Epiphone Zenith Owners!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Twocan, Mar 28, 2017.

  1. Twocan

    Twocan Living the Dream

    Oct 5, 2009
    OK, it's about time that this bass gets its own "official" thread.

    I owned a fretless Zenith for several years, recently selling it to a fellow TB'er to fund another purchase. I quickly realized how foolish that was, just in time to snatch up another that came up for sale:

    IMG_2859.JPG IMG_2860.JPG IMG_2861.JPG IMG_2862.JPG

    Having owned a couple of these now, there are some subtle differences that I've noticed in the models floating around, including:
    -Outer edge binding (some have a white lines, others don't).
    -Fretless inlay material, and whether or not it goes to the edge of the fretboard or not.
    -Bridge placement (whether it overhangs the edge of the bass).
    -Weight (seems to vary widely).

    One thing that has remained consistent is the tone. I've not encountered another bass that sounds like this. It's deep, woody and (for me anyway) just nails a classic upright tone.

    Here's that "one" video review of the bass that everyone always links, so I will too:

    Another key piece of info from an older thread - There are switches inside the bass. I was told by Gibson:


    If looking at the bass from the back in the normal playing position the switch on the top is a phase switch for the nanomag and nanoflex.
    The switch on the bottom is a boost for the nanomag. It was included to provide a better output level balance between the nanomag and nanoflex depending on what strings are used.
    As you know the fretless uses tapewound strings which require a bit more gain from the nanomag preamp to provide an even response with the under-saddle piezo."

    So enough from me - let's see your Zeniths!
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2017
  2. MrBassman17


    Dec 30, 2011
    Brewster, NY
    This one popped up on Reverb several months ago, so I pulled the trigger! Would ave preferred the natural color, but the trans black is great, too! Plays like a dream; all I had to do when I got it was restore the strings back to the OEM tape wounds! IMG_1252.jpg

    Attached Files:

    Beej, B-Mac, Nunovsky and 2 others like this.
  3. brossmac


    Mar 1, 2005
    Camas, WA
    It's been on my short list of basses that I wanted to try.

    I wasn't necessarily in the market, but one popped up on Craigslist in Portland and, well...

    B-Mac likes this.
  4. I've been intrigued by these basses since they first came out. Thanks for the pics, folks.
    B-Mac and nixdad like this.
  5. stacystarkweath


    Aug 11, 2005
    Played one of these at the Berkeley branch of "Starving Musician"...passed (stupidly) but one showed up a month later at the Concord Guitar Center- pulled the trigger- and it came in a "Starving Musician" gig bag. Guess it was the same one. Phenomenal instrument for $500! Read a fair amount of discussion elsewhere about people being disappointed that it didn't sound enough like an upright- and that was my first impression too. However- with some tweaking (treble full on, bass full off- slightly toward neck or bridge pickup) and rethinking how I play it- I have gotten remarkably close- band mates love it! My rethinking was simple- you have to play it like an upright- different right hand finger angles- and most important- different vocabulary!
    mtdkingstonheir and B-Mac like this.
  6. B-Mac

    B-Mac Just like Aretha Sang... R-E-S-P-E-C-T Supporting Member

    Been on my wish list for a while now along with the Epiphone Masterbuilt, but not seeing used for sale. Brand new retail, to me, are overpriced. I guess these are so good that people are holding on to them
  7. stacystarkweath


    Aug 11, 2005
    Not many of the olds show up but when they do- grab it. I haven't read great reviews of the new Mostertone Zenith bass- but then again- I haven't played one!
  8. Double E

    Double E I ain't got no time to play... Supporting Member

    Dec 24, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    I've been holding out for an Amber Fretless for years and finally one appeared at the right place and time for me to pull the trigger!

    I am thrilled to finally have one of these that I have been eyeballing for quite some time.

    Here's the pic from the local ad... and below is the only pic I've taken myself so far, the obligatory scale shot showing a desirable (at least for this instrument) weight of 9lbs 5.6oz.


    B-Mac, petch and MrBassman17 like this.
  9. MrBassman17


    Dec 30, 2011
    Brewster, NY
    That's the one I wanted but could never find! Question : did the knobs have a sticky substance on them? Both the knobs on the Zenith I purchased and a set of replacement knobs had what appeared to be 'double faced tape' coating the surfaces on mine! Good luck with it and enjoy!
  10. Double E

    Double E I ain't got no time to play... Supporting Member

    Dec 24, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    Yes, the rubber knobs were indeed sticky. This is common with these rubberized knobs. I used a little hand sanitizer to clean them which seemed to work for getting the sticky off but now they are kinda cloudy looking.

    I think I’ll do a little more research on how you’re supposed to maintain this kind of surface.
  11. MrBassman17


    Dec 30, 2011
    Brewster, NY
    I tried a solvent, I think it was nail polish remover, which is why I had to replace them, don't do that! But the weird thing was that the OEM replacements had the same sticky stuff on them as well!
  12. Double E

    Double E I ain't got no time to play... Supporting Member

    Dec 24, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    Where did you source the OEM replacments?
  13. remcomm


    Apr 9, 2010
    Hey Mr. Bassman, can you post your source(s) for OEM parts for the Zenith?
  14. IMG_1088.JPG IMG_1136.JPG Here's mine: Fretless, natural.

    Fretless will make an honest man out of you. I have a tendency to cheat with my pinky on fretted basses and the fretless outs me every time!

    Love the tortoise-shell binding!
    B-Mac and Double E like this.
  15. stacystarkweath


    Aug 11, 2005
    Mine sure does- have to keep cleaning
  16. stacystarkweath


    Aug 11, 2005
    Does anyone know what hardshell case will work with this?
  17. Flaked Beans

    Flaked Beans

    Sep 9, 2005
    Here's mine (with my spectorcore4). Sounds great!
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2020
    B-Mac likes this.
  18. Boomer611


    Mar 15, 2020
    Purchased an Epiphone Jack Cassidy bass case for my Zenith & it works perfectly.
    B-Mac and MrBassman17 like this.
  19. stacystarkweath


    Aug 11, 2005
    Thank YOU!!!!!!
  20. Rory Kinsella

    Rory Kinsella

    Jan 6, 2021
    Hi guys,

    I just picked up a fretless Zenith and am really enjoying it – such a great looking bass. But noticing a bit of distortion from the nanomag, only from the E string though and not when I play super soft. Lowering the amount of bass in the eq for that pick up and having the master volume down low don't help.

    Has anyone else had this issue? I changed to a brand new battery and it was the same too.

    Last edited: Jan 22, 2021
    B-Mac likes this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jun 14, 2021

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