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Swithed to Zon?

Discussion in 'Ask Todd Johnson [Archived]' started by Josh Curry, Jan 17, 2006.

  1. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX
    Todd, it's been a while! We've met a few times and I was one of the 'few' people who showed for the bass clinic in Sacramento last year when Phil couldn't make it, ring any bells?

    Anyway, I couldn't NOT notice that you are playing a Zon bass in that main picture. Are you a Zon guy now? What made you switch from Yamaha?
  2. Todd Johnson

    Todd Johnson

    Sep 27, 2005
    Anthem, AZ

    Hi Josh,

    Hey, great to hear from you!!! Of course I remember you! Cool!!:cool:

    Yeah, I switched from Yamaha to ZON.

    Let me say this; I've been TOTALLY blessed to have been associated with Yamaha for the last 10 years or so. They've been so generous and good to me. Let me stress that... Plus I'm blessed to say that I still have great friendships and personal relationships with everybody there. It's a class organization!

    BUT.........I started having shoulder problems about 3 years ago.....I was told it was arthritis etc. and managed to keep it at bay for almost 2 years with stretching, accupuncture and chiropractic adjustments. I finally figured out part of the problem was that I was playing a 35" scale bass and that it was WAY TOO heavy for me........plus I play ALL THE TIME and couldn't put it down for any length of time.

    THEN I found out that it was my rotator cuff that was messed up.....at one point is got so swollen that I couldn't lift my arm.....AT ALL...scary stuff:help: ......ANYWAY..........so, what I needed was proper treatment and rehab and a lighter instrument in 34" scale that would meet my sonic needs. Make sense??

    Along comes Joe Zon and he offers to make me a "Todd Johnson" signature model bass......a bass designed for me and the way I play......basically, Joe made me an offer I couldn't refuse!!

    That's basically what happened.

    As hard as it was for me to leave my friends at Yamaha, ....I had to do what was best for me and my health and my music.
    Make sense?

    I'm also blessed to tell you that I've received some great treatment from my orthopedic specialist Dr. Harwin and have improved dramatically from some cortisone injections, anti-inflammatories and a bunch of physical therapy!!

    I'm doing much better and am back in the saddle again.

    If things continue, I'll be able to avoid surgery completely! Praise God for that!!:hyper:

    Thanks for your thoughtful observation. It's great to hear from you again.

    Hey, check out the thread I recently posted about the Christian Guitar and Bass Conference in Sacramento. This is right up your alley. I hope to see you there!

    God bless,
  3. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX
    Wow, I'm really sorry to hear that you've had so many problems. It has to be hard not being able to do the one thing that you love (and pays the bills). Didn't Norm Stockton have a battle with CT in the past few years? I guess it's bound to happen if you do the same thing for several years, hence the category of "Repetitive Motion Injury" or something like that. It's good that you are taking steps to prevent further damage. Avoiding surgery altogether would be a blessing as well.

    I had the opportunity to meet Joe at NAMM last year. I was talking to him about his fretless basses, specifically what the fretboards were made of. I didn't know that it was Rock Wood, that semi-synthetic stuff that Curbow uses too. Isn't that stuff a lot heavier than normal neck wood like Maple? Or maybe yours is a different material to keep it light? What is the body made of, Ash? I know that F's are made of those and they sound awesome and are very light.

    That new bass sure is sweet. I first thought, "Wow, sweet bass!" and then "Hey, is that Todd?" I noticed that it has a deeper than normal cutaway, a few extra frets, and the ramp between the pickups. How about a full blown review and specs of the "Todd Johnson Signature Zon Bass" for us :)

    Oh, almost forgot. I probably won't be seeing you guys at the various conferences at the Church or Bass Quake any more. I relocated to Frisco, Texas (near Dallas) for a sweet new job at Microsoft. I don't make a living making music so I have to go to where the work is. California was getting to expensive for me and I needed a change. I am however going to be going to the NAMM show this summer in Austin, TX. If you're going to be at that one too maybe I will see you at the Zon booth?
  4. Todd Johnson

    Todd Johnson

    Sep 27, 2005
    Anthem, AZ
    Hi Josh,

    Yeah, the shoulder is doing much better. Praise God for that! I've really learned a lot through this ordeal......it's been a good thing.....really made me re-evaluate a bunch of things. God has a way of getting our attention sometimes, doesn't He?;)

    Hey, just so you know.....Zon uses "phenowood" fingerboards. It's some kind of a crazy "laminate"......great stuff. It's not heavy at all.

    Actually, here's all the stats on my TJ-6 bass: This is the press release that they sent out. Enjoy!

    Zon's Sonus Custom TJ6 (Zon Press Release)
    REDWOOD CITY, CA - September 29, 2005
    Developed in conjunction with 6-string electric bass pioneer Todd Johnson, Zon Guitars proudly introduces the new Sonus Custom TJ6 6-string bass guitar. The Sonus Custom TJ6 is a 34" scale bass that features an alder body core capped with a master-grade quilted maple top, an extended cutaway that offers complete access to the highest registers, a composite, bolt-on neck with a phenowood fingerboard which spans beyond 26 frets, Bartolini pickups, a piezo bridge, and Hipshot Ultralite tuning keys. In order to attain a crystal-clear, piano-like tone with a well-focused low end, the neck pickup has been installed closer to the bridge. Other unique characteristics of the TJ6 include a raised ramp positioned between the pickups and a conveniently-located pop-up battery compartment located within the control cavity.

    According to Todd Johnson, "Joe and the team at Zon have created the instrument of my dreams. It's the perfect balance of beauty, inspiration, innovation, function, and playability. The clarity of sound and sustain are simply unsurpassed."

    Sonus Custom TJ6 Specifications
    Body: Two-piece alder body core with master-grade quilted maple top, transparent black, extended cutaway
    Neck: Composite, bolt-on design, flat urethane finish
    Fingerboard: Extended phenowood with 26 narrow frets, side and face dot markers
    Nut: Graphite
    Scale length: 34"
    Standard Finish: Polyester Gloss
    Pickups: Two Bartolini wide aperture, passive, dual-coil designed exclusively for Zon
    Electronics: ZP-2D active system made for Zon by Polyfusion with master volume, pickup blend, bass, treble, and midrange controls
    Bridge: Zon machined brass piezo bridge
    String spacing at nut: 2.125"
    String spacing at bridge: 3.250"
    Tuners: Hipshot Ultralite
    Hardware: Black
    Other: Ramp between pickups, pop-up battery compartment within control cavity

    Zon Guitars, located in Redwood City, California, has been at the forefront of bass design for more than two decades. Its Mosaic Pro, Sonus, and Legacy basses are handcrafted in its Redwood City facility by artisans with a passion for building fine-quality instruments.

    Zon Guitars
    780 Second Ave.
    Redwood City, CA 94063
    Phone: 650-366-3516
    Fax: 650-366-9996
    E-Mail: customerservice@zonguitars.com

    Texas,........cool..........congratulations on your new job!

    Hey, rumor has it that I'll probably be doing a clinic/conference thing the first week of July in the Dallas area.....still firming up the details. I'll be sure to post the details as soon as everythings firmed up.

    I hope I get to see you when I'm there.

    Stay safe and healthy,
  5. Basso Gruvitas

    Basso Gruvitas Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2000
    Dallas/Ft. Worth TX
    I had to chime in and say congrats on the Zon deal and your improved health. I'm sure you'll have great success in both areas.

    My experience with Zon has not been stellar (looooong stories in there!), but I'm sure you'll be taken care of. Your bass sounds like a great design.

    God bless
  6. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX
    Thanks for the specs on the new bass. I hope to be able to check one out at NAMM this summer.

    I think I'm already on your mailing list, so I should get the notice when you come through town right? Post the details here when you know more and I will be sure to add it to my calendar.

    Take it easy on that shoulder, see you in July.
  7. eots


    Dec 18, 2004
    Morris, IL.
    Did you try standard Zon models before having one made?
    I am thinking about a vb-5 but as with most single coils, hate hum of any sort.
    I tried out a Modulus q5 and am intrigued by graphite necks with their sonic clarity and purposed ruggedness. Have you found this to be true with your Zon or other composite basses you've tried ?
    I was considering attending your guitar and bass conference in ILL. at the end of March also.
    How does that work with attendees bring a bass but no amp?
  8. Todd Johnson

    Todd Johnson

    Sep 27, 2005
    Anthem, AZ
    Bass Gruvitas,

    Thanks for your kind words and support!!

    Sorry to hear about a less than stellar ZON experience. :( Hopefully things are going well for you now and that you're taken care of.

    My bass is a GREAT design!!!.......but it's especially GREAT for me and the way I play......and for what I want and need from a bass. It's important to keep that in mind. Food for thought.

    Anyway.....thanks for your kind note.
  9. Todd Johnson

    Todd Johnson

    Sep 27, 2005
    Anthem, AZ

    Joe Zon sent me one of his "stock" sonus 6 string to use as reference. ........that way I would know what I wanted to change etc. GREAT way to design a bass. Joe had A LOT of things exactly the way I wanted them. He's a BRILLIANT builder and designer.....VERY forward thinking!

    I'M TOTALLY INTO THE ZON COMPOSITE NECKS!!! I'M A BELIEVER AND A TRUE CONVERT NOW!!! BY FAR THE BEST NECK I'VE EVER PLAYED!!!!!!!They're incredibly warm, .....the sustain and clarity are simply unmatched. The even-ness of sound/sustain between the strings is amazing.

    In all honesty, the graphite necks kind of sounded cold to me. They're incredibly durable etc......but graphite has a certain sound to it that's just not for me......Don't get me wrong....it's GREAT for certain sounds and certain players.....I don't mean to knock it.....it's just not for me, that's all.

    Joe's necks are a composite of wood and carbon/space age fibers. It's the best of both worlds IMHO!!!

    I HOPE TO SEE YOU IN ILLINOIS at the end of March.:hyper: I don't think you need to bring an amp.....but, you should go to www.heartfeltmusic.org for the complete details....just in case!!

    I look forward to seeing you there!!
  10. bassjigga


    Aug 6, 2003
    Congrats on the new forum and moving to Zon! I remember actually asking Paul about setting up a forum for you a while back after you had said you'd be game (not that I'm taking credit) and I've been away from TB, to come back and find it up and running! Great!

    I love everything about my Zons. They sound the way I want them to, they feel the way I want them to, they look incredible. Joe's a really great guy too. I'm surprised whenever I heard stories of people who have had bad experiences with Zon. Joe was so willing to bend over backwards to do what I wanted and I'm a nobody in the music world! He really has a love for what he does.
  11. Todd Johnson

    Todd Johnson

    Sep 27, 2005
    Anthem, AZ

    Hey, thanks for the forum input with Paul......I'm really enjoying the forum experience. So far, so good! Great actually!::cool:

    Yeah, Joe's been great with me. :hyper: No complaints here.......he's a gentlemen, a brilliant builder/designer and I'm proud to say the he's a friend of mine! Plus Mark is brilliant as well. Great team over there at ZON!! :D (I'm only sorry I couldn't be at NAMM this year to help promote my signature model)

    Thanks again, and don't hesitate to ask if I can ever be of service!
  12. Brian S

    Brian S

    Nov 11, 2003
    Atlanta, Georgia
    Hi Todd,

    I'm just curious, what is the reason for the raised ramp between the pickups? :confused:
  13. Todd Johnson

    Todd Johnson

    Sep 27, 2005
    Anthem, AZ
    Hi Brian,

    It's called a "willis ramp"........this is Gary Willis' invention. I had the great priviledge to study with Gary when I was a BIT student:hyper: .........ANYWAY.

    It's basically a touch thing...........it "tends" to make you play with a lighter touch in the right hand.:cool:

    Do you ever play over your pickup??......do you like the feel of that?? If so, you'll like the ramp..........if you're one of those "dig in at all cost" guys (and commited to playing that way), then the ramp isn't for you.

    It REALLY helped me to lighten my touch.......I USED to be a "dig in and play too hard" kind of guy. The Willis ramp really helped me a lot.

    I hope this answers your question.

    Happy to help.
  14. Brian S

    Brian S

    Nov 11, 2003
    Atlanta, Georgia
    The ramp does sound appealing. I prefer to play with a light touch since I find that digging in causes me to slow down. I have a tendency, when given a solo, to start playing harder, which affects my speed. I have to remind myself to lighten up. Nerves, I guess. :meh:
  15. Hi Todd,

    Great to see you around on these boards! Welcome...

    Are you still using synth pickups, or have you moved into more "straightforward" (;) ) guitar-esque comping these days?

    I loved the Kristin Korb collaboration. Very sweet music...
  16. Andy Brown

    Andy Brown Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 23, 2004
    Rhode Island
    Founder/Owner: Wing Instruments
    Hey Todd... is retail / street pricing set for your model?

    PS - The Boss VF-1 is working great!
  17. wyliee


    Jul 6, 2003
    South Hill, WA
    I bought Todd's old Yamaha bass and I must say I absolutely love the ramp. (Great bass too!!)
  18. Todd Johnson

    Todd Johnson

    Sep 27, 2005
    Anthem, AZ

    Hi Brian,

    I think you'll really dig the ramp. It sounds like it's right up your alley!:hyper:

    Let me know how it works for you.
  19. Todd Johnson

    Todd Johnson

    Sep 27, 2005
    Anthem, AZ

    Hey, thanks for the welcome!!

    I'm done with the "synth pickups" for now. I'm back to a "straight" signal!!!! Much easier,.....better tracking. Ha!;)

    Glad you like the "Get Happy" cd I did with Kristin Korb. She is amazing. In fact we just worked over in Phoenix this last weekend with Jim Martinez. Kristin and I will also be working with Jim at the "Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival" in Moscow Idaho Feb. 22 - 25th.

    I am truly blessed to work with so many great musicians that are tremendous people too.

    Thanks again,
  20. Todd Johnson

    Todd Johnson

    Sep 27, 2005
    Anthem, AZ
    Hi AJ,

    I'll have to ask Joe to get a "firm" quote, but I think the retail price is about $6500.

    I have no idea what the "street" price might be. :confused: Sorry, I wish I were more help. You'll have to ask Joe that.......pricing is not my department!

    Congrats on the Boss VF-1....... good for you!!!!:)

    Keep up the good work.