Roscoe Compared to Sadowsky, Nordy, and Lakland

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by tsl, Mar 16, 2014.

  1. tsl


    Mar 5, 2014
    I've been playing a Roscoe LG-3005 (swamp ash body/burl top, rosewood fingerboard) with Barts and Bart preamp for 15 years as my only bass, and I am looking to add a jazz bass to the mix. I am considering a Roscoe SKB with JJ pickups, but I am also interested in the following basses:
    • Sadowsky MV5 with single coil pickups
    • Nordy VJ5 (ash body/maple board) with either NJ5 single coils or NJ5fs split coil pickups in 60s position, 2-band preamp
    • Lakland 55-60 (USA)
    I may be able to play a Sadowsky, but it is unlikely that I will be able to play all of the above basses. Can anyone comment on what kinds of things I would notice playing any of these compared to the Roscoe? I already know about the scale length for the Sadowsky (34") and Nordy (34") and # of frets, but I am interested in other impressions - playability of the neck, stability of the neck, tone, etc.

    I've done a ton of searching here and have learned a lot, but it also helps to hear from people who have played the Roscoe and one or more of the above basses.

    I am strictly a fingerstyle player with no slapping. Genre is contemporary Christian, country, and pop.

    Thanks for any input!
  2. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    Charlotte, NC
    Get a Sadowsky. They're the best of the bunch you've listed.
  3. hover


    Oct 4, 2008
    Every time, no exception?
  4. JLY

    JLY Supporting Member Supporting Member

    I love my Sadowsky(5) and my Lakland US JO(4)
    But I would also check out a Mike Lull- he can make you a 5 with a 34" scale
  5. darrenmt


    Dec 15, 2004
    All great basses. Tone and feel preference would be the ultimate decider although these contributors may be worth a consideration beforehand.

    More modern or traditional body style, active or passive tone, neck profile, scale length, fret size, 60s or 70s pickup placement... perhaps weight and ergonomics?

    I'm partial to Lakland due to loving the neck feel and fret size along with loving their vintage pickup tone. Whichever bass u pick from the lot, they are all top notch builds.
  6. atrapp


    Dec 4, 2006
    Taichung, Taiwan
    I've owned all save the Lakland. 5 Roscoes (3 skb3005's and 2 lg3000's still have an LG3000), 3 Nordy's and 7 Sadowsky's - currently with two NYC RV5's, R5/24 and RV5 metro line.
    Sadowsky and Nordy's are fairly similar, with the Nordy being full size non chambered bodies and a decidedly more aggressive bottom, overall a darker tone which I dig, but they all were a bit to heavy for me and the 3 fused vertebrae in my neck.
    Roscoes are in a world unto themselves with if not the best low B, a B in the top 10. Roscoe SKB's feel like a neck thru bass, rock solid killer basses. I no longer own the SKB 5's due to the 35" scale and string spacing. To clarify the 34 vs 35 scale is about consistency between instruments. Give me a 34" scale, 19mm spacing, 8.5 - 9lb Century or SKB 5 and it would be on stage with me at every gig.
  7. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    Charlotte, NC

    I have both the US Lakland (Bob Glaub PJ) and a NYC Sadowsky (Modern 5/24). I've played other Laklands, all models, and I've visited the Sadowsky shop in NYC where I played several models from vintage P to Will
    Lee. My take is the Sadowsky is great if you want a lightweight, fantastic sounding and flawlessly built bass. The Lakland is more traditional in feel, mine is passive. I love them both, but if I had to pick just one I'd get a Sadowsky NYC vintage PJ and have the best of both worlds.
  8. Needenaneden


    Feb 22, 2011
    Have you ever played a Dingwall? I just had a chance to try one and it's like nothing else I've ever played and the quality was absolutely perfect.
  9. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    Charlotte, NC

    They look fantastic. But I've tried a fanned fret bass before and can't do it. I'll stick with parallel frets.
  10. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Feb 28, 2014
    San Diego, CA
    I've had a few of those - all nice basses.

    Kieth will modify build a bass to your specs - he's a great guy and knows his stuff. Some of the nicest woodworking I've ever seen.

    Right now I own 2 Laklands and frankly, they just fit my playing style better. I'm sure I'd be about as happy (or maybe more) with a NYC Sadowsky J - I just like the "fender feel", if you follow - and both of these basses are *great* for slap...
  11. tsl


    Mar 5, 2014
    Thanks for the input. Mike did the occasional setup for me while I was living in Seattle. I'm not a fan of the headstock design, so I have to pass.
    Already having a "modern" style Roscoe, a traditional body style appeals to me, but it's not a deal breaker. Regarding active or passive tone, I have never really had the need to set the Bart preamp on my Roscoe to anything other than flat. I would prefer to have the option of both. Neck profile and ergonomics ... those are some of the reasons for starting this thread as they're not easily discernible from a spec sheet. THe weight I'd like to keep to 9 lbs or less.
    Have not played and I would agree that it is probably quite a different playing experience.
  12. tsl


    Mar 5, 2014
    Thank you for the comparison between the Sadowsky and Nordy; it was quite helpful. It seems that the greatest thing going for you with the Roscoe was the B string as the Sadowsky has the 34" scale, 19 mm spacing, and light weight. Is the Sadowsky B string not in your top 10? If not, why not?
  13. For me a Sadowsky B string would generally sound better due to its great preamp; there is something special on a Lakland's 35" scale tightness to be considered.
  14. atrapp


    Dec 4, 2006
    Taichung, Taiwan
    The Sadowsky is definitely in the top 10, the Roscoe maybe #1 and is known for this (imho). Truly though the Sadowsky B is fantastic, no complaints at all. I wouldn't have 4 Sadowsky 5 strings if the B wasn't awesome, not to sound haughty or anything but I can play/buy whatever bass I want and I buy Sadowsky.
  15. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    One thing to consider with all the basses in question is string spacing and nut width. Of all the basses mentioned, Roscoe has slightly tighter string spacing both at the nut and at the bridge (18 mm vs. 19 mm of all others at the bridge). If you like you Roscoe's neck, you might find all others bigger and not so comfortable.

    I'm on the opposite side: I just sold a Lakland 5594 (I thought the neck was a bit too wide for my hands) and one of my main basses is a Sadowsky 5-24, which is very comfortable, but I wish the fretboard was a tad narrower.

    As a result, I'm in the process of order a Roscoe Century. . . ;-)

    If you like the LG body and the Roscoe neck, an SKB (or Century) with Jazz pickups will definitely be more familiar, and in my opinion, more comfortable. And if you order it with Aguilar Jazz pickups (instead of Bartolini) and Aguilar EQ, you will be closer to a Sadowsky Jazz or a Lakland Jazz type.

    Regarding quality and sound, both are up to par, but I'd personally pickup a Sadowsky (NYC) before a Lakland.

    Regarding B string, my 5594 was 35" and my Sadowsky is 34" and they are both equally as good, so no problems there.
  16. tsl


    Mar 5, 2014
    Neck width handling going from a Roscoe to a Sadowsky was one of the reasons for my posting this thread. Is it that noticeably different?

    I think I can understand the Aguilar preamp comparison to the Sadowsky since both are bass/treble boost only, but what is it about the Aguilar pickups that are so different from the Bart J's?
  17. Bardolphus

    Bardolphus Put some stank on it... Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    Currently have a Roscoe SKB3005 and a Lakland Skyline DJ5; have previously owned a Lakland 55-02D, Sadowsky MV5 (Metro), MV5-PJ (Metro), NYC 24F5 (aka Modern) and another SKB3005. Never been around a Nordy in the wild to try out.

    With that, my favorite vintage-style bass of the group has undoubtedly been the Lakland DJ5. Don't get me wrong, the Sadowsky basses are great but, for me, my DJ5 has the playability and ergonomics I'm looking for. The neck is thinner front to back than the Sadowsky basses I've had and, though they had good B strings, the Lakland's is better. Say what you want about 34" vs 35" scale, I've always preferred the B string on 35" scale basses to their 34" scale counterparts. As previously mentioned, the Roscoe B string is one of, if not the, best in the business. The Sadowsky basses have a great B for a 34" scale bass but they really don't compare to the Roscoe and the Lakland is much closer to the Roscoe B string.

    Coming from a Roscoe, the Sadowsky necks were comfortable but noticeably thicker front to back though the 24F5 was thinner front to back than the two Metros.

    As for tone, the Sadowsky preamp is a work of art with more of a modern vibe to it. It really sounded good in a mix (I think my favorite as far as sound was the MV5-PJ - just a really nice "fat" tone that sat wonderfully in a mix). But, I really seem to prefer the more vintage jazz bass tone and the Lakland nails that IMHO. I do have an Audere pre in my DJ5 but I leave it set flat 99.999% of the time (which sounds the same as passive according to Audere and my ears). The Lakland single coil pickups sound good and have a nice edgy, grind to them that I really like.

    Now, I've never played one of the Sadowsky NYC vintage-style basses but, according to Sadowsky himself, the Metros simply "afford the player who does not require premium woods or custom options the opportunity to play a Sadowsky at a more attractive price point" indicating that the Metro and NYC basses are more similar than different.

    Ok, long post. In summary, I'd say that the two Roscoe basses I've had easily fit the bill when you think about a bass that "plays itself" and, for me, the Lakland gets closer to that than the three Sadowsky basses I've had ever could.
  18. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    New York, NY
    Have owned a Roscoe 5, owned a Lakland 55-60 (Korean), played many Sadowsky's, never a Nordy.

    Going from a Roscoe to Lakland would be the biggest jump. The Lakland neck on the jazzes is HUGE. Very wide, very deep front to back.
  19. scyzoryk


    Jan 12, 2004
    Vancouver, BC
    I used to own a Roscoe Century Standard. LOVED the bass and especially loved the neck profile, moreso than the Sadowsky neck.

    But I realized after playing the Roscoe for five years that I'm a jazz guy at heart. I fooled around with a couple of jazz basses, played a Sadowsky UV70 for the first time live -- WOW.
  20. atrapp


    Dec 4, 2006
    Taichung, Taiwan
    Yup, some might say that Metros are bit fatter sounding as the bodies are not chambered.