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Are Sadowskys that awesome?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by alexssandro, Jun 14, 2001.

  1. I've always heard of Sadowskys and over the years, all of the talk has left me with the impression that they are amongst the ultimate if not the ultimate basses. I've never seen one in a store anywhere or heard one being played in person. I've checked out Lakland J-style basses and I will say that they are quality instruments, but the image in my head is that Laklands aren't in the same ballpark as Sadowskys. Ain't even the same league, or even the same sport!

    Are Sadowskys that awesome? What makes them so special? I've never been to NYC, but when I do go, Sadowsky's shop would be my main reason for going there, and when I do go there, I'm leaving my credit card at home!

    And one more question. What is a good song, album, player etc, that features and does justice to represent the Sadowsky sound? I want to hear a Sadowsky walked on, finger-funked on, slapped on, and soloed on.
  2. Make sure your TV is hooked up to a good stereo system, the watch (or tape ;)) the Dave Letterman show. Will Lee will give you an in depth Sadowsky demonstration. :)
  3. NJXT


    Jan 9, 2001
    Lyon, FRANCE
    You can had S&M by Metallica to the list.
    I believe Jason used one (a few ?) Sadowsky there.
    And With the 5.1 Dobly Digital Track of the DVD, you can hear the bass (incredible, mmh ?) :D
  4. Contrary opinion time! ;)

    Not in my opinion. They're very good, but I've played some Warmoth ones that were just as nice, even a few Fenders (you gotta sort through a stack of 'em tho). The thing you're getting with the Sadowsky is mostly the setup. If you know how you can get the same deal for much less, IMO. No offense to any Sadowsky owners or Roger (if he peeks in :eek: ).

    I'll take my Zon over a Sad any day....but that's personal preference. To each their own. My suggestion, play one, form your own opinion.

    (Oh, and FWIW, I prefer the Laklands to Sadowsky's too...again, personal preference).
  5. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    I've played many basses. I own 2 USA Spector's (I had 3 but sold one so I could buy a Sadowsky) Which are awesome & I had to have a Sadowsky.

    The 1st time I went into Roger's shop, I was under the preconceived notion that his basses were nothing more than Fender clones. They are but there is way more to it than that. All I can say when I played it unplugged (24 fret 5 string) is that it just felt right. No bass Ive ever played in the 10 years that I've playing bass felt as good as this bass. Then I plugged it in, oh man!!!!! Super growling lows, crisp highs. Everything I wanted a bass to sound like. The B string was awesome.

    I brought my USA Spector NS-5 with me to play against the 24 fret 5 I put a deposit on & I can't say one is better than another. They are both INCREDIBLE BASSES, they are made of different materials which give them different sonic characteristics. I was considering selling this Spector as well, but deceided against it.

    About leaving the credit card home, that would be a very smart thing to do. :) Another thing to do is bring yout MM Sterling with you to do an A/B with.

    I have a Warmoth bass I built in the Sadowsky style. <a href="http://albums.photopoint.com/j/AlbumIndex?u=1174383&a=12990770&f=0">CLICK HERE</a> to see it. I've played tis bass against many Fender 5's (active's & passives) & I haven't found one that came even close to the playability of it. I brought it w/me to Roger's shop & it didn't come close to his.

    I'm sure that the Zon is awesome. I haven't played any. I actually don't want to just in case I like it & have to sell off something else. LOL :D

    Lakland is weird. I e-mailed then 3 time because I wanted them to make a bass for me w/EMG J's & an Aguilsr OBP-1 pre-amp & I didn't get a response. If I were to e-mail Roger or Stuart just to say hi, I'd get a hi back. So that totally turned me away from Lakland.
  6. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Yes, they are IMHO.

    I know that they are considered parts basses, much like Laklands, and not hand built on site like Fodera, Alembic, Pedulla, etc, but they are it IMHO.

    Now, I have only played one, so take my opinion with a grain of salt, but the one that I played was the best bass that I have ever played.

    I've played some mighty fine Alembics, Ken Smiths, Warwick Streamer Stage models, USA Spectors, Laklands, Zons, Status, Pedullas, Roscoes, etc.

    All fine basses in their own right, no question about it, but none of them quite had what the Sadowsky did. And this was based on only playing the Sadowsky for 3 or 4 minutes and listening to someone else play it for about 15 minutes.

    I love my Pedulla and my Zon, but the next time that I buy a 5 string, it will probably be one of Roger's.
  7. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    IME & IMO, when you get to that level of excellence, the differences are only tonal characteristics and cosmetics, (e.g., the resemblance of Sadowsky's to an MIM Fender put me off; I like luthiers with original designs, not something that gets lost in the crowd.)

    Those top notch basses each have their own magic. You just have to pick which one.

    For that money, give me an R bass or a Dingwall.
  8. I have quite a few Fenders, a couple of Stingrays (pre & EB), a Pedulla MPV, a Status series 2 Graphite, a Gibson T-Bird and a few not worth mentioning here.
    (Never had the pleasure to try a Zon, but I’m sure they are excellent.)

    Although all are fine basses, IMO none of them compare to the playability and sound of my ’92 Sadowsky Standard 4 and even though I always take more than one bass to gigs I can rarely put the Sadowsky down for more than a couple of numbers.
  9. Jeff in TX

    Jeff in TX Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2000
    Lone Star State
    Roger Sadowsky makes the best bass I have ever owned or played. That said, it may not be the best for you. I went from playing a Zon Sonus Custom to a Sadowsky Vintage 5 and received more positive (and unsolicitated) comments about the quality of my tone than any bass I have owned (which also includes other Zons, Modulus, Warwick, Tobias, Carvin, Fender). The one I have is simply flawless. No construction, fit/finish, electronics, setup, fretwork or sound issues - none. Every note sings. It was the 4th instrument I have had custom made (3 Zons, 1 Carvin) and was the best by some margin. I have been fortunate enough to have played many different brands. I've not found one I've liked more. YMMV...

    (As a side note, I prefer Zon fretless basses to their fretted models. IMO, they make a very good fretted bass but an outstanding fretless)

    To say they are in a league all to themselves is certainly a matter of opinion. To me, they are. I've never been happier with an instrument purchase and can see no reason why I would ever trade it. That's a first for me. :)

  10. j.s.basuki

    j.s.basuki Supporting Member

    May 14, 2000
    I have many high end basses, Alembic , pedulla Warwick , lakland etc. but none of them has the quality and clarity of tone than the Sadowsky 4 I have, although some of them have abetter playability on the higher register [24 frets and deeper cutaway] which is useful for chordal playing.
    There were many times sit down for hours just comparing the tone among the basses,and still Sadowsky is the winner. I bought the Lakland deluxe 4 at the same time like my Sadowsky, I played the Lakland for 5 times then I have to put it back to the case and never touched it again. I have to say Lakland workmanship is excellent , comparable to Sadowsky, but the tone is not par at all. I keep on asking myself what makes this tone of Sadowsky is so amazing, it could not be only the pick up , the electronic or the wood , I think it is the combination of all aspects and the foremost is the workmanship devoted to make such a great bass.
    My friends and my wife always amazed with the tone , when I played with my band , and always asked me to use Sad instead of others.

    My wife did not complain when I ordered another Sadowsky 4, this time Alder/rosewood , passive tone, shoreline gold colour, flat wound strings, and I asked Roger especially to make a 60' colour tone.
    She'll be ready next month I hope, 'cos Roger told me the spraying was done last month already [I placed order Dec last year].

    When I wanted to bid on Ebay for anice looking Fodera, my wife said , no, I want you to play Sadowsky ! So I better avoid arguments.

    So , friends if you are looking for THE tone get aSadowsky . for something else you could buy any of my collection.
  11. Joelc73

    Joelc73 Supporting Member

    Nov 13, 2000
    New York
    Sadowskys are very good J-basses. If you're looking for a high quality Jazz bass and don't want to shell out $6,000 for a good vintage one, then the Sadowsky is a great choice. There also good if you're a j-bass player who really wants a five.

    I had a vintage 5 for awhile. My biggest complaint was that tonally it did one or two things really well, but that was it. It also had a pretty weak B string. I A/B my 34" scale Fodera 5 against it, and it was literally night and day. The B on the Fodera was in a completely different league. Plus the Fodera played better and was much more versatile.

    Granted, the Fodera costs a little bit more, but you also get more.

    With all of that said however, Jazz bass players couldn't go wrong with a Sadowsky.
  12. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    i'd like to jnow from you lucky guys who own, play, tried sadowsky or have had the chance to go to roger shop, what are the main differences between sadowsky equipped with EMG pickups and sadowsky with sadowsky pickups.
    thanks a lot
  13. lump


    Jan 17, 2000
    St. Neots, UK
    A weak B??? That's not a criticism of Sadowsky I've ever heard before. To quote BP mag:

    Tone-wise, some found the tube-like lows of the bass a bit too immense--even on the B--while others thought this was very satisfying...The Vintage 5's forte? Dishing out big-time support. Comments: "The best B for rock." "Big ol' booty."

    I'm sorry, but the B is HUGE. But I've never played a Fodera either.

    But a J-style bass isn't for everyone. Personally, I like my bass to look like a bass; I'm not a big fan of exotic woods and wacky shapes. I also prefer a vintage sound. IMO, the Sadowsky is the pinnacle of the J-inspired basses, and as was mentioned, is a bargain compared to a vintage Fender. But there is no holy grail, no true do-everything bass. But if you're looking for a top-notch bass with classic styling and sound, I don't think it gets any better.
  14. Jeff in TX

    Jeff in TX Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2000
    Lone Star State
    Wow. My experience has been the opposite. When I was looking for a new 5, I had the chance to play a Fodera and although I thought it was a nice bass, I was not impressed with the "B". Granted that's a sample size of one, but I just didn't get what all the extra money for the Fodera was getting me. I think they're price/value is more aligned on the used market. Just my opinion.

    My experience with Sadowsky has been that the "B" is very deep, focused and articulate. More than my Zon 34" or Modulus 35" scale. I also don't find it to be a "one trick pony". I've been able to dial in any tone I've needed.

  15. Jeff in TX

    Jeff in TX Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2000
    Lone Star State
    I have Sadowsky single coils on mine. Clean, vintage tone with very little single coil hum when one of the PUs is soloed. These PUs were designed by Roger and made by Bartolini. Currently, to my knowledge, they are made by EMG. Roger also offers a new humbucking J set that, according to him, is very close to the sound of the single coils. I believe these are also made by EMG, although I could be mistaken. He also offers a P/J (for a vintage P/J sound) and reversed P/J (to get better articulation on the "B" string from the "P" PU).

    The EMG soapbars are a little darker sounding - what many would consider more "modern" sounding.

  16. Sadowsky

    Sadowsky Commercial User

    Nov 1, 2000
    New York City
    Owner: Sadowsky Guitars Ltd.
    I just wanted to reply to Jeff Rader's post and clarify the pickups used on Sadowsky basses:

    4 string pickups:
    Sadowsky humcancelling J-bass pickups
    Sadowsky early 60's style single coil pickups
    Sadowsky P pickup + humcancelling bridge position J-pickup

    5 string Fender style pickups:
    Sadowsky humcancelling J pickups
    Sadowsky single coil J pickups
    Sadowsky P-J pickups

    5 string soapbars:
    EMG custom wound soapbars
    Basslines custom wound soapbars

    With the exception of the soapbars, all pickups are passive with exposed pole pieces and are custom made for Sadowsky by DiMarzio or Basslines.

    The 5 string soapbars are both active.
    I no longer offer any pickups made by Bartolini.

    Contrary to what Jeff said, the EMG soapbars, combined with their location which is closer to the bridge than on my other models, is actually the brighter Sadowsky sound. It is very tight and punchy as well. The Bassline soapbars are warmer than the EMG's.

    Hope this clears up any confusion.

    Roger Sadowsky
  17. Jeff in TX

    Jeff in TX Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2000
    Lone Star State
    Thanks, Roger!

    How's THAT for customer service! :D
  18. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    Alot of times, people ask me, "Why do you spend so much money on your basses?" Well, one main reason is:

    Would the owner of Fender Musical Instruments take time out to post in an internet discussion?

    I have had some minor problems w/2 of the Spector's I've owned. I called Stuart Spector himself & the problem was quickly resolved.

    I've visited Roger's shop in NYC & I felt that I was treated equally as Marcus Miller, Will Lee, Jason Newstead, etc. would be treated.

    You're not just buying an expensive peice of equipment, you also getting a relationship w/a luthier (no matter what company) that is worth much more than the instrument you are going to be playing.

    Thank you. :)
  19. Yvon

    Yvon Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    I used to own a Sadowsky, like everybody (almost) here I will tell you it's the best bass you can find. Anywhere. (my opinion)

    For a recomended album, I think the album where you can hear the Sadowsky sound the best is
    Hiram Bullock
    Many's car wash

  20. Joelc73

    Joelc73 Supporting Member

    Nov 13, 2000
    New York
    I try to take what I read in BP with a grain of salt. I do however agree that the lows were, to quote BP, "too immense". The B on my Vintage 5 was big, but it was not defined, clear, or focused... things that I personally tend to look for in an instrument.

    Again, no disrespect to Sadowsky; it just wasn't for me. I had expected more.

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