I think my first memories of seeing any Zemaitis Guitar was in the hands of Greg Lake and Ron Wood – Both the metal and pearl front models are certainly distinctive, with original examples attracting serious price tags – Even whilst Tony was alive, fake examples were attracting high prices from unscrupulous sellers – Following Tony’s death in 2002, it was common to see a few ‘unlicensed’ replicas being offered for sale via Japanese workshops – But in 2003 the Zemaitis family estate made an agreement with Kanda Shokai to ensure high end replicas would still be available via a Japanese Custom Workshop – These A C Zemaitis models can still attract a new price tag that is approaching 10K – Affordable examples were to be licenced and produced via Greco, yet still maintain the Made in Japan tag – So effectively I currently have for sale a made in Japan Greco Zemaitis GZ2600IF – As far as I can tell it has a 2004 date of birth
In no particular order I have listed a host of details, specs and features :-
- Whole guitar comes in at a remarkable 7lbs and 4oz
- One piece mahogany body – Far less depth than a Les Paul but a touch more depth than an SG
- One piece mahogany neck – glued in
- Ebony fingerboard with cream binding
- Slightly wider fingerboard width than most Gibson Guitars , so 43.99 mm at the top nut end
- C neck profile – medium/slim depth – Measures .873″ around the top nut end and tapers gently to .901″ around the 12th fret – More akin to the Gibson SG 61 reissue
- 25″ scale length and 24 frets – no nibs, so fret ends over fingerboard binding
- Schaller machine heads
- ‘Pearl’ body binding with heart + diamond inlays
- Dot + diamond fingerboard inlays
- Zemaitis style engraved name plate + truss rod cover + pick-up surrounds + bridge assembly + tailpiece + jack socket plate – All lightly tarnished with an aged satin character
- Metal control knobs + rear switch + control plates
- DiMarzio DP103 PAF replica pick-ups – Neck measures 7.46K whilst the bridge measures 8.19K
- CTS pots + orange drop tone caps
Condition wise and you’ll find light signs of playing wear to the shiny gloss black finish – Taking into account how easy a black finish shows any signs of wear, you’d have to be pretty fussy to have any issues with the overall condition – Couple of minor nicks on the body, with the odd slight surface scuff/graze, but nothing of any consequence and certainly nothing that shows the mahogany body – Frets are clean – Re-strung + set-up with a set of 10-46 gauge strings and an easy action – At this stage I’d point out that I choose a set of 10-46 gauge strings almost as a matter of routine – In my opinion it would probably work better with a set of 11-49 gauge strings to stiffen up the overall feel a touch – Of course I can edit accordingly
Tonal character :- As an overview the Zemaitis GZ2600IF has more in keeping with the tonal character of an SG as against a Les Paul – The bridge pick-up is tight and focused, with just enough body and growl in the mid range to add girth, coupled with bite and attack – The neck pick-up is far more smooth, rich and warm – As such a good contrast between the 2 pick-ups – So either switch between the two of them as required, or leave the switch in the middle position and blend the 2 volume pots, for subtle yet effective variations – I’m not so sure many potential buyers will be playing such a guitar, through a clean sounding amp – Yet through such a setting the Zemaitis is not short of character – I played around with it through a hi-gain amp setting and it can certainly pack a punch – Plenty of energy and no shortage of sustain – The low output of the PAF flavoured pick-ups will ensure tone is more warm, yet clear, as against the ‘screamin’ demon’ character of a powerful ceramic modern humbucker – In my opinion it breathes and shows off more of its character through a more subtle rock overdriven amp setting – Think The Black Crowes, The Who, Pretenders, The Rolling Stones and The Faces – Crunch rhythm, big power chords or the more simplistic side of licks and solos and this guitar will instantly have its own fan base, with no shortage of bite and attack that suits those rhythmic driving riffs – Such a guitar looks cool before you even play a note – But it is a guitar that you can have so much fun with it – Yet equally it is not a toy – The volume pots work effectively – As such subtle variations produce effective results – So they will allow you to control the level of gain on the amp – The 6 or 7 mark will be more laid back and almost clean up the amp – 10 will be more full on, with more bite
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