1960s Zenon-made Offset Electric Guitar

This guitar is undeniably cool. That's a shared trait of Zenon products, however. They're weird in all the right ways -- and some wrong ones, too. The overall balance is positive, though!

The body shape is definitely filched from a Jazzmaster, though shrunken to smaller-than-Mustang proportions. It has a headstock that's giant and absurd, a mint-green pickguard that looks like it was designed from some comic book spaceship sketches, and translucent pickup covers.

The pickups themselves have adjustable poles and are very, very microphonic. I find that gives a guitar an indefinable amount of extra soul but it's not something you want to sit on an amp with while you're playing! The four rocking switches are the ones you'll mostly use to shape your tone -- with both pickups on, they're wired in series and that ramps-up the volume and seriously thickens the tone. With either the neck or bridge only, you lose volume but get a more typical '60s Japanese vibe (read: somewhat mellow) out of it. The "clear" or "soft" rocker switch engages a capacitor and serves as a mud switch. The "solo" and "regular" switch engages a resistor and cuts bass to give a shimmery, surfy vibe. That's useful if you leave both pickups on and want to alternate from a thick tone to a more Tele twang tone without much volume loss (rather than trying to go neck/bridge).

The two controls on the lower bout are supposedly volume and tone, though only the first one (tone) does anything. As there are other ways to adjust volume (switch to individual pickups or simply turn both off), I did not want to hack-up the wiring to resolve the issue, though if it's a sticking point, I certainly could, I suppose. Fortunately, the instrument was grounded to the tailpiece at the factory so I didn't need to do anything there. Yip! I did add some shielding to the control plate, though.

At some point the guitar's pickguard must've been cracked, because someone put an ill-fitting piece of pearloid on it to replace the missing bit. I reshaped that to fit a little better and left it on. It looks funky-fun and is in line with the odd character of the beast.

Work included: a fret level/dress, one replacement polepiece for the neck pickup, fixing the control plate issue, lots of cleaning, a restring, and a good setup. Its neck had minor twist/warp but that's been addressed via leveling/dressing the frets, so it plays spot-on with 1/16" overall action at the 12th fret, strung with 46w-10 gauges. I will note here, however, that the original bridge is compensated for a wound G string. I've put an 18w on here for the G because of that. If one restrings with a plain G, it will play quite out of tune on that string, so this guitar seems best suited to a wound-G player and I've adjusted all of the pickup poles to match that, anyhow. I've also jacked both pickups closer to the strings with 1/8" thick leather pads beneath them.

Scale length: 25 1/8"
Nut width: 1 3/4"
String spacing at nut: 1 7/16"
String spacing at saddle: 1 15/16"
Body length: 17"
Lower bout width: 11 1/2"
Upper bout width: 9 1/2"
Side depth at endpin: 1 1/4"
Body wood: something mahogany-like
Neck wood: unsure
Fretboard: rosewood
Neck shape: flat fretboard with big, D-shaped rear
Bridge: adjustable-height plastic original
Nut: original plastic

Condition notes: damaged pickguard with replacement section, master volume pot non-functional (but redundant, anyway), one replacement pickup polepiece, replacement tuners ('70s era), but otherwise original. There's lots of minor wear-and-tear throughout but it's not abused.

The neck has a non-adjustable metal rod installed. Note how huge that headstock is! I love the shape of it, too.

The pickups are excellent in tone and also look amazing.

The bridge is compensated for 4-wound, 2-plain. That was a typical arrangement when this was built.