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Epiphone Zenith Fretless

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Vegas_Local, Aug 14, 2012.

  1. Vegas_Local


    Aug 14, 2012
    Recently joined a country band for the first time. Looking to buy a fretless acoustic/electric to fill the room with round/warm tone. Currently playing with a Fender Performer tuned up a half step for the capo 1 songs, and a Danelectro 58 Longhorn with standard tuning. Amp is a Ampeg BA 115, and I use a BBE Vintage Compression pedal. Getting a pretty sweet tone now, just wondering if anyone owns or has demo-ed one of these Zeniths. You Tubed a couple of demos, but feel this is the place to go for more expertise.
  2. tkozal


    Feb 16, 2006
    New York City
    Can you find one? I wanted one, now is discontinued. Had it in my MF cart, then they took it away months ago.
  3. drummike


    Oct 20, 2010
    I wanted a Zenith also, but never got a chance to try one and didn't want to order without trying it. I got an Ibanez EWB20 fretless from another TBer and it is extremely nice.
  4. apl4


    Sep 13, 2010
    Cumbria, UK
    I've just bought a Zenith, and gigged it for the first time. Overall, as a concept, this is an amazing bass. The range of tones you can get out of it are awesome. It looks the part too. BUT...
    As soon as I'd decided to go for a Zenith, to replace my old Ovation acoustic 5 string, I searched high and low (in the UK) and eventually ascertained that there were only 4 left in the country. All of them i Natural finish, and fretted. Dawson's had 3 and GuitarGuitar had 1. I decided to go with Dawsons, as this would give me a chance of getting a good one. The first one came through the post, and immediately got sent back. The finish on the fret board was dreadful, with chips that had been repaired during manufacture. The output from the NanoFlex was low from the 'E' string, and the finish inside the f-holes was ghastly. Like someone had used an axe to hollow it out.
    The second one arrived. This was a lot better in most respects. The fret board was excellent, but the strings were flat to the fret board, so the neck relief had to be adjusted before it would play a note. I then found the 'E' string had a horrible buzz that I just couldn't pinpoint. It turned out to be a broken core in the 'E' string. This is caused, in part, by the severe bend in the string as it goes over the saddle. Something to watch out for in the future.
    I changed the strings and setup the neck again. This then gave me a chance to try it out, and what a sound! Excellent Hi's, Mid's and deep lows. Great acoustic sounds from the NanoFlex, which picks up the body vibrations, and plenty of power from the NanoMag.
    The action was way too high, so I decided to reduce the height of the saddle by about 1.25mm. This brought the action down nicely, but I'd created a problem that I'd first seen in the original guitar that I sent back to Dawson's, which was a low output from the NanoFlex, on both the 'E' and 'G' strings. Eventually worked out that this was due to me not filing the bottom of the saddle, perfectly flat. And I mean perfectly flat. The saddle HAS to contact the NanoFlex perfectly along the full length. Otherwise the vibration is not transferred to the pickup consistently.
    Now sorted, this is a lovely guitar to play. The finish round the inside of the F-holes isn't brilliant, but with a bit of fine polish it'll be sorted. The bass is quite heavy, Les Paul type weight, but it is well balanced. It's going to take the place of my Ovation Celebrity CS275 acoustic, and my Fender Jazz. That's how flexible it is.

    Overall, a lot of hassle, but worth it in the end.

    One more thing. I can't find a hard case anywhere!!! frustrating!
  5. hhenry


    Feb 17, 2011
    NFLD, Canada
    The AGB100C case for the Ibanez Artcore fits my Zenith perfectly.
  6. apl4


    Sep 13, 2010
    Cumbria, UK
    Thanks for that. I'll check out availability
  7. Have you tried calling the Telephone Operator? The operator will need the serial number to help track it down. Ask for Zenith "1234" and they'll connect your call to locate that item.

    p.s. Before someone actually tries this. It's just a joke that only older TB'ers, like myself, will probably understand. There was a time where Zenith numbers preceeded 1-800's. You had to call your phone operator and ask for Zenith "1234". It basically worked like a collect call to a company.
  8. apl4


    Sep 13, 2010
    Cumbria, UK
    Hee haw! ?
    Being from the UK, that one went right over my head.
  9. Vegas_Local


    Aug 14, 2012
    Thank you all for the responses. I also would be hesitant to buy any bass I could not play first. I would also lose my mind if I ran into the situation apl4 had with a defective product. The choices in the major music stores in Las Vegas is fairly limited as far as fretless acoustics go. But I will keep looking.
  10. I just found and purchased a used fretless Zenith at a vintage guitar store in Walnut Creek CA... The thing is AWESOME !! plays like a dream and sounds amazing...

    It did not come with a case so I am in thre hunt for one of those..
  11. I am going to try the self-hardening clay thing below the saddle which they say usually works, I tried sanding my saddle dead-flat, but E and G are still weak.
  12. Igmar


    Apr 3, 2013
    Bronx, NY
    I bought an Epiphone Zenith bass last month on ebay without a case.:bassist:
    I then went crazy trying to find a case until, by chance, I came across your blog.:help:
    I took your advice and bought an Ibanez AGB100C. It was just as you said; the Zenith fits inside like a glove !:hyper:
    So I signed up to TalkBASS.com just so I could thank you for helping me find the right case.:)
  13. hhenry


    Feb 17, 2011
    NFLD, Canada
    Thank you, pal. Hope you enjoy your Zenith as much as I do.

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