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Sadowsky Metro RV-5 Vs. F-Bass BN5

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Poon, May 18, 2005.

  1. Poon


    May 20, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Like the title says. I've done a lot of searches and there are some threads that compare the two basses in the context of other basses, but nothing really all that great in terms of apples and apples f-bass vs. sadowsky. I played an f-bass a few weeks ago and it felt like magic in my hands. I never thought I'd find a bass that felt better than the Lakland, but alas the F-bass has done it.

    I'm toying with the idea of trading my sadowsky for an f-bass bn5. I really like the ash body, maple board combo, but i already have that with my Lakland (which I'm selling too) and my valenti on the way. Am I crazy?

    Used market value these are about dead even.
  2. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    Well, I've only tried the F-bass in a shop (it was ash/maple but I'm not sure of the model), but I actually didn't like it all that much. For me it was a little too alive and too "ash" sounding ... really "stringy" and "hard".

    The RV5 is my current favorite bass, I love the warm, round, even response of the alder/rosewood and the humcancelling Js. So I'd say if the RV5 is feeling and sounding too soft or mellow for you it'd be a good swap.
  3. Niskamies


    Jan 13, 2004
    I wouldn't choose between the f-bass and that sadowsky, they are totally different instruments. If you're into modern tones, choose between the f-bass and a sadowsky modern.
  4. Hmm...I would have said the opposite. My Fbass is as smooth as it gets for an Ash/Maple bass. My Ash/Morado Modern 5 had quite a bit of brightness to it.
  5. FBass hands down. I love mine but thats also because it has a thicker neck than a sadowsky and its a 34.5 scale. Sadowsky has never felt right in my hands. I like pbass necks and Fbass necks the best period!!! I also think you'll find more options in the Fbass preamp as well.
  6. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia In Memoriam

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    Sorry, probably not politically correct - and let me say, I have the utmost respect for all the Sadowsky devotees here at Talk Bass, but.... i have to say..
    i have played just about everything out there, and bar none, regardless of price, F Bass is what is in my gig bag...
    consider this... at the same used market price..
    i find the playability of the F bass superior, in fact , superior to anything and everything ( including $7000 Foderas and such )
    add to that the fact ( to me ) that F bass has tone that kills ... a very versatile preamp that allows:
    passive/ active
    single coil/ humbucking
    passive tone control
    3 band VERY musically voiced preamp
    KILLER sounding pickups-
    now.. the F Bass is COMPLETELY hand made, zero plastic on the bass.
    It includes a very ergonomic design, beautifully figured Ash, MATCHING pickups ( consider the extra work here ) and matching control cavity cover.
    yes, Sadowskys are FINE basses, but they do not feel like an F bass in my hands-
    EVERY soundman and studio engineer has commented on the tone coming out of my output jack. Just tonight, after a show with Sheena Easton, the front of house guy came up and asked.. "what is that you are playing? the tone is amazing!"
    drummers comment all the time as well as other musicians..
    i have gotten many a call for studio work because of the F bass's tone-
    if i have to have one deserted island bass, you better believe it would be an F bass... and they are beautiful... again, tonight, even the boss said " custom made? it's GORGEOUS! "
    - usually, i would lay low on a thread like this.. but i feel so strongly about F Basses that i have to say... at least for me:
    there, i said it ! :bag:
  7. What he said...:D
  8. Andy Brown

    Andy Brown Commercial User

    Jul 23, 2004
    Rhode Island
    Founder/Owner: Wing Instruments
    Well said Adrian! Now where's my BN6? :)
  9. bassbrother


    May 9, 2005
    I've just done the opposite....sold my Fbass BN5 to buy a Sadowsky Vintage 5 string. Although the Fbass is really a great sounding and balanced instrument, it's sound didn't have that "kick Ass" effect that I desired. The Sadowsky does have that. On stage (and also in the studio) the sadowsky has much more bottom and raw character. The sadowsky (without EQ-ing) doesn't drown in the noise of the rest of the band. The Fbass sounded great in the shop and at home, but on stage it was not as solid as I wanted it to be...

    good luck
  10. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    You just answered your own question. If it has the magic, go for it.

    Do it. I never thought I'd find a bass better (for me) then my G&L L-2000's and L-5500's, then I played a few Spectors.Then I never thought I'd find a bass better (for me) then my Spectors, then I built a few Warmoth basses. Then I never thought I'd find a bass better (for me) then my Warmoth basses, then I played a few Sadowsky's. That's were I am right now.

    Umm. yeah. :D but aren't we all?
  11. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    Remember that RV5 is an Alder/Rosewood vintage style bass, very different from an Ash modern bass!

    And also remember that the music I play is pretty different from what I've heard of Adrian's ... I'm almost strictly a rock and funk guy. I dabble in weather report, but there are no walking parts or extended solos in my repertoire. I sure wouldn't mind trying an F Bass "on the job" for a while, but I've got a feeling the Sad is probably better for what I do.

    Adrian, if you had a strait ahead rock gig, do you think you'd still go for the F bass?
  12. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    F Bass rocks. Bummer I sold mine. It goets my nod. Different animal than Sad, more versatile IMHO because of the electronics. The string spacing at the nut is a little tight for me on the Fbass though, and the Sad neck is a little wide in comparison. Sadowskys are great basses in thier own right.

    GK1001Rb II
    MTD 535
    Bergantino 210, 115
    GK Neo 112
  13. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia In Memoriam

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    well, one thing i have learned in life.. don't ignore your inner feelings and instincts ! i am serious ! every time i have, i have regretted it.
    but.... the stuff you have heard from me around here has probably been my attempt at being jazzy, and notey. My bread and butter is playing commercial music in many different settings. One night it's a salsa band- another, a jazz trio.... yet other times i am playing in hi energy situations, like a Motown review i did recently and coming up, a Woodstock tribute ( pretty rocky) - i will admit, i also bring a Fender Jazz bass to most gigs, the F bass gets the nod because it makes my job so much easier.. so yes, it kills in a rock setting.. great tone is great tone, no matter the setting. Sadowskys are also well known for the tone.
    You see , it's not so much that i think F basses sound better than Sads, to some, they don't. To me, they are more my flavor. But when you consider both basses at the same price.....gotta go with an F ( at least, i do ) i AM a fan of a great Jazz bass, though...
    hey! i want to be a believer! if there's a kick azz bass out there i want to know about it! and own one ! maybe Mikebass or Jim S will lend me their Sadowsky and shut me up. I have not spent serious time with one. had a Tokyo for a minute. Great , but heavy. I would like some time with a Metro or NYC with the VTC - but it has not been in the cards...
    i HAVE checked them out at NAMM, etc, they are immaculately made basses. No doubt.
  14. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    Ive had 3 F's and 12 Sadowsky's. The F's are cool but always sounded dark to me. I have 3 Sadowsky's I rotate and play 170 shows a year. My advice is to play both and make your own decision. The real test is on stage

  15. As far as my ears can tell, there's a slight difference between body woods, but where I hear the difference is in the fingerboards. What my point was about the Fbass is that it's not bright, and I may even say it's somewhat dark, especially compared to a Sadowsky, even with a Alder/Morado or Rosewood combination. The Sadowsky's output is much higher as well and with the highs boosted, it can get much brighter than the Fbass. The Modern is different from the Vintage, but it's still a Sadowsky in terms of the preamp and output which is what I was basing my comparisons on. For rock, it's pretty hard to beat a Sadowsky, but for me, the Fbass is just so classy!
  16. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Poon, what is your main use for this new bass going to be? If you are mainly a studio guy, I would say the Sadowsky because they seem to really go over great in recording situations. If your playing is more live, go for the F Bass because it seems that you really love the way it felt and played.
  17. Jugghaid


    Jun 28, 2002
    Denver, CO, USA
    I have owned both, and I would have to agree that they are different animals. Hell, I have Adrians old custom BNF5 and it's a fantastic instrument. I don't have a use for it anymore so I'm looking for a fretted 5er and 3 of the basses I'm looking at are a Sadowsky 24 fret, Vintage 5er and an Fbass BN5. I don't know if I can say that one is "better' than the other, but I prefer the neck shape on the Fbass by a long shot. The preamp is more versatile, but the Sadowsky has a tone of it's own which is incredible in it's own right. That part to me is a toss up. Like 2 different brands of exquisite single malt scotch. Both great with their own individual flavor.

    I think if push came to shove, I would go with an Fbass again though, if only for the reason that it is the most comfortable neck I have ever played. To me that's the tie-breaker.
  18. I like the simpler layout of the Sadowsky.

    Tone and neck shape: as already spoken about above

    No wrong choice either way.
  19. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Both great choices. Based on the F bass BN-5 and BNF-5 that I've played and the two Sadowskys I've played, I'd go with F Bass. But its a preference thing, not a quality thing. I loved the feel of the F bass compared to the Sadowsky. If the F felt like magic, that might be your answer. On the other hand, the Shafter stuff I've heard sounds like the Sadowsky cutting tone would be killer...the BNF I owned was a bit dark to me, but I used flats so that was probably part of the issue.

    I live right by Shafter St. in Oakland, and there are a couple of your stickers...do you guys practice in Soundwave? There are a bunch of stickers there too! Anyway, if you do, and you want to check out my Ritter while I check out your Sadowsky sometime, drop me an email.

  20. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    This is a bit of a digression, but:

    You know, when I try out a bass I try to ignore "brightness" since that is something so easily dialed in with a preamp. The "hardness" that I hear in ash bodied basses is in the mids, and with my breif encounter with the F bass, it seemed to be as "ash" as it gets. The notes speak differently. The only ash basses I like are P-basses. I don't like ash Jazzes, or ash Stingrays, and very much do like the alder versions of each.

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