Getting a High End Bass...can't decide which.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by p0k, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. p0k

    p0k I play the bass and design things.

    Feb 6, 2007
    Brockton, MA
    Hey Guys,

    I've had lots of great basses, but I'm currently down to just one (my '74 Fender Jazz). Love the sound, but I definitely want to get a second bass. I was playing exclusively 5-ers for a long time, then switched to the 4 and have been enjoying it. SO...

    I am going to make a big purchase this year...think 3-5K. I'd like it to be something I hang onto for a long time (a keeper). I'm leaning toward the vintage tone these days so I'm going to stick with that style...probably a Jazz bass. I am leaning toward an Ash Maple Sadowsky Will Lee 5 right now, but have always been intrigued with Alleva Coppolos as well (but have never had the chance to play one).

    And the thought of maybe sticking with a 4-string has crossed my mind as well. Any suggestions or advice? Should I buy new, used, 4 string, 5-string, Sadowsky, Alleva, other brand, etc...? I know it is ultimately up to me but curious what others thought.
  2. zortation


    Dec 26, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    You'd be amazed at how good the Fender 5 string sounds compared to those you mentioned. If I didn't have my Fbass, I would easily have chosen one as a player. Sometimes, it's not about money...
  3. unclejane

    unclejane Guest

    Jul 23, 2008
    Why does the cost have to be more than 3 large on up to 5? I hear this all the time, that the cost has to at or above a certain shocking amount, and I don't understand how that thought process works or yields a good result?

    What my thought process is on something like this is generally as follows:
    If I want a Fender jazz bass, I go directly to Fender. I do not pass GO, I do not collect $200, and I get a new MIA American standard jazz. It's the best line of jazz basses FMIC has ever made in their entire existence and it's a good jazz bass.

    If I want something jazz-like but not the FMIC version, probably the best choice out there on the market today is the Carvin SB4000. It's the best sounding jazz-like bass you can get and it's around 1/3 of $3000 brand new. Yeah, a bit homely looking, but if you can get past the appearance, it's the way to go.

    Then there're other options like the G&L JB for a little more, and then on up to the semi-boutiques like the Sadowsky and etc.

    But there are lots of less expensive options to exhaust first before the cost needs to get that high. I mean, it's a jazz bass with a vintage JB tone - you don't have to spend that much money to get a good one.

    Anyway, that's kind of how I think through an option like that. I don't start with the most punishing kick to the checking account and work out from there, but that's just me...

  4. pringlw


    Nov 22, 2008
    Seattle Area
    That price range, if you like JJ I would go with a Fodera Emperor 5 Standard if you can find one.
  5. TRichardsbass

    TRichardsbass Commercial User

    Jun 3, 2009
    Between Muscle Shoals and Nashville
    Bassgearu, Music Industry Consulting and Sales
    Lots of choices with Sadowsky being right there. Jimmy Coppolo is equal.

    Fodera will fit you like a glove. Cary Nordsrand makes some great j styles as well.

    A sleeper is Knaggs. They made a model named Severn T4 which was nice.

  6. johng999


    Jul 14, 2008
    Two from my stable are as good as any I've played:

    5 string - Fender American Jazz Deluxe - current version. Exceptionally well made, has the jazz sound but with active pickups you can get more variation. Mine is a keeper.

    4 string - Fender CS 64 Jazz Bass - if you like vintage jazz, this is a great bass. These can also be had used and save some $$.
  7. bassman.bob


    May 9, 2009
    Try a Carvin. Iv'e had Pedula, Fender, Warwick, None of them compare to the playability and tone of my Carvin.
  8. p0k

    p0k I play the bass and design things.

    Feb 6, 2007
    Brockton, MA
    It doesn't necessarily HAVE to be 3-5K I'm just trying to relay the point that it is a major purchase for me and i would spend a lot to get the right bass...

    I have found the play ability and customer service of Sadowsky to be better than Fender...but that's just me. If I can find a Fender that I LOVE I wouldn't hesitate buying it.
  9. superdick2112

    superdick2112 Registered Rickenbacker Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2010
    The Centennial State
    Some others worth checking out - Fender's new Select Series Jazz, Spector's Coda Jazz-style, G&L's Jazz-style and Lakland's Jazz basses.
  10. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    If you can justify putting down three to five grand for a Sadowsky, then more power to ya. Personally, I can't. I know Roger personally, and he's a great guy who makes a fine product. But I've just never understood the mindset that puts a Sadowsky in the same category as a Fodera, or an MTD, or an F Bass. :rolleyes:

    I have no idea what your purchase criteria are. But I do know there's bunches and bunches of makers who produce high-quality J-style instruments. So you're in luck.

    I think UncleJane has the right idea - both in terms of approach, and in terms of recommending Carvin. I've got a tricked-out SB5000 that is just a slammin' modern J. You too could get one - for 1/2 to 1/3 the price of an Alleva Coppolo, or a Nordstrand, or a Mayonnes, or a Mike Lull, or an Overwater.

  11. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Look at Dingwall
  12. Bardolphus

    Bardolphus Put some stank on it... Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    As a note, those are passive pickups in your Fender Deluxe, not active.

    Topic related, if a Sadowsky is what you're after, I think it's a great choice. I'm a fan and have fairly recently discovered how much I love their PJ-5. The tone in a mix coupled with the quality is what made me such a fan.
  13. mozilla314


    Dec 19, 2011
    I just bought a Sadowsky 5-string Will Lee bass.
    Expensive, but the best 5-string I've ever owned.
  14. LanEvo


    Mar 10, 2008
    If you love your '74 Jazz and are looking for something similar, but just a little different, then try the Fender Victor Bailey signature bass. They can be had used from $1400-1600. It's essentially a Jazz Bass with a mahogany body, flamed koa top, and active electronics. The tone is slightly darker than a typical Jazz Bass. Build quality is excellent overall, except for the quality of the flame in the koa top (it's hit or miss).

    If you want something even more different, but still grossly in line with the Jazz Bass tone, check out Pedulla Buzz (fretless) or MVP (fretted). Even though most are P-J, they are available with a Bartolini J-J configuration. I've got a Buzz with J-J pickups and passive V/V/T electronics. It sounds like a Jazz Bass only with greater clarity. Wonderful.

    Finally, if you're dead set on a very expensive "Super Jazz," check out John Suhr. I know Sadowsky and A-C get all the love around here, but I don't think anyone makes a Jazz Bass much better than Suhr.
  15. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    Sounds like an interesting search. Much to choose from in many price ranges and quality.

    Have fun...hope you score.
  16. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    only heard 2 sandowsky basses newsted's and jam band's, definitely really cool, but as has been stated not sure that its 3 to 5 times cooler than a g&l based on the cost
  17. Josh Thatguy

    Josh Thatguy Registered abUser

    (edit to avoid repeating myself repeating myself repeating myself)
  18. Josh Thatguy

    Josh Thatguy Registered abUser

    $3-5K, you need to at least have a look at Esh. Something besides "the usual" and even the unusuals.
    , though there was weird page-loading trouble when I tried it a few minutes ago that started to correct itself after a few minutes, but that might be my PC acting up also.
  19. narud

    narud Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    santa maria,california
    looks like youve had both versions of the F bass vf5. what didnt work about those basses? those are some of the best jazzes out there.
  20. It'd be tough for me to look past a Lull if I were to spend that kinda cash...