I've always been a great admirer of excellence. No matter what the profession or vocation, people that are truly excellent at what they do are always inspiring to me. Well, on a trip to the Big Apple this past Monday, you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting somebody possessing this quality in spades at the three major stops made by myself and a couple good friends of mine (including kcdbass and my drummer Mark, both of whom are excellent in their own right). Stop #1 was a visit to Roger Sadowsky and the crew at Sadowsky Guitars. Aside from being one of the nicest cats you'll ever meet, Roger is a true artist, and he and his crew should be, and no doubt are, exceedingly proud of what they produce. Now, those of you who are familiar with me know that I play 6 string Ken Smith basses (excellence with a capital "E"), but just because you dig filet mignon doesn't mean you can't appreciate truffles and caviar...you dig ? But I digress. After playing Roger's basses, all of those "Sadowskys are just over-rated Fender copies made from parts" arguments were blown to smithereens. Every pro player would be well advised to have at least one of these great basses in their "arsenal". Every bit of praise his basses get here on Talkbass is justified, and every argument to the contrary is not. Period. IMNSHO. If you will accept nothing short of excellence, then you will produce an excellent product. That's what Roger et al do. Stop #2 was to drop in to see Dave Boonshoft and all the cats at Aguilar. The "adventure in excellence" continues . Dave gave us a quick but un-rushed tour of the shop (we showed up right as they were cleaning up for the day). If you're not in love with the Aggie sound, or just dig something else...well that's cool. But anyone who believes they are "over priced" just needs to see the operation to be convinced that the Aguilar gear would be a value at even higher prices. Uh...er...don't tell Dave I said that, though . Last but certainly not least, we went to the Bitter End to catch the Oz Noy trio with Anton Fig on drums and "Uncle Will" Lee on bass. Oz is a great and very eclectic guitar player, and the material is an awesome display of funky, odd meter but always driving tunes that are both hip and whimsical, and the band just plain kills. They're going to be there every Monday night for the forseeable future ($7 cover charge ), sometimes with Keith Carlock subbing for Anton. If you are in the city you must check this out. Excellence, excellence, excellence. I was admittedly feeling a bit frustrated with my own career, and I was bitching to Mark all the way into the city about it...but I am now feeling rejuvenated and infused with new energy. Thanks to Roger, and Dave, and Oz, and Anton, and Will, and Kevin, and Mark, and on and on and on and on.