Zager EZ-Play Guitars = Pure Cr@p

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Zager EZ-Play Guitars = Pure Cr@p

Post by Barry on Tue Feb 11, 2014 11:08 am

If you see one of these for sale...RUN AWAY!!

Limme s'plain:
Last week, a customer came into the store carrying an acoustic guitar in the ever popular "dead chicken" hold. i.e. by the neck, no case, and it was about -15°C at the time.  Rolling Eyes 

He was a hard working, blue collar type, and very tired. He explained that he worked nights and had just finished a 15 hour double shift. Despite that, he was upset enough with his guitar that he had to bring it in for attention, the usual complaint at this time of the year...string buzzing.

At first glance it seemed to be an OK guitar, a single cutaway with Fishman electronics, an apparent spruce top and mahogany body, MOP inlays and binding, Grover heads, etc, etc.
Name on the headstock: Zager. Never heard of it:

ZAD50CE Acoustic Electric

Then I focused attention on the treble E string, the object of buzzing complaint. Now, normally, a quick truss rod adjustment is all that's required in these cases and the happy customer is on his way. But as I lay my fingers across the string pack, it was obvious something was wrong. The E string was considerably lower than the rest, and barely clearing the first position frets! Almost playable there, but when depressed anywhere past about the 9th, every fret up to the end of the neck produced a dull "thud". Lovely.

The neck itself was OK, no back bow, so I started looking more closely at other obvious causes:

  • The saddle was level, but extremely high, despite the buzzing. It was also crudely filed, and under-sized (thickness) and leaning towards the sound hole
  • The string nut had been purposely tapered in order to lower the string! The main cause for the dropped height.


Then the nightmare really began to unfold:

  • The last 4 or 5 frets on the bass side had been filed flat! They had been intentionally tapered using a rough flat file. Almost nothing left above the fretboard.
  • Didn't stop there. All the frets from about the 7th to the 12th had been similarly flattened at the top of their radius. In other words right down the centre. File marks were clearly visible all over the metal. Didn't even bother to polish afterwards.


In short, this brand new guitar was purposely butchered to make it 'easy to play' according to this demented person's formula of "String Science".

I worked on it for several hours in order to try and make it playable:

  • re-crowned the buggered frets as well as able
  • leveled about 5 frets all over the fretboard, especially from the 12th up
  • shimmed the treble side of the nut, and the treble side of the saddle
  • induced considerable relief to the neck
  • restrung with a decent set of Martin phosphor bronze

On top of everything, looking closely at the construction it was clear that this was a laminate friggin' plywood guitar. "Laminate" presupposes some integrity of construction. This may as well have been made of cardboard for all the sound it produced. Dead.

The Sad Back Story
As mentioned above this was a hard working fellow, a salt of the earth type of guy. He'd seen hard times, but now that he was working again, he was spending on his lady, and she on him, spoiling each other a bit, understandably. So, she had bought this guitar for him as a Christmas present, over the Internet, not knowing anything about guitars, but falling for the hype.  Neutral

Because he had been working so much he didn't have much time to play it until recently. Then he discovered the un-playability of it and brought it to us in frustration.

The really sad story? She paid USD$795 for this piece of cr@p. Add in shipping, duty and taxes and the landed cost in Canada was $1100!! And no case!!! He pretty near wept when I showed him the lovely entry level Taylor he could have for less. And to add further insult, Zager's "100% money back guarantee" is only applicable in the USA. So he's completely buggered.

This guy Zager ought to be drawn and quartered. I don't understand how he's in business. A search of acoustic guitar forums yields similar horror stories. A mystery to me how anyone endorses these things. Then again, it is Steven Segal... Thinking 2

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Re: Zager EZ-Play Guitars = Pure Cr@p

Post by The Don on Tue Feb 11, 2014 12:25 pm

What a **** Zager is. Perhaps a request for a refund might be honoured if he's a genuine guy.

$795 is a *lot* of money for a guitar, i'd be expecting something pretty special for that. IIRC my Schecter Eletcro-Acoustic was less than £250 when Mrs Don bought it for me and I've had 10 years of trouble-free enjoyment out of it.

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Re: Zager EZ-Play Guitars = Pure Cr@p

Post by Barry on Tue Feb 11, 2014 1:47 pm

The Don wrote:..Perhaps a request for a refund might be honoured if he's a genuine guy...
Nope.
My customer recounted his flurry of emails back and forth. Mr. Zager was always "too busy" to respond personally of course, depite the rubbish about "personal" involvement. So he spoke with some automaton who spouted the company poo appearing on their web site, then stone-walled him unmercifully.

In the end the best he got was that they'd replace the guitar (at his cost for shipping of course!) He's already in for over $1000 and is expected to pay more? The guitar, on a good day, might be worth about $200. Made in Indonesia, with a gold sticker covering that fact on the label inside the sound hole.

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"A little song. A little dance. A little seltzer down your pants." -Chuckles the Clown


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Re: Zager EZ-Play Guitars = Pure Cr@p

Post by Westbone on Tue Feb 11, 2014 1:53 pm

Plus whatever you charged in the shop.... affraid

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Re: Zager EZ-Play Guitars = Pure Cr@p

Post by Barry on Tue Feb 11, 2014 1:59 pm

Sadly yes Damian. We didn't charge him a lot out of compassion, but it was another financial insult for sure. The store owner promised to give him a decent price on something else when he's ready. And he will too, he's a good guy that way, and why folks keep coming back.

Meantime the Zager is now playable, sort of. You have to pound hell out of it to make any sort of sound, and when you do, it sounds pretty bad. The customer is either going to try and flog it on Kijiji...or take a sledge hammer to it out of frustration!

_________________
"A little song. A little dance. A little seltzer down your pants." -Chuckles the Clown


GUITARS : http://legend.barryeames.com/guitars.html
MUSIC/PIX/VIDEOS: http://getback.barryeames.com (including Spectrum ST)

Barry
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Re: Zager EZ-Play Guitars = Pure Cr@p

Post by Westbone on Tue Feb 11, 2014 3:41 pm

He's on line at the mo. have a chat?
Or the customer should.

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Re: Zager EZ-Play Guitars = Pure Cr@p

Post by Barry on Tue Feb 11, 2014 3:48 pm

No interest in talking to him; I've no skin in the game and don't need the hassle.
And that popup Chat flag is always there, running the same video loop. I seriously doubt it connects with hisself.

_________________
"A little song. A little dance. A little seltzer down your pants." -Chuckles the Clown


GUITARS : http://legend.barryeames.com/guitars.html
MUSIC/PIX/VIDEOS: http://getback.barryeames.com (including Spectrum ST)

Barry
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Re: Zager EZ-Play Guitars = Pure Cr@p

Post by hoax on Tue Feb 11, 2014 4:20 pm

Is that the "In the year 2525 dude?" as in Zager and Evans?

"If man is still alive
If fingerboards survive" etc etc

Hoax

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Another 'review' with some pix

Post by Barry on Tue Feb 11, 2014 4:31 pm

I just came across this evaluation of a Zager EZ-Play guitar by a luthier/teacher. And this was 8 years ago!
Pretty much mirrors my experience today: Zager Nightmare

What's changed since then, is that the guitar is definitely no longer a Sigma, or anything close to it. And as horrifying as the filed frets look in these pix, the ones I saw were infinitely worse! No care whatsoever in the "modifications". What is the same, or maybe better, is Zager's profit margin!

_________________
"A little song. A little dance. A little seltzer down your pants." -Chuckles the Clown


GUITARS : http://legend.barryeames.com/guitars.html
MUSIC/PIX/VIDEOS: http://getback.barryeames.com (including Spectrum ST)

Barry
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Re: Zager EZ-Play Guitars = Pure Cr@p

Post by Barry on Tue Feb 11, 2014 4:32 pm

hoax wrote:Is that the "In the year 2525 dude?" as in Zager and Evans?

"If man is still alive
If fingerboards survive" etc etc

Hoax
'Afraid so.

_________________
"A little song. A little dance. A little seltzer down your pants." -Chuckles the Clown


GUITARS : http://legend.barryeames.com/guitars.html
MUSIC/PIX/VIDEOS: http://getback.barryeames.com (including Spectrum ST)

Barry
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Re: Zager EZ-Play Guitars = Pure Cr@p

Post by hoax on Tue Feb 11, 2014 5:19 pm

Oh My God!!

I have just typed a 25 line rant and deleted it after using the count to ten rule.

But here is a summary:

I am just a small guy who dabbles in selling to feed my GAS habit and even with my small (100% Ebay feedback reputation) combined with my limited experience, limited tools, and limited skills, I simply would not let anything that looked like that leave my door.

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Re: Zager EZ-Play Guitars = Pure Cr@p

Post by Barry on Tue Feb 11, 2014 5:43 pm

Enough to give ya night sweats ain't it?  That\'s nuts!  BS

_________________
"A little song. A little dance. A little seltzer down your pants." -Chuckles the Clown


GUITARS : http://legend.barryeames.com/guitars.html
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Re: Zager EZ-Play Guitars = Pure Cr@p

Post by westcoaster on Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:10 pm

Is there no 'fit for purpose' consumer law over there.  It also strikes me that the guitar is not as described.   Surely skating the thin ice near the edge of a fraud.

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Re: Zager EZ-Play Guitars = Pure Cr@p

Post by Sgt. Vimes on Wed Feb 12, 2014 2:20 pm

Holy crap!
this guy is a fraud and a charlatan!  how does he sleep at night I ask myself.

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Re: Zager EZ-Play Guitars = Pure Cr@p

Post by Westbone on Wed Feb 12, 2014 2:49 pm

Sgt. Vimes wrote: how does he sleep at night I ask myself.

With his FAT wallet...

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Re: Zager EZ-Play Guitars = Pure Cr@p

Post by The Don on Thu Feb 13, 2014 4:51 am

I think what makes me particularly cross here is the brass neck of the man to continue to supply such rubbish. We're all aware of the eBay seller who makes the most alarming customisations to Westone and other guitars in the misguided opinion that replacing a PAF with a lipstick single coil is *exactly* what Les Paul would have done if he's only seen the error of his ways. While I don't agree with the changes made, I think that the vendor makes the changes in the genuine belief that he is making a better guitar and if a purchaser were genuinely unhappy the vendor would be puzzled but would likely refund the purchase price.

Zager must know that he is making **** guitars and charging a ridiculous markup for them. He must realise that he is ripping off his customers and his attitude shows that he simply does not care. I've seen this attitude before and IMO it's a form of psychopathy, not being able to understand or empathise with another person.

Maybe we could keep this thread active so that any internet search for Zager EZ-Play puts this towards the top of the search results even if the posts are essentially content free from here on in.

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Re: Zager EZ-Play Guitars = Pure Cr@p

Post by Sgt. Vimes on Thu Feb 13, 2014 7:32 am

Absolutely agree with you Mr Don. +1

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Re: Zager EZ-Play Guitars = Pure Cr@p

Post by Westbone on Thu Feb 13, 2014 8:11 am

There's also a lot of praise for these guitars on line.
So maybe they're not all bad!

Seen Fenders with mis-alined bridges, Gibsons with sharp fret ends and dodgy finishes and even Westones with big runs under the lacquer.

You get bum Fenders/Gibsons and by the sounds of it Zagers.

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Re: Zager EZ-Play Guitars = Pure Cr@p

Post by The Don on Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:09 am

Westbone wrote:There's also a lot of praise for these guitars on line.
So maybe they're not all bad!

Seen Fenders with mis-alined bridges, Gibsons with sharp fret ends and dodgy finishes and even Westones with big runs under the lacquer.

You get bum Fenders/Gibsons and by the sounds of it Zagers.

I guess the difference may be what happens next. Personally I don't know because I haven't had problems with the two new guitars I've owned but I'd expect that major problems would be sorted out by the dealer and/or manufacturer under the terms of their warranty.

You're absolutely right hat it would be unfair to condemn someone for merely producing a ropey guitar but add ropey customer service to the mix and a history of poor guitars and poor customer service and there's more scope for complaint.

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Re: Zager EZ-Play Guitars = Pure Cr@p

Post by Barry on Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:55 am

True, there is some love out there for these things—by novice players I suspect.

I get asked all the time by new players if there's any way to make the guitar easier on the fingers, 'cuz it really, really hurts! Rather than work with a well set up guitar and sticking out the discomfort for a week or two, they are seeking a short cut. These are the folks who are susceptible to this hype.

And far from being a "one off" production error, which happens, the overwhelming evidence is that Zager are consistently and deliberately doing this to all their guitars.

Therein lies the difference.

_________________
"A little song. A little dance. A little seltzer down your pants." -Chuckles the Clown


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Re: Zager EZ-Play Guitars = Pure Cr@p

Post by Westbone on Thu Feb 13, 2014 1:37 pm

There's a lot of top endorsers on their website.

I'm not championing any cause or maker but they will pay for returns. As stated!
I know your guys in Canada but surely all he'd pay is the difference.

At least they wouldn't be so out of pocket. It's up to the customer to chase it.

Then visit your shop and buy something half decent.. Smile

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Re: Zager EZ-Play Guitars = Pure Cr@p

Post by Barry on Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:16 pm

Westbone wrote:...they will pay for returns. As stated!
I know your guys in Canada but surely all he'd pay is the difference.
Nope. He must pay the return shipping, which is considerable (remember, no case).
If you're outside of the States, you're out of luck!
And why must he pay even more? It's still cr@p. Honestly I've never seen such new guitar rubbish in my life.

_________________
"A little song. A little dance. A little seltzer down your pants." -Chuckles the Clown


GUITARS : http://legend.barryeames.com/guitars.html
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Barry
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Re: Zager EZ-Play Guitars = Pure Cr@p

Post by The Don on Fri Feb 14, 2014 2:46 am

Westbone wrote:There's a lot of top endorsers on their website.

That might not mean very much. In some cases endorsees are unaware that they are giving their endorsement (I've seen that in various alternative medicine sites where Dr. So-and-so is pictured endorsing the product but when you contact the doctor they deny any nay link the product and the endorsement is taken down as soon as they are aware) or they are endorsing part of a product range. For example there are winemakers who produce everything from top notch Premier Cru stuff to stuff you buy in plastic gallon jugs. If famous a wine commentator endorses the product then it may be the top end stuff, (s)he may not have the same regard for the gutrot. Then again there are people out there who will happily put their name to something for a financial consideration.

If I was a top player who had received some of Zagers' best work I may not even be aware that there are a bunch of people who are less happy out there. I don't think that the actual musicians will have been using the E-Z Play versions of his work.

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Re: Zager EZ-Play Guitars = Pure Cr@p

Post by Westbone on Fri Feb 14, 2014 3:12 am

Who knows?

Anyway here in the UK don't think we'll be troubled with EZ play.

Who'd buy a guitar from a psychopath... lol!

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