Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

My sadowsky: too bright, need mids

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Doug Parent, Jan 21, 2005.


  1. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    I have a Metro MV5, ash/maple combo.The two band preamp is too harsh sounding with not enough midrange control for my likeing. Curious if any of you Sad owners out there installed any other pre-amps that fit the bill for you?
     
  2. Wilbyman

    Wilbyman

    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    It might just be the wood combo. I just got my first ash/maple bass -- the LowEnd jazz in my avatar -- and the brightness does take a little getting used to. However, a Boss 10 band EQ pedal ($70) might give you some EQ to help you smooth things out to your liking. I sometimes use an Aguilar DB924 pedal which seems to make everything a little darker, thicker and punchier.

    If you want to modify, an OBP-3 or U-retro might do the job.
     
  3. Tone
    You've read my posts on Sads being inherently bright (IMO) and the VTC help a lot if you have one. I do on both my PJ and MV4. The Maple/ash is brighter than the alder/rosewood too. If you have gigged with it I'm sure you noticed that this brightness helps to cut through the mix though. I solved my brightness issues with my PJ by putting flatwounds on it and I love it. My MV4 is for sale because I'm not a fan of maple on Sads in paticular ( I had to find out though) but I do fancy maple boards on other makes. I think the Sad preamp is excellent myself and that's one of the reason I have a Sad. I find there electronics to be very good and versitile. The first thing I would do is find some different strings as I've found that makes a huge difference. That's the cheapest way to get happy. Good luck.
     
  4. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    I'll back up what big string said. I don't own a sadowsky, but have owned bright basses with boost only preamps.
    Favoring bridge pickup should give you more mid emphasis. The vintage tone control will roll off your high end nicely. I think Sadowsky are doing retrofits of this to existing basses now
     
  5. pistoleroace

    pistoleroace

    Sep 13, 2002
    WI

    I also agree with the above posts. The upcharge for the VTC is $150 and should help. Are the strings you are using stainless steel or nickel? If the are SS, try some nickel strings, they will tone down the brightness quite a bit.
     
  6. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    I must admit after sampling a few Metros I chose the Alder/Rosewood beacause of the brightness. And I still added the VTC which I love, Try the VTC , also I use my preamp very little and relly on my pickup blend for a tone control, WORKS GREAT! My next Metro will be Maple/Ash, I want one bass that will do the Marcus Sizzle.
     
  7. Burk, you probably noticed I have an MV4 for sale if your ready to buy. Got an add on this site. #334
     
  8. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    If it's not ash/maple, I don't want it. :)

    If you need alittle more mids, why not adjust the preamp on your amplifier alittle?
     
  9. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    Big-Sting, I am "jonesin" for that MV4 unfortunently I'm unemployed right now and kinda watchin the funds.
     
  10. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    Hey guys, thanks for responding. Part of whats happening is that I'm used to the thicker punchier sound of my MTD 535, and I expected the Sadowsky to do what my MIA Fender jazzV did, which is give a big round fat thick J style tone with a sweet top end that sounds good slapped. The MV5 does sound good overall but I'm missing thickness in the mid range area. Its snappy and bright but I think so much that the "thump" isn't there which is the very reason I'm reaching for a Fender vibe instrument.

    Yes I can crank the mid bass control on my amp, but the out point is in the bass so much to the degree that amp tweaking dosent really cut it.

    I guess me question is, is it a function of the pre-amp as much as anything else? If there's anyone out there who yanked the Sad pre and put in a J- retro or equivalent and got a result close to what my objectives are?
     
  11. Wilbyman

    Wilbyman

    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    It sounds like the tone just isn't happening for you, which doesn't mean the tone is bad...it's just not what you're looking for. I know it's kind of hard to admit defeat, but it would be easy to flip a Sadowsky and try something else. IMO if you've got to work the EQ that hard to get a sound you can deal with, it isn't right for you.

    I think it's a function of the woods *and* the pre, as well as all those other x-factors like nut material, pickup placement, etc. I personally wouldn't start knackering the resale value of a popular-selling instrument by modifying it, but that's up to you. Good luck.
     
  12. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    Yeah good point. I still have the opportunity to return it, its still on "audition" from the store I got it from. I'm wondering if the sad-humbuckers are more my thing. I also noticed that the neck is a bit thicker than I remember my Lakland being, and wonder if maybe a Mike Lull might have a more traditional Fender vibe with a slightly thinner neck. Anyone? Ferris?
     
  13. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    Now I am.
     
  14. JRBrown

    JRBrown

    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    :eyebrow: to bright? Hope this helps:

    - My first Sad was an alder/rosewood VJ-4. It had no VTC and didn't need it; the tone was "Sadowsky" perfect. I used flatwound and nickel strings on it. Sometimes I adjusted the treble control to 50% (this is equal to 100% on other basses). Adjusting the treble beyond 50% resulted it a tone bright enough to shatter glass. I sold it to get an ash/maple Sadowsky.

    - My second Sadowsky was ash/maple with a maple top and no VTC. I received it with steels strings on it. And yes, it was too bright. I didn't change the strings or make any modifcations. The fact that it didn't have a pickguard was enough to not keep it.

    - My third Sadowsky is an ash/maple with VTC [and pickguard :) ]. I have nickel strings on it and the tone is "Sadowsky" perfect. I never use the VTC. Bass and treble adjustments produce the same results as my first Sadowsky.

    - Sadowsky basses sound good, but do not sound like Fenders. By comparison, in passive mode, the Sadowsky sounds scooped with added emphasis in the low end. Add the pre and effect is doubled. If I were to add a preamp to a Fender jazz bass, 60% of the time, I would tweak it to sound like a Sadowsky. However, 40% of the time, I'd be in Fender heaven.

    -- Seeing as how Fender quality is inconsistent, yesterday, I installed some Fralin single coil pups in my Sadowsky. This was not an attempt to improve the Sadowsky; but to see if I could "build a better Fender" using Sadowsky parts. I A/B'd the modified bass against three different fender basses: ash/rosewood, alder/maple, alder/rosewood. All four basses had stainless steel strings installed.

    --- The Sadowsky sounded 90% Fender (in passive mode) with the Fralin pup installed. The tone was midrangy compared to the original pups. The highend was not as bright and sparkling as the Fenders.

    --- I switched the Sadowsky to active mode with no boost in bass or treble. Now I have the openess, rawness and grind of a good Fender J-bass. I was 95% there, but something was still missing; the Fenders had a deeper, punchier low end.

    -- I adjusted the bass control up little and though the bass sounded deeper, it was not more Fendery. The bass center frequency was not where I needed it to emulate the Fender low end; it was tuned much lower.

    -- 95% ain't bad but it still isn't Fender. The bass sounded very good and could easily pass for a Fender if there were no real Fenders in the room. I think the near miss was due to the Fralin pickups. I removed the Fralins and will mail them back to the loaner tomorrow (Thanks!) I will order a set of Fender 60s CS pups later today (unless someone wants to loan me a set).

    - If you're looking for the Fender tone, get a Fender. If you're looking for the Fender tone in a high quality, small body bass, try changing the pups in your Sadowsky if you decide to keep it. Start with the Fender CS 60s.

    - IMO, the Sadowsky brightness starts in the pickup and is futher exaggerated by the preamp. If yours is too bright, try changing the strings or add the VTC. I prefer nickel strings and my Sadowsky sounds great with them.
     
  15. JR
    Excellent post. Thanks. I do have Nickel Sads on my MV4 and they sound the best out of 4-5 sets of different brands I've tried since I received the bass about 10 weeks ago. I think a lot of my prefernce towards my NYC PJ is the finger board being rosewood and the fact that I'm kinda hooked on Flats on that bass. I should put them on the MV4 and see what they sound like. The MV4 sounds very good to me but when in the mix of my band it was not that pleasing to me and I had a hard time hearing. It's seems to my ears that the "piano" type sustain/ring/vibe runs the notes together and are not defined as I find Flatwounds to be. With the flasts I still get plenty of smooth articulate high and suprising cutting mids with a 'different' bottom that thumps very unlike a kick-drum thump that you might think... I can usually hear myself very good in the mix while using the PJ with flats (Sadowsky Flats). I just tried some D'Adario Chromes on my Lakland USA Joe and they are all right but I like the Joe Osborn Flats better on that bass and would probably like the Sad Flats better too.

    I did want to use a active bass with rounds that is why I bought the MV4 but alas...
     
  16. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    JR, thanks! Thats what I was hoping to find out. I decided to keep the bass and try different pickups as you have. I was thinking about trying a different pre first but now I'm going to try those same pickups or maybe some aeros. I found the thread that Smash did on those and it sounds good. I'm new to sadowsky basses so have to find out if they have standard size pickups that can be replaced easily with various brands without doing any routing. Thanks for the info, greatly appreciated.
     
  17. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY
    HI!

    I agree with JR mostly. Sadowsky's sound like Sadowsky's. Kinda like a Fender but with unique qualities. I read quite a bit on Talkbass about brightness issues. My 3 Sad's are ash/maple, ash/maple top/maple, ash/maple top/rosewood. I prefer the maple boards. The key is to take it easy on the preamp, both on the bass and especially on your amplifier. I discovered this a long time ago when I purchased my first ash/maple 24 fret. I was playing a blues gig and the top end was cutting my head off! I had used a Roscoe 5 the night before and had set my amplifier controls according to this bass. The Roscoe was warm and dark. I simply rearranged the treble and presence and ecstasy was restored!!!

    I urge you to try this. Easy on the treble both amp and bass. Maybe a bit of mids on the amp depending on the gig. The bass boost on the bass should be ample for any room. Try these things before returning the bass

    Rob
     
  18. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY
    Hi!

    Also, I play mostly finger style. I always use stainless strings and replace them as soon as they start to lose their zing

    Rob
     
  19. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    Rob thanks. I decided to keep the bass. Too many things Ilike about it.
    I'm keeping it stock for now and just gonna work with it and the tone controls on my GK1001. (My eden head would have worked well with this bass, alas sold it)