Sadowsky modification: Good idea or sacrilege

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by JRBrown, Jan 10, 2005.

  1. JRBrown


    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    Has anyone ever chaged out the pups in a Sadowsky? :bag:

    A change in the overall construction would be a step in the wrong direction. But a tweak in the tone department could add pleasing variety. One could buy a used Metro and install some Fralins, Model-Js, Fender or Nordstrands for a less aggressive, more traditional tone? :meh:

  2. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    I never have changed out pickups. I like them they way they are. I would get another make of bass of I wanted a different tone or vibe

  3. temp5897

    temp5897 Guest

    It seems to me the electronics seem to be the defining characteristic of the Sadowsky's. If you wanted different pickups I would sell the bass and get something cheaper with the electronics you want.
  4. JRBrown


    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina

    Nooooo! I like my Sadowsky just the way it is. The construction and tone of my Sadowsky are first class.

    For variety, I also like the Fender tone. Think a Metro with "Fenderish" pups would make a good Fender Custom Shop alternative? The Metro/Nordie combination could be cheaper.

  5. Luckydog

    Luckydog Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 1999
    "Has anyone ever chaged out the pups in a Sadowsky?"

    yes I changed out the Sadowsky single coils (Roger said they were custom wound for him) to SD.
  6. temp5897

    temp5897 Guest

    I may have misread your first post. Do you intend to buy another sadowsky used and do this? Or do you have one now you want to do it on? A used metro probably wouldn't be as big of a deal than doing that to an NYC you bought new for example.
  7. JRBrown


    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    :hyper: :hyper: Yes! That's what I'm thinking!

    There's a used Sad-Japan on E-Beigh and a Metro in the 4-sale forum. I've got the "Sadowsky tone" covered with my NYC bass. The Sadowsky/Nordie combo might be deadly.
  8. Rock City

    Rock City

    Apr 8, 2001
    Roger's basses are a little more aggressive than a Fender by design. They have a bridge with a lot more mass, and a very rigid neck. They cut through a mix like crazy! I don't find them to be "nasty" though. The Sadowsky pickups have a great mix of J-like tone, with a modern roundness. I think you may find that other pickups don't compliment the bass in the same way. I had an older Standard 5 with Barts that never rocked....untill I put Roger's pickups in. Holy cow! :D
  9. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    I put an older set of EMG J's in my Vintage 4 for a little while but I liked the Sad's better so they went back in. I was hoping it would sound similar to my 24 fret 5 with the EMG 40J's but I guess the older EMG's preamp is voiced alittle differenty then the newer ones.

    I have a newer set of EMG JV's that I've been meaning to put in the bass but I've been pretty busy, mostly on TB. :p
  10. j.s.basuki

    j.s.basuki Supporting Member

    May 14, 2000
    Once I change Sadowsky pick up with '60 Fender pick up but I am disappointed, so gone back to Sadowsky p.up.
    I put Sadowsky pick up in the Warwick thumbbass and the result is excellent. Warwick had become less aggressive.
  11. The Sad preamp with Rio Grande Js, which are clear with aggressive mids, would be deadly.
    What? :bag:
  12. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    It certainly won't be sacrilege to swap out the pickups in a Metro, and if you dig the result then cool. But I don't see the point in getting a Metro with the idea of making it sound more like a Fender Custom Shop 60's J bass.

    I believe the Sadowsky "sound" has just as much, if not more, to do with the acoustic tone of the bass (the wood) than anything else. I personally find no reason at all to mess with the recipe.

    Interestingly though, the best sounding (IMO) Nordstrand I played at last year's NAMM was a 5 string SC that had a Sadowsky pre with (I assume) Carey's own J pups. It didn't sound like a Sadowsky, but it did sound really good.
  13. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    Celinder...(more) I've heard they do a vintage 60's tone quite well. The LowEnd jazzes are great but probably even more aggressive than the Sadowsky. However, I'm sure they'd do a more traditional instrument. Nino could do the same I'm sure.
  14. JRBrown


    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    I'm thinking the end result would be the Fender tone in a better built/playing bass. Assuming the Metro is better made than Fender Custom Shop.

    This is also what I'm thinking.

    MAJOR METAL HARVESTER OF SORROW Staff Member Supporting Member

    Sadowsky electronics rock.
  16. temp5897

    temp5897 Guest

    You think? The Ash/Maple combo doesn't seem to be too rare or that hard to duplicate tonally for example. But the Sadowsky electronics make a difference. Based on everything I've heard/seen/read it seems like the thing that sets them apart from other basses is the electronics. I mean ash/alder bodies with maple and morado etc fingerboards on maple necks is pretty typical for the most part isn't it?
  17. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    Actually I do. I don't think all swamp ash or maple or alder is created equal. Even though Roger's unfinished bodies and necks are manufactured by a vendor, he's uber-meticulous about the wood quality. Also, the neck joint fit and finish are very important for tone and resonance, as are other factors not associated with electronics. Sure the electronics are important, but if that's all there was to it you could drop a Sadowsky pre and pickups into a Squier and voila.
  18. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    One thing to keep in mind. If you do this modification, it will ruin the resale value of the Sadowsky, unless it is 100% reversible and involves no modification to the wood or finish.
  19. JRBrown


    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    Agree - same for most basses. A simple pup swap is easily reversible. As stated before, my NYC Sadowsky will remain unchanged; it's fine just like it is. But a set of Dimarzio model Js or Fralins in a Metro [or other NYC] could add that Fendery mid thump that's not possible because of no mid freq adjust on a Sadowsky.

    The Sadowsky tone is great, but its not the only killer tone out there.

    - Maybe I'm just jonesing for a Sad PJ4. :bawl: That PJ5 I had was all that and more. One last pic:

    Attached Files:

  20. I think if it's your bass, you can mod it in any way you like. You may like the results. You may not. That's the risk.

    I agree with Jeff, though. Unless the mod is 100% reversable, you significantly reduce the resale value. A Sadowsky bass "upgraded" by JR Brown doen't improve the value (sorry!). :)

    I also agree that that the Sadowsky sound is more than electronics. There is ash/alder that has the tonal properties of lead. Roger's basses are excellent because he pays attention to EVERY detail because EVERYTHING matters.