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Sadowsky Standard vs. Fodera Imperial

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Zonplayer, Dec 8, 2000.

  1. Purchasing one or the other 4 stringer. Pricing? Sound?
    Anyone been able to play both? I have played the Foderas a few times and liked them.

    Any advice would be much appreciated.
  2. JimS

    JimS Supporting Member

    I tried a Fodera Monarch Whooten set-neck model and a Sadowsky and purchased a Sadowsky (see my profile and scattered comments regarding Sadowsky; use the Search on this website). Both sounded phenomenal, played great, and were masterfully constructed. The Sadowsky had the sound I love to hear more than the Fodera; a bit more snap or pop.

    The Monarch was heavy but balanced very well. My only criticism was the stacked volume and passive tone controls moved in tandem; it was hard to turn one without affecting the other. Still, it was a beautiful sounding instrument.

    Hypocritically, I must say that if you're spending this amount of money, you'd have to be crazy not to play and hear for yourself as opposed to using anybody's opinions including mine.

    Note that Fodera has many construction methods (neckthru, set neck, bolt on), pickup options, and wood combos so their sounds should vary quite a lot.
  3. I would personally plump for the Fodera, but I am way biased (I have two). They do sound so different though so it's really down to personal preference. JimS mentioned the dual concentric controls, well a call to Fodera and a little turn of an allen key fixed mine in two minutes. I don't think construction or support is an issue with either instrument.
  4. Bass7755


    Oct 27, 2000
    Roanoke, Va.
    I have a Fodera Emperor 5. I would not trade it for the world. It is a wonderful bass!! Great tone, low action and looks great too. BUT.. after checking out the Sadowsky web site
    the other nite. Man the 24 fret Quilt 59 Sunburst and the
    Quilt Cherry Burst looked freakn' great!! Oh my God..
    I am still checking out the Elrick 6 though.
    Good luck.

    [Edited by Bass7755 on 12-09-2000 at 11:42 PM]
  5. Thanks for all the good feedback so far. All very good points. I know that the sound will be very different on both. However, I have access to play Fodera and not Sadowsky.
  6. JimS

    JimS Supporting Member

    1) You can have Sadowsky send you a bass for a 7 day approval period. He usually has one of each model and more popular combination of woods in stock.

    2)Check out this e-mail I got from Sadowsky:


    Sadowsky Guitars is pleased to offer a new service for Sadowsky instrument
    owners. We will now make our web site and facilities available to owners
    who wish to sell a "pre-owned" Sadowsky instrument.

    With this program, you can send your instrument to Sadowsky Guitars. We
    will authenticate and inspect the instrument and provide a "Sadowsky"
    set-up. The instrument will be digitally photographed and placed on the
    Sadowsky "In-Stock" page as a pre-owned instrument. The instrument will be
    sold on 7-day approval, as would any new Sadowsky instrument.

    If we conclude that additional work is needed to enhance the sale of the
    instrument, we will consult with you and provide you our point of view. Any
    such work we perform on the instrument will be, of course, at the owner┬╣s
    expense, and we will provide our usual, highly accurate estimates of those

    Sadowsky guitars will take a 20% consignment fee upon the final sale of the
    instrument and approval by the new owner. We believe this service will be a
    good way for Sadowsky owners to make sure they get the maximum resale value
    from their instruments in the unlikely event that they want to sell them.
    We also feel strongly that this service will ensure that our instruments,
    wherever they end up, are in top working condition and that they go to good

    For more information, please contact us at:

    Sadowsky Guitars, Ltd.
    1600 Broadway #1000
    New York, NY 10019
    212 586-3960 Tel
    212 765-5231 Fax
    email: roger@sadowsky.com

  7. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS

    To go along with your pre-owned "fill in the blank" luxury car. :rolleyes:

    It's a good strategy to keep the resale value of their instruments high and boosting the perceived value of all of their instruments.

    As for comparing a Sadowsky to a Fodera, there's a lot more craftsmanship that goes into building a Fodera and to me this represents a higher level of quality overall on the side of the Fodera. Of course in the end it depends on whether or not the bass has the sound you want or need.

  8. Yvon

    Yvon Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada

    I can't argue with that, but they are very different. Sadowsky is more like a jazz bass, i don't think Fodera could build a jazz bass better than sadowsky. But for neck thru and nice wood fodera is hard to beat. I never try a Fodera, unfortunatly, but i am very please with my sadowsky. I can't think of any bass that could sound more like i want. I'm a big jazz bass fan, so i go for the sadowsky. It's a matter of preference i guess.
  9. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    I'm a big J-bass fan, too, and have tried several Sadowskys and Foderas. All it takes is playing the right one (I know yvon and JimS have).

    I can sum up a Fodera 4 with the PJ setup that I played last month in one word...


    I've played a bunch of Foderas that were very nice but didn't push any buttons, then I played this 4 string. The same thing happened a couple of months ago with a Linc Luthier...strange looking bass, played a few over the years, played one at Atomic Music...


    That's why I keep looking:D
  10. Yvon

    Yvon Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada

    YOu already have so much great basses, and you are still looking?? ;)
  11. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Brad - In your opinion, is this an issue of consistency (not necessarily quality, per se)? Have you noticed that some Sadowskys don't push your buttons?

    I'm a bit curious to see if both luthiers have instruments that don't "push any buttons"...
  12. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Yvon, you just haven't played it yet, that's why you can't think of it. More than likely it's out there, but it's okay not to engage in the search.

    I have a question about your Sadowsky:

    Is there a particular on board equilization setting that you use or does it sound more like you want no matter how the knobs are turned?

  13. Yvon

    Yvon Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    you are probably right...i'm pretty sure it's out there. But for now, i still haven't play a bass that i love as much. Not just the sound, but the fact that it is light, i also love the little fret, I would like to have a little bit more meat on the neck though.
    I play it in almost every settings, bridge PU only, neck PU only, highs way down...ect...
    and lately i play it also in passive mode...I doiscovered it after almost 5 years! I always thougth it didn't sound that good passive, but with the whole band it cut through so much.
    my main sound though is 60% bridge and 40% neck, high and low at 50% and i play over the neck pick up.

    I guess i will just be happy if i can find a bass that i love more than the sadowsky, I'm open about that. Even though i always say that i like my bass so much and i think it's the best, I am not close minded at all.
    Right now I'm looking for a good five, I will have to try Zon, Alembic, Fodera, ect....
    I think about buying it this summer. Maybe i will take a car ride all the way to NYC and try them all there.
  14. JimS

    JimS Supporting Member

    One of the many things that knocked me out about the Sadowsky were the tone controls. I have the stacked active treble & bass and the optional passive 'tone' roll-off control. The pots have such a precise control and effect from subtle and mild to prodigious but never muddy. As you turn the knobs you get anticated gradients of desired effect: adding bass or treble, rolling off highs, various degrees of pickup blend. The active bass control is amazing and adds more defined bass, warmth and punch than any other on-board preamp I've tried.

    I usually play between the neck pickup and edge of the fingerboard for slap & pop and all over the place for fingerstyle. I love the slap & pop tones with the blend knob just tipped to the treble pickup: I'd guess 60% bridge 40% neck?

    Also, the bass is indeed very light and just sounds great all over the neck, etc,... :D
  15. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
  16. Bass7755


    Oct 27, 2000
    Roanoke, Va.
    Hey Jim, I find that your least favorite thing about
    the Fodera's are my favorite thing. I use the the master
    tone control more than any other control on my Fodera.
    I can go from an overdrive/slap tone to a nice mellow
    finger tone with just a little turn. The volume control
    really does not get in the way(for me anyway). Thought I might through that in.
    Have a good one.
  17. JimS

    JimS Supporting Member

    Don't get me wrong. I thought the bass was fantastic. That was a minor critism of a truly superlative instrument. I'm sure it could have been adjusted.

    Comparing these two marquis is like Ferrari vs Lamborghini or Ferrari front-engine vs Ferrari mid-engine cars. You'll have a great time with either one and all are excellent, well-honed precision crafted pieces of engineering and art.:)

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