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A Non-Sadowsky Owner's Informed Opinion

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Dr. Cheese, Feb 25, 2008.


  1. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    For a year or so, I have posted very little on Sadowsky threads simply because I did not own one, and had not played one enough to discuss them with any authority. Now that I have played three Sadowsky Moderns (one NYC, two Metros), a NYC fourstring, and a Metro five since 2006, I now feel that I can speak about them.

    First, they are clearly very well made. Anyone who knows basses can sense the quality with a casual observation. I the know the neck of the NYC Modern I played on Saturday was sheer perfection, it was like Roger Sadowsky measured my hands in my sleep! In terms of sound, they are sweet basses. I really like the modern. I am surprised they aren't bigger among Gospel bassists because they deliver the modern tone in spades!:bassist: I also loved the slap tone on the moderns too. Personally, I felt that the MTD 535 delivered an even more powerful modern tone and was maybe a touch better constructed, but at the level of money that these basses run, the differences are more about personal taste than quality.

    What also struck me was how close my Cort GB-75 was to a Sadowsky modern in terms of sound. As Al Caldwell mentioned, my Cort did not have the subtlety of a $3,000 bass, but a change of preamp would surely put it in the ballpark. In terms of output and balls, the Cort is already even with the modern. The modern was clearly much better constructed and felt more expensive, but we are talking $600 versus $2,500 for the Metro and $4,000 for the NYC. I think 95% of players could live with a less boutique feel.

    For additional perspective, I went to my local GC Sunday, and a/b'ed my Cort with some other basses. The bass that came closest to feeling like the NYC was Stingray HH four string. The neck had pretty much the same buttery feel.

    The bottom line is that I feel the best of the mass production basses like Ernie Ball/MusicMan, Peavey (Cirrus), and G&L, are neck and neck with Sadowsky in terms of build quality. If those companies would stop being so hard headed and make nice fives with 19mm spacing, they could do some serious damage to the boutique market. What I am saying is not a slam on Sadowsky. I believe that Roger Sadowsky is one of the most honorable, nice, and standup people making basses. It's just that a small shop cannot compete in terms of price with a major manufacturer; that is ECON 101. The advantage that Sadowsky has lies in customer service and the ability to make special orders more easily than a major shop.

    My point is that Sadowsky owners are right to love their basses. They are well made, and sound great. I am also sure that everything they say about them shining in the mix is true also. (I know my Yamaha with Ultra Jazz DiMarzios killed with a choir!:eek:) What is also true, however, is that one can get very similar levels of performance without spending anywhere near Sadowsky money. This is important to know for people like me who probably could have bought two or three Metros with all the money I have spent buying inexpensive or mid priced basses!:bag:

    Once again, I am not out to put anyone's choice of bass down. We all love what we love, and do not have to answer to anyone else for what we buy.:cool: I just know that unless it is a Cirrus, I plan to hold off more purchases until I can afford a Modern Metro or a MTD 535.:bassist:

    Oh yeah, I would add Warrior and Elrick to my short list of worth saving for boutiques also.:cool:
     
  2. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    One other advantage that Sadowsky and other boutique makers have is that they consistently produce great basses at lighter weights. As well made as Stingrays are, they turn out way too many boat anchors.:rollno: G&L and Peavey can be guilty of that also.
     
  3. i hate music man basses ew
     
  4. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
  5. Marlat

    Marlat

    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    That's true, you can also get similiar levels of performance to a Ferrari in a much cheaper car, and a watch that tells time as well as a Rolex for much, much, less money. However, sometimes why people want something isn't just dictated by their head or their wallet, but also by their heart. FWIW.
     
  6. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    Good post!

    To each their own, but for me Sadowsky shines on gigs and cuts like very few other basses I have played.

    Expensive? Yup, but not too bad used vs. EBMM, Fenders, etc.
     
  7. That says so much right there.
     
  8. mvw356

    mvw356

    Mar 2, 2006
    Brussels
    no arguing here.

    what does get on my nerves though is the sadowsky crowd going mental about how great their basses are. i'm not saying they aren't great basses, i played a few and they are lovely instruments, but there are many other brands out there that make equally nice basses. sound is subjective, but fit- finish, construction isn't and sadowsky is one of many equals in that respect imo.
    if i may, one real criticism i have of sadowsky is that it's not possible to get a birdseye/flame maple neck. for that amount of money plain maple is not what i expect and that's why i won't buy one. let the flaming begin.
     
  9. NickyBass

    NickyBass Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    Southern New Jersey
    I don't doubt that you can get the Sadowsky tone out of many different basses. What sets Sadowsky apart, for me, is the build quality and general feel of the instruments. It's really not only about tone for me--it's about making music with something that feels comfortable in my hands. I've spent over 15 years fighting my instruments to some degree. I'm finally at a point in my life where I can splurge on a bass that is well made and sounds killer. The bottom line is that I want to be comfortable when playing.
     
  10. Can't wait for my M4 to come in.
     
  11. Marlat

    Marlat

    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    I suppose you must get pretty upset by the fact that Aston Martin won't build you a SUV either, given all them money you pay them for a car! :D
     
  12. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    That is true, and points to another thing, for some of us, the bass we own is a status symbol, and there is not a thing wrong with that! Over the years, I have loved Peaveys and now I am in love with a Cort bass. Both brands put out some really nice gear, but there is very little cachet to owning them. I am at peace with that, but frankly, it is fun to own a bass that makes other bassists go "Wow" when they see it!:D

    That is at least part of the reason why I have a Lakland on the way, although 55-02s are also great basses. It would also be a factor if I ever buy a nice boutique bass again also. Of course, I would get a great bass, but I would be dishonest if I didn't admit that I would enjoy owning a bass with some prestige behind its name also.:D
     
  13. Marlat

    Marlat

    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    ...alternatively some people (perhaps those with ugly rugs in their basement) can afford to own whatever bass(es) they like and not think twice about it! Such is life.
     
  14. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    You may not have to think about being able to afford a bass, but you certainly think about what you want and why you want it.:eyebrow:
     
  15. Marlat

    Marlat

    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    You don't think its possible to make a whimsicle purchase of a bass? Although I don't fall anywhere near the category, I certainly know people who can afford to buy expensive things (or cheap things) on a whim and often do because they have to spend their money somehow. Sometimes there doesn't have to be any more reason than, I like the look of it, or, I always wanted to own one etc. Perhaps we are saying the same thing, but it seems to me that there are a lot of people in this world whose view on what is "expensive" and what is not differs greatly. I doubt a billionaire would see much "status symbol" status in a bass that costs less than his monthly heating bill for his houses. Sometimes people just like stuff and buy it! It would be nice to be in that position! :D
     
  16. bassic_element

    bassic_element

    Sep 20, 2006
    Will the Sadowsky thread ever come to an end? It's a topic that has been beaten to death, the same thing has been said over and over again!
     
  17. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Anything is possible, but IME, bassists tend to know what they are buying when they buy it. Basses are often not bought for purely musical reasons, but I doubt if they are bought that often purely on whims either.
     
  18. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    Knowing what you are buying and buying on a whim are two completely different things IMO. I have 12 basses.:rollno: I have bought more than a few on a whim only because I "wanted" them and the price was right.
     
  19. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Fair enough, that Tobias Renegade that caught my eye would definitely be a whimsical purchase if I were to get it.
     

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