ZR Scarab Fretless Guitar – Signature Arli Liberman

Last week we visited Zdeněk Rumler’s Workshop to take a look at his latest creation, a custom build for Arli Liberman in New Zealand. Now we have all the photos and specifications of this beautiful instrument which is a combination of luthier boutique art and high tech performance.

ZR Scarab Fretless Guitar AL

As mentioned, the guitar was commissioned by Arli Liberman and his logo is positioned between the two pickups with his name on the headstock.

Arli Liberman logo

Arli Liberman headstock

The main body of the guitar is African Mahogany The lighter wood is Ash from a European source which has a bit more density than the American Ash that is usually used for  guitars. There is a cavity below the Ash top in the upper half of the body of similar size to the control cavity. The fingerboard is ebony and spans two octaves, essential for fretless work.

ZR Scarab AL front

ZR Scarab fretless guitar rear LA

Like all of Zdeněk Rumler’s guitars he signs them discreetly behind the headstock.

Zdeněk Rumler signatre fretless guitar

Details of the guitar are laser engraved on the control cavity cover. You can also see the through bridge which is a great feature for improving sustain.

Control cavity cover, ZR fretless guitar

What sets this guitar apart technically (if the beautiful design was not enough) is the variety of sounds that can be found in the varied switching options on the control panel.

All volume and tone controls are the push/push type. The volume controls push/push switch the hum buckers from parallel to series windings, and the tome controls push/push switch in different capacitors. (This means the tone control has a different effect on damping high frequencies, the larger the capacitor, the more damping) You can make this guitar sound very dark.

The three way switch actually has six positions, an upper three and a lower three, in the upper the pickups operate as hum buckers, in the lower three as single coils. Now that is about 96 different settings available, or at least 96 different switch settings, you can see the actual available list in the controls section below.

ZR011SCAL - 11

Well just how well does it play? There was not a lot of time to do extensive testing and as this is destined for a valued customer a quick test is preferable (it would be bad manners to take it on a gig). As in previous Scarabs the sustain is impressive, the balance is great, and the ebony board allows a lot of control over vibrato. I can honestly say this is a great fretless guitar, perhaps the greatest Zdeněk Rumler has produced to date. This is a boutique guitar available at an upper end production guitar price, in other words, a bargain. If you are thinking of a luthier made fretless guitar Zdeněk Rumler is the guy to talk to, it won’t be long before he has a long waiting list.

ZR Scarab Fretless Guitar AL

If the artistic work put into the guitar was not enough, how about a bespoke case?

ZR011SCAL - 14

ZR011SCAL - 13

ZR fret;ess guitar case closed


ZR specifications AL

Download pdf of above image: 011 SCAL description

Control Descriptions

ZR control description AL

Download pdf of above image:  Controls ZR011SCAL

Circuit Diagram

ZR circuit diagram AL

Download pdf of above image:  Circuit ZR011SCAL



A visit to Zdeněk Rumler’s Workshop

Jahloon meets up with Czech Luthier Zdeněk Rumler

Arli Liberman’s website

More Fretless Guitars

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