Great looking guitars are everywhere... but very rarely do you get a guitar that looks like a genuine antique work of art. Tony Zemaitis not only created some of the most visually stunning guitars but also catered for guitarists at every level bringing great tone to any player looking for something unique. The MFJ-101-BK has a stunning metal front with a classic looking floral pattern and a black back and sides.
The metal front, which is electrically conductive, acts as a shield to prevent noise. The neck-to-body joint is simple but effective with the full width of the neck slotting into the body. There's no heel, the neck just sits over the square corner of the cutaway single-cut design. This gives the guitar stability and great sustain.
Tony favored hand-applied finishes over spray based coating. The finish on this guitar is cellulose which has been hand-applied and polished to a brilliant satin sheen. The fret work on this guitar is very tidy, the ends are nicely rounded and the simple inlays - including Zemaitis' diamond cluster around the 12th fret - are perfectly inlaid.
Sporting a pair of Dragon Classic Pickups, which are incredibly versatile and handle the entire tonal range with great clarity and articulation, this guitar sounds incredible. Nothing about this guitar will disappoint.
Tony Zemaitis–Master Craftsman & Pioneer
Antanus Casimere Zemaitis, or Tony, was born in London 1935. As a young guitar player and, unsatisfied with the guitars of the times, decided to build his own - the first Zemaitis guitar! From then on, it was a lifelong quest to hone his craft and experiment with new designs and materials in order to improve every guitar he made – a characteristic that would follow him throughout his life.
He hit on a major guitar innovation with the now famous Zemaitis Metal Front™. The original idea was to shield the guitar and reduce hum. The first was made for Tony McPhee of the Groundhogs and the idea was successful in more ways than one. Not only did it reduce noise, but the highly decorative, individually hand-engraved pieces became a signature piece of art favored by rock's elite.
Though he worked primarily by himself, producing just a handful of guitars every year, Tony was just as happy to work with enthusiastic amateur guitarists and even sold 'Student' grade models to those with lower budgets. No matter what grade of guitar he made though, he always produced a great playing and sounding guitar. He always used quality materials and traditional luthier techniques such as 3-piece necks and 3-piece bodies for strength and stability and only ever made glued-neck construction to ensure the best possible sound.
Master Engraver Danny O’Brien
A big part of carrying on the Zemaitis tradition can be attributed to the services of Danny O'Brien, the master engraver who worked with Tony Zemaitis for many years. Danny’s tremendous skills and artistry have helped ensure the continued authenticity and craftsmanship of all Zemaitis guitars. Danny O’Brien designs the unique and beautiful engravings for Zemaitis Metal Front™ guitars and all the other Zemaitis Guitar metal components, including the badge, truss rod cover, pickup mount rings, tailpiece, jackplate, and the rear plate. The work is then completed by hand by the company’s team of shotgun engravers, schooled in the same techniques as Danny.
The list of guitar players who turn to Zemaitis for uniquely styled, great sounding instruments reads like a who’s who of Innovation and tonal genius. Ronnie Wood, Joe Walsh, Don Felder, Richie Sambora, Zakk Wylde, Billy Sheehan and Doug Aldrich all sport stunning examples of Tony’s vision.
Here's what Zemaitis haver to say about the MFJ 101 BK
The Metal Front™ was originally to designed to shield the guitar and reduce hum. The design found success in more ways than one. Not only did it reduce noise, but Danny O'Brien's beautiful engravings etched the guitar's way into history. These became a Zemaitis signature model.
- Body : Mahogany
- Neck : Mahogany
- Neck Width : 1.693" (43mm)
- Fingerboard : Rosewood, 12 1/32" (305mm)
- Scale : 25" (635mm)
- Frets : 24 Frets / Medium
- Neck Pickup : Dragon Classic
- Bridge Pickup : Dragon Classic
- Tuners : GOTOH® SG381
- Controls : 2 Volume, 2 Tone, 3-Way Toggle SW
- Inlays: Diamond Pearl Dot
- Neck Material: Three-piece Honduran mahogony, glued-in.
- No of Strings: 6
- Nut: 42.9mm
- Nut Material: Bone
- Options: 22 fret version, double-cutaway, various engraved tops and scroll.
- Scale Length (Inches): 25
- Scale Length (mm): 635
- String Spacing: 52.5
- Weight (kg): 4.1
- Weight (lb): 9
- Case: Hardshell case