All of the proceeds of the sale will benefit the family of one of our most honored suppliers: the late Master Guitar Builder, John Zeidler. Here’s the background: “When fourteen of the world’s finest guitar makers decided to honor and support a colleague, they produced a unique and remarkable instrument - The Zeidler Project guitar. J. R. Zeidler was well known in the community of archtop makers. His instruments, and the man himself, were greatly respected by players and his peers. When he was hospitalized with acute myelogenous leukemia, undergoing debilitating and expensive therapy, his fellow builders came together in support. They decided to make a collaborative guitar incorporating many of Zeidler’s touches and even using wood he chose. The guitar will be sold to defray some of John’s medical expenses, and to help his family.” The Zeidler Project was coordinated by the Canadian luthier, Linda Manzer. It was a spirited, bold project - never before had a group of so highly respected instrument makers attempted such collaboration. Manzer said, “This was a chance for the archtop guitar building community to come together and focus all our skills on this one instrument to help our friend, John, and his family. These builders were just incredible to work with and we were all honored to be part of this truly unprecedented event. It was a very emotional and truly amazing experience. The end result is a guitar imbued with our collective spirit.” The entire group, paying tribute to Zeidler’s style and preferences, worked out details of the design. The guitar traveled across the continent to the shop of every builder - each of them adding his or her own touch to it, then passing it to the next builder.
The soundboard, carved by John Monteleone, is Adirondack (red) spruce chosen by Zeidler at the beginning of the project. Tom Ribbecke carved the maple back, also provided by Zeidler. The rim/frames/sides were bent by Steve Andersen who also attached the top and back to the sides. Steve Grimes made and installed the koa binding; John Buscarino made the neck. Mark Campellone detailed the headstock and added binding to the fingerboard and headstock. Bob Benedetto and several others carved the neck. Ted Megas did the fretwork. Bill Comins provided the fingerboard and made the tailpiece, using a Buscarino-supplied hinge. The pickguard was designed by Bill Collings and Paul Smith, the tailpiece by Bill Collings and Matthew Needham. The pickguard and tailpiece on that guitar were designed by Bill Collings and Paul Smith. Mark Lacey made the truss rod cover, “Z” peghead inlay and nut. Linda Manzer made the bridge, and also the original body mold with assistance from Tony Duggan-Smith. Tom Cerletti applied highly unusual gilding to the headstock that was especially requested by JR - the headstock appears to be kaleidoscopic - hypnotic -- refracting color and texture in ways that no headstock has, to date, done. The guitar then went to Richard Hoover of Santa Cruz Guitars, with assistance from Addam Stark and Stephen Strahm). Al Williams of Calton Cases of Canada supplied the professional travel case that houses the instrument. Professional photos were taken and donated by John Peden.
In case you're wondering, the scale length is 25.5" nut to saddle; the width of the nut at the first fret is 1 3/4" and the string spacing (E to E) at the bridge saddle is 2 1/8th".
What a collection of signatures are found inside this instrument!
Their individual waiting lists are often years long; their output limited -- yet they all took time to contribute to this project. John Monteleone says, “It’s kind of an impossibility that this could happen. Just the concept of pulling all these people together, who had the highest regard for each other and for John. We all felt very close to him, attached to his sense of style, his natural abilities.” “A wonderful tribute to one of our finest” says Bob Benedetto. The result is an instrument that surpasses all expectations,” Linda Manzer reflected. “There was a magical thing happening as it was passed from builder to builder. Many of them wrote to me telling me how special it felt to have it in their shop and to be able to do this for John and his family.” J. R. Zeidler would approve it. He discussed the project with many of the builders and lived to see it partly completed. He died while the project was underway. The funds raised from this guitar will go to his family.”
Mandolin Brothers, on behalf of the consortium, seeks to find an individual
buyer (or business, or museum, or a music café) that would wish to own, and perhaps display to the public, perhaps take on tour (send around to all of its cafés?). Or perhaps (if the buyer would so wish) it could be loaned to the world’s finest archtop musicians to perform or record with, a buyer who will embrace the instrument, as we all have, and join us in celebrating joy and jubilation in the commemoration of the life of one of the one of the finest fretted instrument crafters the world has ever seen.