Modulus Vs. Zon

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Rodan, Feb 21, 2002.

  1. Rodan


    Feb 4, 2002
    Hollywood, FL
    I know these threads are getting old, but I would really appreciate some input here. How do these compare? Contrast?

    I'm familiar with the Modulus Quantums, but have never had the chance to play a Zon.
  2. Jeff in TX

    Jeff in TX Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2000
    Lone Star State
    I had a Quantum and have owned several Zons. I think the Modulus have a great signature tone where the Zons just sound like a great bass. They are both made very well, so it's a matter of choice regarding the physical design.

  3. I'm with Jeff: They're both great basses.

    The difference I hear in the tone is that the Modulus is a bit more bitey/cutting (we're talking the Q series), while the Zon is a bit warmer while still cutting through a mix well.

    Feel is a bit different too. The Zon basses just feel "warmer" in my hands. I don't know a better way to describe's more organic to me.
  4. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I owned a Modulus for about 1-1/2 years and have played a few Zons, most recently about 3 weeks ago at a local GC.

    I'm a big fan of the modern tone of the Modulus: it sounds like a grand piano! But, it can get a little harsh on the treble end and lack warmth, at least IME.

    The Zon's a vastly different animal. It's much more warm sounding, and has a much more round fundamental than the Modulus.

    If I were to pick either, I'd have to go with the Zon.
  5. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    Depends on what sound you're after. The Zons (at least the ones I've checked out but never gigged with) definitely have a warmer characteristic tone. The Modulus may have the edge in upper register transparency. The gap is narrowed when you go with a Bart equipped Modulus as opposed to EMG. In my experience, based on years in the Bar Wars, most small dives give the bass a low-end push that makes just about any bass warm so I tend to lean towards something that gives me more top-end spike to balance out the joints I work in.

    But it's all really about personal preference. The recent Modulus Q6 I bought (Gard knows) is my current fave. What can I say? I'm in love.
  6. Basso Gruvitas

    Basso Gruvitas Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2000
    Dallas/Ft. Worth TX
    A couple more differences to note:

    The Modulus is 35" scale while the Zon Sonus is 34" (Zon also offers 35" models with 22 frets). The longer scale is great for the punchier B string, but some who have smaller hands don't care for the stretch.

    Also, most Modulus have a composite fingerboard, while the Zon is phenowood (birch injected with phenolic resins). Yes, you can get a Modulus with a wood fingerboard, but we're talking signature differences. That is one reason the Zon sounds more organic or woodier -- it has a wood fingerboard...sort of.

    The EMG's on the Mods are not for everyone though. Match those with a graphite neck and a composite fingerboard, and many feel you might as well play a surfboard. Also, how much vintage vibe you want in your sound should be considered. You don't see many bass players with a Modulus doing retro music.

    Hope this helps.
  7. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    Good points, Zon4John. My Mod has a granadillo board with Barts and a 3 band 18v Bart preamp. I also agree about the 35" scale.
  8. do they have a similar neck profile? I found that both the modulus 5 and 6 felt to beefy for my tastes. I've never played a modulus 4. I've only played zon 4's and absolutely LOVE the sonus fretless 4 that I played.
  9. Good God, son, you think a Quantum 5's neck is "beefy?" I've never played a thinner-necked 5 in my life...except a Status!

    Anyhow, yes, Zon and Modulus basses have very similar neck profiles: narrow, flat on the back, and thin thin thin. They're the exact antithesis of what I want in a neck.

    Here's a question: why don't graphite neck makers offer thicker necks? There are a fair number of people (such as myself) for whom a P-Bass/Warwick-style "baseball bat" or "river barge" is the most comfortable profile. If Zon offered a thick-necked fretless 5, I'd be all over it, and fast.
  10. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I like both Moduli that I've tried and the Zon I got my hands on at BC...I'd have to say I like the Bstring on the Moduli I've tried over the Zon. But, the Zon did feel more organic. It's a toss up. If I had to go with one, I'd go with Modulus.
  11. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I'd guess it's because most people don't seem to want the "baseball bat" necks and with the stability of composites there's no need for that thickness. It would be easy enough to build but probably hard to sell.
  12. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I know I'm pretty partial to the sheer speed of a Modulus neck. Like greased I got myself wanting a couple Modulus basses.

  13. ya- it felt beefy... to me. But I usually play 4's. I like thin flat necks, like the peavey cirrus 5 and 6. I'll have to give it another try though.
  14. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    I was wondering about this same topic about a week ago. Never did find a Zon to try out.

    So I bought a Modulus.;) I KNOW I like them. Should be here on Monday.
  15. Tell me about it...

    Just on a lark, I emailed Steve Mosher asking about whether he'd make a thicker neck as a custom job. He replied that the only way of making Moses necks thicker was to graft on a thicker fingerboard. :rolleyes:

    Way to ignore a market, guys. Ever wonder why Warwick sells so many basses?
  16. phogchris


    May 27, 2000
    Boca Raton, FL

    Ok, then why doesn't Warwick make graphite composite necks....

    Way to ignore a market Warwick guys.

    People DO buy and like graphite also...

    Your rationale goes both ways. I hate Warwicks, so I buy thin necked basses with graphite composite necks, the market for those is out there, also. Warwick sells so many basses because there is a market for them, not because they have baseball bat necks. I think a bass sells because of many different factors, not just the size of the neck.

  17. pd_5string

    pd_5string Admin: Accnt Disabled

    Jan 23, 2002
    If you were to describe an electric bass tone as "woody or metallic" I would say that the Zon has a woody tone with elements of metallic, while the Modulus is a metallic sounding bass with elements of wood. This is of course, GENERALLY speaking, as there are several models of Zon basses to go with their graphite composite neck. I have owned all of them except the hyperbass, the studio, and the 5/2. Here is how they sound:

    Sonus: Woody, huge low mid growl has "line coil pickups" which are really two split coil pickups that look like J-pickups. Excellent P-bass tone when neck PUP us solo'd.

    Sonus Custom: More hi-fi tone, cleaner sound (but not as clean as a Modulus Q). Has two dual coil soapbar PUPS on the 5 and 6 strings, but a split coil soapbar at the neck and a dual coil soapbar at the bridge for the 4 string.

    Sonus Special: More Music Man like, two multi coil pups placed towards the bridge. Tone is more bell like. This bass has a bubinga top which really tightens up the sound.

    Legacy Elite: Sounds almost identical to the Sonus Custom, but has a tighter feel. The new ones have a mahogany body, which is a personal favorite of mine for body woods. However, I had my Sonus Custom made with a mahogany body. The Legacy elite has a set in neck, and the body shape isn't as traditional looking as the Sonus.

    The heel of the Zon has a wood core that the neck joint screws screw into. It is also a hollow neck.

    Zon is also now making a matte finish neck, instead of a glossy neck. You can still get glossy though.

    Zons have a "slightly" flatter neck in the back as compared to the Modulus. For the 4 string, the neck feels almost identical to a Fender J-bass.

    Zon's 35" models are the Sonus Studio and the 5/2. They have 22 frets.

    I play 5 string bass about 80% of the time and I can't complain at all about the b-string tone.

    Obviously, I favor the Zon, and have tried several Modulus basses, as I am a huge fan of graphite composite neck basses. I also believe that Zon makes more models which all share the same neck, so you can really get the one that is right for your sound.

    Both companies offer a nice array of color selection, woods, etc.

    31HZ likes this.
  18. With the risk of upsetting things here, but how do Status basses (the graphite necked ones onviously) sound in comparison with Modulus and Zon? The sound samples of Zons I've downloaded from elsewhere on this site have impressed me, but I've only seen one Zon here in Sweden. On stage. Modulus basses are equally hard to come by (I've tried a used one, probably bought in the states, in a store once), Status, at least, has a Swedish distributor.

  19. Why must graphite necks be thin, though? I realize that Brad gave a perfectly valid answer to that question a few responses back, but it still bums me out, because the one-time charge of making a bigger neck mold would more than pay for itself over time.

    I'm sure hundreds of Lakland, Warwick, MM, etc. players would switch to Zon or Modulus if those companies were to offer the option of a thicker neck. I happen to love Zon tone, and given the number of ZONbies out there I'm sure that a lot of people do, so what gives?

    I don't like Warwicks too much, either, to tell you the truth; I think the MEC electronics are cheap-sounding to the extreme! But if one isn't in the "traditional" (Fender, Lakland, MM) market or doesn't have the money for a custom job, Warwick is one's only option. Ugh.
  20. I'm a graphite lover, and own a Zon sonus 5 J/J and a Modulus M92-5 and the two basses couldn't be more different. Most of what has been said here is right on. The Modulus is a single soapbar EMG and this bass is like a bright agressive stingray. The Zon is a warm sounding jazz bass. They make a great contrast for me.
  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.

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