Here is the guitar I affectionately referred to as the “Cutting Board.” I bought this one at the same pawn shop as my old Douglas guitar and this one here sort of represents the cheaper fare of late 1960s Japanese imports. If the factory wasn’t making early copy guitars, they were making ultra cheap models like this one.
So why “Cutting Board”? Well, this guitar was a flat piece of wood, with no contours whatsoever! It reminded me of my eighth grade wood shop project, where a made a cutting board for my mom! I mean, all you’d have to do is nail some rubber grippers on the bottom and put this guitar on the kitchen counter! At least that’s what I thought… The pickups are yet another variation of “gold foils” (I’ve documented 12 different types of gold foils now) and sound actually quite good. Nice and strong.
The wood has a very interesting grain…for plywood! Actually, there is a plywood core with a thin veneer, sort of like a sandwich. But really I don’t care what kind of wood is used. Plywood, masonite, barn wood….I just don’t care! To me, a guitar is a guitar and thankfully I’m not obsessed with such things. Zim-Gar was the brand name of Gar-Zim Musical Instruments located in Brooklyn, New York. The company was run by Larry Zimmerman and his wife, and the couple was quite successful back in the day, making a living by importing/selling/distributing these Japanese imports guitars (and drums). The company was active through the 60s, and was one of the first to introduce copy guitars of Strats and Les Pauls. Zim-Gar mostly dealt with Kawai, but by the late 60s they were using other builders like the makers of this guitar (which is not known to me).
For some reason, I don’t see many Zim-Gar guitars anymore. Back in the late 80s they seemed really plentiful. Almost all the Zim-Gar guitars were standard fare, meaning there weren’t too many crazy designs. Although I have seen a few truly strange hollow bodies that take off from violin designs. Also, I’ve seen some headstock emblems that really look like “Lim-Gar” which is totally puzzling! Zim Gar was also an early brand name for “real” Teisco guitars, pre-1965. But these aren’t very common.
This guitar, like most from the 60s, really suffered from a bad neck angle. But as always, Dano down at Happy Guitar Repair fixed it all up and got this one playing rather well. I owned this guitar for many years before finally selling it off, but of course we had Mike Dugan record this one for posterity. Cheers!