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HELP! Sadowsky M5-24 - Can't get it to growl!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Vangsgutane, Oct 25, 2015.

  1. Vangsgutane


    Oct 25, 2015

    I have a Sadowsky M5-24 bass, and I just can't get that mean bass growl.

    When I say growl I'm talking about something like the Karnivool - Goliath sound.

    I play with a pick, and I use D'Addario ProSteels 45-130.

    I've tried using the bass/treble boost on the bass, and the active/passive switch. I've tried compression and EQ pedals, a Sansamp DI Deluxe and a Big Muff. And I even tried with an Axe Fx II. But it's just not working...

    Can it be the strings? Or is it the pickups that's just not growly enough? Can it be the bass? :p
  2. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Maybe you should trade for a Sadowsky Jazz.
  3. Well, for some growls, you just have to experiment. Or get lucky. On the Warwick website currently are several videos with a serious bass growl during the intro. I tried and tried to get it with my Warwick, to no avail. Then a few days ago, while working on a project, I bumped the B string with a screwdriver. Wham Bam thank you Mam'm! I played around for a few minutes picking with the big screwdriver and there was the growl I was searching for. Go figure. For sure I'm not going to be picking with it but at least I found the growl I was searching for.
  4. TMARK


    Jan 10, 2012
    Richmond VA
    Ultimate Growl needs Bridge single coils. In my experience.
  5. gillento


    Oct 15, 2005
    Luxembourg, Europe
    Nordstrand pickups
    I had the same "issues" with mine, back when I still got it.
    I am convinced the ceramic PU are responsible for this.
    In the end I had Big Singles by Nordstrand in mine and they sounded way better!
    Another option might be FatStacks (with the single coil option) or the JazzBars (narrow single coils in soapbar shells): Bass Pickups: Signature Archives - Nordstrand PickupsNordstrand Pickups
    Talk to Adrian or Carey at Nordstrand, they are excellent with advice and do spectacular PUs.
  6. jeff62

    jeff62 Supporting Member

    Oct 24, 2005
    Central FL
    You might consider raising your pickup height to suit your needs. Increasing the signal strength via proximity to the string is a factor in the effect you desire.
    Lonnybass likes this.
  7. RedMoses


    Jul 4, 2012
    Sounds to me like this guy has a healthy dose of overdrive blended into his tone.

    More often than not, cutting the Bass on your active EQ will get your the growl your looking for by removing the lower rumble and letting the mids and highs come through more, you can compensate for the cut by boosting the lows on your Amp head.
  8. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    Being a long-time owner or several 5-24s, I have these theories:

    1. As others already mentioned, the pickup design. I think it's not so much the material of the bars, but the configuration. The side-by-side magnet bars pickup design cancels out some frequencies. Single-line pickup design sounds more alive and clear to me, which can be conductive to "growl." I have thought about replacing the stock pickups for Nordstrand Big Splits, for example, but haven't gotten to spending the money. The stock pickups are very fat and punchy, but they are very smooth, just like a Bartolini, where some frequencies are subdued and the sound is polite in general -- not very expressive.

    2. Sadowsky necks have ramp-down fret jobs where the last frets are leveled down a bit to avoid any fretting buzz, even with super low action. I think that having just a bit of buzzing contributes to having "growl." I have my 5-24 setup with the lowest action you can get, and a perfectly straight neck, and I can hardly get it to buzz (something I can easily do with other basses). So, no fret buzz could mean "perfection" and be a desirable feature, but I think that just a bit of buzzing gives the sound a lot of expressiveness and character.

    I also have a Carvin JB5 with single coils and low action with plenty of controllable fret buzzing, and well, it's growl city.

    Although I don't think an 5-24 will ever be as growly as, say, a Warwick, or Spector, or a good, bright Jazz-Bass type bass, changing the pickups would certainly get you closer.
    Preventer likes this.
  9. makanudo


    Dec 26, 2008
    Jon uses a thumb with a B7K and many other effects. To get a growl like that you need some bridge pickup and overdrive love.

    EDIT: I got somewhat close to that tone once with my Indonesian Ibanez SR505 and a B7K. Bridge pickup and medium overdrive with a hard attack and boosted 1KHz seemed to get me close. And the pickups on my bass are know for being pretty crappy, I'm sure yor sadowsky is capable of something like that, specially with new strings.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2015
  10. Vangsgutane


    Oct 25, 2015
    Thank you for all your advise so far, it really helps :)

    Maybe I should check out the Nordstrand PU's. Or maybe just get a Warwick if that's what it takes to get that growl.

    Makanudo: I've been checking out the Darkglass B7K lately, it looks really cool. I'm considering getting one of those, even though it's pretty expensive.

    RedMoses: In my latest attempt to get a growly sound I acually turned the bass/lows on my active EQ off. And it helped a little, thanks.
  11. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    Charlotte, NC
    Big Splits.
  12. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    I'm gonna buck the trend and suggest that growl comes more from your playing technique than your gear.
    ...although I will concede that it's nigh impossible to get growl out of, say, a short-scale hollowbody with a single neck pu strung up with flatwounds :)
    When I want a bass to growl it's all about finding that place to pluck the string where you can dig in hard enough to get notes to "bloom" without bottoming-out or getting subsumed in too much fret-clank -- their envelope take on this aggressive fast-but-not-instantaneous attack that involves a bit of metallic rattle from the frets but doesn't get choked. I usually evoke it with a hard plucking somewhere in between the end of the fingerboard and where the neck pu on a Jazz Bass would be. Dig in, hard. But not too hard. That baby will growl.

    Admittedly I have no idea whether that's possible to achieve with a pick; when I use a pick it's to achieve a different sound than "growl" per se.

    For that matter, admittedly I have no idea whether what I mean by "growl" is what anybody else does...
  13. maggbass


    Jan 7, 2007
    new jersey
    I had the same problem with mine, it just sounded to clean and polite for my taste, thought about changing the pickups but ended up selling it and got a Mike Lull instead. Still got the Lull and completely cured my 5 string gas
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