Q from new zon owner

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jmrtnko, Jul 9, 2001.

  1. jmrtnko

    jmrtnko Guest

    Jul 9, 2001
    well, i know it's too much bass for me (i've only
    been playing for a year-and-a-half), but i got a
    really great deal on a used legacy 4 standard about
    a month ago. i figured this was my only chance to
    ever own one and even if i didn't like it, i could
    sell it and not lose too much money on it (at least
    that's what i told my wife...).

    well, it's really, really sad but, i'm not sure i
    like it. i love the feel and the playability and
    the weight, but the sound seems just a bit harsh for
    my tastes. my only familiar point of comparison is
    my passive ovation magnum, so maybe its apples to
    oranges, but is there anything i can do to tame
    that midrange peak (i know about the mid pot on
    the back)?

    don't kill me, but i've got some tapewounds on it
    now to try to deaden it, and while it gives me some
    growl back on the e and a strings, it doesn't do
    much for the d and g.

    right now my knobs are at: bass 100, treb 0, vol 40-50,
    pan about 25% of the bridge p/u, mid 25 or so. should
    i try something else?

    i'm planning on taking it down to joe to check out
    (i'm only an hour away) as it doesn't quite have
    the low-end of the sonus i've tried before. perhaps
    it's an electronics problem.

    sorry for rambling, but i like the feel of the bass
    a great deal, and while i know that doesn't trump the
    sound, i'd like to find a way to make it work for me.

  2. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    jmrtnko, welcome to Talkbass.:)

    Is this a fretted Legacy Standard?

    I've got a Sonus Custom fretless 5, same electronics as the legacy Standard, and it has the warmest sound of any of my basses.

    But the fretted Zon's are a little more modern sounding, IME. What is the fingerboard made of? A composite fingerboard, such as graphite or phenolic can also contribute to a sterile, or harsh sound.

    For warmth ebony is the best, and phenowood is a close second. Much warmer than composite to my ears.
  3. jmrtnko

    jmrtnko Guest

    Jul 9, 2001
    figures i'd ramble on forever and still leave
    out half the information. ;)

    my amp is an swr studio 220 (7025 tube in the pre)
    and its going through an swr goliath III jr.
    (2x10 and horn). i have a fender 15" cab for the
    bottom, but haven't had the opportunity to play
    the zon through both of them yet.

    the battery is new and the (fretted) fretboard
    is phenowood.

    i have about five more different sets of strings
    i could try, but i got lazy after installing set
    number three (the tapewounds).

    i would just chalk it up to being the "zon" sound,
    but i've heard lots of folks talk about it's
    warmth and low-end (and the mid-peak of course).
    perhaps i don't have enough experience to know
    what those words actually mean, but it just
    doesn't seem to describe my legacy.

    so i'm wondering about the electronics. the pots
    were scratchy when i got it, so i shot em up with
    some good audio pot cleaner. seems to have worked,
    but every once in a while i get a loud pop on an
    attack. i've been thinking i was just unused to an
    active, but... that pop doesn't seem right
  4. oo0o00o0oo

    oo0o00o0oo Guest

    Apr 30, 2000
    Scratchy pots? Popping electronics? These usually aren't words that are assosciated with a zon (even by those who don't like them). I would take it to a competent tech.
  5. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Yeah, the pop is not normal.

    You have what can sometimes be a zingy (or overly bright) bass (fretted Zons) running through a really zingy amp and cab. Here's where I'd start:

    Nickel strings- they can make a huge difference.

    Set the amp as flat as you can (No cuts or boosts, no enhance, EQ's at 0)

    I practically never run my bass' volume control at less than full on...it can affect tone. I recommend for now you do the same. Adjust the amp volume to handle the bigger signal. Set the mid pot in the back of the bass towards it's mid point (for now). Check the tweeter control on the back of the cab, if it's full on back it up to 1/2, if lower, roll it back some more.

    Setting the panpot in the middle usually produces a smooth, deep but "not quite as punchy as the bridge pickup soloed" sound...which ties into the next major area, pickup height.

    I don't take measurements on mine but I like to get mine almost as close as possible to the strings when fretted at the 24th fret without the string touching the pickup. I also balance them so I get the same relative volume when I pan from neck to bridge (and vice versa). One pickup being closer than the other can seriously affect tone.

    Hope that helps.
  6. voleceq

    voleceq Guest

    May 7, 2001
    Middle of Nowhere
    Hey everyone. I am a "newbie" to playing the bass and I am always interested in trying to learn more about them. I usually know what people are talking about when they talk about parts of the bass but I have never heard of the "pots" of a bass. If someone could explain what they are it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
  7. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    "Pot" is short for potentiometer, which is an electroonic term to define the controls on your instrument. If you were to remove the control plate under your knobs (Fender type) or backplate (more modern active type bass) you'd see wires going into what look like little tin...um...pots that help to control your volume and tone. Hope that helps. I'm sure someone will come along with a more technical explanation.


  8. jmrtnko

    jmrtnko Guest

    Jul 9, 2001
    > "Pot" is short for potentiometer, which is an
    > electroonic term to define the controls on your
    > instrument.

    yeah, the knobs on the bass are connected to
    potentiometers or variable resistors that provide
    an amount of resistance to the current flowing
    through it based upon the position of the knob.

  9. jmrtnko

    jmrtnko Guest

    Jul 9, 2001
    >Yeah, the pop is not normal.

    sigh. i was afraid of that. i was thinking that
    i was just clipping the preamp or something so
    i backed off on the volume pot. maybe that's my
    problem right there. luckily, i'm only an hour
    north of the zon shop (since the only other tech
    i know was a little leery of the circuit board).

    >You have what can sometimes be a zingy (or overly
    >bright) bass (fretted Zons) running through a
    >really zingy amp and cab.

    zingy is a very, very good word for it. i didn't
    realize the swr setup was also considered bright
    (remember, i was a passive player).

    > Nickel strings- they can make a huge difference.

    after i got it, i pulled the strings, dressed the
    frets, and put on some zon nickel rounds (GC had
    'em for $9 a set!). before it was zingy. after,
    it was ZINGY! Granted, it was fresh strings and
    clean frets, but i almost put the old ones back on.
    that said, i also like nickel better. got 'em on
    my magnum.

    thanks for all the info. i'd read TB occasionally
    before and hadn't noticed the number of zon
    devotees. i'll be back much more often now...

  10. jmrtnko

    jmrtnko Guest

    Jul 9, 2001
    well, i finally got off my but and drove the legacy back down to zon to have it checked out.

    joe opened the case, turned the pots and said "oh yeah, these are shot". seems those nice smoothly turning pots had detents in them once upon a time.

    then later that afternoon, he plugged it in. next thing i know, the pre-amp is being airlifted back to the polyfusion intensive care unit. seems the ICs were shot too. sigh.

    the upside is that next week, the zon will be back and as good as new. if any of your zons fall ill, joe's a damn fine guy and will know exactly how to take care of it.

    thanks for all the advice. i'll let you know how it sounds when i get it back.
  11. ldiezman

    ldiezman Guest

    Jul 11, 2001
    what a sad sad story.. I am sorry that your bass had to go to the Dr. I hope the operation goes ok... Im sure the scares will heal and your baby will be as good as new... Or better in your case..

    peace out
  12. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Joe is a great guy, and I am glad to here that he is taking care of you.

    It's this kind of thing that inspires loyalty in people like him, Roger Sadowsky and Dan Lakin.
  13. jmrtnko

    jmrtnko Guest

    Jul 9, 2001
    it took a little time, but i just got my legacy standard back from zon this week. last night i had my first band practice with it.

    polyfusion completely refurbed the pre-amp so it's as good as new. joe warned me that it was now a very different guitar. i agree. it now sounds absolutely amazing. it was so much fun to play. before, i had to crank the treble way down. now it's way up, *and* way down *and* in the middle. there are so many different sounds. hell, even our guitarist held back on a few solos to just listen to the bass.

    i had originally thought of re-selling it, but now it's mine for keeps. thanks everyone for all the advice.

  14. Joe's a great guy to work with. You can count on what he says. Glad you got the bass back and are happy with it.

    And, take it from someone who knows... DON'T SELL YOUR ZON ;)

  15. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    That's great, jmar. I have a Legacy Standard too and mine isn't going anywhere;)

  16. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I agree with Jeff and Brad, DON'T SELL YOUR ZON!:)

    I'm glad to hear that Joe took care of you, and I thought that once the bass was made right that you would love it.

  17. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Nono! Everyone, SELL YOUR ZONS!!!

    ...to me...:D
  18. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member


    Not this bad boy!
  19. Hey Angus, I know where you can get a fretted 5 Zon Sonus right now.....heh.....eh, Neal??? ;) (cleek hear )

    My Zon you will pry from my dead fingers, and don't count on success! :p
  20. Zoot H Rollo

    Zoot H Rollo

    May 10, 2000
    Redmond, WA
    i'd consider trading my Zon....