Just Guitars is incredibly thrilled to present this incredible Firebird inspired creation from Seattle builder Gene Nygaard’s Zero brand. Unfortunately, shortly after completing this guitar, family circumstances required Gene to relocate to Illinois, making this the last of his west coast builds. We’ve heard that he may have subsequently decided to retire, which would make this the last of his amazing Zero guitars.
World class lead instruments
Well known as a lead and slide player, since the early seventies, “I played slide on a ’61 Stratocaster for 28 years,” (see pic # 4), when Gene added guitar building to his talents, slide tone was at the front of his thoughts. All of Gene’s creations are world class lead instruments, with the bonus of being able to deliver brilliant slide sound. “All Zeros are one-offs. The first one was made in 1994 as an experiment – I had been a full time player for some 35 plus years, and wanted to build a guitar of aluminum for slide guitar.”
Completing only a handful of guitars each year, Gene would source structural aluminium cut-offs from the Boeing aircraft facility in Seattle. Aerospace aluminium is very light and very strong – and coincidentally, nicely musically resonant.
Interior design is similar to that of a Gibson ES-335, with solid Mahogany centre-block construction, running from the neck right through to the tail-block. And then, “My favorite part, after the basic build is done, is coming up with something that pleases me… deciding what I’m going to do to the aluminum – if I’m going to paint it, if I’m going to do a design on it, or just do it plain.” Gene’s etched patterning on the ’Bird is both abstract and art deco at once.
As the guitars near completion, Gene then hand selects the pickups to suit each build. He was particularly happy with the Fender humbucker that he installed here in the bridge position, “It sizzled really nice!” Names like ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, Steely Dan’s Walter Becker, Nashville artist Jennifer Knapp and more have all put their hands up for some of that sizzle, finding Zero guitars not just surprisingly light and resonant, but real works or art that look sensational on stage, drawing great admiration the minute the lights go up.
Zero # 67 is an extraordinary combination of Gibson-meets-Fender – a Firebird-style body, Jazzmaster-style bridge and rock solid tremolo setup, with a Lollar humbucker-cased P-90 neck pickup and the previously mentioned Fender bridge humbucker. The guitar almost plays itself, with easy action and great feeling on the lovely Birdseye Maple neck, which was custom made to Gene’s specifications by USA Guitars, with microdot inlays in a 22-fret Rosewood fingerboard.
The ’Bird delivers an awesome mix of vintage Les Paul tone and sixties Jazzmaster spookiness, with the added kick of a subtle metallic resonance. Les Paul to Jazzmaster is already versatile, but once you push it into overdrive, the guitar will really surprise you with a sweetness to the tone that is a true delight. And of course, slide playing is completely off the dial!
Free courier delivery
Complete with its original polyfoam flight case, your Zero (Fire)Bird includes FREE COURIER DELIVERY to any address in Australia. ($100 airfreight to New Zealand, $175 to the US, Canada, UK and mainstream European countries. International freight added at checkout)