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Lightwave Bass impressions?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by DP Custom, Mar 22, 2001.


  1. DP Custom

    DP Custom DP Custom Basses

    Feb 7, 2001
    NC, USA
    Other than Fred, has anyone else had the chance to try out the various basses now offered with LighWave pickups?

    I'd like to hear people's opinions... in your experienced opinion, is it just another piezo like transducer, or does it do a whole lot more for the sound as the promos would have you believe?
     
  2. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    It does a whole lot more. There were several at Bass Day 2000 but that was hardly a place to evaluate them. I've spent more time on the Zon Sonus LW than any other and it's an excellent bass. I'd still like to hear a fretted LW.

    Fred has the new mods. He can tell you all about them.

    Lakland, US Masters, Brubaker, MTD... there are several other builders who probably wouldn't mind talking luthier to luthier with you.
     
  3. DP Custom

    DP Custom DP Custom Basses

    Feb 7, 2001
    NC, USA
    thanks for the suggestion, but what I'm more interested in hearing is the variety of comments from actual players ... the widest possible cross-section of users...
     
  4. I've had my Zon LW 5 string fretless for a couple of months now. It is currently at LW getting new electronics - the sweepable midrange and Mag Emulation. According to LW, the mods I am getting retain the sound I had and adds more options. Can't wait to get it back.

    Like someone else mentioned, the piezo control had little (actually no) effect until I adjusted it from within the control cavity. Now, it has more impact.

    Having owned other Zons, I can tell you that the LW sounds nothing like the Sonus Custom w/piezo that I had. It has it's own special voice. On the plus side, it is the most expressive fretless bass I have ever played. IMO, it has a distinct and beautiful voice. I've noticed no rattling when I dig in. It cuts through the mix amazingly well. I believe the Lightwave technology is a milestone in PU design.

    On the other hand, for me it took some getting used to. I had biases from years of playing basses with magnetic PUs that didn't translate to the LW. It handles lower strings differently than magnetics. Once I understood that, I could appreciate the LW for what it does differently. My other nit is that it does have a unique voice - I have found it impossible to get it to sound, well... traditional. To me, it always sounds wonderful... it just doesn't always sound "right".

    Perhaps the upgrade will get me closer. But even if it doesn't, that's fine. What the LW does well, it does exceptionally well. I am playing fretless now more than ever and enjoying it more than ever. Sometimes I just feel the need for a more traditional tone... of course that might just be the GAS talking!

    I now just have an excuse to buy a more traditionally sounding fretless to use when I feel the need. ;) Of course, I'm still considering that doubleneck idea :D

    Jeff
     
  5. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    I've "actually" played several, Dave;)

    I didn't find the sound to be like the majority of peizo systems out here, it's different and hard to describe, kind of like taking the unamplified sound of the bass and amplifying it.

    The reason I suggested talking to the lutes is because they have gotten lots of feedback from actual players. If I were a lute, I'd call the guys who have already invested time into the system and see if they'd be willing to share info, like Joe Zon, Mike Tobias, Kevin Brubaker, Carl at Lakland, etc. Seemed like a good idea at the time.

    Better?:D
     
  6. DP Custom

    DP Custom DP Custom Basses

    Feb 7, 2001
    NC, USA
    maybe... but I'm not sure how much they'll want to openly share market research info ;)
     
  7. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    I think you might be surprised, Dave. Most of these guys are very open (and opinionated). I've never had to twist their arm to get them to talk and I think that, as small builders, they're not threatened by competition from another up-and-coming small builder. Also, if you haven't talked to fred yet, do it. He knows more about the LW system than most people in the industry.

    I just talked to Mike T. today, he's busy as hell but he still spent a few minutes with me. IME most of these people are willing to talk off the record...that's the way I keep my conversations with them.

    A lot of this is anecdotal, it's not cut and processed marketing info. It might not be a bad idea, though, as a builder, to get references from Lightwave themself.
     
  8. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    BTW Dave, remember Zachary? Probably not the best tact for getting info:)