Are Zager Guitars Any Good? The Truth Will Surprise You

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Have you been overwhelmed with information by the legendary Zager guitar company and want to get the inside scoop? Have you been reading Zager guitar reviews and found yourself a little confused about what it all means?

Then step right up, for today we will be exploring some of the things that set Zager guitars apart from the rest.

zager guitar reviews

Table of Contents

What Makes Zager Guitars Easy To Play?

Regardless of any of the questionable ethics of the company with regards to the advertising of their brand (more on this later), there seems to be no question about the way Zager guitars play. Whether that be a Zager parlor guitar, a Zager travel guitar, or otherwise.

Here are some reasons the Zager family is oft considered above other similar manufacturers, like Taylor Guitars.

Custom Neck Design

Contrary to the design of the Taylor guitar which is altogether rather ubiquitous in the guitar market, Zager guitars come equipped with a slimmer neck that is easier to wrap the hands around. This, however, is not where the story ends. These very same necks are also slightly wider than the norm. Meaning that there is subsequently a custom string spacing between the strings on the fretboard.

Gone is the issue of there not being enough string spacing to put all your fingers onto the fretboard without touching other strings inadvertently, without sounding out other notes, or scraping along the strings accidentally.

Lower String Height

Unlike other guitars – including my own parlor guitars – Zager guitars are not only beautiful per design. They are also created with a far lower action than can usually be found on normal types of guitar. Though a point of contention among many guitarists, it is broadly agreed that a lower action on a guitar is equivalent to an increase in playability. There is far less resistance to the fingers and the movements of the player, making it more easy to play.

What Zager does differently is an attempt to ensure that there is no fret buzz. This is something that a guitar with low action is more or less breeding within its womb.

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Low String Pressure

Thanks to the unique bracing system present on Zager guitars, less pressure is required on the string to sound out the required note(s). This is in part connected to the action, providing a holistic experience of comfort and ease.

All in all, this makes it easier for a professional musician to play for longer in the eye of the public and in front of the muzzle of a microphone. It also makes it easier for a beginner to get started without feeling brutalized by the pain. Precautions like this can also go some way to preventing the development of carpal tunnel syndrome late down the line.

Custom String Spacing

As previously mentioned, the Zager features a custom string spacing thanks to the thinner neck and wider fretboard. This means that the strings themselves are placed slightly further apart and thus easier to press down for the desired sound. Chords are, thus, much easier to play. Especially those pesky barre chords which can prove so cumbersome to beginner guitarists who have thus far only been acquainted with cowboy chords.

The difference is only fractional, mind you, but the difference will be of note to any who have found these things difficult previously.

Adjustable String Height

Thankfully, you can adjust the height of the strings relatively easily compared to other guitars of a similar kind. This means that the experience is simple and customizable for anyone, including those who are not necessarily as savvy with guitar tech and such.

If you want to play something heavier, for example, you can raise the height of the string and thus adjust the action (and rather quickly too). If, on the other hand, you are looking to play something a little more delicate and choice, then you can lower the height and thus the action of the guitar on the fly.

Quality Control

If all of that was not enough, all of the guitars go through the hands of Denny Zager Sr himself. The guitars might be constructed by other employees at the company, but they are quality checked by the man himself, hence the high price point.

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The History of Zager Guitars

Before ending my Zager guitar review (of which there are many already online), it might be worth checking out the storied history of Zager guitars.

The company responsible for them, Zager Guitar, is run by Denny Zager Sr and his son Denny Zager Jr. The former was once a touring music who saw most of the world with his band Zager & Evans, supposedly selling millions of records with a #1 song titled ‘In The Year 2525’.

After transitioning to teaching guitar when his dream of pop stardom became impossible to maintain, he created his own unique system of zager guitar tutoring that can still be learned today.

Being a seasoned musician both in terms of performing and tutoring acoustic guitar and electric guitar over several decades, Zager Sr noticed several aspects common to the guitar playing experience that seemed to make the ability to play guitar more difficult.

Over time, Zager made several adjustments to existing guitars of his own and others to make them more playable in his eyes. He supposedly redefined a ‘quality guitar’ within the larger context of the guitar industry.

Combining all of this self acquired knowledge of guitar design and playability into his own craft, he decided to start his own company. They would prioritize precisely these things in the construction of their own guitars.

‘In the mid 1990’s with the advent of the Internet Denny’s son (Dennis Jr.) came up with the idea of creating a guitar web site where players of all levels could learn from his father’s 50 years of experience via a library of videotaped guitar lessons. It would also give players the opportunity to try Denny’s custom guitars.

The web site was an immediate hit. Players from all over the world began learning from Denny “online” and ordering his guitars.

Denny attributes the success of his business to the 30 years of fine tuning he did on his inventions helping thousands of players locally.’

Final Tones on Zager Guitars

So, there you have it!

Hopefully, you are feeling a little more clued up about Zager guitars. Perhaps you’re able to make a decision on where exactly you stand on them.

Who knows, maybe you have even decided upon investing in one yourself and your feedback’s among the glowing customer reviews!

FAQs Zager Guitar Reviews

Is Zager guitar good?

This remains to be seen, though they certainly have a lot of good features that set Zager guitars apart from a lot of other manufacturers who seem to copy a whole bunch of their competitors in an attempt to cover as much of the market as possible. Lowered string height and wider fretboard make for a subtly more comfortable experience. And each of the Zager guitars passes through the hands of the owner himself, Mr Denny Zager Sr.

Where are Zager Guitars actually made?

Though Zager guitars are played far and wide, held by the likes of Tommy Emmanuel (a native of Australia) for example, they actually have their home in the midwestern region of the US, calling Nebraska their home. They are specifically based in or around the city of Lincoln, the capital city of this state. With a population of 292,657, it is the 73rd most populous city in the United States; initially founded as the town of Lancaster, it was renamed after President Lincoln and became Nebraska’s state capital in 1869.

Are Zager Guitars easier?

There is no definite answer for this. Though certainly Zagers have a lot of good features that set them apart from a lot of other manufacturers who seem to copy a whole bunch of their competitors in an attempt to cover as much of the market as possible. Lowered string height and wider fretboard make for a subtly more comfortable experience, making the guitars easy to play. Each of the Zager guitars passes through the hands of the owner himself, Mr Denny Zager Sr. So, in a way, they are easier to play, even if that ease is purely at the thought that they have gone through the hands of a living legend before reaching you.

What gauge are Zager strings?

From the mouth of Denny Zager Jr himself: ‘My father sets up all of his guitars with our own Zager brand custom light 11-48 gauge but we have customers using all brands and gauges with excellent results. We do have many customers who were users of other brands move to the Zager brand after using them as they’re specifically designed by Denny exclusively for his guitars.’ 11-48 is a pretty standard range of string gauges for an acoustic guitar, though this should not matter too much as the string height itself is adjustable on the fly.

By Nate Pallesen

Nate is just your average (above average) guitar player. He's no Joe Satriani, Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page - wait this site is about acoustic guitars (sorry) He's no Django Reinhardt, Chet Atkins, or Michael Hedges, wait? who!? He's no Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton or Ben Harper - more familiar? Anyway you get the point :-)

16 comments

  1. I purchased an acoustic electric parlor size guitar a little over a year ago. I’m 74 with some arthritis in my hands. With the slightly smaller size and easy play I’m really enjoying playing again.

  2. I recently ordered a Zager 900CE! I’m no Tommy Emmanuel but have played and own a variety of acoustic guitars! I will provide an honest review after receiving my Zager!

  3. l just received my 900 the other day. Quality is really good, beautiful guitar. The issue I have is the string height, too high. I talked to Mr Zagers son and he told me just adjust the truss rod. I know how to lower action, adjusting the truss rod only fixes a warped neck it will not lower the strings enough to my liking. I have been playing a Tacoma Chief for 20 years and I will admit it plays easier than the ” Zager easy play” . Hopefully when I lower the strings and get more playing time it will improve. I love how the guitar sounds, plugged in or not. The Fishman Aura pro is awesome. They just seem to be miss leading people about truss rod adjustment.

    1. Yes I agree. You do NOT adjust string height by tensioning or loosening the truss rod adjustment nut in the neck. That adjustment is for curing a problem neck that is curved in the wrong direction. String height is adjusted at the bridge, and only at the bridge. I can’t believe they told you to do that to your guitar.

  4. I have had a 900ce for seven months, and I believe it will be the last guitar I purchase (30 yr player).

  5. I’ve been playing guitar almost 40 years now. In that time I’ve owned many different brands, Martin, Gibson, Taylor, Fender, Alvarez, Ibanez, Washburn, Squier, Takamine. My Zager Zad900 is by far the best sounding, playing guitar I’ve ever owned. The craftsmanship and detail that Mr. Zager puts into his guitars is exquisite. Looks like a piece of art that you can play. I picked mine up at their little shop in Lincoln, Nebraska 12 years ago and Denny was still building each guitar by hand. A great family owned operation, the kind I like to support. If the #1 player in the world plays Zager that also says a lot. http://zager.com

  6. I recently purchased a “used” Zager ZAD900CE and can not believe how wonderful it sounds. I sold my Taylor 314ce and this Zager is now my “go to” guitar for all gigs. Add the Fishman Aura Pro and this guitar is a monster!! It also sounds great straight through a PA system!! Loving my Zager!!!

  7. I paid for a new guitar a few months ago. Haven’t received it. You blamed it on Covid. Then you said you got the material and I would receive it t in may then you said first of June thenn you said end of June. Haven’t received it and haven’t gotten any reply’s back

    1. Woah there, Rhett!

      I hope you’re not blaming me for your guitar not arriving! I’m sure sad to hear of it, but pointing fingers like that is a pretty powerful thing and not to be done lightly. How exactly did you go about purchasing it? Was it through a sight with any buyer protection? If not, then try to contact them directly through another means like, say, a phone number.

      Hope this helps and hope you get your new axe soon, Rhett!!

  8. I received the ZA900ce Tobacco Sunburst (beautiful in person) in November 2022. This instrument will not be in my rotation. It will be the one I reach for nine out of ten times. Don’t expect your order next week (guitars played by Denny available much earlier). Mine took six weeks. I guess they aren’t mass produced. It plays magnificently, and sounds great plugged in or not. Someone answered my emails within 8 hours. The 30 day money back guarantee if I don’t like it and a lifetime warranty are a couple reasons I paid before I played.

  9. I have owned a Zager guitar since 2011, I have the ZAD50CE, it plays just as good as it did when I purchased it. I feel that the guitar after aging sounds even better than it did when I purchased it, which shows that the woods that was used were quality woods. I am now in the process of purchasing a ZAD900CE, which is their most popular and also their most expensive guitar. because of the years of quality service this guitar has given me, I’m am buying their top of the line. you will not regret the purchase of any of their line of guitars. they are top quality guitars.

  10. I purchased the ZAD80CE in May, 2023, and then the ZAD900CE Special Edition. I love them both; the wood smell of sweet Western cedar on the ZAD80CE and the aromatic and perfectly built ZAD900CE. Yes, they are easier to play and both project a resonance that is sweet to the ears. I must force myself to play my HD-35 Martin and my first guitar, an LG-3 parlor Gibson that I learned on in August, 1956. I much prefer the acoustics versus the electrics and I’ve parked my Nashville Orange Gretsch in another bedroom. Playing the Zagers are an easy reach and delight for me and I alternate them day-by-day. Thank you, Denny Sr.!

  11. I Purchased my Zager 900E 50th anniversary edition and it arrived in a week. It was in tune when it arrived and sounds amazing plugged in or not. I noticed a small defect around the sound hole edge.
    I took a picture of it and just wanted to put it on record as being a potential issue down the line. I emailed Denny and received a reply in minutes.
    I was immediately offered cash back, merchandise equaling that amount or a brand new guitar. I chose the latter.
    Zager customer service and their promises are true. I feel like I have purchased a family heirloom that will sure to be handed down for a long time. The quality is top notch. And the sound is amazing.

  12. I read many reviews on this Zager guitar for some time. I decided to pull the trigger on a 80CE being they have a 30 day hassle free return policy. This guitar will not be going back, and my Yairi will be sitting. I have played many top brands and they can’t hold on candle to ease of playability or sound in my opinion.

    1. Hey there Ed,

      Congratulations on your purchase! I hope it is everything you are looking for and more. They really are incredibly inviting as instruments – in fact, it’s difficult to put them down. May you and your axe be blessed wherever your notes may take you.

      Nate.

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