finally I mustered the courage to actually pick up the pieces of wood and begin the intimidating task of tackling this overwhelming project. There was as large probability of failure and this is what made it intimidating. I admit I was insecure about it. Since much of what I do is freehand artwork, meaning that its basically like a blank canvas or piece of clay, which I have to turn into something that not only looks like a nice guitar but also plays to the standards I have set in the past for all Zachary guitars. The bar is set high.
I also must compete with everyone else's CNC machines in terms of precision and also in terms of final price. Selling a handmade guitar for the price of a CNC made guitar is no small feet and commercially not viable. Pressure is even higher because I must make each guitar better than the last. Since I tend to disparage other guitar producers, I must prove myself with each instrument and expose the talentless shysters for what they are, along with the pedestrians buying into this stuff by the masses.
In order to stand by my opinions, I must produce and prove myself each time I build a new Zachary guitar. Its a good recipe for achievement. With humility I could not function and would achieve nothing. Could you handle all this pressure? Well, if you could, you would be making Z guitars.
Much of the pressure is self imposed. If I am to earn bragging rights and call myself the best guitar maker in the world. I must prove it every time I build a guitar. The pressure is on each time. There is obviously a lot of personal motivation and drive needed to accomplish this, not to mention what some with opposing personality traits would classify as pathology.
Since I try my hardest to only deal with serious players, who are increasingly very difficult to find, I don't usually work under the same criteria as other guitar producers. When fancy guitars are sold to non-players, or at most, casual beginners with money, the criteria is very different indeed. There, the finish and aesthetics must be perfect and the image must fit, playability and tone matter little. Since I am a player and since every guitar I make is in actuality made for me, not for any consumer, the philosophy behind these creations is quite unique and maybe even shockingly offensive to some. The usual business model does not apply here in any way, which is of further dissonance and insulting to the unsuspecting who have been conditioned otherwise. Many, with a lower level of intelligence simply fail to grasp what I do and will lash out defensively as their social conditioning has been violated.
Let me now ask you something very serious. Did you ever want to be the best in the world at what you do? This is no joke. I literally mean the best in the world, at anything. It does not matter what it is, as long as you are the best at it. Its obviously so far removed from the reality and expectations of most that it actually sounds ludicrous. Something to be ridiculed if its ever heard to be uttered. As a reactionary response, its considered that only someone delusion would hallucinate about being the best in the world at anything. How can anyone even have the audacity to make such a statement of contention? Although a few spend their lives pursuing this goal to be the best at something, most feel they are so far from attaining it, that they find it absurd and offensive when they observe someone attaining it. Most simply don't have the will power to even imagine working for it and becoming the best at anything.
How would you feel if you did realized you were the best in the world at something? If you consider yourself a guitar player, then how would you feel being the best guitar player in the world? Would it frighten you? Think about it for a minute. It would be an intimidating and somewhat uneasy feeling knowing that you are the best in the world at what you do. You would feel special as if touched by divinity.
I realize something which I felt for a long time; I am the best electric guitar builder in the world. It certainly frightens me. It's totally freakish, however not surprising, given my disposition.
Here is how it works. To be the best, you have to first want to be the best. When being the best is of utmost value, you will be the best. If you don't care about being the best, you will certainly never become the best. When being wealthy is valued, you will get rich. If being famous is of value, you will be famous. It's all a result of what you deeply feel the need to be. Whatever defines your identity. What are you hungry for? For me, it's of great value to be the best in the world. I didn't start guitar building as a hobby or to be a tinkerer. I started out with the intention to be the best in the world. As I found out, it was not unattainable.
Being the best at anything, and I really mean anything, involves the total dedication of one's life to that particular pursuit. There is no doing it casually, for fun or in a perfunctory manner. Being the best is not a leisurely fun activity. Being the best is not fun, quite the opposite. One finds that being the best is often judged as an antisocial trait. Being better than others means, by default, offending and threatening the pride all others who are not the best. Most are not prepared to take on this burden and sacrifice their social acceptance in order to be the best. Walking on the path of originality is not a comfortable journey, however satisfying it may be on a limited level. For some however there is no choice, they need to be the best despite all the drawbacks and torment. Anyone out there who is among the best in the world at what they do, will undoubtedly voucher as to the difficulties and distress which goes along with this position in life. The rewards are offset by the penalties, leaving one in a sort of neutral state of ambiguity. This is a little glimpse into what its like to be the best in the world.
Consider this. The celebrated and revered "luthiers" of our time are nothing but frauds. Did he really say that? How can he say that?
Here is why. Its obvious to anyone perceptive that today's guitar builders are NOT guitar builders at all. If you are not totally brain dead you will have noticed this and you know why. I know how you feel, its a disappointment for me as well. The people who are revered the most as defining guitar production of our time could never even make a guitar themselves. This is how absurd it has gotten. The guitar media just simply perpetuates this lie and feeds you the crap, without confronting the truth. They figure you are too stupid to know anyway and the more they ignore this website, the faster they think it will just go away. Interestingly, some of these "luthiers" actually are the best at what they do … but its not at guitar building. For example, PRS and his associates are the best in the world at guitar industry marketing, no question about it … but they are not guitar builders.
Who then exactly is a guitar builder, you ask? This is very simple actually but first ask yourself who is a guitar player. How do you define a guitar builder. Is it someone who buys guitars? Is it someone who talks a lot about guitars, like on guitar forums? Is it someone who listens to a lot of guitar music? Is it someone who loves looking at guitars? NO, it's none of those. A guitar player is simply someone who plays the guitars. It's the only criteria needed to be a guitar player. The same way a guitar builder is someone who builds guitars. A CNC machine operator or programmer is not a guitar builder. A guitar marketer is also not a guitar builder, no matter how much they advertise and how many container loads of units they sell, they are still not a guitar builder.In fact, the respected "luthiers" of our time could never even build you a guitar themselves or neither could anyone in their employ. It's a horrible fraud perpetrated on the ignorant guitar consumer, which is the norm for guitar consumers unfortunately. They know you are stupid, but they know how to speak your language, they know how to reach you and they know how to reach right into your wallets as well. Yes, they are all nice guys, without a doubt they are nice people, much nicer than I, in a superficial sense at least. They have to be nice… because they are not guitar builders. You see the picture here?
Consider who manufacture guitars today. This is the pathetic state of today's guitar building industry. This is progress.
The Kit Assemblers
The first group is a bunch of phonies who buy pre-manufactured Fender-style bodies and necks, which they assemble with a questionable selling point. They claim to offer you a guitar which is as good as a Fender and even beat it up to look like an old Fender which makes it look like it was played by a real guitar player. In defense of the Fender company, this I find totally absurd. If you want a Fender, buy a Fender. The Kit Assemblers don't make any part of the guitar themselves, they wouldn't know how. Unless you consider drilling pickguard screw holes making a guitar. These kit guitars are almost always Fender copies with bodies and necks purchased from the same CNC parts shops these "luthiers" all share. Most of these "luthiers" are confidential customers of the same parts manufacturers who supply everyone in this group of kit assemblers. Ironically its the same bodies and necks you can buy yourself. Individuals in this group have no artistic ability and no creativity for any type of innovation. It would only be to their detriment even if they did, since the customers don't want any originality, quite the opposite. Unless you call painting Fender-style guitar kit and then scratching it up, original, innovative and creative. The Kit Assemblers have no use for individuality or innovation and shamelessly copy Fender ad nauseam. They will make you a phony Fender and make it look worn as if you were an actual player. Amazingly, this makes, the seller, the buyer and the guitar, all phony. ...too much.
The CNC Owners
This second group, has more money. They have advertising budgets, the guitar magazines love them and turn them into "luthiers". They can play expertly, not the guitar, but the guitar industry game, which includes the trick of actually paying people to play their instruments. Most of the time people who would never go near their instruments. This is a biggie for manipulating the stupid guitar consumer and it pays off well. The endorsement game is central to the guitar industry, or what's left of it. The highly respected "luthiers" in this group all have one thing in common; they all own their own CNC machines to build their own bodies and necks. They also try not to be innovative or original in any way and would be nowhere without exploiting the genius of Leo Fender. The real star of these corporations is the computer programmer on staff, who never even touches the guitars "he makes". He is not a guitar builder.So who exactly is a guitar builder? It's someone who starts with raw lumber and turns it into something you see on this page, with their hands, using either hand or power tools, all guided by hand. One has to know the materials, the tools and must really know guitars. The definition of handmade is that every operation is guided by hand. One wrong move and the work is destroyed. It is done by feel and not by computer program. Instead of it being encapsulated in a glass cage which is the CNC machine, the hands of the builder are touching the materials at all times and turn the raw wood into a finished instrument. This is all done by feel and touch. The hand made instrument turns out to feel, look and sound very different from a computer made instrument in the absence of human contact. A real guitar builder makes a work of art instead of a commercially mass produced manufactured product, as uniform as a McDonald's hamburger. Every handcrafted instrument is unique and never can be repeated or duplicated again. Conversely, mass produced guitars consist of batches of hundreds of identical guitars which are hanging on the wall of your favorite music store and if they run out of your favorite color, you will find more of the same at another guitar shops either down the street or on the other side of the world. You can buy a mass produced guitar by SKU number alone.
This is why tinkerers cannot learn anything from the two groups of frauds outlined above. Since these phonies are not guitar builders, they have virtually nothing to teach in terms of guitar building to any aspiring guitar builder. This is the reason so many tinkerers flock to this website. This is the only place they can learn and even relate to. They don't have very many other places to learn from. I certainly don't dare post any shop pics or you would find Z builders everywhere.
I am the best electric guitar maker in the world. I was born to do it and I worked my ass off to attain it. I also earned the bragging rights to declare it. I mean, what use is it to be the best if you cannot celebrate it publicly? The proof is on this website and especially on this page. If you can match it, you too will also be the best in the world. Enjoy.
This hollow body was the most ambitious and most difficult project I have yet undertaken. Its a very special instrument and a landmark of achievement for me. However, something very strange happened this time, which usually does not happen. In fact the opposite usually happens. I hate selling any guitar and try to avoid it. I turn a lot of people away even if it hurts the bottom line. I am very selective who I work so hard for. As you know money is not the criteria here. Money to me is meaningless, achievement is what I am after. Money is only the reward of the talentless and the uncreative. Just because you have the money, does not get you a Zachary guitar. Not from me anyway.
Why then am I so excited to send this guitar off as soon as possible? Why do I want to get rid of this guitar so much? This disturbed me and I was searching for the reason why. Then I realized why. The comments from Eli below made it clear to me and should make it clear for you as well. So read my conversations with Eli over a period of two week after this guitar was completed. This is nicely in keeping with the educational theme of this website. Read and learn..
My Conversation with Eli and His Comments as the Owner of this Zachary Hollowbody Guitar
Just finished her an hour ago and been playing since. This will blow you fucking mind. I am not kidding about it. I figured out the wiring. My eyes are bloodshot people got angry at me for staying up till 5 am every morning working on this guitar and specifically the wiring. I was trying to fall asleep at 5 am and still looking at the wiring diagram I drew. It guitar has affected my health I think. My eyes are all blood shot, others noticed it and said it looks gross and scary. I have this pain behind both eyes and they are hurting behind the eye balls and watering. My eyes are very tired but I think it's not permanent. Victory is sweet. You will have so many delicious sounds here. This thing really came together better than I expected. This guitar will define you I think. People will instantly know its you visually and sonically when they see you and this guitar. It will be like Hendrix and his Strat. The Strat that virtually nobody noticed before Hendrix, yet it defined him visually and sonically. This is the guitar you will be able to do everything with, from smoky dark jazz to even shredding . The pups are magnificent and the switching is just a masterpiece of an offering. All we need is your ability to be its equal. This has been about 4 years in the making and it almost killed me. I need to go for a bike ride. Alex
What can I even say? I am a bit in awe. I will have to work very hard to justify my use of this instrument. It is a real responsibility and I take it seriously. Naturally I already felt that way to a degree about my three Z2 guitars....but this is maybe another level. We have been talking about this guitar for 4 years. Now it is a reality. I also very much recognize the intensity of effort this project took on your part. Not that you do not work your ass off on every guitar....but I think you will agree that this was perhaps the most difficult and impressive accomplishment to date. I can imagine how messed up your eyes are from this all out effort....dozens and even hundreds of hours staring at tiny detailed images. I appreciate the sacrifice. Congratulations. And have a good bike ride...just don't hit your head!! Eli
Whoo hoo! You go right ahead and post those pics. Let everyone know that not only are you not retired but have just completely outdone yourself on multiple levels. I have self control and will simply not go to your website for a bit. That is that. Since I am not a religious man in the traditional sense....you are right....this is my version of a religious experience. The first time I see my last guitar should be when I open the case and play it. Eli
I say "my last Z" because I do not believe in the mentality of buying and buying. Think about it....every guitar player is always talking about this next guitar and next amp and next pedal they are going to buy. I am sick of it and don't want to be part of this instinctive consumerism. I find the idea of buying tons and tons of guitars gross....and I find the idea of buying tons and tons of z guitars even much worse. Every z guitar that somebody has must be a special thing that holds an important place in their consciousness. Otherwise it is an insult to the guitar. Even with just one Z guitar a musician can do so much and if they have too many....i think something special is lost. That is just my take on it. You can toss the word "last" if you want....but I think you get the gist of where I am coming from anyway. Eli
Did that previous email make sense? The way I see it....it is basically a show of respect for this entire enterprise. Each Z must be focused on and appreciated....and USED....a LOT. I think having four Z 6-string guitars is basically a huge responsibility of musicianship. I just hope I can play songs that are good enough to justify that. I think that if you see each instrument not just as a matter of "well I could use this one today if I want...or maybe this one....or even this one....etc"....each one must be essential. What I am really looking forward to is playing the hollow Z and other Zs for people and hopefully attracting more business for you. Eli
Yeah....the thing I have to watch in myself is that area where utility becomes self indulgence and wastefulness. There is a fine line....and many musicians step over it. As far as utility....shit.....can you imagine the possibilities between the Z2, the two Z2-Ts (one with low output pups, one with high output pups) AND the Z Hollow? So many sounds and possibilities there....especially now that you mention you will have to tell me how the switching works on this Hollow Z because it offers so many choices. So it is basically a giant resource even if I never buy another guitar as long as I live after the Hollow. As far as pricing...it was exactly what I suspected...you were so wrapped up in the creative act this did not even enter the equation. That is impressive. Either way....when you decide just let me know. As I said...the funds have been carefully set aside in a separate account in preparation for this time. I am decided. I will not look at any pics. There is no need. I do not need to see pictures to pay for the guitar. I had not even thought about that. As somebody who plays three Zs already....it is completely besides the point anyway. The pics are for those who do not get to play that particular guitar. Pics are just a mental visual thing anyway....the proof is in the playing and tactile feedback loop. So post whatever you want.
I cannot do without all my ZOG strings. I still have three sets of 11s left over from years ago that I never put on. But you know me....I am obsessive about clean fresh strings and it is a crucial part of my sound. Actually I will soon need more sets of ZOG 10s as well. Eli
Here is a tune from our last gig....listen for when Karlie really hits her stride...it is a thing of beauty: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4k-1eSQ7h0k
As far as I'm concerned.....you would have to have heart of stone to remain unmoved by that. The vibe was very strong in the room on that one. The main thing that will separate the utility of the Hollow from the Z2-T is the whammy. I use my whammy so much in this band....just for very subtle sound effects and feedback manipulation. So I will need both. The hollow will provide this whole other sound and whole other visual element on stage. Also I want to write some songs for this band using alternate tunings and this guitar will be amazing with alternate tunings. However it will also rock like crazy. A fixed bridge with ZOG 11s can rock like CRAZY. The heaviness will come mostly not from distortion but the heavy strings and body vibrations. Can you imagine drop D Soundgarden riffs on it? I bet you can. With the ZOG 11s the low strings will rumble and cut like mad. That Rik Emmet guitar may have provided inspiration but I am confident that you have created something on another level entirely. I do not even need to see or hear it to know that. Pics are fun.....but as you say....in my case....what does it matter....it can only lessen the fun a bit. Also as we know the Christmas present aspect of guitars lasts only a very short time and then the real work begins. I think the visual aspect of guitars is directly related to this whole consumerist mentality that dominates the world of guitars.....and I have learned that it does not do that much for me. I was only 100% sold on Z guitars when I got to actually PLAY one, hear it, feel the resonance, etc. That is where it is at. Eli
Right on man. I have seen very clearly that you sweat blood and go a bit mad making these guitars staying up until the sun rises obsessing over every detail......and then I have seen how good the guitars are....as a direct result of this intense method of creation. So it only seems appropriate to treat the results of this arduous process with seriousness.....and that includes not just trying to grab as many of them as possible as soon as possible. That is careless and does not help either the player or the builder....not really. This hollow is going to really demand a lot from me and it will be some time before I have even started to really tap into it. I think the opposite syndrome....and I have been guilty of it over the years.....is that buying a guitar is sort of entertainment for the buyer....."a nice new toy"......it is so easy to seek consumer items and entertainment for yourself.....however in this case the ideal result is that you are not just entertained by this great instrument....but that you play it musically enough to entertain OTHER PEOPLE and show them what you can do with it. Speaking of which....i gotta get out the metronome and get some practicing together. Eli
I am planning a cool series of vids/recordings for this guitar. Ideally I would like to do a pick up switching demo. You will have to make a list of every possible switching combo and I will do a minute or two for each setting. I asked whoever it was who got the "Moderne" for something like this but it never happened. So I will do that instead. I have done many little recordings over the years with the different pup sounds etc....but it was never really done clearly and explicitly with each sound labeled and demonstrated one after the other. Next will be the recording studio the last week of September. I hope to get the hollow in there somewhere mixed with the Z2. We have about 8 gigs on the calendar coming up and I would love to use it for some of those as well for songs I don't need the whammy on....and get some crude vids of that. This is going to be fun. Eli
It is a given that I will not pick up on every last OCD detail....however I can feel it and hear it when I play. It is all crucial. Every time you play the guitar and make a minute adjustment it means a lot...at least to the way I play. I get the impression that nobody does this kind of work at the end of the process and it is too bad. So many makers are woodworkers first....and guitar players a distant 3rd or something....so the set up is often the least important thing. I told you about this 7 string I got many years ago before I ever even heard of Z guitars....it was quite fancy...made by this guy. Honestly the set up was bad....it was hard to play and I was glad to be rid of that guitar. It did not help me at all. It is silly. So you hold onto that guitar and test it to whatever degree you deem necessary. It cannot be any other way. This is a great statement you make here: You guys need a palate of tones and this will do it for you. You have gotten that exactly right. We have basically gotten a perfect synergy going with this instrument. I need to be able to sound like wes montgomery in one song....and then nasty and nasal out of phase single coil on the next song....or even both sounds in one song if that is what is called for.....and then a overdriven pop punk chorus after that. We do not call the band MIXTAPE for nothing....and my own personal music is equally diverse. I am not like some of these jazz guys who have one neck humbucker and that is the only sound they use. Nothing could be further from the truth. I actually do not need to hear anyone else demonstrate all the pup sounds....but I DO want to do it myself....and it sounds like this guitar really demands it. So basically I am cheering you on over the finish line! Eli
I am looking forward to you doing lots of recordings, vids and demonstrations with this hollowbody. That should be interesting for people to watch. Alex
Absolutely. I am looking forward to showing it around and specifically screwing with people's expectations of what a hollow Gibson scale guitar should sound like. I will need to show off all the tones. Which is going to be really time consuming because each sound should be heard clean, overdriven, and distorted. So that is a LOT of settings to get through...basically all the pup settings times three. However that is the whole point. Eli
I have finalized the construction and the design of this hollow model and it worked out extremely successfully. So I will continue with this format. I can even go as far as to say that this should be the main Z model. I mean its a very successful guitar design. The method of construction I have invented is very practical and effective. I really like it. I have it down now. I will make more of these Hollows. I actually had a lot of doubts about it and did not think it will work but it came together and all fit like a glove. It was surreal, like I was not even part of it, just being guided. I mentioned this briefly and may have been dismissed as an exaggeration. Making this Hollow did make me feel like I was some ancient violin maker. Alex
That sounds fantastic. This is as it should be. This is how the greatest pieces of art are constructed. Eli
What bugs me is these people who are expecting to get a Z guitar thinking its like something they have already owned. Alex
I think many people buy guitars from small shops with the idea that they will get a guitar that is "just like xxx guitar but with xxx features". That is the mind set. You are going down a completely different path. That is the whole point. The idea is not to have these expectations and mental projections. The idea is to take on the instrument on it's own terms and go as far as you can go with it. Yeah....but remember you tossed so many ideas around that I gave up a long time ago trying to predict anything....I have no idea about what pups you used (humbuckers, P90, etc) , what kind of bridge (suspension, 1 piece wrap around, 2 piece Tuneomatic, Wilkonson like my Z2, etc), what kind of body construction (2 pieces with routing?, three pieces?, block under the bridge?) , even the size and depth of the body (335 depth, 175 depth?? Framus depth?).... So I really have no fixed idea at all about the guitar. The only fixed idea I have is that it is a good as it gets. As a musical instrument....this is it. Actually by having lots of expectations I think you can just ruin the whole thing because you will miss what is ACTUALLY there....as opposed to how it lines up with some mental projection. Expectations and preconceived notions can blind you to reality. So if that is my only expectation....that it is a top level instrument....I have no doubt that you have done it.....and pictures will do me no good in verifying that expectation....only making music with it can help with that. Check back in a month or two when I have actually explored it seriously and I might have begun to really get below the surface of it's capabilities. Oh....and one other expectation....that it was something very different from my Z2 guitar and would allow me to get a new vibe, new sounds, new visual presentation. I am sure you have also done that. Eli
The key word here you mentioned is "screwing with people's expectations" Alex
As I was writing that I knew you would pick up on it. It is totally your thing. this hollow is going to throw people for a loop and I will use it in a way that is sure to surprise people. It think psychologically when people see a big jazz box they think....ok I know what that is going to sound like.....ha.....with all my pup switching possibilities and subtle little technique things it will not sound like Wes Montgomery for long. Your idea to totally go over the top with pup switching was a stroke of genius. So yes...it must be able to do the wes thing...but it also can go totally the opposite way and sound all nasal and biting like an AM radio. that will be surprising. Eli
You don't need to know any of this really. Alex
Are you kidding man? Hehe. Ok...maybe I don't NEED to know any of it...however the stuff below about the pups, set up......this shit is pure gold. I love it. I would want you to hang onto the guitar for months if it helped even a tiny bit with all this subtle stuff. Switching out pups, tiny neck adjustments.....the EXACT height of the nut sluts....this stuff is so damn important. It is essential. Why kill yourself making the best guitar possible and then not be just as fixated on the tiny details at the end of the process. Those tiny details result in a guitar that functions perfectly as a musical instrument.....giant tone and effortless playability....at the same time. That is the result. As you know from how I play I can handle a sensitively set up guitar.....some people cannot...they just hack away with all their might and as a result the buttery low action of a Z is wasted on them. To really take advantage of the kind of adjustments you doing and getting the relief and action just right you have to be a sensitive player. It is like if you have a formula one racecar....every tiny piece must be functioning perfectly together.....or else it is a missed opportunity.
So everything you are talking about here is right up my alley and it sounds GREAT!! Piezo's are crap and this guitar will be the cure. I will be able to play it unplugged for fun, for recording with an amp in another room and mix the sounds together....and totally finger tap and do tricks on it as well. This will sound way better than Pat Metheny's guitar and will sound way cooler than Tuck Andress' guitar as well.....and then I will be able to rock out on it as well. Eli
As a random technical note....I have recently been heavily exploring the full range of my volume control and how it interacts with my pick ups, the Zacahry SuperNatural amp and the Z pedal. In the past I had always pretty much just left the volume all the way up on the guitar....but there is this really interesting range of sounds that can be achieved with different guitar volume settings....and I am not just talking about the slight loss of treble although that is part of it. So I am sure that this guitar with it's hot pups will provide an ideal platform for experimenting with a full range of volumes, sounds, etc. sometimes you want the full hot pup to hit the amp hard....but then sometimes you want to be able to really strum with some power....and yet turn the volume down so it hits the amp/Z pedal softly....I am sure this guitar with it's acoustic qualities will do lovely things when you pull back the volume and strum it like an acoustic....and then up the volume for some wailing sustain. Sometimes you want all the power of the pups to speak to the amp so you hear every tiny detail of how the fingers are playing, everything clear as a bell....and sometimes you want it to mellow out and fade slightly into the background....like during a quite intimate part of a song where the singer is just whispering. The demo process will be a very long one. Each pup sound will have to be fully explored, given a number so you can keep them all straight....then clean, OD, and distortion....and all three of those with varying guitar volume/tone adjustments....and varying playing volume (physically). So that is going to be kind of a project. I am excited to get on it. I will have to figure out how much will be video (which I have to sync up manually with my sound gear.....big pain in the ass...but worth it)....and which will be audio only. I suspect in the end it will be a mixture of the two. Eli
Either way....I am so eager to check this thing out and make some music with it. Essentially it will be the best playing and best sounding (and most versatile) hollow electric ever made. Period. It is often hilarious to try out expensive (hollow and otherwise) guitars you might find at a high end store....in my past experience even if the guitar costs 25k....the playability is often not good. I often wonder....how could the guy who made this even really judge how good the guitar is if he never even set it up properly? A true instrument should arrive with the perfect pups.....and the perfect set up....and the perfect strings. This is really the way to go....and yet many people do not do this. On one hand...it is too bad....on the other....it only makes me sound better than average....hehe. Eli
You make a very crucial point here.....with the sensitive set up and super responsive acoustically based instrument....if you are not a nuanced sensitive player....you will actually end up sounding worse than you would on a total piece of crap guitar with high action and unbalanced strings. Ouch!
For me I have to play subtly to really get the most out of my Zs. It is a delicate instrument and rewards subtle playing. If you just wack away with all your strength and do not react to how the guitar responds....terrible. So you have the perfect style for really judging what is what and how to set up the instruments....because it is not like the guitars can only be played with a feather touch....it just means that it does well with feather touch....or more aggressive (but still subtle) attack and the amp Zachary amp conveys all this with utter clarity and dynamics. Eli
Actually, the more you report about the subtle things with the pups, set up, nut slots, etc....the less I want to see the pics. Pics do not touch on any of this crucial stuff. How does staring at wood colors really relate to this stuff? Not much. I will dig the aesthetic angle after I have played it. As impressive and detailed as your pics are....it is below the visual surface that the most impressive stuff occurs. That is that. Once I have played it...the pics will be a bit besides the point anyway.....so everyone else should just enjoy them. The pics are for those that do not get to play the guitar. However...regardless of the recording studio or what exact day the guitar arrives....I will only get to fully explore this guitar later on when I can fully devote enough time to it. This band (Mixtape) is good for showcasing my sound...however as with any pop band the element that is most in the foreground is the lead singer. There will be barely any guitar solos at all. That is the nature of the band and the nature of these 5 songs in particular. So the Z hollow demo series I will be doing will actually reveal a lot more about the actual capabilities of the instrument than a couple of guitar tracks on a studio recording....where I really am only one piece of the puzzle...not the main feature. Eli
She plays like lightening. I know your delicate playing and yes its a very good observations that some hack would not know what to do with this type of action. In fact there have been some horror stories regarding this and some Z owners. Several of these hacks I sold guitars to attempted to raise the actions, which I thought was really bizarre. I had no idea why when I first heard of it. Now I realize why. I had this perfect action and all these assholes were attempting to raise the action. It happened numerous times and I don't even know of all the incidences I am sure. I have so much contempt for these people. You can cut their ignorance with a knife, its so thick.
I may play wild and it looks like I am just smashing the guitar but in reality I really feel the delicacy and often play with finesse myself. My playing is more of a sharp contrast between aggression and then switching to finesse. So I feel the guitar both ways. This is why it's good for me to test new guitars because I watch intensely how the guitar responds and make adjustments accordingly. However, a hack player would never pick up or appreciate any of this nuance an instrument can provide. They actually have no use for any subtlety in a guitar or a guitar with perfect low action. Watching you play however it becomes totally clear that my work is not wasted. Alex
Heh...now you are just messing with me......a trem? I had not even considered that a possibility. You are just going to have to send me that guitar. Ha! Anyway....it sounds like the timing will just work out to get that hollow in the studio. If not....it is not the end of the world. Since I only ever use 11s on my acoustic I will have to play this guitar a lot to get the maximum level of comfort especially for bending. Naturally I would be playing it a lot anyway. Eli
I have been checking out jazz guitar players recently, listening to their sound and the piano like solidity of the notes and it occurred to me that your choice of ZOG 11s for the hollow Z was the ideal choice. It could never have been any other way. You get a big huge sound and the capabilities of alternate lowered tunings....but still light enough to bend a bit on the short scale. Once again...you have nailed it. Eli
It is perfect. On multiple levels it is exactly the right thing. 10s would not activate the wood enough and would get floppy with lowered tunings....and 12s become cumbersome for bending even with the amazing low Z action. So ZOG 11s are the ideal string set for this particular scale and type of guitar. Eli
Here is what I think about the whole shiny strat thing. There are actually dozens of 2-4k guitars that are more or less Strats with 10 tops and shiny finish (brian moore, pensa, etc). This is why it works.....these pros essentially want the same guitar they played when they were young (usually a Strat)....but they want it “fancified” so it will look shiny on stage or in publicity photos.....so that is what they get. It is what they already have....but with more gaudy appointments. Eli
(About Parker guitars)
The only way to get a good resonant organic tone from a Parker Fly is to put it down and pick up a Z guitar. That is what I did anyway. The money I got from selling the Parker paid for Shadow (150304). Eli
(About most guitar shops) ....it is this bad mentality where everything should be done fast, expensive and who cares if it is the best way to do the job. Basically take the Z philosophy of working on guitars and go 180 degrees in the opposite direction. Eli
Ugh...I have been to all these places and it is very uninspiring. 30th St Guitar, Rudy’s Guitar, Rudy’s Repair Shop, Sam Ash (double ugh), Matt Umanov, Mandolin Bros (terrible vibe and lots of fancy poorly set up guitars)......none of these places treat guitars or players with the kind of respect and expertise that their reputations would suggest. I have basically had bad experiences at all these places.... Eli
Back to playing the Hollow. I do tons of testing as you can imagine. Its totally finished now. Did a few more fine adjustments today. Alex
That is so cool to hear. I am very impressed with this approach of playing, adjusting, playing, more adjusting.....replace pup....more playing, more adjusting. This is just great. You know I will totally appreciate the little tweaks that others might not notice or would actually sound worse because they do not play with a subtle approach and a sensitively set up Z is simply too much for them to handle and so will reveal their every poorly played note. Eli
I bet that Hollow is really set up to perfection at this point. I would guess that every extra hour you play it is to the benefit of the instruments....keep on going! I am thinking formula one race car. Eli
I know it was not Rudy who did any of the atrocious work but since Rudy is the head of that operation (a fish rots from the head down), I make Rudy responsible for the operation he runs. Obviously its his values that govern the hiring and work ethic of the hacks at his store. So what I do is call them all Rudy symbolically. In fact Rudy is the one who is the most at fault, since those hacks should not even be working there to start with, if it wasn't for Rudy's ignorance. Its just a bad scene all around. Its so sad becuase we have been lead to belive that NYC would offer a higher standard. A disgusting place with a totally fallacious and dangerously misleading reputation and a huge hyped advantage based on where they are located; music store alley in Manhattan. A row of crappy unremarkable music stores, which are actually the epitome of the gross music store scene more knowledgeable players dread. Its sad to see that internationally known pros are not any smarter and get fooled by this hype and frequent these places. Alex
Some of these pros are not half as knowledgeable about gear as you might expect them to be, or as they should be....However they are all in need of a brutal Zeducation. ...both the bedroom guys and the pros. Eli
I think it is almost like fast food. The owners of the company certainly do not fry any chicken or flip burgers. That is the level of seriousness unfortunately. It is very true that “music store alley” is not an inspiring place to be at all. I avoid it completely. Once you go Z.....that is it. Strings, guitars, amps, distortion pedal....I am covered. The only exception is things like my delay pedal which I bought online. So the music stores are completely a non factor in my regular life. Eli
They are too busy making money and selling units, dealing with dealers, distributors, advertising, etc. My only interest in the guitar and nothing else. Alex
I get that alright. This is why I set aside this money for the hollow Z for years. Nothing else will do and nobody else works like this. Moving units is the name of the game for 99.9% of businesses....everything else is less important than that. Eli
There is no demand for anything more refined by the consumer. The details end up going in the direction of 10 tops, flawless shiny plastic finishes, endorser hype, etc., not in the direction of the integrity of the instrument and technical expertise. Alex
Exactly. Supply and demand. The companies will produce to fill the demand....and if the demand is superficial in nature....the product will also be superficial. Eli
(About a recent live gig Eli played with Mixtape)....the sound guy was certainly very surprised. “wow....that sounds really good!”.....like he was very surprised indeed after hearing literally thousands of guitars in thousands of bands on that same stage 5-7 nights a week for years on end. When I have a Z with new strings plugged into the SuperNatural.....it is essentially a perfect situation every gig. Wait till I get the Hollow out there. WHEW!! Some killer sounds are going to happen and it is going to be sweet. My goal is to be gigging with it a lot from mid October into all of November. Big sounds from the Z Hollow. Eli
I completely agree and as I mentioned earlier I am very impressed with your attention to detail. It is really something and I appreciate and notice it. This is the kind of attention to musically relevant detail that informs your whole operation....and the entire instrument in this case from concept all the way up to fitting the case. It is a long and painful road....but the results speak for themselves. Eli
I am up late at my computer editing our last show from Saturday...which was quite a successful performance and we made some good connects, including a positive blog review. Anyway..... Hehe...this just adds to the fun as far as I am concerned. I am actually enjoying the fact that people from all over are about to start drooling over the awesomely clear up close shots of the Hollow Z. I hope they enjoy it. However it will be a shallow experience compared to playing the guitar. You should know....I am always impressed by your pics for their sheer merciless clarity and multi angle detail....no other guitar maker on the planet takes pics that are so detailed and revealing (and numerous). However even tho I am impressed......as we both know pics are just a surface thing....yours are so intense that they DO indicate what is under the surface....but only to a certain limited degree.
Can a pic reveal the hours you spent testing, replacing the pup, doing tiny fraction of a millimeter adjustments? Can a pic reveal the resonance that you get when you play the guitar? Can pics demonstrate all the pup switching capabilities? No, no, and no. So that is why it is actually not hard for me not to peek. It is not an issue. Eli
The point being that a hollow guitar if played at a sane volume with distortion can get feedback that you cannot get with a solid guitar. Radiohead has also done at least one song which begins with insane hollow guitar feedback and it is very effective. Anyway it is something I have always wanted to try. Jazz guys missed out because they got so neurotic about feedback that they would stuff their guitars with foam to dampen them, use plywood archtops, etc.....but I always wanted to try and USE the feedback instead of killing it. One of my sound effects concepts was to combine harmonics, feedback, and delay into this one crazy sound....and yet still have this certain acoustic quality in there somewhere. Also I was thinking that the combination of the Z neck joint with the hollow body could be the ultimate acoustic generator for feedback. So basically you have already predicted what I was going for and I am excited to explore this feedback aspect. Eli
So here is something I have been wondering about as I explore all the tones of the hollow z. When the hollow (and I assume the moderne) are in position 6 and you turn >> the tone control back the tone does not get darker exactly (as it does when the selector is in pos 1, 2, or 4)....it just changes to this very different sound...sort of scooped. It almost sounds like it is changing the phase between the pups or something. Is there a story behind this? Eli
I have no clue. The reason is, I hook up the wiring right but what the circuit will do with the tone is a mystery. Its a good surprise though. If we can get a tone variation, instead of just loss of highs, then all the better. Alex
Absolutely agree. It is an interesting effect I have not ever had on a guitar before. Position 6 is "in series, out of phase"....and then the tone knob does this interesting "eq shift" thing rather than a simple darkening. I will send you a recording of it....just a little clip where it is clearly demonstrated. I have to say this whole world of what is possible with only 2 single coil pickups is quite surprising just on a conceptual level. Eli
The hollow z and z pedal are a match for the ages. Eli
What an incredible guitar. Some lucky bastard gets to take her home tonight. She's got it all! Ted
Dude: I’m one of those dickhead lawyers to whom you will probably never sell a Z guitar. I’m not sure what your definition of “a player” is but I’m probably not it. I love your attitude and have learned a shit load about guitars and what makes a great guitar and why a Les Paul is a piece of shit except for looks which is great for a photo shoot and no more… Keep up the good work and continue to cut your own path … rock on … Michael J. Kiss Barrister & Solicitor
Awe...just absolute awe. I had NO IDEA that your hollow would be this design. I can't think of a more fitting instrument for you, Eli. This guitar isn't for anyone but you. Alex, my sincere congratulations. I have played ONE hollow in my lifetime that was worth buying. It was an old Gretch with cracked and faded green paint. Played and sounded great. This guitar blows it right up. It makes perfect sense why we all waited so long to see you complete this one. Peace, Z
Yes it is a masterpiece. I can't wait to hear it. Congratulations Eli and Alex. By reading the text posted with the photos we know how good it is, now we just need to hear and see it being played. Then we can really appreciate what it is about. I love that its not just a jazz box, but much more. Obviously it can rock, that's what I want to hear! Frank B.
Well Alex, you don't have to convince me, you are the best at what you do! There are no more words to describe your work; its all on your web site for anyone who cares to open their mind. I agree with Eli, for anyone to get your work they must experience it for them selves. This was a very good collaboration between you and Eli - very interesting and educational. Once again the effort you put into building the latest Z can be seen. Eli is the perfect person for this instrument and you are the perfect person to build it for him.....oops I mean this is the perfect guitar for you to build for yourself. Eagle
Wow Alex.... I just took a look at your new creation. I really don't know what to say...I'm speachless. I know I always said I wanted a hollow body. But I'm glad this is going to some one like Eli. I'm just not up to it, and would feel totally guilty owning something of this caliber. Mind you, I'm not a humble kind of guy by any measure, infact all my women have told me I'm an arrogant asshole. I can't wait to hear what it sounds like. Go Eli!!!...You have the Bugatti of guitars now...let's see you take it for a real lap on the track!! Let's see what it can do. As for you Alex....you must take a rest after delivering that massive golden egg. You must be totally worn out you goose. Put some ice on it man! It leaves me wondering....where to now??
As for the comment by Charly Story....I have one thing to say....eat your heart out!!...Oh, and go fuck yourself! Orlando
Hello Alex, I've been waiting for a good moment in time to write you, with a little follow up and this seems like an ideal moment. First off, your new hollow body guitar is extremely impressive. I mean it is exceptionally impressive. After having owned the Z1 for a number of months, my respect for you and the wonder for the instrument grows daily. Guitar just seems an archaic term when discussing my experience with your guitar. One might as well just ignore the term "guitar" and just say - Zachary Jay
Hey Alex, I've been lurking on your site the last few months, ever since I found a link to your IKEA cutting board tele in honor of Braid Paisley. I just wanted to congratulate you on the new G1-H, it looks fantastic. Hell all of your guitars look fantastic. I love the handcrafted construction and natural finishes. I've made a few small pieces of furniture myself and can understand the labor and ultimate satisfaction in taking something like an 8/4 piece of rough wood and turning that into a smooth, usable object. I also watched the videos of Eli playing last night (stayed up way past my bedtime) and he blows me away. Your new guitar will go to a good home. Sean
I understand you perfectly, Alex. Great show; I read the write up on your grand slam three times. I have nothing to say about it. It's way up over my head and I am just amazed. No comment. You stick up for zeros and absolutely nothings, like myself. You give me something to hope for and aspire to and help me to remember that there are good, honest people who do good, honest things still left somewhere in the world. You keep up the good work and keep on knocking them dead. I'd tell you not to let them get you down, but I know already that you won't. Ted
Eli's hollow body is nothing short of fucking incredible. I can't believe the stuff you are pulling off. Fucking hell, and to think it come straight out of your head. No production here....That is insane!...This coming from an engineer that has built things with his own hands out of my head, no plan. It's why I like you Alex, and seen this in you first time I glanced at your website!!... Have an awesome day.....but tell me....what next...it must be getting harder al the time....how many times can you keep raising the bar exponentially, and jump over it!!...It must be doing your head in. Shine on... Orlando
I am a fan of your work and I really like the new hollow model and have been logging onto your site for a long time waiting to see it. I was cussing you out with that GET READY bs. I googled "hand made guitars" and that's how I was introduced to your website and I knew I was hooked. I understand that there is no money in this business unless you want to start making the so called "RELICS". Biggest scam in the world in my opinion. I'm a Tele guy and don't care for PRS guitars. Dont like the fancy quilted maple on any guitars. I think it looks like vomit. Just not my cup of tea is all. BTW my favorite is 090905. That red one is the coolest guitar around. 261208 has got to be the coolest tele around. I really like the butcher block one too. Outfuckingstanding! 150109 and 050309, not so much. Nice wood butI just cant stand the body shape but that's just me. Please dont post this on your website I don't want my name out there - tc
If you made an extended range guitar that was designed with modern heavy metal in mind, I would sew it to my chest through its ingeniously well drilled holes and be forced to play macefelting solos and rhythmic ribshattering breakdowns for the rest of my days. I have spent too many dollars on guitars and now I have eight. All that CNC'd crap is the same to me. Boring and uneventful. I try and redeem myself by moving on to the next "faster, longer scale 7-string", but I could take a shit on one of your guitars and it would still smell and play better than any of this crap people have robotic arms and drills make. I have posted a picture of one of your guitars in my guitar closet to let my other guitars know what they can never be. I appreciate your innovation and existence. William
Hi Alex, I really enjoy your web-site and love to see all the great looking instruments that you build. Your innovative designs and use of materials is very refreshing. The G1-H, in particular, looks brilliant to me because you didn't use binding. With an open mind and an artistic eye everyday building materials can be as as fascinating and remarkable as chunk of highly figured hardwood...Plywood can look cool too! The guitar "playing" and buying public could use a slap in the face every once and a while, you are doing one hell of a job. I continue to be blown away, please keep fighting the good fight. Matt
I have got to stop looking at the latest builds. It's like browsing porn... "160809" shouldn't exist . . . I often try to picture what your shop must look like... I see it in black and white... and you, with an old school doctor's reflectors on your forehead, screaming: " It's Alive "... Mike G.
I Just wanted to let you know that seeing your new guitar yesterday has deeply affected me. I want to be careful in what I say at this time so I'll only bring up a couple of key things.
1. I read and gazed at the whole page numerous times.
2. I couldn't sleep and spent the whole night walking the neighborhood and then online catching up on the mails, music from Mark and Eli etc; but mostly your new guitar. It's been a lo-o-ong time since I was up till 5 am!
3. I'd like to say I'm speechless but I'm not, I actually have quite a bit to say but must limit it at this time. (cause I need time to think)
4. Reading your writeup and then Your and Eli's correspondence is a revelation to me. By definition I am a spiritual person and my mind finally caught up with what my spirit has known all along. I have learned as much about me and what my future may hold as I have about you.
Some descriptions of this guitar immediately came to mind but you'll see how inadequate and limiting they are:
smooth, sensual, sultry, soft
As you can see, a very fleshy and sexual description but this guitar is so much more.
On pondering this some new words came:
Love, Marriage, Wife, Mother
Make of that what you will but these four words completely transcend the first four. I have a great many things to say and talk about and will try to get to the heart of this matter soon. Thanks for everything, Tony
(A response to Charlie Story of Grosh Guitars) From Tony B.
...your web page needs a total do-over and fast. Yes
you are right.
Why do you do this to yourself? If you spent any time here you would know why.
The Idiot's Page is not amusing at all. Right on brother!
You are limiting yourself to a very small market. Right on brother!
Be a freak like this and stay angry with your results. Right on brother!
Your website testimonials seem totally fake to me. The truth is always stranger than fiction.
Do you actually make that shit up? See above.
You would do better leaving all that crap out. Define "better" please.
Suit yourself. God bless you yes!
Get professional! Ummmm...
Take care. I don't think you need to worry about that.
Charlie Story Plank wanker (Grosh Guitars) Fancy planks
"Plank Wanker" Now, that's beautiful. Ted
I do find it interesting to the guy's credit, that he said nothing negative about your guitars. Of course to do so would have cemented him to the top of the idiot's page in an ugly way. The big thing is that people like that are compelled to notice it, which only proves that it works. They don't like the idiot's page because it causes their customer to question what they are doing with the shiny expensive Fender knockoff guitars when they could indeed sample something new and innovative. What Charlie should do is try to "build" (or CNC assemble at least) an innovative guitar and stop thinking about web sites. Frank
Hi Alex, Been looking at 160809, and man is it a stunner. As far as styling goes, the tone hole shape seems to becoming a standard for you these days - same as on my F1-SH.
Next time you talk with Eli, please impress upon him the need for this beauty to be heard - a youtube piece would be fantastic. I remember you talking about this one probably two years ago, and truly wondered recently at what you were cooking up. This one is a WOW!. All the best, talk to you soon, and hope your eyes are white again. Regards, Scott
Your no nonsense approach is quite refreshing in this culture full of phonies. Sam
Damn Bro! That Hollow is fucking awesome! All I got to say is... FUCK ME !!! Bobby Simcox
Alex, Congratulations on the new Z Hollow! I know you've been working on that one - whether in your mind or in your shop - for a long, long time now and it's quite and accomplishment. Though I knew it was in the pipeline I really didn't know what to expect, so when I finally saw it I had to take a good long look. The first thing that came to mind was JAZZ - like some Kenny Burrell, Grant Green, or Joe Pass. That's a good sign! Had to go back a few more times to check all the pictures and take in the design details - like the laminate top, the classic Gibson scale, the angle of the neck and the cutback behind the neck joint, the access hole in the back, etc. Hard to believe it's about 1.5lbs lighter than my Z3! The pickups and wiring give it some real versatility but I'm really curious to hear what it sounds like acoustically as well.
As was pointed out already, it can probably even rock --- but give me the Grant Green any day. Mark Can it ever rock ... you have no idea. Alex
You make up everything your fake costumers tell you , Zach guitars are a Joke, Grosh guitars are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life and Alex...the earth is flat. LOL:)
Take care my friend keep doing the best guitars in the world!!! Cesar
I keep going back to the Web site to look at your latest creation and still the words won't come. I always knew you'd do something like this, I just didn't know when, and I certainly didn't think I'd be at a loss for words over it. Between that and what all the tech-heads are saying about it... what can I say? I mean, really, Alex, that guitar is the ultimate. If this doesn't bring some honest guitar people to your side, I don't know what will. And, yes, you are the best electric guitar builder in the world. No doubt about it. Of course, I've already said that and I've already said it a few times, so I don't need to tell you that either.
Wow, Alex. I mean, really, Fucking WOWEE, man! You really gave them something to talk about this time around. Ted
Hey, From your site i can't tell wether im talking to Zachary, Eli or Alex... Well anyways whoever it is, id like to thankyou on behalf of the whole intelligent community of the world. Finally someone with balls. Im not kissing up im just telling it as it is. Alexander
Eli gets his Hollow
Whew....let me tell you....the tension is building. UPS tracking says the guitar is “out for delivery”....so that means the truck is on it’s route in the neighborhood with the hollow Z in the back.....just waiting to be let out and played. I have stuck to my guns. I have no idea what this guitar looks like. I think I had a good idea when I decided on this strategy. This is a special occasion. Think about it....we have been talking about this hollow Z guitar for four years. Four years where many things have gone down. Some positive...some negative. So if it is a special occasion...why not treat it as such? I know that every guitar is something of a special occasion....but I also think that you will admit this is a slightly more significant moment on a couple of levels.
I am at a loss for words. Just sitting here in amazement. Have not come close to plugging in yet. Here are some words that come to mind: Organic. Effortless. All natural and unified in it's aesthetic. Simplicity at it's very most refined. High performance. Insanely playable action. And I do mean insane. It takes almost zero effort to play. Acoustic resonance. Brilliant body contouring for high position playing. Single coils!!! Sorry....i just don't have the focus to get into a big detailed essay. I just have to play.
Ok here is my second big observation: This guitar demands a subtle touch....it has a WORLD of nuance ready to go...but only if it is played with sensitivity....if it is played ham fistedly you miss out on a huge portion of it's sound. This applies to the full range of the volume control as well as exactly how you attack the strings with the right hand. I am talking about TINY subtle things....just the brush of a finger yields an acoustic delicate sound...and then swell up the volume control and hit the strings harder and it thumps with full on rock. It is all there. It can also do a totally crunchy mountainous roar!! It has a huge amount of low end substance. I have never owned a guitar with P90s....and I am really starting to understand why people love them....it has attractive qualities that are not like typical single coils OR typical humbuckers....but seems to have a combination of these two kinds of pups. It is literally alive with cool feedback. Again...the demands for subtle control on the part of the player are KEY. Ok....enough typing....back to the guitar.
Here is just a general response: besides the intrinsic qualities of the instrument I think that perhaps you went out of your way to make a guitar that would not be redundant with any of my z2 guitars. No trem, P90s, 11s, one piece bridge, switching....all these qualities make it so that I can bring a Z2 t to a gig and the hollow....and there is very little overlap. This was a great idea. I cannot imagine this guitar any other way. It is what it is. Can you imagine it with a trem? I cannot. You remember that none of my Z2s have a tone control so the volume also has a tone damp function....not on this guitar....I am loving the subtle range of the volume control. It is dramatic. The sculpting of the cut away is just spectacular as well. I just described it to Fenner as a "delectable wood sandwich". Hehe. The two holes both function as sound holes. You can hear the sound change if you put your ear near them. I noticed the neck/bridge string spacing is ever so slightly narrower than plink. My right hand has to adjust to that for precise fingerstyle control....but another result of that is that you have more leverage for bending the heavier strings. Synchronicity and unity of design.
Just between the two of us:
I think you may have made the finest electric guitar of all time here. I have been playing it in different positions including standing with a strap and classical postion....just unplugged. It is spectacular standing with a strap, on the right leg seated and on the left leg seated. It just plays so easily and sounds so good. I can't really wrap my mind around it....but it just works. Don't get me wrong....I knew you were good....but this is something else here. How the hell did you know it would work this well? It is almost like every guitar you have made up to this point was in preparation for this one. Every element came together. The huge variety of sounds are out of sight. They are full of life, overtones, touch sensitivity, dynamics, harmonics, and controllable feedback...and the playability is beyond belief. If you remember as long as a year ago I was talking about how I would be able to tap on a Z hollow guitar and how most jazz guys would be freaked out...I did not realize how right I was. You can tap all the way to the 24th fret and the notes pop right out and project as clear as can be. Remember how I was talking about how I would have to get used to the guitar, etc....shit I think I can already play it easier than Plink in just one night. The combination of the short scale with ZOG 11s is unbeatable. So while the world may be a dark place.....this guitar is a blinding spot of light and you should be damn proud of it. Just enjoy that for a bit.
I guess I meant just between us because so many comments the Z folk send have this aspect of public presentation...and I will be doing PLENTY of that.....but just on a personal straight up level....this is some next level shit and you should know that. I think it is the crown jewel in the Z kingdom. I WAS wondering about the body....a proportional reduction of the ES 175 is exactly it! I also was thinking about the exact size. You nailed it. Not too big....not too small. It did sort of have this Les Paul size vibe....but that extra inch is absolutely noticeable....so it is bigger than a Les Paul...and obviously deeper. Even with the 15th fret connection I can play the top frets with ease...and the action is so low that you can tap way up into the high frets and the subtle sculpting of the cutaway is perfection on both front and back. The only sound that really makes me think of a Les Paul is position 2....and even that is not accurate. The proportions are ideal. I was a bit surprised at how easy it is to play with a strap. Once you let it settle it is the most natural thing in the world. It is indeed louder acoustically than a 335....but at the same time it is NOT a traditional jazz guitar. Mark was commenting about the jazz orientation of this instrument....but this is not really the case. Yes...you can get jazzy sounds....but this thing is a roaring rock monster as well....way more than an ES 175 or really even an ES 335. So it is not limited to jazz type tones....but at the same time you absolutely hear the hollow body in the electrified tone. Best of both worlds. It is much more ALIVE than either an ES 175 or ES 335. ES 335s always struck me as pretty dead guitars actually. You can brush the strings with the lightest of touches and get one kind of great sound....and then you can dig in and it rumbles and feeds back like crazy. There has never been a guitar like this one. I am going to go play it some more!
Green Day - If I want it...now I got it. That is all. Hehe.
I mean that some of the pup settings on the hollow can totally nail the “Green Day big pop punk chorus thing”...just pair it with the Z pedal....it is there....except better. You can lay into the power chords full on and the pups never get nasty...they just warm up and sound huge. The 11s plus the extra resonance of the hollow body only adds to the vibe. I am sure you noticed that Green Day uses gibson scale guitars with P90s almost exclusively.....and the Z hollow can totally get that sound....and then some. I am going to use this sound when we record “Running” next week. These hot P90s are amazing sounding. Huge sound....not like a typical single coil (much bigger) and not like a humbucker (more character and acoustic vibe). They also feed back in a most appealing way. It is very organic. Another thing I noticed today if you listen right at the sound holes (front or back) it really does sound like mini acoustic. I could go on all night like this....but I have to go rehearse. To be continued......
Yes....the hollow sounded very impressive indeed last night in rehearsal w/ "Running". Basically that sound that Green Day uses on the choruses of their songs more than rockabilly. In fact I decided that I will be using the hollow for all of "Running". It just kills on that song. However position 2 does get a killer rockabilly tone. So good.
I am just doing it intuitively at this point like you said I would. One of the scariest things about the hollow is that it sounds SO CLEAR when you play lightly. The notes just pop out like out of a bell. The construction is to tight and solid that the whole guitar vibrates as one. It really does not sound like one of those muddy gibson guitars at all. When I play it full band every instrument is literally FELT in the body of the guitar. That is how sensitive it is. Then you can switch to position 4 and it turns into this syrupy dark sound. Crazy stuff.
I was trying the chorus to "Running" with a wah and position 4 last night. That is an interesting combo because the darkness of the tone plus the wah sweep. The cool thing about that dark sound (N+B in series) is that while it IS very dark....it is not boomy. Very usable.You are ripping it up on that vid. Nasty!! There is some hot playing in there. The signature alex licks are right in your face. One of the funniest things about Z guitars is that whoever is playing them sounds like themselves more than anything else. You sound like you....and I sound like me. Obviously since you are playing with such a brutal attack on this vid you have realized what I have realized....which is that this guitar does incredible things....you can hit it full force....or just coax the tone out like an acoustic. It is all there. The hard strumming on low notes....and the wailing high notes w the wah. The tremolo picking. The feedback. Perfect. I have to say I think the tone you have gotten on this vid is very cool....because the richness of the hollow tone translates......and also the placement of the mic was good for this. In fact I think the special pups, the short scale, and the hollowness add up to the ultimate overdriven tone. It is both fat, clear, and 3 dimensional. Never harsh or thin. I have to say you look like you are having a good time. At first I was a little scared to really play the hollow this hard because the sound was so delicate that I almost thought I would hurt something.....but now that I see you doing it.....it encourages me to go a little nuts on it (just musically of course).
Absolutely, every setting has it’s own very identifiable sound. This is no one trick pony. Actually it made me think of an LP with 2 P90s. The P90s, short scale, and hollow sound really set this sound apart from a Tele or a Strat. It sort of makes me think of an LP in the middle position....but better than any actual LP that has ever existed. maybe sort of like one of those LP jr guitars like the one the guy from green day plays....but then you add the whole z acoustic aspect to the sound....so there is this whole other level of clarity and dimension combined with the LP jr w/ P90s sound. right.
The fact that the tone control only effects the neck pup is very clever....so you can go from a mellow tone pulled back neck pup sound to full on cutting rock with just clicking the switch. Right. Now I get it. Nice.
At first I was just playing and not thinking about the look of the Hollow very much. It is very clear that the tuner buttons match the string bar, the fingerboard, the pup covers, and the knobs. All black and vintage looking. there is also a very subtle thing going on with the wood....how the side wood meshes with the multi-ply top and back and the little line down the back where the back strap button attaches. It is very organic and beautiful.....but it never crosses the line into fancy furniture. Perfect aesthetic balance. don’t think I missed the amazing looking neck wood as well. That is something else. also the gorgeous way the cut away is contoured. Tiny detail....but it looks great. Feels very natural to play high up the neck as well. indeed you do not.
I am still getting my footing and feeling how the guitar responds. The reason it is scary is that the guitar is SO sensitive that it somehow feels like if I hit it hard it will make the sound go nasty like if you play an acoustic too hard....but actually if you get your overdrive set up properly....it LOVES the hard playing.
yeah....the hollow z is on a much higher level than any ES 335 or the Framus for that matter. It is not even close. I owned a ES 335 for a while. It is not even close.
Pro players do not even know it what they are missing.
I completely agree. From what I can tell you have a musical feel for materials. You personally can relate to each piece of wood and how it is going to relate to the whole instruments. That is why even this very first of it’s kind is so amazing. If you did not have this natural relationship with materials it never would have turned out this well and would have taken many prototypes.
It is pretty amazing if you think about it. you are dead right that no builders post vids of themselves playing. It is because for the most part they cannot play....and that is one thing which separates you from them. It is hardly the only thing....but it is one significant thing.
No wonder these "luthiers" must go down another road of inlays, fancy wood, glossy finishes, CNC precision, Plek machine fret work, sucking the dick of every hack guitar consumer. Its non players, making guitars for non players. holy crap! A distasteful and contemptible combination, to say the least. No wonder the results are what you find. Alex
Ouch! You need to get that in print somewhere. That is brutal. “it’s non players making guitars for non players”. Whew. No mercy there.
This guitar is just the best. It is your crowning achievement I think. Form, style, tone, function, playability, vibe, versatility.....it is all there. Now my fingers are sore as hell!
I can absolutely back up the statement that you need to really have your focus together to really play a Z as well as it demands to be played. That is just the truth.
It is what I have always said....the pairing of a z with a non player just feels wrong....they will not even enjoy it and it will be kind of a waste. So in the same way....that level of player is perfectly fine with a cheap old guitar. That seems justified.
My hollow z demands focus. If you are just going to hack away at it....you should just go back to your squire. It is not a good match.
So in a way these people are self selecting themselves away from getting a Z.
Really what is the difference between most store bought guitars? The differences are smaller than the companies that sell them would have you believe.
Tomorrow is a special day. The Z rig is getting tracked to analog tape for the first time. As far as I know no other z guitar has ever been recorded in that way. However tomorrow there will be no constraints on volume. That will be fun!
As you know....I am all about the SOUND....the FEEL......I will admit I was impressed when I opened that case and my heart sped up a notch or two....however an instrument like this cannot hit you until play the hell out of it. That is when you get it. So that is what you may be observing there. Just looking does not do it for me. I need to feel and play the guitar to be blown away. Only AFTER that I can look at it carefully and dig all the aesthetics. Also the most amazing part of the aesthetics are actually on the back and sides!
I just showed it off to my folks last night. They were blown completely away by the sounds. I showed em everything from mellow jazz on setting one....to drop D, Soundgarden crunch, with Z pedal engaged in the nasal pup settings and the wah pedal on. I will have to make a vid just like that this week. It sounds so god damned good. Here is the first and only thing I have now realized I can’t do on the hollow....bend more than a whole step on the high E string high up on the neck. Because of the amazingly low action and round 10” vintage radius bends beyond a whole step on that string are risky. It does not seem to effect any of the other strings. However the other side of that coin is that the overall “feel” of the rounded fingerboard/short scale is so damn comfy...it exactly mirrors the neck contour as well. Chords just form themselves and your hand just “falls” around the neck with no effort. I was playing it in the studio standing with the strap and it was almost like I was not playing....that is how easy it is to play. I assume this was all part of your master plan. damn...now I am all excited to play it more....gotta do that.
I was taking a little peek through the back sound hole of the z hollow and it occurred to me that no other guitar I have seen has this mix of design elements. Very specifically if you think of chambered solid bodies, ES 335 types with the hollow bits on top and bottom only with minimal depth, ES 175 types with quite huge body and floating wood bridge (no block), and carved archtops.....the Z hollow is really a distinct thing. It is not like any of these other guitars on a basic design/concept level. Even considering the moderate body size there is a lot of hollow space in there and body has this very specific depth and even more distinct is the idea of a block that is ONLY big enough to screw in a one piece bridge. No two piece bridge and massive block inside like a Gibson ES 335. So it really is a unique concept and unlike many novel concepts it actually gives a direct result in the sound and performance of the guitar. This is not even considering the pick ups, set up tolerances, etc etc....i am just thinking about the physical body concept here. Also on a side point the case padding has now perfectly broken in to accommodate the guitar so that it slides easily in and out of the case while perfectly and firmly "floating" the guitar.
Congratulations for the latest guitar. Indeed, there's only one best luthier in the world and I have no problem admitting it's you. Eric
A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left
to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."
Antoine de Saint Exupery
This pretty much encapsulates what you are all about as a designer and artist. Everything that can be said about this guitar has been said so I will add no more about this one in particular. However, I will talk on what you've said about it and more specifically what you've said about yourself in regard to being the best electric guitar builder in the world and even more specifically your attitude and thoughts on being the best at anything, which I found to be very insightful. Tony B.
Oh, and I just have to comment on how great the hollowbody sounds in the YouTube videos, as well as the Z pedal. I seriously have no idea how anybody could have made a pedal this sensitive to changes in touch and volume. And I can hardly believe that that rock sound is coming from a hollowbody. - SK