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|Founded||London, England (1965 )|
|Tony Zemaitis Jr.|
|Products||Guitars, Bass guitars|
Zemaitis Guitars is a guitar-manufacturing company based in Tokyo, Japan. The company's guitars are based on designs by the Lithuanian luthier Tony Zemaitis. His son, Tony Zemaitis, Jr., leads the company, which produces both electric and acoustic guitars.
Tony Zemaitis began producing guitars in the 1950s, and entered the guitar making profession full-time in 1965. During the 1970s, he began experimenting with putting a metal shield on the top of the guitar to eliminate microphonic noise picked up by the guitars' pickups. To enhance the visual aspect of the guitars, Zemaitis enlisted the skills of gun engraver Danny O'Brien. The designs include elaborate pearl inlay, either of figures like dragons and skulls or complete mosaic-like inlaid tops.
Since Zemaitis Sr.'s death in 2002, the Zemaitis family continued the guitar-building business in Tokyo, offering both high-end hand-built guitars, and a more affordable "Greco Zemaitis" line of guitars. The current production is based on original drawings by Tony Zemaitis Sr. Guitars made by Zemaitis are featured in a museum in Tokyo.
Zemaitis guitars are noteworthy for having been played by Jimi Hendrix, Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, Ronnie Wood, Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & Palmer and King Crimson, Ronnie Lane of Faces, George Harrison, Marc Bolan, Joe Walsh, James Honeyman-Scott of The Pretenders, Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi, Gary Grainger of Rod Stewart, Simon Hinkler of The Mission UK, Dave Sharp of The Alarm, Charlie Starr of Blackberry Smoke and James Hetfield of Metallica. He even made bass guitars, Pete Cruickshank of The Groundhogs, being one owner. Geddy Lee of Rush appeared with a 1992 model Zemaitis bass on the band's R40 tour.