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Lull vs. Lakland vs. Sadowsky vs. Fender Master Builder Custom Shop, etc.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by drew_bassmore, Oct 31, 2000.

  1. drew_bassmore

    drew_bassmore Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2000
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Currently Shopping:

    I am a devout Zon player (own 3-sort of 4(long story), 4, 5 , 6 String versions of a couple of Sonus Custom and one Fretless Legacy Elite models. I have been consistently impressed with the quality of Zon instruments and the service level. I gladly advocate Zon instruments. Can't beat Zon fretless basses!!

    However, I want a new baby- is it midlife crisis? Well, no, I hope I'm too young for that, I just want to move in a vintage direction. I know what I want aesthetically. Basically it's almost everything you see with this Lakland Joe Osborn Signature Bass- color and everything: (we'll see if this works)

    I will also probably go with Lakland Classic 5- Lake Placid Blue at some point. Back to the immediate concern.

    I would like to get some feedback from folks who have experience with all of the manufacturers above (Mike Lull, Lakland, Sadowsky, Fender Custom Shop-Master Builder). I am looking for info on Prices, Service Level, Why one over another??? Any opinions on this subject??

    I would basically like to know what the differences are in price, quality and service.

  2. drew_bassmore

    drew_bassmore Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2000
    San Francisco Bay Area
    (Original Reply Message:

    We have a thread going on currently that you should join in on:


    I don't want to post all that stuff again into this thread.)

    Wow, read through and seems to tell me all I need to know about Sadowsky. For those that may have just joined this thread, the link above has a direct response from Roger Sadowsky. I have even placed a call to Sadowsky and Roger was able to help me with additional questions I had about my preferred spec's. I get the sense that it probably is entirely worth the $3,200.

    However, I still have to follow due process and make sure I am making an informed decision and cost effective(I'm a married parent and respect that this decision has ramifications on others). I still don't know that much about how the Lakland's and Lull's compare to Sadowsky, or even if the Fender shop has anything to offer aside from the name. I get a general idea that the Lakland would come in about $2,700 and the Lull about $1,875. Why the big difference in price? I don't want to sound rude in asking the Luthiers themselves, or should I anyway?

    I really wish I could feel (hear)the difference. I think I can find some of the Lull's and Lakland's, but do not know anybody personally with a Sadowsky that I could begin to get an idea of sound. (I know- Buy One and get the 7 day approval process.)

    Has anybody actually had an opportunity to compare all four at one time? What shook out?

    BTW, I am in the SF Bay Area in case anybody wants to get acquainted enough to allow that type of opportunity.
  3. I live in San Francisco and would be delighted to let you try my Sadowsky PJ5. Email me privately if you're interested ... nelson@dsl-seahunt.corp.sgi.com.
  4. Chuck M

    Chuck M Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas
    I have a Lull Modern 5. It is the most under rated bass out there right now. It is just as fine a bass as Sadowsky and Lakland.

    Mine has a flame maple top on a swamp ash body, 35" scale pau ferro fingerboard, Seymour Duncan single coil PUs and a Bartolini preamp. This is a killer bass.

    I've had some dealings directly with Mike Lull and he's very helpful and stands behind his products.

    Right now, Lull basses are a bargain. They won't be for long when the word gets out. I remember when Laklands and Sadowsky basses could be had new for just over $1000. I wish I had bought one before the prices went out of sight. Some of you may end up feeling that way about Lull bases when the word gets around.

    Good luck with whatever you buy!

  5. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Of the basses you list at the top, I'd go with either the Lakland or the Sadowsky. A Fender is a Fender (although the custom shop puts out some nice ones), and Lull hasn't got a fully-developed reputation yet. That less-than-stellar review in BP didn't help either. When you're paying x-thousand dollars for a bass, fit and finish shouldn't be an issue. If you search the boards, you'll see that Sadowsky and Lakland receive universal rave reviews.
  6. Chuck M

    Chuck M Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas
    I guess I don't know what review you are referring to. Jan 2000 Bass Player review: "The 4V isn't cheap, but when you consider the workmanship, materials, and setup savvy that makes this bass such a winner, you may wonder how Mike Lull does it. Certainly a comparable instrument from some of the bass world's higher-profile luthiers would cost you much more. A bargain at 2,300 bucks? Maybe so."

    There are no "fit and finish issues" with my Lull. It is a great bass and beautifully finished. I also own 2 Ken Smith's and 2 Pedulla's so I know what to expect out of a boutique bass.

    I've played Sadowsky and Lakland basses and they are very nice indeed. Right on par with my Lull. Try a Lull bass and I'm confident that you'll agree.

  7. ka-tet


    May 2, 2000
    I can't remember word for word, but there's been two reviews on a Lull 5 string in Bass Player. One was a 34" scale the other was a 35". I don't put much of anything into what Bass Player says but neither bass got great reviews. I remember one said that the tone sounded sort of choked. That was on the 35". I've played Lull and while the construction seemed fine, the tone was lifeless. It was... boring. I was living in Nashville at the time and was looking for a 5 string that gave THE jazz bass tone. I tried Lull, Sadowsky, and a Fender Roscoe Beck. I liked the Sadowsky much better than the Lull but wasn't knocked out by it either. The one that did the jazz thing best to me was the Roscoe Beck. Three weeks later much to my surpize, I opened up a brand new Roscoe Beck for Christmas, an incredible gift from my wife! Anyway, that's my Lull experience. By the way, if anyone is looking for THE jazz tone plus something extra, get an F Bass.
  8. Larry Kaye

    Larry Kaye Retailer: Schroeder Cabinets

    Mar 23, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    I've played all the above basses and I feel that Matt's basses (mpguitars.com) have the fit and finish, the playability, sound, look and feel of any of the other more "vintage" style basses out there for a ton less money.

    I consider him to be a smaller version of a Lakland or a Sadowsky, not have the rep yet, but having purchased a level 5 and seriously considering a additional fretless model from him, I have to say you can get a really nice, vintage looking (except the tortoise shell pick guard) and shaped bass delivered with a hard shell for substantially less yet with all the service and customization you get from a Lakland or Lull. Sadowsky's Sadowsky. I've never seen any negative feedback on his basses BUT, I'd rather have two wonderful and excellently put together and finished 5 strings for almost $750 less than one Sadowsky and take my chances.

    All I can say is try 'em all out, do what's best for your ego, your wallet, your minds, eyes, ears, and hands.

    If you're ever in Cleveland, e'mail me and I'll do the same offer as the SanFran reply.

  9. cobbster


    Sep 11, 2000
    I have had Sadowskys, custom shop Fenders and I am presently
    playing a Lakland Joe O and a Lakland Bob Glaub P-Bass
    They are IMHO the best their is on the market today. For
    5s' I prefer Lakland 55-94 classic with rosewood board.
    Hope this helps.
  10. JimS

    JimS Supporting Member

    My dealings with Sadowsky have been nothing but exceptional.
    I've read fine things about Lull and Lakland.

    I would be willing to bet my pension the aforementioned luthiers will provide a level of service (quality, response time, willingness to listen and hear you) that will be the antithesis of the service that you would get from Fender.
  11. drew_bassmore

    drew_bassmore Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2000
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Cobbster, what sounds and styles are you going for when you play the Lakland Joe Osborn? What's the instrumentation, or band style. Any recorded works posted anywhere of that instrument? I heard somebody, I think on another thread going that the Lakland B-String was a little floppy? Conversely that the Sadowsky was on the tight side, any comment? Although, I am going for a 4-String Initially. It's a style thing, the 5 is next. Or maybe both, hmmm. :)

    Jim S, You are probably right regarding service level. I have already had some dealings with Roger Sadowsky. He is exceptionally responsive, and seems to want to work on every aspect of what the customer wants with a "custom" instrument. There is a certain flexibility there that I haven't seen with Lakland. But, I am also looking for a very specific style instrument. The Joe Osborn comes pretty close, but I haven't been able to play one yet. Michealn (above) and I have discusssed getting together and he is going to let play his 5-Strings (Lakland and Sadowsky). I haven't yet placed a call to Lull. I am going to make a field trip to Gelb Music in Redwood City, CA (South of SF if you aren't in the area), and test what they have in Lakland and Lull.
  12. JimS

    JimS Supporting Member

    I imagine Sadowsky would make a Joe Osborne style bass; I'm not exactly sure what you're looking for in a bass. (In fact, I never figured out what was so special about the Osborne model to begin with...but that's me.) Roger has obliged me in the past with custom finishes, switching options, etc.

    The bottom line (pun not intended): call and ask him.

    My soon-to-be-completed Sadowsky 4 string jazz will be the fourth instrument I've purchased from him. 'nuff said.
    Good luck with your quest.


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