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The Zachary bass has arrived

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by vicenzajay, Jul 27, 2007.


  1. O.K.,

    I know that this bass will probably create a storm of controversy, but I promised a year ago to post it up when it arrived. I hope we can keep the tone of the discussion under control. Alex of Zachary Guitars built it for me - he's a one-man "shop" whose website definitely evokes a reaction. His instruments, strings, etc., however, just make sense to those who've played them, and he's definitely got his own style!

    I ordered this bass 2.5 years ago. At that time, Alex had about 25 orders ahead of mine, and he has always kept me in the loop on how his work was progressing.

    On to the bass - if you'd like to see all the specs and tons of very detailed pictures, here's the instrument's website:

    http://www.zacharyguitars.com/110307pics.htm

    The bass is actually lighter than stated on the website - it weighs just about 8 lbs. 10 oz. - very comfortable. It is a 34" scale instrument, and the construction/bridge placement makes it feel as if it were closer to 33" in scale - again, very comfortable to hold and play.

    The wood is simply phenomenal - the one-piece ash body is extremely resonant. Alex uses a minimal oil/wax finish with the purpose of not coating the wood. The finish is very similar (imo) to the finish on my Rob Allen Mouse - the only difference is that the Zachary's neck finish is faster and less "sticky" than the Rob Allen. The walnut neck is amazing to look at and play - very fast and just gorgeous. The combination of the walnut and the pau ferro board is a visual delight, and the sound of the instrument reflects this combination.

    The pickups are Alex's own creation in conjunction with Kent Armstrong. Most noticeably, he radiused the pickup response poles/bar to match the 16" radius of the fretboard. This results in a very nice volume balance for the strings. I've posted a couple of times about the ZOG strings - they represent, in my opinion, the best way to compile a string set by optimizing and graduating tension evenly from string to string vice the simply goofy standard string tensions for most string sets. After playing with ZOG strings, the standard sets just feel wrong - especially with regard to the D string (tension is way too high) and the low E string (tension is ridiculously low). Fingerstyle and slap both sound amazing on the bass - its responsiveness is incredible.

    I stated in another thread that the tone of the bass combines an incredible piano-like clarity with a very organic vibe. Really can't describe that any more fully other than to say that the only other instrument I have that accomplishes this somewhat is Matt's Skjold exotic custom 5 that I recently was fortunate enough to acquire. The Zachary is, obviously, a passive instrument, but the output from the pickups is huge - reminiscent of G&L's MFD pickup output actually...only better and more balanced. My favorite setting so far is to put both pickups into single coil mode and have the tone pot up about 75%. Just an incredible tone, and the one inside my head. I get this tone as well from the Skjold, by the way, if I put the Skjold pickups in parallel and boost the mids at 800-1000 hz just a touch. I can't wait to see how the Skjold sounds with the ZOG strings (Alex has just started selling 5-string sets).

    In short, this instrument just feels right - incredibly tight with absolutely perfect fit for every joint and connection. It has taken me a while (and many instruments) to learn that boutique instruments have a certain tightness and "togetherness" at a certain quality point - they just "work" and they respond to "touch" in a refined way that is, simply, inspiring. This bass is easily at the top of the list for instruments I've played. The Skjold is perhaps the only one that gives it a run for its money.

    There are plenty of pictures at the link above; however, to satisfy the rule that it will only exist with pictures - here are a few:

    110307_12.

    110307_01.

    110307_26.

    110307_06.

    110307_20.

    110307_51.

    110307_47.

    110307_38.

    110307_44.

    110307_67.

    110307_64.

    110307_52.
     
  2. nice bass:D I HATE SOCKS:mad:
     
  3. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Banned

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    I dig the look of the pickups, very nice!
     
  4. cdef

    cdef

    Jul 18, 2003
    Congrats - it looks excellent. Nothing is superfluous here. Such a beautiful piece of ash, and superb attention to detail. I for one find myself in agreement with most of Alex's ideas, and if he would consider building a bass to those specs with a regular Precision shape I'd be ordering one.
     
  5. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    No truss rod? What are the actual string gauges?
     
  6. What's the controversy? That thing is wicked no denying.
     
  7. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    Not going into details, but the controversy stems from the attitudes and opinions Alex makes known on his page, not the instruments themselves.
     
  8. PB+J

    PB+J

    Mar 9, 2000
    arlington va
    It's great that you like the bass so much. It's pretty startling to see a custom bass with a knot in the neck--I mean, how hard is it to fill that hole?


    Bottom line is that you like it--congrats
     
  9. jazznrick

    jazznrick Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2006
    Woodlands, Texas
    this is the only custom made bass i have ever had gas for.
     
  10. I found his web site quite amusing. I didn't take much of it too seriously, and I don't think it is intended that way. He is a very talented builder. I can excuse a somewhat quirky presentation on a website. I think his work is pretty fine. I particularly like the one he built for you. That's some nice work. Congratulations!
     
  11. Terrik

    Terrik

    Jul 21, 2007
    Alamo
    That is an absolutely gorgeous bass...

    to the previous poster.. re: the knot...

    IMHO...

    this guitar, the craftsmanship has NO PUTTY... it pure, unaltered wood, with out a superfluous amount of oil or shellac.

    that one knot is probably the smoothest cleanest piece of wood available.. it is INCREDIBLE expensive to find exotic woods in the size/quantity for a bass neck without knots in them.. and since he's obviously used no filler or anything to cover up the "blemishes".. we see the knot..

    imho.. he actually did a good job in making the knot part of the "personality" of the instrument...

    i imagine this bass sounds like nothing else.. and i'm completely jealous...
     
  12. There's a truss rod...it's actually very accessible forward of the neck pickup.

    The string tension in foot-pounds can be found on Alex's site - but they are (G to E strings):

    33.7
    35.5
    42.0
    50.8
     
  13. Exactly....Very eloquent way of putting things and summing up the wood "statement" of the instrument.

    As an aside - my Rob Allen Mouse has the same type of knot in its neck as well....I wrote Rob about it, and he (rather firmly) told me that it was NOT a problem at all.

    Thanks for all the comments, guys - I really don't know how to sum up how this bass plays and sounds....it's just on a completely different level than my other instruments (imo).

    Jay
     
  14. I agree...I'm using his pictures, but I'd sure like to crop the bottom of that picture!
     
  15. v-12

    v-12

    Mar 3, 2005
    FL Panhandle
    wow, what a beauty! :eek:

    awesome body shape, killer woods, enjoy!!
     
  16. west*coast*bass

    west*coast*bass Supporting Member

    Dec 6, 2003
    Agoura Hills, CA
    The guy's website reads a bit like Ed Roman's...I find him to be amusing. I did however email him about his bass strings. I would like to see what they are like and the price is affordable so even if I hate them it'll be no big deal.

    By the way, the bass is nice...I love the simplicity of it - nice lines. Enjoy it and play it in good health!!!
     
  17. That's a Beauty!! Very interesting design. The website is different :confused: Mine would probably read the same way if I didn't have someone else handling it!! :smug: It comes from being in a shop 18 hours a day and not getting enough sunlight :p
     
  18. dblbass

    dblbass Commercial User

    Mar 24, 2007
    Beacon, NY
    Owner of MBJ guitars, Maker of fine sawdust for Carl Thompson Guitars
    mabey im missing it, but where exatly is the truss rod access?
     
  19. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Great looking bass! One question: How did you prove yourself worthy?
     
  20. :D
     

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