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Sadowsky: Assembled or handmade?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by JRBrown, Apr 22, 2003.

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  1. JRBrown


    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    What's the real word on Sadowsky basses? I talked with a few pro-players and retailers, and all say that Sadowsky necks and bodies are made by the same company that supplies Mike Lull his parts. If this is true, then why do Sadowsky basses cost almost twice that of all other "parts" basses?

    - I don't mean to dis Sadowsky or other "parts" bass companies. The folks at Lakland told me that their bass necks are made by someone else and I really like my Lakland bass. Maybe that's why neither of these companies (Sadowsky, Lull, Lakland) offer neck-through models.:meh:

    - It makes me more appreciative of companies that are really "making" basses: Ken Smith, Alembic, Mike Tobias, etc.

    - Comments?
  2. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    yeah man. I hear from
    industry folks that this is indeed the case.

    As a matter of fact i brought this very subject up in a post not too long ago regarding lull vs sadowsky.

    of course, No one liked the fact that i said it and they defended both to the nth degree...

    Would i pay 3k for a parts bass that has been tweaked by a luthier before/during/after assembly ? No.

    But many many people do.

    And those people love those basses. So, don't worry be happy.

    Personally, I prefer being able to see the lumber yard ,see the raw material being crafted into a work of Art...hey, just like some guy around here that builds basses...;)

    And i just read on the warmoth site that they have supplied necks to Sadowsky .:eek:

    To each his own. caveat emptor and all that stuff.

    Personally, i'll stick with the handmade from the ground up basses.:)
  3. Marlat


    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    This old chestnut again!

    Does it really matter?

    If you like the bass, what do you care if it was handcrafted by a league of mythical elves vs spat out of a industrial bass press? The reality is most people could not tell the difference between construction methods. What matters is the sound and playability - and it is these things that generally creates the demand, which in turn creates the price point.

    At the end of the day, both methods of construction result in a finished bass, are you going to judge a bass on its method of contruction or its sound?
  4. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    Personally I do judge an instrument on the method of construction as well as the sound.

    having said all of this
    and the "sticking with
    handmade" I am putting together a warmoth bass as we speak...(an enigma wrapped in a riddle, eh ?)

    But, when it comes to
    serious stuff I'll let the masters do the work.
  5. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    we're all going to be disowned/excommunicated when Rader and Nino read this...

    I agree that it is a highly personal preference and no, it really doesn't matter.

    As long as you like what you play.

    I happen to like Smith's...Now guys let's not go bashing Smiths...I didn't bash Sadowsky...;)
  6. Jeff Haley

    Jeff Haley

    May 17, 2001
    Atlanta, Ga.
    That's a great question. I have no idea what the answer is but I think it is easy to get caught up with the name of a company. Is one bass really $2000 dollars better than another? It is up to the consumer to decide. I would love to play a Sadowsky because I've read so many good reviews but I have a hard time spending $3000 dollars on a bass. I own a Fender Roscoe Beck 5 that I paid $1100 dollars for and it sounds great. I would love to be able to play all of these high priced basses so I could make my own judgement. It bothers me a little if these basses are not handmade because of the price but business is business. It is up to the consumer to decide if they want to pay the price.
  7. Marlat


    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    There seems to be an inference here that somehow, Sadowsky's are somehow less well contructed (ie contain more imperfections) than other "handmade" basses.

    Has anyone actually got any basis for saying this?

    There is a difference between construction method and imperfections. What I was saying is that ff the end result is a bass that has no imperfections in its construction, then what difference does construction method make?

    If you think that it makes a difference then I think its a case of the emperors new clothes!
  8. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    It really does boil down to that; business.

    Roger has every right to bring in as much revenue as he can and as long as he has market share ( i see it increasing every day) then good for him.

    It's more tha njust the cost of parts. There are R$D expenses as well as the usual overhead.

    I doubt if I will ever be one of his customers, because
    like you I would have a problem paying that much for a bass that is not handmade but I do not think that will matter; plenty of people are stepping up to the Sadowsky plate.

    OTOH, plenty of people are stepping to the Smith plate, and the Conklin plate, and a whole host of lesser known luthiers tha hand make their basses.

    So obviously this is just one of those perrenial issues that will come up.

    An you know what ? Those of us that can
    afford these expensive toys are going to buy them regardless.
  9. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    Mark, I think you mean "production method" not "construction method" because "construction" (neck thru vs bolt - on) will have a serious effect on the tonal palette of the bass.

    you are misconstruing what I wrote I think.

    While it is true that a machine cannot differentiate between the materials it is working on (give it a piece of pine and it will rout the same shape as it would on a piece of ash) human
    talent and sweat and hardwork is something
    I appreciate.

    without having done any quality testing for Sadowsky I will go out on a limb and say that I doubt anything gets by them. I'm sure if they see a defect in materials they do whatever is necessary to rectify the situation.

    OTOH, can that CNC router inspect the potential body or neck materials that
    it is going to carve before hand to check for structural problems in the raw material ?

    Can this machine tell you that the neck material it is about to cut has too much runout ? maybe that it is not quite straight enough ? I do not think so.
    And once that neck is routed who wil ever know that the workpiece was flawed to begin with ? The bassist that is wondering why his neck is warped, that's who...
  10. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I dunno...I think both are completely valid, for their intended audiences.

    I don't consider myself a "Fender-style" guy, and as such, I'd sooner spend my money on an MTD (or Jerzy Drozd, since I just did) than a Sadowsky. But, I'll also admit I've never played a Sadowsky.

    Either way, I like the idea that Mike Tobais, Rob Elrick, Ken Smith, Jerzy Drozd, Carl Thompson, Ken Lawrence, Stuart Spector (US model), and Keith Roscoe build their own basses. IMO, you get more of their soul in each instrument and more individuality.

    But, that's a strength (as I understand it) of Roger Sadowsky: he's the best (or one of) at building a bass that ISN'T unique. Is that so terrible?
  11. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    I don't think you can blame CNC machines for poor quality control.

    A CNC machine certainly can't check the materials it is processing. Neither can a hand router or a spokeshave. It is up to the operator to ensure the quality of the materials and work.

    I personally couldn't care less how a bass is built, and I really don't see how this makes a difference if the builders QC is sufficiently high. I have heard this argument of no soul in a non-hand made bass. Seriously, can anyone tell the difference between high end CNC machined parts and hand built parts? And by this, I mean on every example.

    I have played two Sadowskys. Both were great basses. Neither of them "spoke" to me, but they certainly killed all the Fenders I have played in quality and IMO, sound.

  12. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    Well, since the subject of accurate terminology has come up, I'm hoping to be enlightened too;

    Does Ken Smith actually 'build' basses himself?
  13. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    I wouldn't know if he <b>personally</b> builds all of his basses but i know that his basses are hand made; I've seen the production facilities first hand.

    I do not think it was ever a question of whether or not the person whose name is on the headstock actually builds each bass him or herself.
  14. temp5897

    temp5897 Guest

    There are other threads concerning this matter including ones with replies from Roger himself. Recommended reading.
  15. Jon Burnet

    Jon Burnet

    Jan 21, 2001
    Memphis, TN

  16. Marlat


    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    So, can you tell if a bass is "hand-made" just by looking at it / feeling it? I would find it difficult to beleive that you could tell by the sound!

    All things considers I would imagine that most people couldn't. In fact, it is arguable that the reason you *could* tell that a bass was handmade would be because of the imperfections in the contruction - ie human error. Other than that, I don't see how you could possibly tell the difference.

    If the only reason you know that a bass if hand made or not is because you ahve been told so, I dont think that the construction method is a fair reason for evaluation of a bass if it is perfectly constructed. It seems more like snobbery! :)
  17. one_skunk


    Apr 30, 2001
    jared-how about some links to these other threads?
  18. temp5897

    temp5897 Guest

    I tried to do a quick search but couldn't find it yet. I will look for it later unless (need to do some stuff) anyone else can find it for me first? I hope you don't mind waiting a bit. :)
  19. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member


    I do find a certain appreciation for handmade instruments... I'm in the process of ordering one, in fact. But the bottom line, as you say, is the completed instrument: it is what it is, and quality of construction makes it so, not the method.
  20. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Excellent point.

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