opinions on ZON?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by G, Nov 21, 2000.

  1. G


    Apr 12, 2000
    Opinions on ZON? I am interested in their sonus 6, any variety, but general opinions are what I am going for. I have never actually played one, so here are some topics I am particularly interested in:

    B string
    Scale length
    pickups/preamp versatility
    comparisons to Modulus?
    general playability
    tonal characteristics (warmth etc. Difference of sound in Graphite neck)

  2. Chuck M

    Chuck M Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas
    I owned a Zon Sonus fretless 5 string for a while. It had Bartolini single coils and individual volume controls and bass/treble boost/cut.

    The bass had a very aggressive tone that could not be toned down. The sound of the neck PU did not sound good to me so I was using the bridge PU full on and the neck mostly off. This made the bass too noisy for the studio.

    The tone was not warm or round. It had great growl but a bit too much snarl for my taste. I prefer the tone of a Pedulla Buzz.

    The neck did feel good, however, and the workmanship on the bass was good. It just was not my tone.

  3. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Were you using stainless steel strings on it, Chuck? Sounds like my experience with a few Zon fretlesses. I bought my Zon Legacy fretless 5 with Ken Smith Burner nickel roundwounds on it. I did try SS strings on it and hated it. Put Nickel rounds back on it and the strident sound is no more. Doesn't sound harsh even with the treble control on the bass maxed. I run either bridge pickup solo or both full on.

    I don't like the pickup spacing on the base Sonus, I prefer either the Custom or the Special, they're closer to the Legacy sound (articulate low mids, punchy, warm). I haven't come across another fretless that works as well for me though some surprises have popped up.
  4. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    I find that the Zon necks have a much more warm sound naturally to them, as compared to Modulus. But i still prefer Modulus. I like the Modulus's necks shape much better, especially in a 6, and i find the pickups to be more versatile. The bass looks pretty dull shaped to me, but the Modulus isnt exactly out there (Quantum, that is, obviouslu). And i find the Modulus to be much more articulate and clear, and has a better B string. Then again, if you want a Modulus thats warmer than a Zon, get a grenadillo fingerboard on it, and boom, beautiful.

    Zon Sonus's are great basses, but personally I find the Moduli to be much better basses, IMO, of course.
  5. maestrox


    Oct 8, 2000
    I have a Zon Lightwave fretless 5 that I love, and a Zon Sonus Special 5 fretted that I'm on the fence with. The Special has Bartolini soapbars and Demeter pickup, so it isn't stock. It has a cool tone, but it ain't a slapping bass (and that was the opinion of at least one other bassist that *can* slap, as opposed to my lame thumb technique).It could be the pickups or preamp...not sure which. The string spacing is tighter than most 5's...that doesn't help things for slap, but I just don't care for the tone when slapped. For fingerstyle it's pretty cool, and the B is just fine...34" scale can work great. Workmanship is top rate. I'm thinking of trying a regular Sonus w/J pickups.
  6. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    It may be the Demeter preamp.
  7. maestrox


    Oct 8, 2000
    Hmmm....I thought about that possibility. I'm not sure if I want to hassle with putting the original Bartolini back in. I suppose that is a realtively cheap experiment though...
  8. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Maestrox, the original preamp in my Legacy is the ZP2, made by Polyfusion. Whatever the stock preamp is in the Special, it sounds similar to the Legacy. The Sonus Custom has a Polyfusion preamp, too. IMO the ZP2 sounds similar to a Bartolini preamp.

    On the Legacy, the preamp adds bottom without boom, highs that can get over the top IMO with SS strings but sound more open with Nickel strings, and has an internal midrange control. I experimented with the mid control, found a setting I liked and have left it that way for four years. I can't imagine this bass sounded any better;)
  9. In my humble opinion... Zons are "The ****!" as in "Da Bomb!" as in "Kick ****ing Ass!" ... get my drift?

    I have a Sonus Special V that I love.

    To answer your questions:

    The Sonus Special I have is a 34" scale. Its B string is great. It's tight and I have no problem digging into it and getting a great sound out of it, even tuned down to A. I haven't tried another bass that has a cooler B.

    The Sonus Special has multi-coil Bartolini jazz-style pickups and on the Special, the neck pickup is positioned further down toward the bridge pickup than on the standard Sonus. I find that the bass has a very wide tonal range. It admitedly does have a very distinctive spike in the mids that gives it a unique sound. That unique sound is difficult to get around so be sure you like it. You will have to play one first. It's as simple as that. I believe that mid tone can be adjusted with a trim pot on the Bartolini preamp though. I haven't experimented with it enough to say how much of an effect it has.

    Playablility is excellent. Top-notch craftsmanship. It comes with a Wilkinson bridge that is fully adjustable in all directions so string spacing can be adjusted to suit your style. I don't know what Maestrox was talking about above. He must not have the same bass as me. Mine is absolutely perfect for slap style playing. It just plain jams for that. I use mine for Metal and it works great and cuts through like no other bass I've ever played in a band with. On the other hand, you can back off the bridge pickup a tad and back off the treble boost and get a really nice deep sound out of it too. In my opinion it's very versatile.

    I really haven't played Modulus basses enough to give an opinion on their comparison. I'm sure I'd love a nice Modulus too. But I do know the Zons and I can say first hand that they are very high quality instruments. They do have a unique sound though and you'll just have to try one to see if you like it or not.
  10. maestrox


    Oct 8, 2000
    I'm thinking maybe mine is a Sonus Custom rather than Special, as it has soapbar in the "traditional" position, rather than j-pups closer to the bridge. At any rate, I don't think string spacing is adjustable on my bridge (which is stamped "Zon"), but I'll take another look (it's a '96). At any rate, the less-than-optimal slap capabilities are based both on tight string spacing, and moreso, the tone of the bass.

    Perhaps Brad is right....maybe the Demeter is the culprit.
  11. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Give Joe a call, maestrox. I'm not sure if the Custom was available in 96, if it was I don't know what preamp may have been in it. Joe knows.

  12. coyoteboy

    coyoteboy easy there, Ned Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Sactomato, CA
    I'm fairly certain that the Sonus Custom always had the polyfusion preamp, but I dont remember if it was available in 96, but if its a Sonus with Bart humbuckers, then it's a Custom. My Custom seems really good for slap, but oddly enough , it seems to work best for old school slap tone, as opposed to the modern slap tone, which it does fine, but pan to the neck p/u, and turn off the enhance on the Eden pre, adn I'm in old school heaven. This could be just this paticular bass, which was born with fat tone. Really good B and detuned low A. The BEST playability.
  13. maestrox


    Oct 8, 2000
    well, I decided to take a look at the preamp cavity and lo and behold...there is a midrange pot stuffed in there! Quite a wacky installation of the electronics...battery is held in place by two sided tape, demeter preamp is wrapped up in tape, and the midrange pot is folded in a piece of foam. Interesting. I did find that fiddling with the midrange defiantely makes a big slap difference (as you'd expect). At any rate, I tweaked the mid and life is better. I'm warming to it....more on this breaking story as it develops.