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MTD Z5 - Worth Modding?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Basehead, Mar 5, 2008.

  1. Basehead

    Basehead Now with even more synthy goodness...

    Jan 3, 2008
    New York NY
    Hi all. I've seen two Z5's (via online) that were heavily modded, one here in the For Sale section and they look great. My question is - is it worth it? I've never played one but I've heard nothing but good things about them. I can get a new Z5 for about $1,000, and after upgrades (New pups, Audere pre-amp, Hipshot bridge and ultra-light tuners, work by a qualified shop) I'm looking at under $2,000.
    BTW - I want this bass for two reasons. First as a back up to my Fodera 5 string and second to get a feel of a 35" scale/MTD before spending 4 grand on a US model.


  2. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Meh! I think I would just look for a nice bass in that $2000 range as opposed to modding the Z. Just my opinion. You may just find something here in the classifieds.
  3. santucci218


    Jan 26, 2007
    lot of people really dig them.

    I had a Z6. Personally it wasnt really my bag. I didnt like the playability of it. The neck was nice, but i like pickguards and minimal space between the strings the body. it was definitely comfortable though, and looked amazing.

    Ask talkbasser Robear about his MTD, he modded his.
  4. DanielleMuscato


    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    I'm interested in this, too... I have a Z6. I recently switched 5 of the 6 machines to Hipshot Ultralites (I had some sitting around from a 5-string bass I don't use) to see if that would help with the neck dive. It helped some, but not enough, so I'm considering replacing the bridge with a more massive one, and there is also the problem of low output... I got a great deal on my Z6 in the first place (scratch 'n dent), and since the tuners were "free," right now I only have $700 invested in it. but if I change out the pickups, I would want to go with Nordy Dual Coils ($400 for a pair), so with a new bridge and preamp, also, I'm looking at about $700-800 of mods, in a bass that only cost me $700 in the first place, not counting labor....

    By the way, if you're patient and look around, you can find a used MTD 535 in the $2500 range. It would have much, much better resale value than a Z5, too, if you ever decide to get a second Fodera as a backup instead or something.
  5. If you spend money to make mods like that, you never get it back. IMO, you are much better off spending a bit over two grand and picking up a used MTD 535. It's like having money in the bank should you decide to resell. You never lose money that way.
  6. BTW, I recently sold my 535 (Tulipwood/Wenge) for $2200 and had actually paid less than that when I bought it. Wait for the right deal to come along.
  7. rodneyat


    Apr 12, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    +1 on this. If you are really Jonesing for an MTD and are going to have almost $2K invested in a Z5, just save up a few more bucks and get a 535. Well worth the extra $$$ and you will get every penny of it back vs losing almost every penny you spend on upgrading a Z5.
  8. Robear22


    Sep 28, 2004
    Zion, Ill
    I agree with what the other guys are saying about upgrading. Only upgrade if you think you are gonna keep the bass or don't mind losing some money. I love what a preamp change has done to my Z6. I only invested $110 after discounts on the Aguilar pre but I am thinking about getting some Barts like Iotanet.

    The basses are solid and well constructed. If you like a modern tone with clarity then this is your bass. My changes are always limited to just the electronics. If you are gonna change parts of the bass such as the bridge, tuners, necks and such then you need to invest your money in something that will give you that from the get go.
  9. Lonnybass


    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    Not at all.

  10. Basehead

    Basehead Now with even more synthy goodness...

    Jan 3, 2008
    New York NY
    Got it. I did see two US MTDs for sale here that looked right for me (and WELL priced, I might add!). I'll be looking out for the right deal.

    Thanks all...Base
  11. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    I don't know, maybe it's just me - but if I'm going to drop $1,000 on a bass it's under the assumption that that kind of money buys me what I want, not something that I would feel obligated to modify right away. I would hope that that kind of coin gets you something with components of a high enough quality that modding isn't viewed as necessary.

    Like I said though, that's totally IMO.
  12. Robear22


    Sep 28, 2004
    Zion, Ill

    I had my Z6 since last April. I just upgraded the pre in February. I enjoyed the stock tone and parts immensely. I was curious though on what a preamp upgrade would do to the bass. I got the Aggie for a good price and now my curiosity has been peeked with what a pickup change will do. I have three basses that are solid and are giving me the tone and feel I need. What I am learning though is a bass with excellent feel and construction but mediocre electronics can become a real winner with a well researched upgrade in the electronics department.;)
  13. RevGroove

    RevGroove Commercial User

    Jul 21, 2002
    Burlington ON Canada
    Manager, Account Services: Long & McQuade Ltd. (Burlington); MTD Kingston Basses International Emerging Artist; Bartolini Electronics Emerging Artist
    I was happy with my Z5, and still am, but after playing a ZX at MIAC (=NAMM in Canada) last summer, I got hooked and had to have one!

    I got it last week, and with the improved electronics, may be worth a look to you. Theperfectbass.com has the exclusive on the first 24 in the US, serial numbered and signed by the Man hisself, Mike Tobias. Worth a look, IMHO!
  14. +1. I think the upgrades are worth it if you will be playing it alot. The Z basses are awesome and give you the feel of what a US feels like. The electronics are definitely lacking. Im planning a Z5 with Barts and an Aguilar or Audere. Ther is a local shop that has a new Z5 for $849 + 350 for new electronics I am at around $1350. The stock bridge and tuners are just fine.
  15. I was in a similar dilemma and this is what I did: http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=404057
    (FYI, my total cash outlay was right around $1400)
  16. RevGroove

    RevGroove Commercial User

    Jul 21, 2002
    Burlington ON Canada
    Manager, Account Services: Long & McQuade Ltd. (Burlington); MTD Kingston Basses International Emerging Artist; Bartolini Electronics Emerging Artist
    Hey man, I thought you were getting a ZX! W'hoppen?
  17. DanielleMuscato


    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    I don't like the stock tuners or bridge. The tuners are heavy, wobbly and relatively low-ratio, and the bridge is too light. My Z6 has awful neck-dive: Hipshot Ultralites helped some, but enough... it will still need a heavier bridge or some other weight to get it balanced.
  18. XavidmanX


    Jun 29, 2006
    Bakersfield, CA
    Well, IMO, if you can get away with doing it for $1,400 then do it. Otherwise, if you're going to drop $1,900 to upgrade the electronics, then just spend $150 or so less and buy one of the new ZX's (or KZX...whatever...) with the electronics package similar to what you find in the USA MTD's.

    Really, there's no sense in buying something to throw in almost a grand worth of mods when you end up so close to a USA MTD anyway. If you're going to spend 1900, then just save your cash and get a used MTD 535 for a good deal. You will be glad you waited.

    Even if you replace hardware, electronics, etc., you still end up missing out on the most important piece of the whole equation: woods and craftmanship. I know that IotaNet and I discussed this in length and I'm glad the moved worked out well for him (again, at 1400, it might be worth a shot). But I have owned two Z's and sent them both packing because the woods weren't as high quality as you will find on a USA model, and the cratsmanship was lacking. Seriously, you should have seen the routing job on the pickup cavities...my 4 year old could have done a better job with a steak knife and kept all of her fingers and toes.

    Anyway, that's my 2 cents...take from it what you will. No amount of upgrades can change the acoustic character of the bass, and Mike Tobias always mentions that basses are first and foremost acoustic instruments. If they are acoustic, then the woods, wood quality, and craftmanship matter a ton. You're better off waiting for the right deal...
  19. superflybass


    Feb 16, 2004
    La Crosse WI
    I think it worth is

    here is mine I still have to upgrade the pick ups

    but I got the bass for a steal lowest price I have seen anywhere got the opb-3 preamp for $50 used and I got a steal on the hardware

    it looks killer also

    the other this if you can find a GRENDAL OR A SARATOGA those have great hardware and pickups and pre already and you can pick them up fairly cheep nowadays

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