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Zon vs Modulus (the company, NOT the bass)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Direct Box Rox, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. Direct Box Rox

    Direct Box Rox Silence = Deaf

    Feb 12, 2012
    I like how whenever I've had to call Zon - I'd say that 70% of the time Joe Zon answers himself and will willingly shoot the breeze with you for upwards of 30 mins. I dont expect this and also realize he is a busy man and doesn't have to spend that kind of time on the phone with me. I've had to call over the years dating back to 1996.

    In contrast, I like when I call Modulus, not only is it impossible to get a hold of a live person, they don't even have a proper voice message system set up. It's the telephone operator voice recording saying "you have reached mail box 1234 - and the mailbox is full - you cannot leave a msg" or something on that order.

    I realize both companies produce some of the best instruments available but it doesn't exactly give me a warm & fuzzy to order a $4k instrument from a company where not only can you not get a hold of a live person but they don't even have a proper message set up. Something like "Thank you for calling Modulus Guitars & Basses. We are currently unavailable but blah blah blah blah....& visit us online in the meantime at www.blahblahblah".

    Just my opinion & observation.
  2. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Ha! Try buying Walter Woods amp! ;)
  3. Direct Box Rox

    Direct Box Rox Silence = Deaf

    Feb 12, 2012
    Who is Walter Woods and what does he have to do with amplifiers? Thank you.
  4. Adam Wright

    Adam Wright Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2002
    GHS Strings
    I've heard people having similar problems with Zon and email. They once answered an e-mail almost 2 years after I sent it. I had a friend who worked for Modulus for a few weeks helping them with their graphite process, he said it was pretty much all dope smokers and everything was very unprofessional.
  5. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Walter Woods pioneered micro amps back in the 70s. He's very eccentric. He has no website, only had one advertisement that I know of (on the back of Rufus Reid's Evolving Bassist), and his phone number often changes. He rarely, if ever, answers the phone if you do happen to have the right number.

    Despite these eccentricities, his amps have a unique sound and a cult following. You can read more here:

  6. Direct Box Rox

    Direct Box Rox Silence = Deaf

    Feb 12, 2012
    I can believe that. I can't speak for any email exchanges between myself & Zon but as far as phone calls go; they've always answered and most of the time it was Joe Zon himself picking up the phone.
  7. MeLikeDaLowNote


    Sep 22, 2012
    That's really interesting. I remember the first time I called Bass Central (I was a kid) and reached Beaver Felton. I was like, "OMG, THE Beaver Felton ?!?!" No big deal I realize now, but at the time I was starstruck. Still, it's really nice to speak to someone close to the center of business. Glad to hear that about Zon.
  8. SherwoodGreen

    SherwoodGreen Banned

    Dec 25, 2012
    Being involved in the MI business, I once tried to contact Modulus for business purposes- & was not able to; same result as OP. They are the only company that I had reason/occasion to contact with no result.
    No hard feelings.
    Modulus makes a great instrument (I loved my FU 4). They are most likely full-bore into production and do not need or want to be contacted by consumers. They would prefer that their Dealers handle these things.
    They have a fairly comprehensive website wherein the models are shown along with specs, etc.
    If interested in one, one of their Dealers should be able to hook a buyer up with the bass.
    They're not the only builder that takes this direction, and I agree it would speak better if they had at least a semblance of interest in the end-user.
    As an example of the other side of the coin, any interested buyer could ultimately speak directly with Mike Lull, Roger Sadowsky, and many others.
    Their (Modulus) choice; they are one of the few builders of quality basses w/ graphite necks.
  9. Direct Box Rox

    Direct Box Rox Silence = Deaf

    Feb 12, 2012
    Being able to speak to those builders makes sense. Now I wouldn't expect someone to be able to get a hold of a live body at a company like Fender that pumps out a bajillion guitars/basses. But at these smaller companies that charge an arm & a leg, I dont think it's asking to much to have someone pickup the phone and direct your call.
  10. SherwoodGreen

    SherwoodGreen Banned

    Dec 25, 2012
    Actually, a large Company like Fender has dedicated Customer
    (read: "Consumer") reps. You might have to stay on hold for a while, but I've had a few instances where I needed some action- and I got it.

    I've had people say they get nothing at G&L- I spoke with whom I needed to there when I had some things to take care of.
    Pete Skjold, Clement, Fodera...will pick up the phone.

    I'll mention it again- IMO Modulus does not follow the program of Customer or Consumer interaction, but I'll wager a Dealer will take care of whatever you need.

    In the case of my attempt at contacting them for a MI-related business matter; apparently they got my message (I did get a machine), and chose not to reply.

    I've had other Manufacturers in this respect reply with a "No thanks"
    and even better yet- with an agreement to do business!:D
  11. younggun


    Jul 19, 2008
    San Antonio
    Another great builder of graphite necked (and full graphite) instruments with quality customer service is Status. If you call them, you'll usually get Rob Green (the owner) himself or his wife on the phone.
  12. SherwoodGreen

    SherwoodGreen Banned

    Dec 25, 2012
    +1, No call on my part, but Rob was great with quick E-Mail replies and pertinent info.

    A Stealth is on my high-priority GAS list!

    G.Gould has some great basses; The Dealer(s) I've contacted were...OK, never heard back from Geoff (Godfather of Graphite!)

    I don't take it personally; usually builders are building!
  13. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    Charlotte, NC
    Ever tried calling Bartolini? They never answer...even when I was working as a sales rep at a big music store, no answer. I guess you have to go to NAMM if you want to talk to them. Anderson Page at Modulus has always been responsive for me when I've dealt with them.
  14. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    True, but in my 25+ years of playing bass and owning almost 100 of them over the years, Modulus is by far the worst guitar company I have personally dealt with.... and I say that as a current owner.

    I have no idea why... FBass, Sadowsky, Fodera, Dingwall, Roscoe... all small operations and actually answer the phone and respond to emails. Modulus.... Not so much.
  15. ModuMan

    ModuMan How many is too many? Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2007
    Bristol, CT #19
    I've had some experience with both.

    With Modulus, if you aren't the original owner of the bass they really don't want anything to do with you. I was (politely) told to go ask AllParts about any replacement hardware. I was also told that the warped neck was not their problem, find someone else who was willing to fix it. (I did).

    With Zon, I've had no trouble talking to someone on the phone. Email is another story. Even when they are expecting your email!

    I'd like to mention that I had a great experience working with Jerry Dorsch, formerly of Modulus. He was the one who fixed my Modulus neck. Very nice guy. Not much on email but very helpful on the phone. He even sent the finished bass back before I paid him for it!
  16. Afc70

    Afc70 Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2004
    Northeast Arkansas
    Speaking of polite, I'm a Kubicki ex factor owner, and I've called Phillip( Phil) at least 3 different occasions, and he always takes the time to answer any questions I have about his basses. He's a great guy to talk to and I love his basses.- I did call modulus once, a few years ago, and they were nice, I have a early lane poor flea bass, and i was trying to find out when it was made. I had read they started making fleas in 97' but my flea bass starts with serial # 96.So modulus looked it up and said mine was assembled in jan 97 from parts made in 96. But Modulus were very helpful and courteous.
  17. Direct Box Rox

    Direct Box Rox Silence = Deaf

    Feb 12, 2012
    Im not asking for a miracle from Modulus; but at least have a correct voice greeting on your message instead of "mail box 4137 is full and you cannot leave a msg". You think when you call BMW or Audi you get that same greeting?
  18. Addison

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

    Sep 17, 2009
    Bismarck, ND
    Graphic Designer, Social Media Manager - Zon Guitars
    Before I ever had a working relationship with Zon, I was in the process of purchasing a bass... I had lots of questions that the dealer couldn't answer, so he said, "Hey, do you mind if I just have someone over at Zon contact you?"

    He told me they were really busy (it was October, which is the beginning of NAMM crunch-time), so I should jot down a few questions and have them ready.

    A few hours later Joe called me... we talked for at least 30 minutes. He was like a kid talking about bass... he was at least as excited as I was. Not only did he answer every question I had, but he brought up a dozen other awesome things I had never even thought of. It was a fantastic conversation and made me feel so good about my purchase. We even talked about Upstate NY a little bit, since we're both from there.

    About 2 weeks later I had another quick question... called and Mark answered the phone. He answered my question immediately. Boom.

    Since then, they've become great friends of mine... and I feel lucky to have them in my life. They're really, really good guys and they're in this for all the right reasons. After all these years, as crazy busy and as frustrating as it gets over there sometimes, they still have the same passion and drive they had when they left Buffalo for greener pastures... and that in turn inspires me. Pretty cool.

    Anyway, the email thing can be frustrating and I'm getting a better handle at understanding why... one thing that I know is that because the "customerservice@zonguitars.com" address has been around forever, it gets constantly bombarded with spam, junk mail, scammers, people looking for handouts, etc, etc, etc... so, a simple session where someone can sit down to answer some email turns into a several hour "clean out the email box" session. Their ISP does filter out some, but not nearly enough, unfortunately... and those guys would simply rather be building awesome basses for awesome people.

    They do answer emails but it can take a while... so it's probably always better to call on the phone whenever possible.
  19. StephenR


    May 21, 2009
    SF Bay Area
    Surprised to hear this. In my experience Geoff has always been good about returning calls and email. He also responds to people who ask questions on his blog.

    Agree that it is best not to take it personally if a small company doesn't immediately get back to you. How would you feel if you ordered a bass and delivery was way behind schedule because the person who was supposed to be working on it was on the phone with other customers all day long?

    Another thing to consider is that the builder wants you to deal with the store you ordered the instrument through. I played a prototype of a Turner four-string Renaissance bass at a rehearsal back in 1997. Instantly wanted one. The person who owned it put me directly in touch with Rick about ordering one but Rick requested I buy through Guitar Center. They had just started selling his instruments. Rick wanted to try and cultivate the business relationship and told me it would help him if I bought through them. I bought the bass through Guitar Center (and a five-string at a different store a year later when they became available) but any time I have needed work done on the basses I call Rick and drop by his shop in Santa Cruz. He has always taken exemplary care of me including upgrading electronics for free and also spent time hanging and telling all sorts of fascinating stories.

    It is going to be a different experience with every company.
  20. Direct Box Rox

    Direct Box Rox Silence = Deaf

    Feb 12, 2012
    Couldn't agree more. Joe is something else. Because there is no dealer in my area - he has offered to send me a couple of basses (w/ me providing a credit card of course) and then letting me send back the one I dont want. Even when I bought a shirt he sent me two different sizes (but only charged me for one) and ask that the one that didn't fit I send back.

    He actually MAKES you want to own one of his instruments. I'm proud that he still uses my testimonial to this day on his website (I submitted it summer of 1995).

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