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Zon Sonus pickup volume issues

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Avalon666666, Jul 4, 2012.

  1. Hi, I got some issues with my bass and maybe one of you could give me some new "views" to this:

    I recently bought a beautiful Zon Sonus Studio 5 from 2004. The previous owner kept her in new-like condition. The bass has the Bartolini pickups and bartolini preamp (a master volume pot, a pickup blend pot, two stacked pots for bass and treble individually for each pickup and 2 toggle switches for boosting either the mids or mids and highs individually for each pickup)
    After playing the bass for a few days, I realize that the neck pickup is significantly hotter (around 12 db!!) compared to the bridge pickup or compared to the centered blend position. I have looked into several factors like: lowering the neck pickup and raising the bridge pickup, adjusting the internal trimpots for the pickups, changed batteries etc. But even at the most extreme settings (neck pickup trimmed all the way down, bridge fully open at the trimpot) to compensate, the neck pickup is still way louder than the bridge pickup. The bass sounds compressed in the centered blend position and only soloing the Neck pickup gives me a good sound (but not versatile of course). Although I know it is the nature of a neck pickup to sound fuller due to more string excursion compared to the bridge position, I think it is not normal that blending from center towards the neck sounds like a volume pot more then a blend pot. Trying to keep my story short: I checked the pickups for impedance and they both show exact same levels so I do not think the pickups are malfunctioning. Could it be the bartolini preamp? Have some of you ever noticed this phenomenon in a bass? The pickups are stock wired in series (if I am right), would wiring them in parallel solve this problem? Before swamping pickups and preamp and causing a fight with my girlfriend (the Zon was a little above budget:) I would like to get to the bottom of this.
    I have been searching for quite a time for a 5 string bass to fit my needs and I think I found it in this Zon. If I could make this pickup thing work I will be a very satisfied bassplayer:) :bassist:
    I would like to hear your comments on this!

  2. Addison

    Addison This time, I didn't forget the gravy. Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2009
    Bismarck, ND
    Wow, bummer deal... it sounds like you've done a pretty good job troubleshooting the problem on your own, and I'm leaning towards agreeing with you that it's either the preamp or the blend control itself.

    If you're handy with a soldering iron, one thing you could try is to switch the leads on the blend pot to see if the same thing happens with the bridge pickup... if that's the case, then you can confirm that it's the blend pot that is faulty.

    If you're not comfortable doing that, I wouldn't mess with it, however... regardless, I'm sure it's probably an easy fix and it's something that the guys at Zon could trouble shoot for you over phone or by email.

    If you're able to call them, do it... they're good about emails too, but it might take a day or two for them to get back to you. They're a fairly small operation, and don't have a dedicated person to answer emails and pick up the phone.

    Whatever it is... they'll get it fixed for you. They're great guys and they stand behind their stuff.


    Good luck!
  3. Thanks for your reply Addison,

    Yes, indeed a bummer deal, I did not notice this during trying the bass. However I bought the bass via a musicstore and have 3 months warranty.

    I sent Zonguitars an email explaning the issue and they indeed replied nicely after a few days. They are going to consult Bartolini and come back to me.

    Although I have some soldering experience I will leave the bass alone since the electronics cavity is really crowded... I leave it to a specialist.
    Hopefully you are right and it will be a faulty blend pot, minimizing the repairtime so I can quickly rock again:):)


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