Even from across the room, you know what this is…1981 Zemaitis Dreadnought
Antanas Kazimeras Žemaitis, or Tony to those who knew him, came from humble beginnings to be the go to guy in the burgeoning music scene in London of the late 60s and 70s, building guitars for the likes of Ronnie Wood, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and George Harrison. His guitars have been seen and heard all over the world, his craftsmanship lorded by those who’ve been lucky to own one of his creations, a man who uncompromising vison has left a legacy that continues long after his death.
This guitar has certainly been well cared for. Its current owner has had it since 1983 and by his own admission only used the guitar for a short time before it was stored away. As such we are presented with a guitar in fantastic condition overall but with a few indicators of age. The only real issue is the pickguard which has shrunk over the years and a previous attempt to repair it has failed. as you can see in the pictures. This could be easily rectified. The modestly adorned spruce top is in very good condition, exhibiting no bow or any signs of repair. The maple back and sides are in great shape as well. Again there is no sign of damage or wear.
The five piece mahogany neck is free of any wear with no signs of damage. The same can be said for the fretboard and frets that have plenty of life left in them. There are some signs of very minor manufacturing issues, evident on the headstock face under the top e tuner and on the back under the g tuner.
The bridge has that distinctive Zemaitis flair about it. This is still well attached with no signs of repair. As with the headstock there are some minor manufacturing glitches around the saddle but these do not affect playability.
The guitar comes with a hardshell case.
Not only an instantly recognisable shape, this guitar has a tone all of its own. Bright without being brittle, loud without being harsh, this guitar lives up to the hype and proves that Mr Zemaitis certainly knew how to make guitars. The neck is a joy to play, the whole package is very compelling.
Zemaitis is a huge part of the history of the guitar in this country. He didn’t build many so an opportunity to be near one is privilege. A bucket list maker if ever there was one. Grab this one before it gets away…