1967 Zemaitis Acoustic + Compensated Frets Danny O’Brien


A fantastic piece of Zemaitis history and guitar making history in general, Everyone in the Zemaitis world will be aware of Danny O’Brien, Danny bought this guitar from Tony Zemaitis in November of 1967 (in the US of course this would be the Summer of Love, in the UK it was definitely the Winter of love), it is a fascinating guitar, Tony was an innovator way ahead of his time, this guitar features “compensated frets” or, “slanting frets” if you prefer, Rickenbacker also had a slanting fret option but Tony beat them to it by a good two years.


It is fairly difficult see the compensation with the naked eye and virtually impossible to detect any change in feel whilst playing, however, the guitar is absolutely in tune right across theĀ  register in all positions, this is the only Zemaitis with this feature that I know about or have ever seen.

Danny was the original owner of this guitar, he presented it to his son in 2002, it has been in the O’Brien family since it was built by Tony Z, as you can see, it is near perfect condition, Danny has certainly treasured this guitar throughout its life solid spruce top, solid Indian rosewood back and sides, no repairs or issues of any kind, original inner label signed by Tony Zemaitis, Tony also notated the label with “Compensated Frets”, the label is dated 1967 at the ’19 Laitwood’ Road address.

Complete with original bill of sale and a note from Danny, the guitar currently has a sterling silver truss rod cover with his sons name engraved, Danny has offered to engrave a replacement sterling silver truss rod cover to accompany the guitar a Hiscox hardshell case is included. A thoroughly remarkable guitar, completely irreplaceable with superb provenance.

We’ve included a few images of Danny taken at his home. This guitar is resting on his couch at home, the other guitar is our 1965 Zemaitis acoustic that was the very first guitar that Tony Zemaitis and Danny O’Brien ever collaborated on.