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MPG Level 5 vs. Zon Sonus 5

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Scott D, Apr 25, 2004.


  1. Scott D

    Scott D

    Apr 21, 2003
    Minneapolis, MN
    Hey guys, as some of you might now, i'm looking for a new 5 string in the mid-priced range. I've found these two specimens in the 1k-1.2k range, and i've never played either. I've heard tons of good stuff about both. I play mostly fingerstyle, with a small amount of slap. I play in many different settings-rock, hip/hop,and acoustic-type stuff. Scale length really doesn't matter for me. The MPG has Alder/Rosewood with Basslines electronics. The Zon is flame maple/? for fingerboard with Bart J's and EMG circuit. The zon is $95 more than the MPG. What would you choose in my situation? For reference, my rig is Ampeg SVT-3 Pro > Eden 4x10 > Traynor 2x15. I'm basically looking for great playability, nice B, and versatile sounds.

    Thanks,
    Scott D.

    P.S.-Pics of both...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Win/Win (I know, I know, that doesn't help.)

    Of those two, though, I'd go with Zon. Those things are the bees knees.
     
  3. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon Supporting Member

    May 10, 2000
    Lake Forest, CA
    None.
    many have asked me about that particular Zon.

    i'm not much on that refinish.

    i'd go with the MPG.

    OR...wait, other great Zon deal will pop up.

    f
     
  4. pigpen02

    pigpen02

    Mar 24, 2002
    I like the mpg, looks great.
     
  5. Scott D

    Scott D

    Apr 21, 2003
    Minneapolis, MN
    Well, looks really aren't a huge deal to me ( I kind of like the color ), and it's $1095 with HSC...
     
  6. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Look wise (between these particular two) I prefer the MPG, but I dig Zons so much, that particular finish thingie can be overlooked.
     
  7. Scott D

    Scott D

    Apr 21, 2003
    Minneapolis, MN
  8. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Cheats, liars and theives... Well, not really. But Joe puts out a quality product, don't let anyone tell you different.
     
  9. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon Supporting Member

    May 10, 2000
    Lake Forest, CA
    None.
    for the record, i'm a Zon FREAK.

    normally, i would pick a Zon over almost anything.

    with this one, though, its not just the finish. i've heard the electronics and bridge aren't original either.

    buyer beware on that one.

    and those reviews...PFFFFFAWWWWWWWWWW on them.

    Zon STILL makes the best fretless i've ever played.

    :)

    f
     
  10. Scott D

    Scott D

    Apr 21, 2003
    Minneapolis, MN
    The original Bart pre had an issue, and was replaced with an EMG BTS pre. I'm not too hot on EMG, but I really do like basslines... It sounds like the MPG. I do hear constant rave's about zon fretless, but i'm not interested in a fretless. Also, i've never played a graphite necked instrument, and I'm sort of afraid that i won't like the action (my tastes change, sometimes i like crazy low, sometimes sort of high...). The MPG is cheaper, looks better, like the electronics better, and haven't read 1 single bad review, just about 30 outstanding ones... hmm... but i really don't want to discard the Zon, seeing as how I've never seen / heard / played one. Do the MPG's have a solid low B? I still don't know what to do, i've seen some pretty cool basses for a little more cash ($1350 on a Benavente SC5, but it looked like it was not in the best condition...) and i saw an F-Bass BN5 for like $1400, but the MPG sounds like a good idea. I'm going to see what the return policy is like on these...

    Thanks so much for your help,
    Scott D.
     
  11. Scott D

    Scott D

    Apr 21, 2003
    Minneapolis, MN
    Also, what are the necks on the MPG like? P-style or J-style?

    Thanks,
    Scott D.
     
  12. "P" and "J" normally refer to 4-strings, to my mind. The necks on the MPG 5's I've played have reminded me a lot of Laklands.

    Mike
     
  13. abaguer

    abaguer

    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    I have an MPG JJ5 (a five string J bass) and it is very comfortable and feels a lot like the Fender Deluxe 5 except the construction is much more solid on the MPG. It feels like what a 34" Fender 5 should be like. String spacing is almost identical to the Fender Deluxe 5.

    If it is only a $95 price, I would go with the Zon only because I like the idea of the graphite neck for stability and Joe Zon has always put out great product.
     
  14. sethlow3

    sethlow3 Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Nashville, Tennessee
    zigga ZON!

    I love my Zon and the reviews you found are quite lame. The preamp can vary the sound quite a bit, but Joe's secret sauce of sound is in his construction. They don't feel "pumped out" in the construction dept, and he uses angled techniques to get great tone. The B string is probably one of the best on a 34" by far!

    I have played some various models. The Sonus I have is standard and sounds very warm, organic, and jaco-ish if I want to dial that in. The sonus special with dual coils I played sounded very bright with a defined attack. However, the ZP-2D peramp has an adjustable gain (mid freq) which can make the bass sound more or less lively. MPG's are solid workhorses, but I have heard some stories about them not being to tonally versitile. Plus I think he uses 35" which IMO is not as comfortable as a good 34"....

    IMO, you should try before you buy, and there are much better examples of each luthiers work at other stores. Like at bass palace for instance. Also bass northwest just got some in as well.
     
  15. Halftooth

    Halftooth Supporting Member

    Nov 24, 2002
    Tri-Valley, NorCal
    My personal preference is to Zon's, but I'm not too sure that the refinish on that one does it for me. If the seller gives you a trial period though, you might want to try it out. If you don't like it, go with the MPG.
     
  16. mike sancho

    mike sancho SANCH

    Feb 10, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    I've owned both and you really can't go wrong with either bass. Pound for pound I would go with the Zon. I think you will do better in resale and IMO it's a bit more bass than the Level 5 tonally. Good luck!!
     
  17. Aram

    Aram

    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
    Definitely. My MPG's B-string is among the best I've tried, as is every other MPG I have played on.
     
  18. Aram

    Aram

    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
    Hard to describe, but to say that the neck totally sold me on MPGs is an understatement. I can play for hours without fatigue, it's a fantastic design...don't know what Matt's secret is. The profile is slim/flatish, and that combined with wide spacing makes for an incredibly comfortable feel.

    Hope this helps -- please let me know if you have any other MPG-related questions. You could also call Matt directly and ask him anything you want to know, he's very approachable.
     
  19. lamarjones

    lamarjones Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    They are both great basses, but IMO don't offer the same thing. Zons IMO are the better graphite neck basses out there, and if that is the type of sounds you are looking for, then that should be the deciding factor. Assuming looks aren't really the tie breaker here. I have that MPG for sale, and I don't want to tell you to buy it for that reason, but it is a very nice sounding bass, the woods are great and so is the feel and sound. Good luck on your decision, and let me know if you need to talk about the deal. But, to re-iterate, you have 2 very nice choices there, even with me knocking off a little, I don't think you would lose by going with the Zon. Or the MPG.
     
  20. Scott D

    Scott D

    Apr 21, 2003
    Minneapolis, MN
    Well, in all of the reviews, they said there was a certain hollow sound, which is exactly why I got rid of my Ric... it bugged me alot. Does anyone have any soundclips of either bass? I do like the idea of a 48-hr trial period, but I'm afraid that I'll dismiss any bad qualities (which will bug me later) and just like the bass for a few weeks, and then the bad qualities will bother me, and I'll get rid of it. I really wish I could try out either instrument, there is a Zon dealer about 30 min from me, but they don't have a Sonus 5 in. (www.basspalace.com) Maybe I should head over there and get the feel of a Zon. I don't know what kind of store it is though, they don't really list their adress, and they said "If you want to make a visit, call ahead and let us know"... For all i know this could be someone's house that they do business from. Also, I've never liked EMG systems too much, but I do like bart pickups... but I think I like Basslines a little more.

    Thanks,
    Scott D.