ZON GUITARS was founded in Buffalo, New York, as a custom guitar and repair shop in May 1981 by bassist/luthier Joe Zon. The company grew out of a retail music store called the Buffalo Guitar Outlet, and had a reputation for high-quality repairwork and custom-built guitars.
In pursuit of building the ultimate instrument, Joe considered using graphite neck material as a way to enhance the sound and stability of his basses. This new technology, coupled with years of experience in repairs, culminated in a design that was immune to neck warp and twist, ergonomic, and lightweight, and it produced a rich, full tone.
The original design of this instrument became the prototype for Zon's handcrafted production basses. The prototype bass featured an all-graphite neck molded from a master fashioned by Zon, and custom-designed Bartolini pickups. It also utilized printed circuit board active electronics, designed and manufactured exclusively for Zon by Polyfusion Electronics. Polyfusion was well-known in the world of keyboards for their modular synthesizers.
It's been many years since the inception of that first prototype bass. In that time, Zon has introduced a variety of instruments, including the Legacy Series and Scepter model basses, and for a brief period, the Stiletto guitar.
Zon's partnership with bassist Michael Manring led to the development of the groundbreaking Hyperbass, the world's first bass designed to employ altered tunings. Michael's unique style and mastery of this instrument have opened eyes and ears everywhere to this radical new approach that expands the parameters of bass.
Today, the bass world has come to know the name Zon as an instrument of quality craftsmanship, innovation, and performance. The introduction of the Sonus bass, dubbed the Jazz bass of the '90s , sets the pace for a new direction and continued innovation for the future.
In November of 1995, Zon Guitars expanded its operations to a larger facility in Redwood City, California, to meet the growing demand worldwide.
May 1981: ZON GUITARS founded as a custom guitar and repair shop in Buffalo, New York.
June 1981: Zon exhibits at first NAMM show in Chicago, Illinois. Unveils Signature and Standard model 4- and 8-string basses.
October 1981: Rick James and the Stone City Band become Zon's first endorsing artist.
June 1982: The Legacy bass is introduced at summer NAMM show.
September 1983: John Wetton of Asia and Tim Butler of the Psychedelic Furs sign on as endorsees.
June 1984: The Scepter bass is introduced.
August 1985: First Stiletto guitar models go into production.
September 1987: Zon relocates to Redwood City, California, and begins its new incarnation as a full-time instrument manufacturer.
January 1988: Legacy 5-string debuts at Winter NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) show in Anaheim, California.
November 1989: Planning begins for the design of the Hyperbass model.
October 1990: Michael Manring's Hyperbass is born.
April 1991: Zon Guitars announces the exclusive endoresment of Windham Hill recording artist Michael Manring.
June 1991: Doug Lunn, long-time L.A. studio player and bassist for Mark Isham signs exclusive endorsement.
July 1991: Zon Guitars welcomes its newest endorsee, bassist John Smithson of Bonham.
January 1992: Zon Guitars, Bass Player Magazine, and SWR Engineering present bassist Michael Manring and Friends in concert at the Winter NAMM show in celebration of the release of Manring's Drastic Measures album.
Janurary 1992: the SONUS bass is added to the line and quickly catches on as a Jazz Bass* for the '90s.
March, 1992: Zon Guitars proudly introduces the long-awaited production model of the Michael Manring Hyperbass.
February, 1993: ZON GUITARS announces the expansion of its popular Sonus bass line with the addition of the 5-string version.
June 1993: Robert Hurst III, the Tonight Show Band bassist and leader of the Robert Hurst Band, signs with Zon as its newest endorsing artist.
January 1994: Sonus six-string version and the Sonus Special are introduced at the Winter NAMM Show in Anaheim.
July 1994: The new Legacy Standard Bass Series is released.
November 1995: Zon Guitars expands manufacturing capabilities by moving to a larger space in Redwood City, California.
January 1996: Zon introduces the Sonus 5/1 single-pickup bass at the Anaheim NAMM Show.
May 1996: Zon Introduces The Sonus VIII 8-String Bass.
January 1997: Introduction of the Sonus 4/1 single pickup 4-string.
© 2004 Zon Guitars.