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Zon...please advise

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by vacman, May 23, 2004.

  1. vacman


    Mar 8, 2004
    portland, or
    I am looking for any and all feedback and advice about Four string Zon Sonus Series. Is the Ash body the way to go?
    Should I get the Studio Series with the upgraded Barts?
    I am looking for a "jack of all trades" and want to know what you think. Thanks in advance for your time and advice... :D
  2. sloppysubs


    Nov 24, 2002
    Swansboro, NC
    all the zons ive played have been absolutely amazing. teh ash bodied ones sound great. if you feel comfortable with it go with it. i personally like having 2 pu's so to me if i was on some sort of budget the sonus 4/2 is a great buy. i played a 5/2 ash bodied sonus and its the only 5 string i like. however, if you can go a step up and get something higher than the "low line" models then do it. you cant go wrong with a zon.
  3. vacman


    Mar 8, 2004
    portland, or
    Thankyou for the reply. I called down to redwood city and all partys seemed helpful and ready to please. Anyone else have any feedback?
  4. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon

    May 10, 2000
    Redmond, WA
    Microsoft Product Designer
    i have 2 Zon fretlesses.

    one with lightwave pickups, the other with mags (519 model).

    while the Studio certainly is flexible, i actually preferred the in-line pickup models. even over the Custom series.


    the 519 model has a 3 band EQ that is really SWEET!!! especially for fretless.

    the Special models i've played have a unique sound to them that some like and some don't.

    hard to explain the diffs.

    for fretless Zon is my brush of choice.

    and don't listen to ANYone that says composite necks sound "sterile".

    i'd bet good money they haven't actually played a Zon, they're just repeating what is popular to say so they come of knowledgeable.


    knowing what style of music you will be playing sometimes helps with recommendations.

  5. vacman


    Mar 8, 2004
    portland, or
    I agree that most folks who say composite necks are sterile have never taken one for a test drive...I am looking for a clean, focused tone that would provide the lowend for a fusion, funk trio. My MMSR 5 is to midie and heavy to boot.
    I donot have the dough to throw around looking for "the one" so Zon has made my short list. The stability of the neck is very appealing. I also like the tonal charecter of ash bodys and Joe and crew seem to focus alot of energy on that. Again thanks for the feedback... :D
  6. vacman


    Mar 8, 2004
    portland, or
    Yet another selling point on Zon is that the action is so low...this seems to be an observation shared by many a Zon player. Is this a natural characteristic of compsite necks?
  7. I have 2 Sonus Customs and a third on the way. They're one of my favorite basses. The ash body seens to work well, and I really like the ZP-2 preamp which helps accentuate the mids. The action can be set super low because there is less than 1/64 of relief in the neck, which is great for tapping and other technical parts. Get a Zon, and don't look back! You'll love it.
  8. Deep


    May 8, 2002
    Halftooth...when you say less than 1/64 of relief, is that taken between the 1st fret to the 12th or the 1st to the last? If it's from the the 1st to the last, mine does have more than that. It seems to be .018-.019 which would be over 1/64" (.015). I don't know if this is a normal relief on Zons or not.
  9. That's a good question! I'm not sure the answer to be honest with you. When I dropped my bass off to Joe to adjust, I asked him to set it as low as he could without any buzzing, and his response was that he could practicly have my strings sitting on the frets because the neck was almost perfectly straight. He was the one that mentioned that his necks have about 1/64 or less of neck relief on them. My guess is that he measures his relief off the last fret, in my case the 24th, but because not all of his basses have 24 frets, maybe he measures off the 12th fret.
    Joe mentioned to me that his older basses had more relief in the necks, but I'm not sure the years of those models. Maybe that would be the case in your situation if you have an older model. My Zons range from years '01-'03, and they all seem to have very little relief in the necks.
  10. sloppysubs


    Nov 24, 2002
    Swansboro, NC
    its crazy the action on zons. frankly i see more action in tough acting tinactin.
  11. DarkMazda


    Jun 3, 2000
    No one recognizes me? :(
  12. sloppysubs


    Nov 24, 2002
    Swansboro, NC
    yea being serious again, i dont feel that composite necks are sterile. then again ive only played zon's, i might be mislead. but im not familiar with other companies who make composite necks, and thats just due to ignorance.

    but the action is low and thats a definate plus if you like to tap. at least it helps me. but with the neck being graphite and the pehnowood...i think its a heck of a sound too. it just seems comfortable.
  13. The only Zon I've ever owned is a Sonus 4/2 (the black one wtih SD pickups).
    Quite an exceptional bass and one that I'll never sell. With the kind of EQ and pickups, they're really versatile. No matter what wood is used. I have heard alot of people who like the Ash though.
  14. Zons are fine basses. The regular Sonus series in ash is a very aggressive bass with lots of low and highs available. I definitely prefer having the mid cut/boost control option installed (I have one with and one without).

    The low action on the graphite neck helps give them the aggressive tone; there is a lot of metallic string on neck harmonic content in the tone, which I find works great to cut through in a loud band.

    For a more organic sound, without a loud drummer, I find I need to play the Zon very lightly with a higher action to keep the tone round and warm.

    My current band is a Latin Trio with a classical guitar and a Peruvian Cahon for percussion, and the Zon sounds harsh in this setup and I go happily with my MTD.


  15. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    I have a ash Zon and love it! Like Jonathan said, the only thing I want to change is the preamp, so i can have a mid control.
  16. vacman


    Mar 8, 2004
    portland, or
    Thankyou everyone for the advice, etc. Having spoken with the folks in Redwood City it looks like I am going with a Sonus 4 string with Ash body and Flame Redwood top... The mid upgrade on the pups is a must I have been told so be it. Lets hope she sings through my SVT :D Now will momma let me play? I will keep you posted...
  17. buzzbass

    buzzbass Shoo Shoo Retarded Flu !

    Apr 23, 2003
    I have 2 sonus 5's and I love them both. Joe's service is 2nd to none. The one I bought used, he fixed, no questions asked. Even though I wasn't the original owner. A lot of companies could take lessons from Joe Zon, he rocks.
  18. Which preamp are you going with? I really think the Zon preamp works well with his basses. I haven't played one with the Bart pre, but I hear it's a good one too. If you go with the Legacy electronics, some don't have the mid control on the front of the bass but rather it's in the control cavity. One of my Sonus Customs has the Legacy electronics and the mid control is in the cavity. At first, I thought it was going to be a pain and I would want to take it to Joe and have him ad the knob, but as I play it, I just leave it at a certain volume point and play it as is. So far it has worked out great.
  19. Basso Gruvitas

    Basso Gruvitas Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2000
    Dallas/Ft. Worth TX
    I'll be the one to cast a desenting vote. I have owned 3 Zons and 2 of them had problems with the fingerboard. Specifically, the fingerboard settled or developed too much relief. One of my former bass teachers here in the Dallas area, a pro player and Zon endorser, has the same problem with his Zon.

    I also received a PM from a fellow TB user saying he had the same problem. I've called Joe Zon about this. He says you have a one-year warranty on a new bass and that's it. No exceptions. No bending rules. No favorites. You're shelling out around $400 + shipping to get it fixed.

    I look at this in the same light as not wearing a motorcycle helmet. It's likely you won't have any problems. But if you do, it's painful! :(

    Zons play great when they're working right. But I don't want to take the chance again.
  20. Did Joe mention why this problem occurs, and why he only gives you a 1 year warrenty? I'm under the impression that this sort of thing isn't supposed to occur with composite materials. How severe of a relief issue was there on your basses?