Zon tone

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mcgraham, Feb 15, 2006.

  1. mcgraham


    Feb 21, 2004
    Coventry, UK
    Hey all,

    I've tried one Zon before in the past, I was not immediately struck by the tone. I did not find it sterile at all mind you, it definitely had a warm character. However I found it to have a certain pronounced midrange that did not agree with me.

    My question to any and all users of Zon, both past and present, what your opinion is on Zon tone, clips would also be quite useful if you have them! As tastes change, I may find it to be more my thing now. Plus I don't doubt that each model sounds somewhat different.

    Thanks in advance guys!

    Take care and God bless,

    Mark G
  2. Andy Brown

    Andy Brown Supporting Member

    Jul 23, 2004
    Rhode Island
    Founder: Wing Bass
    I don't have any clips offhand, but my vinny is punchy and woody. Gets a nice jazz tones also. Perfect for all styles.
  3. RSchuster


    Jan 27, 2006
    Alexandria, VA
    Zon tone is my #4 greatest bass tone of all time, behind Wal, Pedulla, and Rickenbacker. Zons are definitely the most versatile of those four . . . great for pretty much anything . . . metal, jazz, funk, rock, disco, pop, blues, country . . . it'd be hard NOT to sound good in a band environment with a Zon.
  4. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    For fretless, a Zon is only second to Roscoe for tone... and it's a close second, real close. This, of course is my opinion. Others may feel that the ultimate fretless is a Zon. Like I said, it's close for me.

    I love the fretless Zons.
  5. mcgraham


    Feb 21, 2004
    Coventry, UK
    Thanks for the clips and opinions guys! Much appreciated.

    Zon basses are extremely interesting for me. Firstly for travel reasons, the incredibly stable graphite neck being safe/less prone to humidity and temp changes, not to mention ridiculously solid construction. Secondly, altered tunings no longer shifting action.

    I can only hope that my tastes have indeed changed and/or that one setup I tried was just not for me.

    Anyone else find the same thing with regards just wanting to find a bass is for them?

    Thanks again, take care and God bless,

    Mark G
  6. fretlessrock

    fretlessrock Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2002
    The thing that has kept me happy with the sound of my fretless Sonus 5 is that it is a very clean and strong tone. I have a few gigs where i use effects and even when the result doesn't sound much like a bass the fundamental is still strong. It has proven itself to me on a lot of gigs and playing situations.

    The build and playability, etc.. are gravy. Sweet, sweet gravy.
  7. TBalls


    Mar 18, 2005
    I agree 100% (except for the #4 tone part). The construction is second to none, and the electronics are so versatile that you can get virtually anything you want out of a Zon.
    I have to say, one of the main features that has kept me going back to Zon is the lack of a trussrod. I know some control freaks like being able to tweak their necks, but if it's perfect from the start, who needs it?
    There's nothing like the confidence of knowing that your bass is going to play exactly the same every time you pick it up -- even if it's been sitting in the closet for a year.
  8. I have a Zon Sonus 4 - I love the tone. I'd be happy to take a minute and toss down a clip for you - let me know what you want to hear...
  9. mcgraham


    Feb 21, 2004
    Coventry, UK
    Right on TBalls, a perfectly setup instrument whenever you pick it up is like a dream come true. I reside in both Hong Kong and Britain half a year at a time, quite a drastic change for any instrument. Course the reassurance of a truss rod would be nice ;)

    The Hyperbass, as Widener has put it before, is the excalibur of basses. Would love to try it one day. *sigh* One day...

    Take care and God bless,

    Mark G
  10. lsu921


    Jun 6, 2003
    Addis, La
    I own a ZON 519, and I haven't owned, played, or heard anything better.. Including my old MTD 535, all the different Modulus models, Lakland, Roscoe (sorry Gard), plus the usual Fender, EBMM, etc..

    It's very punchy, has a good growl, and cuts through any mix. I think some of the midrange you heard is what makes them cut so well.. If you get the chance to try one in a live setting, I doubt you would be disappointed.

    They feel terrific, and setup like a dream.. You can almost set it and forget it.. The thing is always like it was the last time you played it.. I can email you some clips if you want... Send me an email to jhebert @ bankers-bank . com, and I'll send you what I have..
  11. dunamis


    Aug 2, 2004
    Re: truss rod in a Zon

    I just received a VB5 and it does have a truss rod. I spoke with Joe Z about it and he said that he was starting to add them to all his basses due to the fact that some folks like to have the ability to tweak the relief. As you are probably aware, the necks on these are so stable that there is really no need to have a rod to correct neck cahnges over time (like with a wood neck). Joe explained that the only purpose for the truss rods in new Zons is to provide the "tweakability" that some desire.


  12. dunamis


    Aug 2, 2004
    Agreed. Mine shows up in the mix much better than others basses I've tried.

    I just posted the following thoughts on tone in another thread.

  13. mcgraham


    Feb 21, 2004
    Coventry, UK
    I completely agree lsu921, the mids undoubtedly are what contribute to the Zons ability to cut through the mix so well. It's a love hate thing, long story short, the pronounced midrange I heard was just higher in the frequency spectrum than I prefer. I currently have DiMarzio Model J's in my jazz, I find that they provide a solid low-mid rich hump that cuts through well, is tight and thick but without being overwhelmingly warm. I honestly don't remember the pickup configuration on that Zon I tried but that could be responsible for the stronger upper mids.

    There was a dude from Houston over as part of Christmas celebrations (not UK, they were in HK) he was using a Zon during rehearsals at my church. I have to say, that was an solid tone, had the right blend of cutting through and sitting in the mix. Unfortunately I was only passing through and wasn't able to examine it in closer detail.

    Thanks for the replies guys, I'll be taking you up on the clips!

    Take care and God bless,

    Mark G
  14. lsu921


    Jun 6, 2003
    Addis, La
    Mine has the 3 band mid selector, which a lot of them don't.. 250/400/700 are the ranges you can boost or cut on the bass I have.. There are definitely some offensive mid frequencies out there, and it's nice to have as much control over them as possible. Different rooms, rigs, etc.. will also play a role in your tone..
  15. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon Supporting Member

    May 10, 2000
    Lake Forest, CA
    the 519 i used for the clips posted had the 3 way mid selector.


  16. sloppysubs


    Nov 24, 2002
    Swansboro, NC
    I had a Zon Sonus custom built for me. It has both a J and P style pick ups in it. The P has a soapbar cover so it looks like a soap bar and not a P.

    Anyway, it has an internal mid control that I keep between 1/4 and 1/2. Of course as you can imagine the bass has AWSOME response across the entire frequency range, but if I choose for it to be, it can have massive mids.

    I string it with D'addario flats and still has a bright sound. It mean it's mellow, but it has that bright flavor to it.

    By far best sounding bass I have had. It really does cut through and has the ability to get a wide variety of tonal options. I'd love to play a fretless Zon, that's next on my list.
  17. mcgraham


    Feb 21, 2004
    Coventry, UK
    I've just been listening to clips kindly emailed to me by Jason (lsu921) and I have to say I'm blown away, that sounds absolutely nothing like the one I tried.

    For those without direct listening pleasure it captures the Wooten tone perfectly (heavily percussive pieces) and in the same song, (so I'm assuming little to no radical changes to controls) a very sweet modern tone that has just the right level of upper and lower mids (non offensive ;) ) and warmth. Tight, defined and thick but without being overwhelming, check. It sits and cuts at just the right level. I don't think I have adequately summed up the sound on these clips but rest assured, it's sweet.

    Now... a Zon in the UK... hmmm

    Thanks again Jason, and thank you fhodshon, thats a seriously sick fretless tone!

    Take care and God bless,


    P.S. Oh and thanks dunamis for the info on truss rods, that was one of the slight worries I had about Zons, despite a neck that is not prone to the same whims of nature that wood is, materials under tension shift over time. Be that 1 day or 100 years, a mm or a mile, it will happen.