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Sadowsky RV5 Metro pickup replacement?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Jhonnybass, Mar 16, 2010.

  1. I own a Sadowsky Metro RV5 bass. I love this bass but theres one thing that bothers me. I cant get the same punchiness/mid response when playing with the bridge pickup on my Sadwosky as I do when playing a really good Fender Jazz. For some reason there seems to be a low mid scoop on my Sad..so I've concluded that it must be the Hum Cancelling/Stacked pickups on it versus the single coils I try on the Fenders.

    I've decided to look for a passive set of pickups for my Sad and wanted to know if you guys have any recommendations.

    I also wanted to know if the passive pups will be able to go through the preamp of the bass in active mode or will I have to leave it in passive mode?

    I was specifically checking out the Passive single Coil Seymour Duncan Pups and wanted to know if these will work in my Sad and if anyone has any experience with them.


  2. basadam


    Nov 29, 2005
    I once installed a set of Nordstrand NJ5 to Sadowsky MV5. Installation was easy, NJ5s fit perfectly, worked equally good in both active and passive modes and the tone moved towards "vintage" a tad. But at the end the change was not noticeable in a band mix.
    dralionux likes this.
  3. The hum-canceling Sadowsky pups currently in your bass are passive, same as whatever single-coils you put in so no problem there. If you're set on working the bridge pup a lot I'd stick with Roger's pups because there will be no 60-cycle hum. And if the sound isn't punchy enough for you, why not add a touch of bass from the preamp to thicken things up.

    If you're set on switching to single-coils, I had great results putting Nordstrands in my Sadowsky UV70.

    FYI, put Lollars in my Fender Jazz 62 ri and LOVE them. Don't know how they'd sound in a Sadowsky.

    Would say the Nordstrands are little more high-fi bright and clean while the Lollars are little hairy, darker and smoother on the top end. But it's a tough comparison because the basses are as different as night and day.

    Hope this helps...
    Danpirvine likes this.
  4. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    I think its a fair criticism of the 5 string hum cancellers in the RV5 that they're a bit less responsive for certain styles than a classic J-bass pickup. They make up for it with a big round bottom end and shiny top that works great for other styles. I'm contemplating this same change. IMHO the 4 string sadowsky HCs don't share this issue, its just the 5.

    Seymour Duncan does make a single coil the right size, the SJ-5 70/74. I'd like to try to generate a complete list of possibilities if y'all are game. Here is the list off the top of my head:

    Single Coils
    • Sadowsky Single Coil
    • Duncan SJ-5 70/74
    • Nordstrand NJ-5
    • Bartoninis of some kind I'm sure
    • Aero seems to make one

    Hum Canceling
    • DiMarzio Ultra Jazz 5
    • DiMarzio Area J 5
    • Nordstrand NJ5S
    • Bartoninis of some kind I'm sure

    What else is out there for a 70mm/74mm J-5 set?
  5. TonyP-

    TonyP- Excuse me but you have your I-IV-V in my II-V-I Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2003
    Boston Mass
    A-Designs Mike Lull GK Tsunami Cables GHS Strings RMI Basswitch Nordstrand Pickups Darkglass
    Funny this is coming up...

    I'm going to be building an ash body maple/maple J 5.

    I'm going with NJ5s (not a 70's wind but the standard 60's with 70 type building material) I hope I have as good luck with that as I do with in a 4 string version.
  6. I LOVE the mid presence and punch and grind of the Sadowsky single coils (some sort of custom wound Seymours that can be ordered directly from Sadowsky).

    However, those pickups are quite aggressive, and I like them better in the ash/maple basses than the alder/Morado basses. I actually feel the Nordstrand singles (not sure what model) work better with the warmer, woodier tone of the RV models. I've only played one of those (RV5) with the Nordstrand singles (direct drop in, from what I was told) and it was warm and fat and smooth and growly. Nice!
  7. TonyP-

    TonyP- Excuse me but you have your I-IV-V in my II-V-I Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2003
    Boston Mass
    A-Designs Mike Lull GK Tsunami Cables GHS Strings RMI Basswitch Nordstrand Pickups Darkglass
    As far as 4s
    I'm using the following NJ4's all single coil.

    Light alder maple/maple 70's wind (it needed it)
    Soft maple (feels like ash) maple/maple 60's wind
    Alder Graphite 60s' wind

    All the pickup locations are 60's placement.

    I'm pretty happy with the combos so far and felt like alder needed that 70's it was already had a different mid tone to it and I wanted to even it out a bit.
  8. Thanks for all your replies!!! I'm probably gonna try out the Nordstrands..if the wait time is too long for them though I'll give the Sadowsky singles a shot. I'll keep you guys posted =)
  9. basmicke


    May 31, 2008
    Hi guys.
    I'm just about to buy a used RV5. Is this a common problem? the lack of low mid?
    Or is it just a matter of taste just like some players like Victor W like the EMGs more hifi presence while others want the more traditional darker, growly Jaco kind of sound from old L series jazz pick ups.
    In what category would you put the pu's on the RV5 playing in passive mode since a preamp really can change the sound but not the original pick up character? Modern or more vintage?
    Curious to know because the deal may go down tonight.
  10. maurilio

    maurilio Musician - Owner Mo's Shop & MBD - Tech Nordstrand Commercial User

    May 25, 2003
    Redlands, CA
    how do you eq? if you boost the bass and treble too much you scoop out the ~ 300hz , than sure you'll be missing the low mids.
    The Sad pre is flat when the eq is all the way dowm (counterclockwise).

  11. @jhonnybass -- no need to wait. You're in Toronto. Order from these guys in Winnipeg:
    Got my Nordstrands from them no problem.
  12. It is a matter of 'taste' not an inherent problem. The stock pickups are, from what I understand, basically Dimarzio hum canceling J pickups, which put out great deep low end and a somewhat more modern treble response versus what most feel is a more grindy true single coil J pickup. Per the post above, if you combine that voicing with a significant amount of the bass and treble boost, it can be a mess. However, it will give you a very nice 'classic Sadowsky modern J Bass tone' IMO and IME.

    Those 'Ultrajazz' pickups (I think that's the name of the Dimarzio model that Roger's 'custom wound' versions are based on) are not the best sounding in passive mode to me, but sound great with the preamp in but flat (which supplies a bit of volume boost, and a slight inherent fattening of the tone).

    The Sadowsky HC's are a very good match for the RV spec, since the Alder tends to bring out the low mids a touch more and soften that upper treble response. I dig the stock pickups with that spec. To really get them to burp in the mids, you would need to favor the bridge pickup a touch, that works great.
  13. So I got my hands on sadowsky single coils and I've tried them out on 2 gigs so far. I'm REALLY happy with them....they definitely get closer to how a jazz bass sounds. The mid range is a bit more throaty and the bass can growl a lot better. I still get that wicked sadowsky low end and shiny top, especially with the pre amp on. The slap tones are still killer and that jaco bridge growl really sings. The humming doesn't even bother me at all. While practicing you can barely hear it. On a gig with louder volume you can hear it but only when no one else is playing...and if that annoys you enough you can always set both the pups on full to cancel eachother out. Right before the tune starts you can quickly blend them however you want!
  14. Danpirvine


    Jul 8, 2015
    Can I please re birth this thread !
    I got me a brand new Rv5 Olympic white it's a dream bass
    Pulled it out of it case and amazing!!!!
    But... Where is the mid punch I have on my fender 5 I modified last year with lindy fralin 5 pups
    The pups on the sadowsky is super scooped I need help the above has been helpful but looking at the date there must be more options around since then ?
    So in a nut shell
    What is a good pickup replacement for the sadowsky Rv5
    I can ask google but I want a players point of view and you guys know the growl that I'm after help please
  15. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    First, the sadowsky will never sound like a Fender. It is not supposed to. The closest I have found are the seymour duncan basic 5 string jazz pickup. Try the bass live with your band before you swap, that scoop is shaped in a way that makes it sit really nice in a lot of mixes.
  16. Danpirvine


    Jul 8, 2015
    Thanks mate
    It's not really a fender sound I want just a mid bite,or a lot more warmth I guess it doesn't help with my amp witch is super scooped Gkmb500 wish I got the fusion
  17. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    Have you played it live? Many people have the same initial reaction to sadowskys that you are having, then go play one gig and are hooked.

    The best pickups IME are the old duncan made sadowsky singles, next best are the basic duncans. Lots of people love the new sadowsky singles (made by nordstrand) but I dont care for them. Aeros would be a great call if you like fralins (fralins don't fit).
  18. Danpirvine


    Jul 8, 2015
    Cool thanks heaps man
    I'm setting up to play her right now at church so I'll see how she sings I'll be in touch

    I'll also look in to the above pups
  19. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    One more callout: sadowsky strings are a love/hate thing. A set of your normsl favorite strings can make a big change. I like dunlop super brights on sadowsky 5s.
  20. Danpirvine


    Jul 8, 2015
    Cool thank for the tips
    Just had a sound check and it is wasn't as bad as I thought so I'll give it time
    kjones likes this.
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