Apr 6, 2014
I’ll be honest with you – before I went to Winter NAMM this year, I had no idea who Zach Myers was. Even after the show, I only had a slightly better idea of who he was (the guitarist from Shinedown) – but what I did know was that he had awesome taste in guitars. Walking around the PRS booth, his new signature guitar was THE guitar that caught my eye, out of a sea of much more expensive Private Stock guitars made of the most figured woods and finished in the most outlandish colours.
If you haven’t seen it yet, THIS IS (not SPARTA, sorry):
The PRS Zach Myers SE
Based on the bones of a Singlecut, the Zach Myers SE goes off on a very interesting tangent, unlike anything that PRS have ever put out before.
First up, check out that top! The swampy green finish is called “Trampas Green”, and that flame top veneer is to die for. Underneath that lives a thick maple top and a semi-hollow body – so the F-hole is not just ornamental.
The transparent knobs and zebra pickups add to the departure from traditional PRS aesthetic. A kick-ass departure, if you ask me.
Top it all off with appointments that were previously reserved for high end USA PRS – bird inlays and a natural finished back (the latter is usually reserved only for the Blue Matteo finish) – and you’ve got one fine guitar on your hands.
BUT WAIT, there’s more!
In a first (?) for a PRS production guitar, the ZM has a satin finished neck – look ma, no paint!
The result is a neck that is smooth, fast, and devoid of any sticky finish- so if that’s something that’s stopped you from going down the PRS route in the past, well, here’s the chance to let them change your mind!
Fit and Finish
In general, I didn’t find any issues with fit and finish. The pearloid birds aren’t cut with quite as much laser precision as on a USA PRS, but that’s to be expected. And in any case, while there is a little bit of filler visible, it’s a lot better than most other manufacturers, especially considering the intricacy of the bird inlay shape.
The masking between glossed and satin surfaces was done very neatly, with clean straight-line transitions between the headstock and the neck, as well as the body and the neck (so you get a small triangle of gloss finish at the base of the neck, which is easier than trying to follow around the neck join itself). The F-hole is impeccable cut and finished, with no rough spots of note around the veneered edges.
The factory setup had killer low action – in fact, too low for me, I’m ashamed to admit. I actually ended up bringing the action up, for the first time ever!! One comment I do have, though, is that the string tension on the Zach Myers (tuned to E Std) seems to be a bit floppier than my USA Singlecut. I’m not sure what the reason for this is, considering that they both have the same gauge strings and same scale length. It just means that the ZM is a little bit easier to play , and easy to get carried away with, too – wait till you hear the tapping licks it inspired, heheh.
Zach of All Trades
Oh yeah, that pun was so bad it must be good
So, like I said earlier, I originally didn’t really know who Zach Myers was – all I knew was that I LOVED his new signature guitar.
I think that’s the essence of what’s cool about the ZM SE – it’s that very rare signature guitar which is just such a great bundle of features that it completely transcends its original purpose, and becomes something bigger and better that will appeal not only to fans of the artist but players from all sorts of different styles and genres.
To that end, rather than just running through some clips in the alternative/modern rock style of Shinedown, I thought I’d hit you guys with a bunch of different styles that the Zach Myers SE just randomly inspired me to play due to its amazing versatility.
First up, what does it sound like clean? With the semi-hollow construction, it has a nice warm tone to it, but it’s still present and snappy. Check out some clean picking, followed by some epic 80s power balled tones, heh. The neck humbucker is first, followed by the bridge humbucker, and the solo was done on the neck ‘bucker.
Oh man, how’d you like them apples?!
Next, let’s take a time machine back to old school rock with some classic Aerosmith. The Zach Myers SE handles it easily, kicking out muscular, punchy driven tones bringing the funky rock.
How does it handle fast, chunky palm muting and single note tracking? Let’s find out, with our pop-punk hats on:
And last but not least, it’s equally at home with droning, sludgy doomy riffs, tuned to Drop D:
You might have realised that we’re merely scratching the surface of what the Zach Myers SE is good for. It’s just such a tremendously versatile guitar – I’ll wager that it can take on anything from jazz to rock to metal without blinking an eye.
Just go buy one. I’m certainly thinking about it.
As a person who is probably a bit of a guitar snob these days (let’s face it, I’m definitely a bit spoiled with the gear that I’ve accumulated over the years), I was VERY impressed by the Zach Myers SE. At its $999 price point here in New Zealand, it’s tough to beat – looks, feel and tone, it’s got ‘em all in spades. It’ll get you pretty close to the mojo of a USA PRS at a quarter of the price (and arguably, it has a lot of unique stuff that its more expensive cousins don’t) and it’ll look just about as good while it does so, which is a pretty damn impressive achievement.
Go play one right now – though it might not be this one, cos I’m pretty tempted to snap it up!
4.0 F*ck Yeahs!