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Zon Sonus vs. F Bass: Which is the Bass Updated Jazz?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Dr. Cheese, Jul 28, 2005.


  1. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    My title sums it up. Which of these two boutique basses does the best update on the Jazz sound? I'm interested in these two basses, not more obvious J-clones like Sadowsky, Celinder, or Lull.
     
  2. The FBass in single coil mode does a very nice job with a 'modern take' on a 60's style J Bass sound to my ear. Not the 'J Bass on Steroids' thing like, for example, a Celinder Update, but a very nice, refined modern take on a classic.

    I never owned a Sonus, but have played a couple, and they really sound like their own thing to me, not really in the J Bass thing.... maybe a little like a J Bass with Bartolini's, but not that classic single coil thing.
     
  3. bassjigga

    bassjigga

    Aug 6, 2003
    I kind of agree with KJung. I have a couple Zons, and have played even more. They can definitely create a nice old school Jaco tone, but they do also have their own flavor/personality, which I happen to love. I just recently had the chance to play an F for the first time and personally, I wasn't blown away by it. It has a good all around tone. Versitile, good bass if you want well-rounded. But to me, the price tag wasn't justified by its good but not special sound. There are several less expensive basses out there which will produce "good all-around tone." For me the Zon is worth the ticket because I love its sound and it has a unique personality. Not an exact answer to the question, but hopefully helpful.
     
  4. Wilbyman

    Wilbyman

    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    I like the Zon basses very much, but I would hesitate to compare it to a j-bass. Heck, I have a 24-fret bass with an alder body and maple fingerboard, and jazz pickups in the traditional 60's position. It doesn't really sound like a jazz bass to me. There's something in that body shape and number of frets that make a jazz bass sound like it does. That said, I'd love to have a Zon.

    No experience with the F-Bass, but I'd point to the number of frets (21) as possibly having alot to do with it.
     
  5. When I first got my FBass (which I sold a while back for a number of reasons), I was relatively unimpressed also... nice bass, great playability, wonderful fit and finish... just not blown away... then... I put it in single coil mode.... that's a whole different thing (IMO)... the bass just came alive. Very nice if you like the J sort of thing in a 'custom' package. I agree with Wilbyman on the number of frets, pickup placement.... the whole thing adding to the J Bass vibe. To me, it's the ability to get that nice single coil grind. It's amazing that a few companies (Sadowsky, Celinder) have figured out how to get a true, authentic single coil sound in a truly silent, humfree pickup.... very, very cool!!!!
     
  6. GRoberts

    GRoberts Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Tucson, AZ USA
    I'm with KJ regarding the F Bass and the magic of its single coil mode. I play an F Bass BN5 as my main instrument and I use it exclusively in single coil mode for the same reasons KJ cited; 60's J Bass grind and more. It is meaty, punchy and it growls for days. I can get Jaco mid-range tones easily, and I can also get a glorious Slap tone with both pickups on full. The neck on the F Bass is very nice. It is well shaped and has perfect spacing for my hands. (I don't have huge hands) I also like Zon basses, but for me, there is no comparison. They are completely different animals. The F Bass does it all from Classic J-bass sounds to incredibly sweet Marcus Miller-esque slap tones. Plus, F basses do not sound sterile like many graphite neck basses typically do. Gary
     
  7. Wilbyman

    Wilbyman

    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    If you want to hear a graphite necked jazz-style bass, pick up Brian Bromberg's metal. I believe he is using one of his Peavey B-Quad's, but the sound is similar to the Zon's I've heard. He does alot of quick Jaco-esque fingerstyle (and alot of slapping!), and while it kind of has a J-like punch/burp...the timbre is totally different. That graphite neck just has a sound to it.
     
  8. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Thanks for the info guys. I'm not in the market for either of them, but I was curious since I had read years ago in Bass Player that the Zon Sonus was designed as a Jazz Bass update and the F Bass has been called a Jazz style bass also.
     
  9. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    the Zons have the most organic sounding COMPOSITE necks I have heard- they are not entire graphite and are hollowed out- they are very warm sounding in spite of this. Having said that, I am a HUGE F bass fan and i have to say, of my basses, it would be the last one i would get rid of for whatever God forbid reason. You definitely will hear more wood in an F bass, but i am biased- i think you hear more wood in an F bass than just about everything else out there- I also have a Sadowsky Tokyo which is a winderfyl J style bass- i was worried it would out-tone my F..
    not to worry, the F bass is still numero uno, in my book.
     
  10. sethlow3

    sethlow3 Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Nashville, Tennessee
    I owned both and right now I only have an Fbass. The Zon was light and cool but didn't sound near as good as the F I have. In the live or studio mix, the F always cut through better. Also I'd say that F bass has a much more versitile sound. I am able to get 60s jazz, jaco burp, sizzlin slap, pbass, etc... with my F. The Zon however is much lighter and had decent tone but didn't have the OOOMPH I like.

    Something is missing to my ears in a Zon's tone and thats fundamental. When playing with fingers the Zon could'nt get a great fundamental tone when compared to my old fender P. There is a HUGE difference.

    So go for the F if you want tons of versitlility, but if you want only a jazz sound there are cheaper ways of doing it. Fender Jazz 5 (some of them rock), Fender Roscoe Beck, a used Mike Lull, etc...
     
  11. GRoberts

    GRoberts Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Tucson, AZ USA
    +1 to EVERYTHING Sethlow said! Well said! Including, The Roscoe Beck Fender is a very good sounding Fender bass in curernt production. Probably my Favorite Fender right now. and the Lull's are really nice too.

     
  12. I have 3 Zons. At the moment I have here a ZOn Sonus 5 with 2 Barolini single coils. To me it sounds like a better Jazz bass.These single coils do not have gobs of output. For instance, the Sonus Studio 5 I have thunders over the what the sinlge coiled Zon does.

    Now on top of that, Joe is offering the 3 band EQ with the 3 position toggle for midrange frequency. My Sonus 5 doesn't have that. It only has the 2 band EQ. So if you want more versatility, the SOnus with the 3 band EQ and 3 way toggle is going to allow you to get more snot out of the pickups

    I kind of dig Lull basses and think they , having a wood neck instead of graphite, would be more warm like an old Fender.if I wanted a great Jazz bass, I wouldn't hesitate to buy a body and neck from USA Customs and do my own electronics and set up.
     
  13. bassjigga

    bassjigga

    Aug 6, 2003
    People need to get past this "graphite-sounds-sterile" stereotype/myth, because it just isn't true on Zon. They have warmer sounding necks than most wood basses out there.
     
  14. I'm with you on that one man. My zons eat up many of the +3 and 4 thousand dollar basses.Not all graphite basses sound the same for sure
     
  15. GRoberts

    GRoberts Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Tucson, AZ USA
    I stand corrected and retract my comment as I am not as familiar with Zons as I was with my Modulus Quantum 5 that in fact had a graphite neck. The sound of THAT BASS was sterile compared to my F bass. But it is not fair for me to generalize that onto the Zon. It has been pointed out that Zon uses a composite neck and that it is completely different from something like the neck I lived with on my Modulus for a year. Point taken and noted. Gary
     
  16. sethlow3

    sethlow3 Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Nashville, Tennessee
    I'll have to elaborate...

    I had a single coil, zp2d zon and yes it was VERY warm and organic. I liked warm mids a lot at the time, but warm never sounded that great in a studio or live setting. I used it in pop bands, R&B, rock etc... and it didn't have that bloom and fundamental bass tone that fills the room. It wasn't sterile, just warm only. So when the drums got busy, the bass would get mushy in the mix. That said, it sounds great just me and an amp (which is why I think Michael Manring and Trip Wamsley like them so much), but thats not what I spent 1500 for.

    The other bart model preamp with soaps sounded VERY bright and that was about all I could get with that particular Zon. I had it for two days and quickly returned it. The mid sweep went from a bit warmer to very bright. I could hear a lot of finger noise even with the treble all the way down.

    So again I'll say if you want the supportive jazz bass tone al a John Paul Jones, Jaco, etc... an F would fit the bill and then some, but a jazz or RB5 is MUCH cheaper.

    ;)