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Sadowsky NYC PJ5 vs Fender Pre-CBS 62' Pbass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ElMon, Oct 22, 2010.

  1. ElMon

    ElMon Supporting Member

    May 30, 2004
    Oklahoma City, OK
    The Basses:

    Sadowsky NYC PJ5 with alder body brazilian rosewood fretboard

    1962 Pre-CBS Fender Precision with alder body brazilian (possibly indian veneer?) rosewood fretboard


    D'Addario Chrome Flatwounds, both new sets and setup with medium-high action (equally measured) and identical pickup heights.

    Recording Method:

    Recorded flat in Apple's Garageband and then converted to .MP3 into iTunes.

    PJ5's blend knob was set completely on the P, or neck, pickup

    62' Precision with D'Addario Chrome Flats

    Sadowsky NYC PJ5 with D'Addario Chrome Flats in passive mode

    and just for fun, here's a clip of the NYC PJ5 with onboard EQ. Bass and treble are at about 25%


    It's MY opinion that the Sadowsky PJ5, either set passive or with EQ, NAILS the sound of a Pbass. To me, the Pbass design is MUCH MORE about the pickup placement of that pickup and the woods/build quality used than what it says on the headstock. At least in THIS case.

    Yes, there are nuances in tone that a brand new, modern instrument just can't emulate against a 48 year old Fender, but to me those factors are small and would virtually disappear when mixed in with other instruments, either live or in the studio.

    What I absolutely LOVE about the Sadowsky is that not only can it nail the classic Pbass sound, but it can get the following sounds in my sonic quiver:

    Modern Fingerstyle tone with both pickups:

    Slap tone with Both Pickups:

    Bridge Pickup tone:

    I'll get some clips up later on when I further change the setup on both these basses. After realizing how, again TO ME, my PJ5 is in the same sonic territory as my 62', just with a Low B and a few more tonal options, what would REALLY round out my arsenal is to keep my 62' Pass with flats AND a mute for that Jamerson vibe and to throw rounds on my PJ5 to cover the modern tones with vintage flavor arena.

    To that end, I'm going to slap an old but relatively fresh set of DR Black Beauties on the Sadowsky and a set of Labella Jamerson flats on the 62'!!!!!!
  2. Those both sound incredible! The Sadowsky does get darn close to the '62. I think you have a pair of great basses there. ;) :D
  3. thisSNsucks

    thisSNsucks I build Grosbeak Guitars and Basses Commercial User

    Dec 19, 2004
    Yonkers, NY
    Grosbeak Guitars
    Wow, first off I'm in love with both of those basses. I'm very glad to hear that the "modern" Sadowsky does the vintage thing so well.

    I'm with you 100% in that P-bass is going to sound like P-bass as long as you adhere to the general guidelines of pickup placement and wood combinations.

    Now go buy a nice pre CBS Jazz and a Sadowsky Ultra Vintage Jazz and compare those!
  4. mstott25


    Aug 26, 2005
    Guntersville, AL
    Wow thanks for doing that...that Sadowsky sounds KILLING! Mike Merritt (Conan O'Brien) is having Roger make him a P/J right now, I can hear why. That sounded great, the clip with both pickups & EQ just sounded killer - good choice man!
  5. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Passive, the Sadowsky sounded smoother than the Fender. The Fender had a more raw sound, IMO. The Fender sounds almost like it has rouondwounds while the Sadowsky was just more mellow. BTW, ElMon, you really get that Raphael Saadiq vibe going on both the P-bass and your Sadowsky.:bassist:
  6. ElMon

    ElMon Supporting Member

    May 30, 2004
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Thanks, and I'll get back to you in about 10 years of savings for the Jbass comparison!! I'm a bonefide, card-carrying 'P-Man' myself. I do actually think that Roger's P and PJ designs are a little closer to 'the real thing' than are the J models, IMO. Of course, the Metro RV5 with singles I had DID nail a Jbass tone, coming from a 'P-fanatic' though, so my lense is different.

    Thanks man, and I think the versatility between both pickups, vtc on or off, eq active/passive gives you a TON of possibilities for all the tonal changes that you could bring to a gig like Mike's.

    Thanks, and I completely agree. The 62' has that 'mojo' factor that truly is hard to get in ANY variant of Pbass, be it Fender/Sadowsky/Alleva-Coppolo/etc. Not all Pbasses are created equal, though I still think they're all 90% or more in the same tonal ballpark. Especially with similar setup/strings. The opposite of that is that, as I type this, I just finished stringing the 62' with Labella Jamerson's and put DR Black Beauties on the Sadowsky. Now they're both much farther apart tonally and more fully represent the 'Vintage P to Modern Axe' spectrum.

    If I still have GAS now, it's only because of mental illness and NOT for lack of tones. And yes, I might have listened to my fair share of Saadiq/Jamerson/Weeks/etc. GUILTY AS CHARGED.
  7. engedi1


    Sep 16, 2005
    I am confused el mon. I thought that your NYC Sad was a maple board. Did you get a new one?
  8. ElMon

    ElMon Supporting Member

    May 30, 2004
    Oklahoma City, OK
    I did indeed. After hearing how the rw-board 62' fit with my band so magically, I figured that a similar-spec'd PJ5 might be right up my alley. That and I got to turn on a local player/friend to my ash/maple. Another Sadowsky convert who 'got it' after playing it with the band.
  9. Cool thread, thanks for the recordings. In the recording that has the old P-bass, I here a nice warm conga like plume that eminates from the note that the Sadowski recording seems to be missing. That to me is a big part of the 60's P-bass sound. Don't get me wrong, the Sadowski sounds great, and sounds a smidge more even of a player, across the fretboard. I'm just sayin', IMO, YMMV...yada...yada...
  10. Jerry J

    Jerry J Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2000
    P-town, OR
    Really super recordings and comparison. Thank you for taking to time to do this.

    I was able to borrow Bartman's NYC PJ4 (alder/Braz) for a couple of weeks and found that too had a remarkably great P tone with minor fiddling with the VTC.

    I didn't compare it to my '63 or '73 P but from memory the Sadowsky sounded very respectable. Of course I did develop a nice case of GAS for a Sadowsky PJ which seems to have gotten worse after listening to your clips.:help:
  11. Kael


    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    Aside from a little more growl from the clip with the fender, they sound pretty close. I've been thinking about moving my Larkin for a P/J 5'er when Nathaniel gets done with her. Probably a Sadowsky. Love my Larkin, but 35" scale and I don't gel.

    Those must be really fresh chromes. You are getting more high end content out of them than I remember getting when I was using them. If they'd stay that bright (for my hands), then I'd consider going back to flats again.... Ah, ehf it. I'll stick with really dead (like at least 5 months in) steel rounds for the moment.
  12. Jerry J

    Jerry J Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2000
    P-town, OR
    I thought I heard a bit of a David Hungate thing going on.
  13. Fran Diaz

    Fran Diaz

    Mar 28, 2002
    Santander, Spain
    great clips Elmon, Thanks.
    It would be great if you could also do some recordings with the ash/maple PJ, in case you still have it at home.
  14. Your '62 P sounds like it has deader strings, and it sounds like it's overall "weaker" (because of less low mids?) than your Sadowsky. It has an airier high treble, but the Sadowsky seems to have more crunchy high-mids.

    Were you palm-muting on the first part of the clips, btw? The Sadowsky's treble sometimes drops dead as if you cranked down the tone pot in between phrases.
  15. SCT1422

    SCT1422 Supporting Member

    I would have to say the Nordstrand pickups are a big reason in nailing the P-Bass sound/tone.. I've tried other P-Bass pickups such as the Seymour Duncans and though they sounded great, they were not as close as the Nordys..
  16. t0t0m


    Dec 8, 2008
    Nice sounding Sadowsky..
  17. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    I really really like the P bass!
    I don't think the sadowsky gets even anywhere close to ballpark.
    It sounds nice to my ear, but nothing like the P .
  18. sok monkee

    sok monkee Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2007
    Burlington N.C.
    Thank you for the comparison I think the Sadowsky is definitely in the ballpark and in addition you get an array of sounds very versatile instrument. And the 62 P is just wonderful:bassist: A keeper for sure. I love these sort of comparisons :D

    thanks again
  19. Dr. Cheese and I agree. Sadowsky's sound too smooth thru my ears, natural or preamp'd. Even more so preamp'd, so "smooth" may be technically inaccurate as the pre adds a touch of distortion.

    Anyway, thnx for taking the time. If I had a 60's J bass ( which I DID at age 17 in 1977!!), I'd compare my Aero-equipped Lakiie and Valenti to it. Same result likely with the passive JoBo5 being spot on J bass, while the Valenti with an Audiere and different placements (70's) would sound different. I do beleive the AERO Type I's are key, as is placement.

    Point is, many luthiers have the 60's P or J sound nailed. We should all be thankful for that!

    I'm in a state of grace with a very vintage 35" J5, and a modern tone monster 34" J5. Both for less than a collector's price on the unobtainium 1966 Fender J5 - COMBINED.

    For the record, if you seek vintage J sounds, a Valenti with Aero's is the solution. P likely same. At $1000 less than a Sad.
  20. ubado


    Mar 7, 2007
    Thanks for the clips ... I've been GAS-n for both lately. Really wanting/GAS-n for a vintage "P" ... but am a 5'ver convert ... not sure it 4-strings will cut it for me.

    Dig-n the tone of the Fender ... so thumpy smooth!
    The Sado sounds wonderful ... gets close to the original "P" tone ... plus it's a bit more versatile, IMO.

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