John Zeidler (1958-2002) grew up in Flemington, New Jersey, in a house where his father, a cabinet maker and woodworking teacher, built harpsichords in his basement shop for professional musicians. It was there that John built his first dulcimers and banjos when he was fifteen years old. After graduating from high school, Zeidler apprenticed for a year under luthier, Augustino LoPrinzi, and began repairing old Martins, Gibsons, D’Angelicos, and D’Aquistos before moving on to building instruments full-time.
Zeidler dedicated his life to the art of lutherie and specialized in building flattop and archtop guitars, and Mandolins. His experience in crafting violins has tremendously influenced his archtop work, especially the tap tuning, carving methods, his own varnishes which are all similar practices that enhanced his skill in working with archtop guitars. Zeidler continued his dedication to lutherie until his untimely passing at age forty four in 2002.
In a tribute to John, 11 of his fellow Blue Guitar builders, organized by Linda Manzer, collectively built the “Zeidler Project” guitar to help provide for his family. Never before or since has such a collection of luthiery talent worked together on a single guitar. More details are at http://newportguitarfestival.com/2004/zeidler.html
Zeidler’s Jazz Deluxe Special displays a very individualistic design highlighted in the sharp contrasting design of the headstock, fretboard extension and ornament embellishments. The guitar features a select Adirondack spruce top, with X-bracing, as well as select big-leaf flamed maple back, sides, and neck. Tortoise shell is used on the pickguard and binding. The end pin and decorative buttons on the tuner knobs and string posts are hand turned from celluloid tortoise shell as well. All parts of the head and tailpiece are handmade, rhodium plated, and engraved in a freehand English scroll style with a hand-rubbed patina finish. Ebony is used on the fingerboard, bridge, and the structure of the tailpiece.