Zemaitis Guitar Company

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Clark W, Jun 4, 2019.

  1. Clark W

    Clark W Just Say No To Tort! Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2018
    Anyone familiar with Zemaitis?

    Geddy Lee used a 1992 Black with engraved metal front on "Distant Early Warning" on the R40 tour. And a 1983 Natural with engraved metal front on "Losing It", on the same tour.

    Wonder what attracted him to using those for those songs considering all the basses he took on that tour? 15 Fenders(12 Jazz, 2 Ps, 1 Tele), two Gibsons, 4 Rics, 1 Hoffner, and then the two Zemaitis

    A 2019 Zemaitis® C22MF BASS BK currently retails for $1399
    Zemaitis® C22MF BASS BK

    2019 Zemaitis® A22MF BASS WALNUT retails for $1399 as well
    Zemaitis® A22MF BASS WALNUT

    They also have a brand called Greco with a Jazz bass available in 9 variations of colors, pickguard, neck combinations, all retail for $549
    Greco Guitars

    Never heard of either.

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  2. B-Mac

    B-Mac Happiness is a warm puppy and a great bass Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Different one:
    Zemaitis Guitars BMF-MC2 SOLD!

    And another different one:
    Not familiar with either, but here's my man Greg Lake with a custom made Zemaitis double neck. He got rid of it after the Get Me a Ladder Tour for BSS. Apparently it weighed a ton, but it sure looked cool! No idea who owns it now, but supposedly it has quite a high value today.

    6eb19067e62d48e7cc0f1c89faf2b08f.jpg 367006ff4645f24bdf0ffbf372eb1181.jpg 815580f0a454bfd0b7d955a0708b9282.jpg lakeinstrument.jpg zemaitis_greglake_double.jpg

    Greg Lake’s 
Zemaitis Doubleneck

    Mr. Lake also had a Zemaitis Electric Guitar
    6044621b6b69235d838a47ad95a58dd5.jpg a4f858801b9c461f522caa6452c75d68--greg-lake-lakes.jpg aadb63996edc2d7777afc33670702f90--greg-lake-palmer.jpg e6130b590c9912bdab2306f16053886b.jpg greglake1.jpg
    A six string Zemaitis Acoustic Guitar
    ffb26beb792037c2f263cfdfe8bd9fa8.jpg greg-lake-cest-la-vie-1977-2.jpg greglakenew191214w.jpg lake1.jpg

    and a Zemaitis 12 string Acoustic Guitar.
    cb9b6a25d1a8c30d2b6a47c79474320b--greg-lake-guitar-players.jpg greg-lake-of-the-classic-progressive-rock-band-emerson-lake-and-palmer-er80k6.jpg how-to-play-c-est-la-vie-on-guitar-by-emerson-lake-and-palmer-shutup-and-play-guitar-tutorials_1.jpg

    Mr. Lake supposedly destroyed the six string Zemaitis acoustic because it would not stay in tune. He had Gibson custom make him a J-200 with a heart sound hole
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2019
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  3. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    Zemaitis was just Tony Zemaitis for a long time, working with the guy who engraved all those metal tops. Boutique in the '70s, with a roster of big-name players. Looks like proprietary pickups in the basses, but the guitars sometimes had Gibson pickups (from memory).

    They looked good, and sounded good as well. The UK had other builders like John Birch and Dick Knight, and while their products looked good the results didn't always sound as good.

    You can't mention Zemaitis without discussing Ronnie Lane, who died 22 years ago today and is still very much missed.


    Ronnie had a few of these, including a big-bodied acoustic bass (and a couple of electric basses with engraved metal plates on the front).

    Peter Cruickshank used one with the Groundhogs. A lesser known player in a lesser known band, and rarely photographed:


    This bass was used in action on this BBC recording:

    Sounds like a nice warm but grinding, overdriven tone.
  4. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    Kern Brantly a Detroit Bass player whose played with Alliyah, Beyonce, and Lady Gaga among others owns one. 17267504_1246532668801314_7542642727091961856_n.jpg
  5. I'm not familiar with their bass line, but Keef from the Stones sometimes favors a Zemaitis. Must be some good stuff.
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  6. bdgotoh

    bdgotoh Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2002
    Pacific NW
    Tony retired in 2000 so anything made after that was produced under license in Japan.
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  7. mrufino1


    Aug 2, 2005
    Nutley, NJ
    Watch the faces live from the BBC video to see and hear Ronnie Lane and Ron Wood playing these - amazing.
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  8. foal30


    Dec 3, 2007
    New Zealand
    "I'm Losing You" is brilliant.
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  9. JW56789

    JW56789 Guest

    Feb 18, 2017
    These 'Zemaitis Guitars' are built with a license from Tony's family by Greco, one of those OEM guitar builders (like FujiGen) who besides building lots of guitars for the majors, also sell a lot of guitars in Japan and elsewhere, but not in the US where their various Fender and Gibson clones are lawsuit-bait. Grecos can be extremely good guitars, or can be built to a price depending on the customer requirements. The metal-fronts can be quite heavy. . . . . . Tony was one of those small English builders like Wal or Jaydee that got interest from those 70's acts. I loved his box guitars and basses with the heart-shaped soundhole.

    Ronnie Wood has played a custom Zemaitis for years; it's a black Tele based axe with a big engraved disc running three humbuckers. You see it occasionally with the Stones, and lots of pics of him with it back in the Faces.

    I miss the Faces. Ronnie, and Ian both gone to their just rewards, and Kenny Jones took an unfair drubbing for NOT being Keith Moon. He was put in the impossible position between a raging Townshend and Daltrey, and Entwistle really didn't know what to do with a drummer who didn't need to be chained down. An excellent, under-rated drummer.

    A shame those three got caught in the ascension of Rod's solo career and Woody's move-out to the Stones. They always had a feel like a car going around a corner just a bit too fast and up on two wheels . . . . . but they were very good when they were good. Songs like 'Bad and Ruin' still hold up, and Ronnie's long intro to 'Memphis' is one of my favorite slide-guitar outings.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2019
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  10. I had heard somewhere that the one Geddy Lee has was sold to him by Bob Daisly, who played with Ozzy. What I read was Ged had wanted one, but that there was a waiting list for one, and it didnt matter who you were, a plumber or GLee...you waited your turn. So he bought that one used. I guess the book would explain it all...

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  11. mikeoso

    mikeoso Acoustic Curmudgeon

    Feb 14, 2014
    eastern Iowa
    Not bass-relevant, but Pete Seeger's acoustic 12 string guitar was a Zemaitis
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  12. Skokiaan


    Jun 19, 2004
    New Jersey
    Paul McCartney has a Zemaitis acoustic bass guitar.

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  13. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Central Ohio
    Bowling Trophy Basses (ducks head).
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  14. lavmonga


    Jul 27, 2007
    New York, NY
    Considering what it must take to build one of those, the price tag is surprisingly reasonable.
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  15. mrufino1


    Aug 2, 2005
    Nutley, NJ
    I think Bob’s website said that was the one Ronnie Lane played on that bbc show but I may be remembering incorrectly.
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  16. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Central Ohio
    Each to their own. They were passive J or PJ basses, with a huge amount of the hand work going into the scratch plate engraving. That particular construction detail may or may not matter, depending on player prefs. But, FWIW, their cost was about the same as Alembic or Fodera. So, if the scratch plate is worth that investment to you, then rock on.
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  17. You could be totally right about that...

  18. Wilmingtonian


    Aug 20, 2011

    Attached Files:

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  19. Well, that settles that then! And thanks for letting me know I'm not totally crazy...:thumbsup:

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  20. mikeoso

    mikeoso Acoustic Curmudgeon

    Feb 14, 2014
    eastern Iowa
    Wait, what?? Macca plays an ABG?? Jack plays an ABG?? But, but...we keep getting told they're useless!
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