Alden TV Cruiser (Bluesline Disk)
An amazing tribute to the custom made guitars Tony Zemaitis made famous in the 1970’s by such players as Ron Wood, Keith Richards, Marc Bolan and George Harrison. Whereas a true vintage Zemaitis will set you back a sum in the high five figures, you can have this nice Chinese knockoff for a street price of around $500. Even the new Zemaitis reissues made in Japan cost a hefty chunk of change, so here is you chance to have a unique looking guitar for a fraction of what the real thing costs.
Sporting a body style that looks like the bastard offspring of a Telecaster and a Les Paul, the ZE Cruiser (sometimes denoted as the Disk or Bluesline Disk), the body is slightly thinner than a standard Tele at just under 2 inches. The outstanding feature of this guitar is the disc-shaped etched aluminum pickguard that sports three beefy humbuckers.
Unlike three humbucker equipped Gibsons, the ZE Cruiser has a unique switching system that has a master volume on the upper bout (where a three way switch would be on a Les Paul) and a five way switch on the pickguard not unlike a Strat. This allows the player to get some really cool and skronky blues tones that aren’t Strat-like but are useful nonetheless. Three convenient but oddly placed tone control knobs work each pickup effectively. The pickups themselves are crisp and lend a slightly darker SG-like tone to the guitar. The neck is fast and comfy and the medium-jumbo frets are nicely set in and finished. Bending notes in the higher registers is a breeze.
The hardware seems to be the higher-end generic Chinese variety, If you want to geek out, you can switch this stuff out, but it all appears solid. The tuners seem to be a Grover knockoff. The other beautiful appointments on this guitar are the astoundingly beautiful pearloid neck binding and the stunning abalone inlay on the rosewood fretboard and large headstock.
Alden also makes other Zemaitis knockoffs such as a pearl.abalone topped LP-styled entry and others that are of a more original design. Upon a close-up comparison to a real Zemaitis one can notice differences – this is not an exact replica, but pretty darn close. Whether you want to recreate the vibe of the Faces in 1972 or just want a unique guitar, the Alden ZE Cruiser just might be what is need to achieve you sonic and esthetic goals.