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GIG REPORT: DB750/NV610/Sadowsky Vintage 4

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by tommixx, Feb 21, 2006.

  1. I did 2 very interesting gigs over the weekend that I designed as experiments to find some really good players but in a live setting. The venue was a club that is owned by a friend of mine who loves the vocalist I am currently working with. The club is medium sized with a capacity of about 350 or so. The idea was to call some of my old friends who I had not seen (much less PLAYED with in years) and see if we still had the chemistry that we used to and if we did would they be interested in going out on the tour I am working on...

    I am currently playing a Sadowsky Vintage 4 (Ash Body/Maple neck as seen in my avatar and here:


    I put Sadowsky flats on it soon after I got it and just loved it. A couple of week ago I put a set of Sadowsky nickels on it and it just sang....BUT I was missing the flats sound and put Flats back on it and I think I will probably keep them on this time! I am playing through an Aguilar DB750 and a Bergantino NV610. This rig just LOVES the Flats on this bass and so do I. I highly recommend giving the Sads a try if you are playing flats or would like to try some. They are a bit brighter than any flat I have ever used and have a LOT of definition instead of just the typical thud that you get from flats! It seems that the G in particular (I have tried multiple sets on mulitple basses so I can say this with confidence) has a brightness that is even suited to dare I say it, slapping! I don't slap much with this material but I do play a few Funk tunes that require it and initially I was going to carry another bass for the slapping but I find that I don't need to.....

    The tone I get from this rig is AMAZING! Pure Old School Vintage at its very best. This is the Ampeg killer rig if there ever was one. I had a '72 SVT and a '73 8X10 and this rig nails that vibe to a T. The 750 is actually a bit better because it is a LOT easier to control the tone AND the volume than it was on my 72'. Using only the Vintage Control on the Sadowsky and the PUP selector I was able to dial in a multitude of great tones throughout the gigs. I typically have the DB750 set with the treble at about 1 o'clock, the mids at about 2 o'clock, and the lows at 12 o 'clock, the boost switches are typcially on but I may turn the Bass boost off if the room calls for it. I set my input gain at about 10 o'clock and the master at about 9-10 o'clock. I have yet to have a situation where I needed to go above 10 o'clock on the master (But I have tried it just for kicks )!! This amp/cab combo can get really L O U D!! The cab never breaks up in my experience and is very even across the entire range and across all the strings of the bass. I think the amp has as much to do with this as the cab and LOVE this pairing!!

    Anyway, The first player was a Guitarist friend of mine who I haven't played with in 16 years and haven't even seen in about 7 years. He has played with a multitude of artists over the years including a recent stint with Trisha Yearwood. He is one of the most naturally gifted musicians I know and can play any style with equal ease. The second was a Sax Player/Vocalist I have known for 30 years and is a real character and good natured front man. The third is a gifted female keyboardist/Vocalist I have always wanted to play with but never had the chance. The 4th is the vocalist I have been working with who I believe is destined to be a star if he could get a break. Originally, I had chosen a drummer I knew through a mutual friend that I heard play a few times and was very impressed.

    Everything was set, there would be no set list until we got ready to go on stage at the venue and the vocalist had only 1 copy that he went by to call the sets!! There would be NO REHEARSALS and NO CHARTS! A REAL trial by fire in a live setting with NO backing tracks, sequencing or additional accompaniment.....These kinds of gigs separate the Pros from the amateurs real quick! We were all really excited about the possibilities and it was decided that we would all take turns calling the arrangements. We get ready to go on Friday and at just a few minutes after 5:00 PM (the gig starts at 9:30) I get a phone call that the drummer has had a family emergency and can not make it!!! After a couple minutes of initial concern I made a few phone calls and got in touch with another friend of a friend who I did not really know and he agreed to load his gear and meet us at the venue as soon as he could....

    We hit the road and arrive at the Venue and load in not really knowing what to expect but anxious to see what we got...the Drummer gets there 40 minutes before the downbeat is supposed to happen so we help him load in and get set up. No sound check (by design) and it is up to another engineer friend of mine to go with just a line check and build a mix within the first couple of songs. Everybody says check in their Monitor for a level and that is it! My vocalist springs the set list for the first set as we are standing on the stage waiting for the first song, He wants US to play for 30 minutes and THEN he will join us and let us know what he wants us to play!!!!! OK, no problem, guitarist calls Stormy Monday and away we go...PURE MAGIC! That moment that a group of musicians really captures lightning in a bottle! We played a LOT of different things from Delta blues to Texas Honky Tonk to 70's Funk and Soul. THEN the vocalist came on and we played Motown and Old School Soul like it is supposed to be played.

    I was amazed at how well everything came together...we got a standing ovation and a lot of applause at the first break and knew that we were on to something...My club owner friend was ecstatic that we had a packed house and everything was sounding awesome. The guitarist came over and hugged me and said "Man that rig sounds fu****g great! I haven't heard tone like that in a long time!" That was one of the best compliments I think I have ever gotten because I know this guy is a REAL tone snob. He had such a good time with the band he is probably going out on tour with us this Spring/Summer! One of the things that he said put him over the edge on going out with us was the talent of the players and the tone of band! The 2nd and 3rd sets were equally amazing and will stand out in my mind as some of the best music I have ever had the pleasure of making.

    The next night (Saturday) the club was turning away people at the door who had heard about the performance of the night before. Needless to say the 2nd night was even better than the first and was attended by a former Nashville session bassist friend of mine who has been on the Grand Ole Opry a number of times and recently moved back to my very neighborhood!! He came over during the first set and gave me a thumbs up and a BIG smile. At the break he commented on how great sounding everything was and said my tone was "perfect"! what a thrill to get that kind of compliment from a guy like that. I asked him to sit in for a couple of tunes and he agreed. I sat out front and was amazed at how good this group of players gelled on stage and how good everything sounded! Just great! He asked me to come back on and when I did gave me a hug and said "I haven't had that much fun in as long as I can remember!!" WOW! That blew me away!

    At the break he came back over and said "That rig is awesome and I WANT that bass...That is the sweetest playing bass I have ever played. That rig is so responsive I can't believe I haven't seen more players playing that cab!! I am going to check into getting one and I may have to break down and retire my old jazz and get me one of them Sadowskys!" He told me he had played a few Sadowskys but never in a band setting and that now he knew what all the fuss was about. He currently plays a 62' stack knob jazz and a 59' (I think that is right??) P bass. He also has a couple of Alembics and one of the very first G&Ls (in addition to being a great musician, he was also one of the first G&L dealers in the world) made in 1979 or 1980 that was supposedly built by and given to him by Leo Fender himself!!! I have seen it and only know it is autographed by both Leo Fender and George Fullerton!! Needless to say, I was blown away at his comments and proud to own the gear I do!

    If you are in the market for a vintage rig, I urge you to check out Mr. Bergantino's NV610 and the Aggie DB750 to mate with it. Needless to say, I am a HUGE Sadowsky fan and can not recommend them enough as well!! Thanks for reading and Rock on!


  2. That is Nice!!! last year I was at the Sadowsky shop and that is the gear they use to try the basses... a sweeetttttt sound!!!
  3. I think that is all baloney! These guys were just pulling your leg. You are so gullable. :p

    I don't want a DB750. I don't want an NV610. I don't want no stinkin' Sadowsky.... I don't ... I really don't. It's just gear, it doesn't sound any better than anything else... I don't want it....:crying:

    I hate this place!!!!:bawl:

    Great story Tom. I enjoyed every bit of it. Congrats on achieving this great tone, building this great rig and especially on your level of playing. OK, I admit it, I have severe gear envy.

  4. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    Hi Tom,

    Thanks for the great story.

    I have a newly acquired NV610 and am trying to sort through the information to match a head to it.

    The thing that got me going down this path was to try to get close to SVT tone.

    That said, the thing I'm struggling with on the 750 is what makes it any better than a nice tube pre-amp / power amp combination? Is there something about the 750 that makes it's output stage better than, say, a QSC? There are plenty of tubey tone pre's out there (in fact, I already own one).

    My alternative thoughts at the moment are to go after one of the Sadowsky SA200 units (expensive) or try to find a Trace Quatra-Valve (scarce as hen's teeth). Of course, an SVT would do the trick, but the maintenance / weight is somewhat a deterrent. The 750 sounds interesting, but I don't understand how the MOSFETs in it are somehow special.
  5. JohnThomasson


    Feb 3, 2003
    Nashville, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Supro, Mesa Boogie, DR Strings, Source Audio, Pigtronix, & Fishman
    I have the same rig. My Sadowsky Metro with flats also sounds great through it, but I really love my Lakland USA Hollowbody through the rig. This rig has almost everything my old early 70's SVT and 810 had. Not quite as grungey, but so much clearer when needed and it's a lot easier to control and haul around. My SVT basically had off or LOUD. I can play quiter gigs with the NV610 and 750 and still have that sound. I'm glad you had a great time. It's nice to have gigs like that get you all giddy and excited after playing for so many years. I'm due for one soon. Burnout is a drag.
  6. kjones


    Dec 4, 2004
    To answer your question, bucephylus, masmasbasso really nails the point of why the 750 is so good. I played with an old SVT (it was new then) thru the 70s and 80s, and you had to crank it to get the tone. With the 750, you got your tone at any volume you need, and in a much more articulate way.

    What distinguishes it from, say, a nice tube pre through a QSC is its incredible reserve of power. No matter how loud you're playing, if you need that headroom for one sfz note, it's there, immediately, and without complaint. At my levels of playing most of the time (loud), there appears to be no limit to the headroom.
  7. Making music for the love and not the cash...good story. Great axe.
  8. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Cool post, and it sounds like you guys had a blast. I the guitarist you are mentioning is the one that has played with Trisha for a while (with the 'headless' guitar), he is just an amazing, amazing player.

    The rig you describe and the flatwound strings is about as far away from my sound as you could get. Yet, it's a wonderful, wonderful sound that I can totally appreciate and enjoy listening to. I bet it sounds awesome.
  9. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
  10. BigMikeW

    BigMikeW Banned

    May 25, 2005
    Nashville, TN.
    Banned by TB Administration for refusal to account for funds
    That would be Johnny
  11. Eric Cioe

    Eric Cioe

    Jun 4, 2001
    Missoula, MT
    What a cool story. Good idea for a gig, and the tone doesn't sound too far off from what I like.
  12. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    What a band that was with Keith Horne.... smokin'. It's funny, I've always been a jazz/pop guy, but the modern country stuff (Trisha, Faith Hill with Vinnie on drums!!!, Rascal Flats, etc.) comes closest to the pop playing that I love at this point (at least what's being played on the radio) .. real bass, real drums (although I'm sure there's loops, etc.), and great modern tone and grooving.

    Sometimes I wish the songs were better, but man, is the playing great.
  13. +1
  14. Thanks guys - I'll try to give this one a stab to...I had the same issue with my SVT, REALLY low volume or loud as he77 with no real middle ground. It took a power soak (a 100 Watt soak made for guitar amps!! which I eventually burned up!!) to try and get a good tone at a moderate volume. I loved it enough to haul it all over the world for 11 years or so before retiring it. The great thing about the 750 is you get that warm tubey tone at ANY volume. The MOSFET power section is able to deliver the full rated output of the amp at ALL FRQUENCIES (most amps CAN NOT do this and are band limited as to their rated output capacity!!). This results in extraordinary headroom as kjones stated.

    The end result is that the amp is VERY responsive to the dynamics that you are playing with...as the musical director for this artist I try to keep a lot of dynamics in the music and typically call the stops and the cues. I can go from full on playing to a really soft passage or a stop and the amp is right there. I do not use ANY compression anywhere in my chain anymore and I now run the DI out of the amp to take advantage of the tube DI out and I insist on no compression through the house or monitor mix for my bass. With good technique (and a little restraint) it makes for a much more interesting mix and helps everything to breathe a little better in my opinion. Is ther magic in the MOSFET, the tube stage, or the tone shaping? I am not sure, but I am sure that there is a LOT of magic in the amp!!

    I got my first DB750 and decided I just did not want to haul the weight and got rid of it. It did not take long for me to decide I was missing something and I got another one. After a while the same thing happened and I got a Thunderfunk. I LOVE the Thunderfunk and maintain that you can get really close to the tone of the 750 with it. I lost my T-Funk in a fire and got another one before I replaced ANYTHING else. I use the T-Funk in my studio (and prefer it for that purpose actually) and on rehearsals and gigs where I am carrying my own gear. It is 15 lbs and sounds fabulous. I picked up my THIRD 750 a few months ago and have resigned myself that I HAVE to have one from now on!!! The major difference between the T-Funk and the 750 is the sheer size that the 750 is able to create. It is pretty addictive in a band setting which is where this rig shines! I dig the T-Funk with the NV610 but I prefer the DB750 with the 610 and the T-Funk with my Aggie GS112...I
    think you shoudl try both if you can!

    Hope that helps!


  15. Matt Call

    Matt Call Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    Man. This just makes me more excited for my DB750; and it gives me even MORE GAS for a Sadowsky.

    Curse you Tommixx, curse you.

    ...I say that in the nicest possible way of course. :D
  16. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    It does. Thanks for taking the time for the feedback.
  17. Big String

    Big String Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2000
    Northwest Indiana
    Well there is not much left for me to say :D
    I have the NV215, DB750, and Sadowsky PJ4 and VJ4.
    I missed my first db750 so I bought another a few months later... that one cost me.. I've owned a NV610 and wouldn't mind tryin' one with the NV215 sometime but it would be over kill. The NV215 is supa tight and low kickin' punch. My setting are very close to Tommix except my gain is at 1:00 and my Master on about 10:00. Treble 1:00, Mid 1:00, Bass around 11:00. The rest of the EQing is done on the Sads. I do agree about the Flatwound Magic too. My PJ4 currently has Sadowsky Flats and Sadowsky Nickels on the VJ4. I'm going to switch them soon to appreciate the different wood combination. The PJ4 is chamber alder with morono, and the VJ4 is ash with Brazilian rosewood. Anyway... I'm no were near as good as the players above but my sound if freakin' awesome. :bassist:
  18. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    dangit, knew i shoulda went w/ the quilt top. your bass looks amazing!

    wow, T,

    i could never do that, fearing i'd lose my job to my "friend"! lol!
  19. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL

    that sounds like a killer rig, too. i really have to get to Rudy's to try their NV215 'fore someone snatches it.
  20. Big String - You are becoming quite the gear hound!!