Stunning, rare Custom Deluxe Zemaitis metal front made by Tony Zemaitis and hand engraved by Danny O'Brien in 1985. We understand this was one of Tony's favourite metal front guitars and it is widely considered among Zemaitis collectors to be one of the best engraved Dragon Zemaitis' ever produced. Given the stunning, hand engraved fire-breathing dragon motif and overall attention to detail it is not hard to see why.
The name "Hiroshi" is inscribed on the pot cavity plate; something to suggest this guitar was likely made for a gentleman named Hiroshi Suzuki, or Hiro for short. Hiro had a close relationship with Tony and his family and would go on to order a number of Custom Deluxe models for himself which he would then sell to musicians and vintage guitar stores in Japan. It is said that Hiro was quite an attentive customer who would often sit watching Tony and Danny work, glass of Scotch in hand. As such the quality of the instruments ordered by Hiro is said to be among the best.
This guitar is in stunning condition having clearly been well cared for throughout its life, with little to no signs of play wear. The current owner - a Japanese collector and Zemaitis enthusiast - purchased it from a personal friend of Tony's some 23 years ago. He tells us a story of when he was contacted by Rittor Music in Japan - publisher of Guitar Magazine, Acoustic Guitar Magazine, Bass Magazine and Sound & Recording. They were planning to publish a photo book of Zemaitis instruments and were asking Zemaitis owners in Japan - including very famous Rock musicians - to bring their guitars and basses to a shoot. This mass gathering of Zemaitis instruments was unsurprisingly a sight to behold but unfortunately the publication plan was cancelled. He did however retain an extract from the magazine about this particular Dragon Custom Deluxe which sums it up rather well: