In 2014, Jeff Diamant's group of companies experienced a rapid expansion and hit some major milestones: first the expansion of Diamond Amplification, Inc., second by rebranding his very successful guitar company (n/k/a Diamond Guitars, f/k/a DBZ/Diamond) and third, by launching Diamond Tactical, a tactical gear manufacturing arm of the company making products for the guitar industry and also full-fledged tactical gear. Before the year-end, however, Diamond Guitars managed to carve another high notch on the totem pole by joining forces with FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH guitarist Zoltan Bathory. The result was the first-ever Diamond Artist Signature Series, the Halcyon ZB, debuting in January at the 2015 NAMM show.
"Working with Zoltan requires constantly pushing for the next level," said Jeff Diamant. "He is an accomplished and successful guitar player, known for testing the limits in each and every way. Besides forming one of the world's biggest rock bands, he frequently straps himself into fighter jets, races million dollars monster trucks, trains special operators in close-quarters combat, and earns medals in professional martial arts tournaments. It's clear that he is at war with the word 'impossible.' As you may have guessed, when it comes to his gear, he has the highest expectations for the design and engineering. Not every company can keep up with his relentless quest of making things bigger, better, and faster. Inevitably he will break you or make you to break the sound barrier."
During nearly a decade in business, DBZ/Diamond earned its success by catering to the most discerning customers interested in high-end American-made amplifiers and high-precision instruments. Zoltan, one of the earliest endorsers of Diamond, has a long-standing relationship with the company. However, that relationship's true extent remained mainly behind the scenes.
"The road to success is a bloody traffic jam, but there is one road that's almost empty — 'that extra mile.' That's where I ran into Jeff… He was cruising along right there with windows down, a cigar and a gangster lean, making the best amplifiers I ever played," said Zoltan. "We are kindred spirits; we don't ask 'why' — we ask 'why not.' We are relentless and we keep climbing even when we run out of mountains.
"We spent long hours in the labs at Diamond Amplification working on all kinds of inventions from circuit designs, to amplifier designs and even tactical products for the Diamond Tactical product line, for which he and I are both founding members.
"Our history is well known, but the lesser known industry secret is that he and I designed the Halcyon at Diamond's start, along with their other marquis models the Bird of Prey and Venom, all of which have been very successful for Diamond Guitars and are highly sought-after instruments. This new signature guitar was developed form that Halcyon, but we wanted to take the guitar to even a higher level so we added exotic and high-grade woods, precision components and top notch engineering."
A big part of that process revolved around Bathory rejoining with Seymour Duncan pickups as well. "He has worked with Seymour Duncan in the past, and even designed some custom pickups with them, but when I showed him the new Seymour Duncan Pegasus / Sentient set, he was blown away," added Diamant. "He wanted them in his guitar. With Zoltan, the gear has to be the newest, the best, the baddest."
The result of Diamant and Bathory's research and development was the Halcyon ZB models, which will come in two colors with slightly different configurations. The first, the Halcyon ZB-FR Black Moonrise model, is a Flamed Maple over Maple body, Maple set neck with Ebony fingerboard, 24 fret, 25.5" scale length, Floyd Rose bridge and Seymour Duncan Pegasus/Sentient pickup set, allowing players to use the thickest string gauge they want but retain clarity and ferocious tonality. The Halcyon ZB-FR Kona Brown model features a Flame Maple over Mahogany body, for a completely different and warmer feel, with Mahogany set neck and Ebony fingerboard with the aforementioned pickups and hardware configuration. The custom inlay on both models, spanning the first to third frets, is a Tibetan Flame encompassing a Double Dorje, which is also a tattoo on Bathory's forearms. Symbolically a dorje represents the "thunderbolt of enlightenment," that abrupt change in human consciousness, and coincidentally, the word also represents the diamond's unique indestructible ability to cut any surface without harm to itself.
The new Halcyon ZB-FR models will be on display at the NAMM show in Diamond Guitars' booth, Hall D Booth 3290, where customers will also have a chance to win one. As well, Seymour Duncan has announced the giveaway of one new Halcyon ZB-FR guitar model. Contest details can be found here.
Diamant concluded: "When you ask me how to design a guitar for a guy like Zoltan Bathory, I'd tell you this — very, very thoroughly, because if it's less than the best in some aspect, he'll notice it. It's a challenge and an accomplishment."