Zon basses - is everything OK ?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Rumblefisher, Jul 30, 2018.

  1. JuanB


    Feb 20, 2010
    Yes, I would be even more tired of the runaround in your case. I'm sorry you're going through that with them. I'm assuming you don't live near the shop? I'd be paying them a visit daily in your case.
  2. mrgittleman


    Dec 23, 2003
    Thanks for your support. I have been contemplating a trip in 2022 if there is no resolution. Speaking of the shop does anyone actually have their new street address or mailing address as it is not available on the website.
    Fuzzbass likes this.
  3. gwangi


    Jul 4, 2009
    Forbidden Valley
    Hope this helps:

    Zon Guitars
    2127 South Vasco
    Livermore, California
    RodRy, bobunit and Fuzzbass like this.
  4. mrgittleman


    Dec 23, 2003
    Thank you so much and yes that helps a great deal.
    bobunit and Fuzzbass like this.
  5. Slaymus

    Slaymus Supporting Member

    Jan 23, 2004
    In a nutshell, I received my bass 2 months after I asked them pictures to see the current state of the bass.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2021
    RodRy likes this.
  6. JuanB


    Feb 20, 2010
    Sorry if you already posted this, but how many months past the original completion date was your bass delivered?
  7. Slaymus

    Slaymus Supporting Member

    Jan 23, 2004
    17-18 months (I was quoted 9 months).The bass was so awesome that I really forgot the delay.

    My 2nd experience (the one of my last post) was when I send them my bass (after having their ok) to add a third pickup and have some fretdressing : they had my bass for more than 10 months ! Totally lost confidence after this bad experience.
    (But still wish them to improve their business practices because their basses are really special)
    RodRy and kesslari like this.
  8. Jefus

    Jefus I..um...yeah...about that... Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2008
    Sacramento now...
    This thread is...man...just...I don't know.

    I'm going to give some opinions and some facts.

    Opinions: What makes Zon basses so special?

    For me, it's that neck. It is stable. It is playable. The fretwork is impeccable. And for an 8-string, there won't be many other options that small. Wood necks will require more material to hold the tension of all those strings, but the composite of a Zon neck holds it just fine with a smaller profile.

    The bodies are comfortable and well-balanced. The fit and finish is great, but nothing completely unique to them.

    Joe curates the equipment that goes into his basses as well. He really works at pairing the woods with the electronics to achieve what he wants. But, and this is my opinion, the Sonus-8 that I have had terrible electronics for that instrument. The whole reason I ordered a custom Zon was so I could have one built around the electronics I want without taking the one I have and hacking it up to swap pickups and electronics. As I mentioned a few posts ago, Bartolinis are not something I would strive for, and the fact that the Sonuses have basically a proprietary-shaped pickup makes swaps near impossible without routing. Essentially, if you want a Zon, you want it for all the things that Joe does.

    Zon basses are offered with many options, especially if you reach out to them. The price of these instruments is nowhere near the highest-of-end instruments of a Wal, Fodera, Ken Smith, etc., but are closer to the off-the-rack high end basses of Warwick, Alleva-Coppola, etc. I wouldn't expect photos during the build of my Warwick the same way I would for a Fodera.

    Facts: My experience so far.

    I met with Joe in person at the end of June and put down a deposit on a custom Sonus-8. I have a particular electronics package that I want, and he was fine with that. The pickups and preamp have been delivered to him. I have exchanged several emails with Joe so far about some custom details I want. He has responded, provided his opinion (when appropriate), and asked for my opinion (when appropriate). The email responses are not immediate, but they never take longer than a week.


    Nearly 4 months after placing my order I am confidant that no work has started on my instrument yet. I'm fine with that. Joe estimated 12 months for my build. I will be curious to see how close to that he gets.

    There are a few other pieces of hardware I have called out for my bass. I am leaning towards ordering them and providing them to him as they are not items he normally uses. Being that there are still 8 months until his estimated delivery, this will eliminate the excuse of supply-chain issues. I totally understand that this is an unusual thing for the customer to do on a custom build, but I have called out items to an unusual level of granularity. I have very few basses that I haven't modified in one way or another, this is just my chance to get this one right from the beginning. This goes against my earlier statement of "Essentially, if you want a Zon, you want it for all the things that Joe does": I don't want Joe to call out every piece of hardware that goes in to this thing; I basically want his fit and finish on the hardware that I want.


    I feel bad that there are basses that have been on order for years. Any way you look it it, that's not right. I may be wrong, but they seem to be the more unusual basses that he builds (Vinny and Legacy, specifically), not Sonuses. I'm sorry that this is some customers' experiences, but this doesn't deter me from wanting what I want, which is a Zon 8-string set up the way I want it. There really isn't anyone else who can build this bass (G.Gould or Modulus would need a new mold for a 34" 8-string; anyone else would be wood-necked). I have a Sonus-8 and love the playability of it but have been dissatisfied with the amplified tone (previous attempts at replacing the electronics have been even more dissatisfying). This is the instrument I want, and I'm along for the ride. The only other "custom" basses I've ordered have been selected from menu options (a Carvin LB76F in 1995, and a Warwick Thumb BO 5 in 2001), so not true customs like this one will be, so I don't have a frame of reference for what I expect from the builder. I just know that this is the instrument that I want.

    If you've read this far, I'm impressed. My wife accuses me of being too optimistic often, and after reading this thread, I'm still optimistic, and maybe a fool. I think we're all assuming other people have received their instruments in an acceptable time, but I don't recall reading any of those posts. I've been pretty quiet on this thread because I don't want to be the guy who's psyched about getting his new custom Zon on time when others have been waiting way longer than is reasonable. Time will tell what happens. But I felt I needed to add another opinion as there are several people in this thread who have unabashedly shared their opinions of the current situation even though they have no skin in the game. In the end, this is Talkbass, and that's what we're here to do, so I'm sharing my experience and opinion now, and letting you know why I feel the way I do and why I do have skin in the game.
  9. bigsnack


    Aug 24, 2005
    Los Angeles
    Great response and understood! I am notoriously optimistic and loyal, and even I realized that the shop was going to need some additional encouragement to get things moving for me. I honestly despise the idea of having to call people out, make them look bad , etc. That being said, I’m not interested in donating nearly 4k to Zon. I really hope at this point they come through, and ultimately would love to see an improvement in their process to make their customers happier. They make awesome basses, but there is a caveat. Without that caveat I bet they could probably raise prices AND raise demand.
    Slaymus, oddentity, bobunit and 4 others like this.
  10. JuanB


    Feb 20, 2010
    Given that you're supplying the electronics and most of the hardware, Mr Zon won't be able to give you the excuses (whether true or not) that he seems to typically give. I wish you luck.

    My bass was supposed to be complete earlier this year. Hopefully I will be receiving it soon.
  11. Jefus

    Jefus I..um...yeah...about that... Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2008
    Sacramento now...
    This wasn't my intent when launching into this project. It really started with the pickups and kind of grew from there. I really don't want this approach to equate to jumping in front of other people in line, but if it removes obstacles (real or perceived) for delivery and allows Zon to collect their money sooner to reinvest in others' instruments, then maybe it's not such a bad thing. I'd say the bigger issue on my build is that I'm more of a control freak than I probably should be.

    I'm sorry you're still waiting on your instrument too. I really don't know what's going on over there, but I hope they get it together. I'd hate to see their legacy ruined (no pun intended). I know their reputation is swirling the drain in these forums; I'm curious what perception the rest of the world has on their ability to deliver. Either way, I want something that only Zon will be able to deliver, whenever it may be.
    RodRy, bobunit, 31HZ and 1 other person like this.
  12. 80jazz


    Jun 28, 2008
    I hope this gets figured out for everyone in here as well, for I do have some interest in a Zon 8. The fact that he will do a fretless version is also quite appealing.
    RodRy likes this.
  13. Runnerman

    Runnerman Registered Bass Player Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2011
    I'm in manufacturing and supply chain issues have not improved and if anything have not even hit bottom yet. We use a lot of terminals/connector bodies/wire in our products and 12 week lead times have gone out to 40 and beyond. We have more and more shortages every day. All that to say this, there is real potential that raw material shortages are driving the Bart and Zon delivery schedules. Obviously communication could be drastically improved, and should be, but it's a super difficult time for any manufacturer. And the little guys suffer worse because they have no clout with the supply base. Couple that with US labor shortages and it's certain we will see a lot of companies go out of business that don't have the financial wherewithall to ride it out. Let's hope Zon isn't one of them.
    HeavyJazz, RodRy, Jefus and 1 other person like this.
  14. BluesWalker

    BluesWalker Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2008
    San Diego
    Yup, that is why I was told delivery of my bass took 2 years.
  15. RodRy


    Jul 1, 2018
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Same thought I was having.
    This thread gives me pause on my desire to order a Zon Sonus 8.
    jim nolte likes this.
  16. RodRy


    Jul 1, 2018
    Kalamazoo, MI
    What is it that you don't like about the amplified sound of your current Sonus 8? I've not been able to lay hands on one, only heard them on YT and read reviews.

    Once you get your new one, any chance you'd be interested in selling your "not right sounding one" to a fellow TB 8-string enthusiast? Never hurts to ask, right?
  17. Jefus

    Jefus I..um...yeah...about that... Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2008
    Sacramento now...
    Bartolinis. They may be quiet, but I've heard better sounding pickups in, I dunno, every other bass I've ever played.

    The TB'r I bought it from had tried buying it back from me a few times; it holds some sentimental value to him. I may actually say 'yes' one is these days, if/when I get my new one.
  18. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    The Barts in my Sonus custom are really dark: have to crank treble on the preamp to get attack from them. That seems to be consistent for Barts, but it had been decades since I had them in a bass, wasn't sure if it was still true.

    Isn't a huge downside for me because I use clangy distortion for rock, and the darker pickups keep it from getting too harsh or brittle. For other styles, I wish the pickups had more edge.
    RodRy likes this.
  19. Jefus

    Jefus I..um...yeah...about that... Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2008
    Sacramento now...
    These are the old quad-coil Barts. They have an icepick-like quality in the upper mids/lower treble range. The octave strings bring particular attention to this frequency band. Replacing the stock Bartolini preamp with a Nordstrand made it slightly less bad, but it's still not good.

    And while the X4 shells that Joe co-designed with Bartolini do look cool, they don't leave many options for replacement.
    RodRy likes this.
  20. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Interesting. The big buckers in my wide fiver are coil splittable, but I don't know whether they are quads.
    RodRy likes this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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