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I'm going to buy a Hyperbass

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by Widener, Nov 21, 2004.


  1. Widener

    Widener

    Nov 21, 2004
    Aptos, CA
    Well, it's been a dream of mine 12 years in the making. Michael Manring was nice enough to let me put my paws on his Hyperbass during a clinic at Green Valley Music in the early '90s and I was blown away by its sound and feel. It has assumed that Excalibur kind of status in my mind and is sort of representational of everything that I wanted but could never have in life. Doh! But I just climbed out of debt and paid off my credit card bills, so I think I'm going to climb right back in. LOL.

    I don't think Zon makes the Hyperbass with the special detunable bridge anymore. That's okay; I don't think I could afford that option anyway. I'm, of course, going to pop for the Hipshots on the strings, though. I wonder if the transducers and/or the quadrophonic output come standard; I don't think they offer it anymore, as I don't see it mentioned on the Zon site. Sad. I really would love to have that option.

    Michael, do you know any of this info offhand? I sent an email to Zon but haven't heard back from them (it's the weekend).

    So I will probably post my silly Hyperbass questions when I get the blessed thing. Like, "oh sweet Crom, what have I gotten myself into?" :)

    PS: I've heard rumors of a recently completed all solo bass Manring album. When will this be released?!
     
  2. Widener

    Widener

    Nov 21, 2004
    Aptos, CA
    Just got off the phone with Joe Zon. He's running numbers for me. Yay!

    Some things he told me (just in case any of you are thinking about getting a Hyperbass):

    Even though it's not advertised on the Zon site, they CAN build you a version II model--the kind with the detunable bridge--but the price goes way up because the bridges cost them so much money to buy. Also, the detunable bridge requires adjustments if you want to switch string gauge, so it's really only suited for piccolo gauge strings. Zon made the version I model, the one without the detunable bridge, because players wanted to be able to switch gauges (play a gig with normal gauge strings, then switch to piccolo in the interim, etc.). But the detunable bridges ARE still available, though not advertised.

    The quadrophonic pickups are so rare, and it's been so long since they've ordered them from Bartolini, that they don't advertise them anymore, though Joe offered to look into it for me. I guess Bartolini has taken on so much work that a special order like that can be delayed for over a year, and that has happened in the past, so to avoid customer dissatisfaction, Zon has stopped offering it. But if you really want one, they'll try to get it for you.

    They don't coat the fingerboard with the protective resin anymore, but they said that it wouldn't be a big deal if I wanted it. It protects the fingerboard, gives a brighter tone (great for solo work), and looks really sharp.

    Joe also mentioned a six string Hyperbass that they are just finishing up for a customer that has additional piezo pickups with dual output. Sounds interesting.

    I found Joe Zon to be an amazingly helpful and friendly guy, too.
     
  3. jeff schmidt

    jeff schmidt no longer red carded, but my butt is still sore.

    Aug 27, 2004
    Novato, CA
    congrats on your new bass.

    When I hear the name ZON all I can think of is 20% upcharge for lefties.

    I'm a lefty.

    congrats again!

    :)
     
  4. Michael Manring

    Michael Manring TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Congratulations, Widener! I think you’ll have a lot of fun with your Hyperbass. I’m not sure I’d agree the detuning bridge is only useable for piccolo strings, but it is an option that’s best suited for just those folks who are really into altered tunings. I hope the multi-output option becomes more readily available, though. You can certainly get by without it, but I really have a good time with it on mine. In any case, Joe is a great guy and I’m sure he’ll do whatever he can to build you the bass of your dreams!
     
  5. Widener

    Widener

    Nov 21, 2004
    Aptos, CA
    Michael, maybe I misunderstood Joe. Is it possible to string your Hyperbass up with regular gauge strings? I really am buying the Hyperbass for the altered tuning aspects, but still wanted the option of switiching to thicker than piccolo gauge strings if the need arose and I wanted to play a gig with it. I got the impression from Joe that the special detuning bridge isn't really set up for such string swapping. If I misunderstood, then I have to call Joe and tell him that I want the mega special magic bridge!

    So have you ever put thicker than piccolo gauge strings on?

    Thanks for the advice, Michael. ;)
     
  6. Michael Manring

    Michael Manring TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    I don’t have extensive experience with frequent string gauge changes on the Hyperbass, but I believe it will work, albeit with a few caveats. It sounds to me like what you want to do is keep the bass strung with piccolo strings most of the time so that you can experiment with high tunings, but be able to switch to more normal gauges to use standard tuning on gigs. The biggest drawback I can see to this is that you’d have to keep your bridge and nut slots set up for the larger strings. I’ve done this before and while it’s not ideal, I rarely had problems. If you then wish to use the re-tuning hardware with the larger strings you will need to re-calibrate the system. This can take some time -- I usually allow 2 hours -- but if you’re going to own a full blown Hyperbass, it’s something you’ll get used to doing! Alternatively, if you don’t need access to higher tunings you can just leave the larger gauge strings on the bass. I see no reason why the re-tuning hardware won’t work just as well with higher gauge strings. In any case, make sure you discuss your plans with Joe as he will have the final word on the subject.
     
  7. Widener

    Widener

    Nov 21, 2004
    Aptos, CA
    Thanks so much for the advice, Michael. I'll discuss it with Joe, but I have a feeling that my concerns were a bit unfounded (sounds like the bridge system can handle just about anything), and I'll probably be getting the version II. Yay!

    Oh, on a separate, unrelated note:
    Concerning your new, soon to be released solo album, while all the songs are fresh in your mind, it would be great if you notated them, a la the Thonk transcription book. It would be a beautiful Hal Leonard type book, or even better: pdf ebooks are sophisticated enough these days where you could sell transcriptions on your site. That would be amazing. Just brainstorming here! Have you thought of doing something like this?
     
  8. Widener

    Widener

    Nov 21, 2004
    Aptos, CA
    Joe is now building me a version II with the detunable bridge. Woo hoo! This is the best xmas present I've ever given myself!
     
  9. Whappo Grande

    Whappo Grande

    Feb 9, 2002
    Santa Clara, CA.
    Manager: AccuGroove Speakers
  10. Michael Manring

    Michael Manring TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Thanks, Widener. Little by little I've been working on transcriptions of my tunes and I plan to make them available when I get them done. It's a long process, though!

    Please let us know how things go with your new Hyperbass.
     
  11. Widener

    Widener

    Nov 21, 2004
    Aptos, CA
    Excellent news, Michael. Thanks for the update. I look forward to the new album!

    The new Hyperbass is half paid for and being built right now; it'll be ready in April! I went with a charcoal finish, and decided to pop for the deluxe bridge. Your pep talk was what I needed, Michael. Why go half way with an instrument that's really designed for altered tunings, for which I'm buying it in the first place? Gotta get the full tuning capabilities!
     
  12. suicas

    suicas

    Mar 12, 2004
    UK
    Same here, it's the only thing that's been stopping me from buying a Zon on principle...

    Hope to see pictures in the Basses forum once it arrives though!
     
  13. jvbjr

    jvbjr

    Jan 8, 2005
    It is legal discrimination. Why does a woman's haircut at the mall cost $8.00 more? The assumption of more hair.

    I am very interested hearing the Hyperbass is available as more than 4 strings. :hyper:
     
  14. I always thought it was because women's haircuts are so much more work. I cut my own hair in about 10 minutes, but a good women's haircut can take an hour or two.
     
  15. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Would you buy me a hyperbass too widener? I'd really like one :)
     
  16. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    I'm not a lefty, but I've seen many luthiers charge a little extra for left handed instruments. Which I guess is a little questionable, but wouldn't it be because the luthier is right handed, and thus, would have a little more difficulty making a good left handed instrument, so as to necessitate a little extra money for the extra work they'd have to put in?
     
  17. Widener

    Widener

    Nov 21, 2004
    Aptos, CA
    I wish I could buy the world a Hyperbass.

    Alas, I am too poor. :meh:
     
  18. jeff schmidt

    jeff schmidt no longer red carded, but my butt is still sore.

    Aug 27, 2004
    Novato, CA
    Emphasis on "A little extra". On the Hyperbass for example the "little extra" is over $1000!!

    Zon's 20% upcharge for lefty basses is essentially saying - Lefty? Don't bother us - we don't want to build your bass.

    I do buy Zon nickel strings for my Pedulla though. I love that bass. No lefty charges either!
     
  19. suicas

    suicas

    Mar 12, 2004
    UK
    I've come to expect a bit extra for a lefty, mostly as I assume it takes the luthier a bit more work and concentration (seeing as everything is reversed).

    A fixed 20% surcharge does seem steep though, it means having to pay extra for every single option, even things like pots or electronics, which shouldn't vary whether they're for a lefty or righty.

    It's a bit of a shame, as I'd probably have bought a Zon by now if it wasn't for this..

    Apologies if this has taken the thread a bit off topic by the way :)
     
  20. jvbjr

    jvbjr

    Jan 8, 2005
    Most builders cut their bodies with a computer today, so to make a mirror image means to have a left handed program as well. Chances are the program costs the same to have made yet gets very little overall use.

    Zon's necks are made of plastic, which means they come out of a mold of some sort. To make left handed necks, Zon needs left handed molds, again they cost the same as right handed ones but get little utilization.

    For a small operation like Zon it is very expensive to produce left handed guitars, so I can see why he needs that 20% to help cover his costs. I would venture to say that the first 20 lefties he makes of any one model go to pay for the molds and programing, so he is really doing the labor for free, even with the upcharge.