Zager Guitars have had an extremely positive impact on professional musicians and music in general. Unlike some other brands, Zager Guitars are crafted by someone who cares about the players’ comfort level and ability to learn to play. Musicians fall into three categories: those who seek fame and wealth, those who care solely about the music, and those who do both.
Denny Zager, of the duo Zager & Evans, has always been one of those musicians who love to play, compose songs and teach others. Oddly enough, fame came knocking when the artists recorded their mega-hit “In the Year 2525.” Rick Evans, who wrote the song in the back of a VW van after a night of heavy partying in the 1960s, had played the tune with several bands, but the music didn’t take off, despite the excellent and haunting lyrics.
Zager, ever a tinkerer and repairman, worked to replace the music with a tune that matched the lyrics more closely. When the duo first played the revamped song, the audience was stunned. Audiences who heard the song immediately requested that the singers replay the song multiple times. After recording the song, the two farm boys from Nebraska earned a #1 ranking on the charts that lasted for an unprecedented six weeks.
When the first shuttle landed on the moon, the song was played during its time in the top spot. The lyrics, which were apocalyptic warnings about relying on technology, ironically framed humanity’s most advanced technological achievement thus far.
The Price of Success
Zager & Evans became big hits on the touring cycle, and the duo played gigs around the world in some of the top musical venues. Time Magazine ran a picture of the musicians on the cover, giving them incredible fame at the level of Time’s annual Man of the Year award.
Unfortunately, the impact of their music also had a negative impact on Zager, who really didn’t enjoy the spotlight. Zager quit touring and retired to his roots in Nebraska. Part of the cause for his decision was the fact that he suffered pain from playing the guitar for extended hours. In Nebraska, he specialized in retooling guitars to make them easier and more comfortable to play.
Rick Evans died in 2018, but Denny Zager is still alive and building guitars with his son at his Lincoln shop. Zager continues to make an impact with his guitars and an alternative method of learning to play the guitar. Zager has dyslexia, and making sense of traditional learning techniques was not possible. Zager learned the guitar as a testament to his determination and love of music, and that’s a signature tenet of how he teaches guitar playing to others.
The course focuses on playing bits of songs that musicians already know and love, instead of music theory and practicing endless runs of chords. Zager’s son benefitted from the teaching skills Zager used to teach him how to play.
The Impact of Zager Guitars
The positive impact of the guitars and alternative learning system will undoubtedly stretch to the next several generations of musicians, many of whom may have given up hope of learning to play.
Zager Guitars are known as easy to play and carefully adjusted. Made by hand from solid wood and advanced electronics, many people consider the guitars the best, affordable choice of instrument. Priced lower than similar guitar brands, Zager Guitars are handmade and have the added bonus of being made in the Zager shop.
The Time Magazine article on Zager & Evans headline read: “Even the Beatles would be jealous.” That’s possibly true, given the amazing success Zager has had in changing the world for the better.