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Sadowsky Jazz or traditional Jazz?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Boogie Boy, Feb 15, 2003.

  1. Boogie Boy

    Boogie Boy

    Jan 26, 2003
    How would you rate a Sadowsky Vintage-4 or Ultra Jazz vs. a 60's era (refinish Jazz). I'm thinking about purchasing one of the above but want the most bang for my buck.
  2. Jeff in TX

    Jeff in TX Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2000
    Lone Star State
    IMO, if you search long enough, you can find a very good early 60s refin. However, you are guarenteed to get a great Sadowsky with modern and flawless workmandship and great tone - and you'll have the service that comes with owning a Sadowsky.

  3. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    With early Fenders, it tough. If it's just a re-finish & every this is original & the price is right, go for it but it'll still cost a nice chunk of change. If the bass is a re-fin & it has some non-original parts, it might be worth it @ a right price. If you're looking for a "Player", the only thing I'd really be concerned about is the body, neck, neckplate & pickups. I might not even worry about the p/u's being original cause thier are so many great p/u's available but again, the price has to be right.

    When you buy a Sadowsky, you know what you're getting & if you're buying used, you can always give a call to NYC & speak to the man himself & he will answer all of your questions.
  4. By-Tor


    Apr 13, 2000
    Sacramento, CA

    What about the playablity between the two?

    Unfortunately I have never had the opportunity to play a Sadowsky, but from what I have heard the Sadowsky out weighs the Fender.

    I do own the Fender GL Jazz, and I must say it is a great bass for the buck.
  5. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    IME, all the sadowsky's I've played have been consistanlty excellent while the Fender are very hit & miss.

    You did good buying a GL Jazz!!!! I wish I never sold mine. I'd like to eventually get a GL but I have a great playing black Jazz that I built, but having 2 basses of the same color never stopped me before. :D
  6. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    A couple of other things to consider. With the Sadowsky, you get a brand new instrument. You can be virtually certain that the neck will not warp or twist on you, that you won't have to have a new nut installed, that you won't have to have a refret done, etc. Also, you have option of having passive AND active tones in one bass with the Sadowsky. Further, what most of us refer to as vintage Fender basses (pre CBS, as opposed to the late '70's stuff, which now also seems to fit under the vintage category) are now in the 40-45 year old range. While their age is what makes them sound the way they do, and thus, makes them so desirable, I have to wonder if these instruments will eventually hit the wall. The shelf life of an electric bass has yet to be realized. Decades of stress under the strings, refrets, hard wear and tear, extreme temperature changes, etc. may eventually bring an end to the usefulness and tone of the instrument. Several decades ago, I think that the price of a pre-CBS bass was probably justified. However, in the last 15 years, the prices have been overinflated. I would look at buying a pre-CBS bass like you would any other investment...are you getting early at an undervalued price, or are you entering late when the market is already maxed out or overinflated? Sometimes you can find deals, but these instances are few and far between, not to mention the potential risks involved with buying an old bass....or something that is being held out as "vintage".
  7. Every bass is different, and especially vintage and high end instruments have individual personality that one player may love and another may hate. Every piece of wood is unique.

    Every time I see a discussion that generalizes I wince a bit, because I know that even among the finest basses in the world like Sadowskys, each one is different. They have personalities, like people. It's like saying, "If I met a Chinese guy from Boston, or an Irish grandmother from San Diego, which would I like better as a friend ?" It depends on the individual.

    That being said, I've owned 3 Sadowskys and played many others, and fell in love with the ugliest most beat up one, which I will keep for a long time.


    I've never found that elusive vintage Fender with my name on it, though I've looked for years.

    Enjoy the search. It's never that simple.


  8. Just my 2 cents here, but realistically you can almost buy 2 Sadowsky's (maybe a 4 and a 5 or a vintage and an ultra vintage 4) for about the same price that you fill find a DECENT vintage instrument for. That is unless you are EXTREMELY lucky and find some schmuck who doesn't know what they have. IMO generally, the Sadowsky has a more consistent tone and you can guarantee that you will be getting a first class instrument all the way....with a vintage instrument there are always going to be some issues...neck pocket...finish...rusted out hardware...etc. With the sadowsky I guarantee that the average MUSICIAN (much less casual listener would not be able to tell you the difference in the 2 in a blind test.(I am an engineer and have tried this with some well-known golden ear types, nearly everyone of them actually chose a sadowsky as vintage and then when they found out they were wrong they chose to use the sadowsky on a record instead of the vintage jazz.)

    I have personally owned several vintage instruments (Jazz and Precision) that I have used as a bass player and let other users use in my recording work. I have also run into players who own sadowskys and did not even want to try the vintage jazzes I owned. For the record I just spoke to Frank at Sadowsky this past Wednesday about an Ultra Vintage or Vintage 4 string for myself. I can't decide between the 2. I would like to have a quilted 59 Sunburst Ultra but I can't get the Quilted in Ultra....what a dilemma.....Good luck, but I have chosen SADOWSKY one way or the other.

    P.S. Once you actually play a Sadowsky your mind will be made up, trust me!