Waterstone Ozone Reviews

Waterstone Ozone 12-String Bass Review
by Ron Johnson

Editor's Note: Ron won this bass in our latest contest and he won the strap in our previous contest. Congratulations Ron!

I'm impressed. I didn't think it looked that nice online, but the wood and the curves on the body (the bass that is) are really spectacular. I already have several other musicians drooling over the bass.

I love the sound of this bass. The sustain and multiple sounds are great. I have just fooled around, nothing detailed, but with the Low D tuning I prefer the second pot to the from the right, bass player view, turned down. It gives a great growl and nice highs. I played it through my little practice amp and my Ampeg and this 12-string really rings out well, much much brighter than the TP2. Not as much low end, but hey that's why I have more than one to choose from.

The growling sound is better, yes I said better, than my original Hamer's active dual EMG humbuckers. The neck is less thick than the TP-2, or at least that is the way it feels. Finger picking is easily done and feels comfortable on this bass and due to the pickup positions I have a couple of places to rest the thumb when not using picks. Some people don't think about that. I don't know if that was planned or a fluke, but the position works for me.

Very impressed. The images of it online don't do it justice, the bass looks very sharp and feels well. A little neck dive but not as crazy as the Chaps from Hamer.

That's my two cents.

Editor's Note Part 2: Ron had this bass refinished in a plaid fabric by Sims Custom Shop.

Waterstone Ozone 12-String Bass Review
by Mark Rowe

I recently had a chance to test drive a Waterstone Ozone 12-string bass while it was in my possession during our "12 Strings Of Christmas" contest. It's a really nice bass and it looks much better in person than it does in the photos on the Waterstone site. Those photos give the bass a very blonde, almost washed out look. But the finish of the actual bass is quite a bit deeper and much richer than I expected. It has a thick urethane type clear coat which really brings out the 'flavor' of the wood.

Yeah I know, I don't look as cool as Ron...

The Ozone 12 tips the scale at just under 11 pounds. The body is 1" thick, with the neck being just under 1" thick. It has a much more streamlined body than the TP series basses, with the body being 12" wide at the widest part. The overall length of the Ozone is 47". It features neck through body construction.

Being a solid body bass, the overall balance is quite good with minimal neck dive. It's interesting that the headstock of the Ozone is the exact same size as that on the TP series. This combined with the light color makes the headstock look just a little bit big for the body. Perhaps if the headstock were streamlined ever so slightly the neck dive would be completely eliminated.

The nut measurement is 54mm, which is a little wider than on the current TP series. It took me a bit to get used to playing the wider neck when I first encountered it, but after a couple hours it felt very natural. The string spacing between the courses is very good, and there is plenty of room between the fundamental and octave strings to allow for the octaves to be played independently from the fundamentals if you so desire. The Ozone has an 8-saddle adjustable bridge of good quality which sits about " up off the body. This gives all of you 'tweakers' out there plenty of adjustment room.

The only thing I can find on the Ozone that I really don't like is in the control cavity. I would like to see some shielding, but that's not really a big deal. The pots and wiring are all of average quality. But the soldering job is pretty bad and looks to have been done in great haste. It's easy to imagine a wire coming loose in the middle of a gig. Hey guys, turn up the heat on your soldering irons! Again, this really isn't that big of a deal and it would only take a few minutes to clean up.

I took this bass to my local music store and tried it out on several different amps. You should have seen the looks on the faces of the salesmen there; they had never seen a 12-string bass before, and even though on previous visits I had told them about 12's I'm pretty sure they didn't believe me!

The Ozone sounds completely unlike the Waterstone TP series basses. Not better or worse, just different. Given the solid versus semi-hollow body and different pickup placements between the two series, this was totally to be expected. The Ozone has a lot more highs, in this regard it's similar to the sound of a short scale Hamer but without the high-end harshness of the Hamer's EMG pickups. Even with the low end turned way up the high octaves shine through with a great deal of presence. The setup on the bass is good, and the string height and tension are just about right for my tastes. The Ozone is easy and fun to play and should definitely be on your list of solid body 12's to consider!