Minty 78 Fender-J or Sadowsky

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by JRBrown, Jul 16, 2004.

  1. JRBrown


    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    This is my most important "this vs. that" thread ever. It's no doubt that Sadowsky basses share the No. #1 spot as far as modern Fender-style basses are concerned.

    But how do they measure up to the "real deal"?

    What are the pros and cons?

  2. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    Wow.. That's a toughie.. Even I don't know.. My head hurts >_<..

  3. Well of course it depends on the individual bass. You could get a really good Fender that matches or beats the Sadowsky. But that Fender looks minty fresh! The Fender will sound more traditional, and probably weigh a ton. I'd try the Fender, and if it was even close to being as good as the Sad, I'd get the Fender.
  4. the fender has collectable value and mystique, and the vintage fender thing.

    but I would go with the sadowsky, I think in the long run if you are looking for a bass to play that would work out better.
  5. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    I own a 78 Jazz like the one pictured. It's a player:)
  6. Have you/will you be(en) able to play both before laying the money down? It'll be your bass, and your money, so our opinion really doesn't mean squat.
    Fenders from that era can be great, or they can be lemons--often absurdly heavy, with reportedly slipshod quality control, and in my experience most instruments that are that mint after that much time has passed are in such good condition because they weren't thrilling to pick up and play. Sometimes, it's because some kid had Mom and Dad buy him a bass and he never learned to play so it slept in its' case for a quarter-century, but that sounds kind of fairy-tale, don't you think?
    Sadowskys, on the other hand, are well-thought-out, precisely engineered instruments that include the talents of many brilliant individuals that have come together with the sole goal of giving the player a reliable tool that will deliver a very usable sound, and great feel, and playability every time they pick up the instrument.
    Sads feel GREAT. They're also very hot right now, so other bass players would envy you. But because they do "that one thing" so well, they're not much good for a hell of a lot else...try doing palm-mute dub with a Sad and you'll see what I mean. A garden-variety J does that niche sound a whole lot better.
    Ask other people to make your decisions for you, and this is the noise you get (grin). Good luck, and happy hunting.
  7. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    IMO, the "real deal" is pre-CBS.

    Fenders from this era are very hit & miss. You might find a good one, you can easily find a bad one. It looks nice but so does this:

    <img src="" width=600>
  8. JRBrown


    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    My thoughts exactly. There's no way I'll get to play the '78 or any other vintage J "before" purchase; I'm not in that sort of loop. I was thinking about buying that '78 two days ago then the uncertainties prevailed. I compared it to the Sadowsky and the predicted success rate was:

    - '78 Fender - 40%
    - Sadowsky - 95%

    Also, most TBer opinions are valuable. That's why I ask.

    Note: I was looking at a 70's Stingray months ago. The seller said "as far as he knew" it was 100% original. I showed the pic to a TBer and he identified several parts that were not original. ;)
  9. Hi!

    Which shop is selling this bass on internet??
    The '78 JB...

    Don't be afraid I won't buy it, I ever have a bass on order....

  10. JRBrown


    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    It is a private seller not the retailer where the bass pic is currently posted (Bass Palace). One of the uncertainties with the purchase is that no one really knows the history of the bass.
  11. I know what you mean....
    But what about trying! But it, try it, and if you don't like, sell it! no?

  12. JRBrown


    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    Funny you should post this pic. This is the same pic that I looked at two days ago. Great minds... ;)
  13. JRBrown


    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    I thought the same thing and I've been there many, many times. So far I've got a perfect score in the selling department; I tell buyers the truth, good and bad, up front. I've never had a dissatisfied buyer. I'm not about to ruin that by dumping a "Fender Lemon" on some one at that price.
  14. I have a '72 in mint condition (still has the hang tags - it really looks new). It is a very good bass for what it is - an old, mass produced Fender with uneven frets and average workmanship and noisy electronics. So, I love it for what it is.

    That said, when I want a jazz tone that is consistent everywhere on the neck with dead quiet electronics, I always reach for the Sadowsky and it ALWAYS sounds right. That makes it THE player for me.

    I am not one to have "brand loyalty". In fact, I prefer to change and always am in "upgrade mode". I just can't find a better bass than the Sadowskys I own. Maybe someday...

  15. MascisMan


    Nov 21, 2003
    Dallas, Tx
    I would go with the metro. guaranteed performance, warranty, more versatility, not much more $$$
  16. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    Thanks for the compliment. :hyper:
  17. Sadowsky

    Sadowsky Commercial User

    Nov 1, 2000
    Owner: Sadowsky Guitars Ltd.
    Not trying to toot my own horn here----but my biggest issue with 70's J-basses is the necks with the bullet truss rods. They are notoriously prone to truss rod failure. I bought one for myself about 10 years ago and just put it away as an investment. Even with reduced tension on the neck, the neck cracked between the bullet and the first fret inlay and the truss rod now does nothing. I had to get a replacement neck from Fender.

    In my repair days, I used to see this problem all the time.

    Roger Sadowsky
  18. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    I love old Fenders. I have a small collection of them. A '56p, '66p, '66j, '72p, '72j, '73j!!! I have them to collect and I let them apprectiate in value. They always go up in value and I never lose $ on them. On the other hand, I gig 150 shows a year. I would never consider taking one of these basses to a show. They just don't cut it when compared to a Sadowsky bass. Period. Trust me, I've tried it. Roger's stuff is bulletproof, seldom need to be adjusted, look great, feel outstanding, play like you wouldn't believe. Oh yea, sound like a million bucks, too!!!!!

    Honestly, not a fair comparison.

  19. JRBrown


    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    OK, It's settled!

    I seriously considered getting a J-bass in a non-traditional body style. However, per several luthiers, the more you deviate from the Fender-J body style, the more you deviate from the Fender-J tone. Therefore, the only other options include Lull, Cellinder, and Fender Custom Shop. But for several reasons already discussed in numerous threads, Sadowsky wins.

    I'm going to buy a new Metro [maybe Tokyo] or used NYC very similar to this with the passive tone control option. I've got the funds in hand, I need only to locate the bass.

    In the interim, I'll locate a $500-600 ash/maple J bass and throw some decent pups in one?