Sadowsky NYC 5 or Fodera Emperor J-5 Standard Classic

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by chaak, Dec 7, 2018.

  1. chaak


    Apr 25, 2013
    now here
    The title says it all, if you were in the market for a Jazz bass style 5 strings high end modern instrument that will be your only go to jazz bass which would you choose. Money is no issue anyway they are both fairly close in price. Both would have ash body with maple fingerboard and both would have natural finish with black pickguard.

    I trust both are top notch quality and finishing.
    There is the matter of the pick ups Sadowsky have their own wound singles whereas the Fodera uses Seymour Duncans.

    And the preamps: Sadowsky's famous preamp and that signature sound, at the same time the very unique Pope/Fodera preamp.

    So which would you go for and why ?
    PeterH likes this.
  2. nostatic


    Jun 18, 2004
    central coast
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    I've owned a number of Sadowskys and Foderas over the years. The Foderas have stuck in the house. No bad choice to be had, just depends on your preferences. Fwiw I never could get the Sadowsky preamp/sound to work in a mix as well as I liked. That said, I also had a tough time with Fodera's SD dual coils as well. I prefer EMG PJs or other dual coil options. I'm an odd duck though, as I don't particularly care for JJ basses, and that is what most Sadowskys are about, as is a Fodera with the SD dual coils.

    I do find the Pope preamp to be more versatile due to the mid control (which I use playing live). Both have a passive tone which is useful as well.
    Afc70, Dimbass777, George End and 2 others like this.
  3. LowEndGroover

    LowEndGroover Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2012
    Long Island
    Had a Fodera and still have a Sadowsky. Enough said!!!

    JK... both great basses. Not a big fan of the Pope pre and love the Sadowsky preamp. Personally, I thought the Fodera sounded better with the preamp off (bass passive). Sadowsky sounds great both passive and active. Mind u it’s also Ash/Maple the same that you mentioned in your OP. Playability and craftsmanship are both top notch.

    I’ve been fortunate to have both and will say Sadowsky really is an amazing bass. That’s my .02 cents.

    Good luck with your choice and have a great holiday.

    HeavyJazz and chaak like this.
  4. chaak


    Apr 25, 2013
    now here
    thank you for the reply, I was actually thinking if i were to get the Fodera I'd replace the Duncan's with Alleva Coppolo J pickups. I have never owned a jj bass before its either split coil P or PJ or Humbuckers but after having heard tons of Sadowsky's and now the demos and videos about the new Fodera offering i believe id like to add this tone to my arsenal. Incidentally do regular humbuckers on a Fodera be switched series or parallel?
  5. nostatic


    Jun 18, 2004
    central coast
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    The SD dual coils have coil splitting, but not series/parallel switching (at least stock). Not sure if they can be wired that way. I have a build starting that will use Nordstrand BigRigs and will have it set up to switch between series/parallel switching. I found that useful on Smiths I've owned.
    chaak likes this.
  6. bass12

    bass12 Have You Met Grace Jones? Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Never tried a Fodera but I've owned a number of Sadowskys (mostly jazzes). I would imagine they are quite different in many respects and, as always, it comes down largely to personal preference and the kinds of details that only you will be qualified to evaluate. I will say that, as great as Sadowskys can be, I have yet to play a Sadowsky Jazz with a B that sounds as good as the B on my 35" Lull (the Sadowsky Modern is another matter).
    chaak likes this.
  7. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    I played a Fodera in a shop for several hours. Loved it and can't afford one so I don't have to make that decision. I'm very, very happy with my Sadowsky.
    chaak likes this.
  8. Zoobiedood

    Zoobiedood Commercial User

    Sep 1, 2015
    Writer/Ambassador/Artist/Resident Bass Expert for Seymour Duncan
    SD Dual coils can be wired for series/parallel if you'd like.
    chaak likes this.
  9. tradernick


    Mar 19, 2008
    Please do not take this the wrong way. I get why you’re asking. But I think the answer is ‘it doesn’t matter what we would choose and why’. What matters is what happens when these instruments are in your hands. As you have pointed out, there is basically nothing to choose between the two when it comes to build quality, component quality, etc (I’m assuming you’re talking about NYC Sadowsky here since they’re the ones that are comparable to Fodera).

    My NYC Will Lee has been my main player for about 4 years and I guarantee you, I’ve had plenty of engineers both in studio and live tell me how amazing it sounds.

    I bought a Yin Yang from here a while back. It was as much a work of art as an instrument. I have never seen anything like it in terms of build and design. I let it go because in my hands, it didn’t sound quite as good as the Will Lee. But who cares how it sounded in my hands. I wish I still had it.
    George End and chaak like this.
  10. okcrum

    okcrum in your chest

    Oct 5, 2009
    Verde Valley, AZ
    RIP Dark Horse strings
    I have to ask: why are you not considering an Alleva Coppolo bass?
    BostonJazz72 likes this.
  11. jsbarber


    Jun 7, 2005
    San Diego
    You should consider New York Bass Works. The new RS5 is a great bass: Tone, playability, build quality are all excellent. Dane Alderson of the Yellowjackets is playing an RS6 these days.
    dfoehr and chaak like this.
  12. nilorius

    nilorius Inactive

    Oct 27, 2016
    Riga - Latvia
    I'd choose Fodera
  13. chaak


    Apr 25, 2013
    now here
    if it helps I play Progressive Metal I already own a Growly 5 string bass, a Spector NS and I thought my next 5er would be strung E to C instead for chords and soloing. At the same time i lack a jj bass and feel that the Fenders I like do only the vintage jazz bass sound but not the modern Hi-Fi.
  14. chaak


    Apr 25, 2013
    now here
    Well i did consider that but I am not fond of the headstock and the pickguard on both LG and LM series.
    okcrum, Admiral Akbar and murphy like this.
  15. HeavyJazz

    HeavyJazz Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2013
    Central Virginia
    Both are masterpieces, but I think Roger is spot on with his 2-band approach. With the Pope pre, I found myself fiddling constantly trying to find that magical Mid solution. With Sadowskys it's already baked in.
    chaak likes this.
  16. songwriter21

    songwriter21 I have an obsession for wood. The musical kind. Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2005
    Pittsburgh-ish, PA
    I've never owned either, but compare the number of workhorse session musicians using Sadowsky versus Fodera. Also, which bass would make you cry more if it got messed up/stolen at a gig?
  17. songwriter21

    songwriter21 I have an obsession for wood. The musical kind. Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2005
    Pittsburgh-ish, PA
    Also, I've seen and heard GREAT things about Devon basses.

    campbems likes this.
  18. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Central Ohio
    Roger’s instrument, on average, will have more Jazz Bass about it. Tone, feel etc. The other high end Jazz 5 to look at might be the Alleva Coppolo, which is in even more traditional Jazz Bass territory. Also, you’d have to look at the Lull instruments.

    The Fodera will be a MAGNIFICENT instrument. The standard is kind of built with a nod towards the Jazz Bass; but, it’s pretty far removed. Great tone of its own.

    I’m a huge Jazz Bass fan, and play the 4 string w/HipShot at most gigs. But, I have REALLY struggled with any and all 5 string designs. Perfectly great instruments; but, when you slap that 5th string on, most of what I connect with Jazz Bass goes out the window. The closest Jazz 5 feel I ever gigged was a very nice and light Fender Marcus Miller V; which is the ONLY 5 string neck that to me really nailed the Jazz Bass feel. Too bad Fender never figured that out and discontinued the model. Fools.

    Most recently, I went through a Sadowsky Metro WL5, which Pat Wilkins and the NYC shop both improved for me, and then purchased an MTD 534 with the Pope preamp and Nordstrand Fat Stacks; AND built a parts Fender Jazz 5 with the Sadowsky preamp. I’m sort of tired of seeking something I will never find. So, I’m just going to live with those two; which are pretty exceptional instruments.

    Regarding the preamps, I gig both Sadowsky and Pope, like them both, and would be hard pressed to pick a favorite. The Sadowsky gets the traditional tones more directly. The Pope covers almost everything and then some. The VTC on the Sadowsky is a very cool piece of that kit. The 4 band Pope is a killer. Two different flavors of great.
    roogbass and chaak like this.
  19. Chrisk-K


    Jan 20, 2010
    Scottsdale, AZ
    AC has the ugliest headstock imo. It looks like a mutant Fender offspring.
    okcrum and chaak like this.
  20. nostatic


    Jun 18, 2004
    central coast
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    ^^^ this

    My experience was the reverse - as much as I loved the Sadowskys they didn't work as well in my hands as Foderas. But I have atypical technique and fairly specific sounds and approaches I'm going for. So doesn't surprise me that what works for me doesn't work for others and vice-versa.
    chaak likes this.