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Sadowsky vs. Lakland - I know it's been done before but.....

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Larry Kaye, Mar 17, 2001.

  1. Larry Kaye

    Larry Kaye Retailer: Schroeder Cabinets

    Mar 23, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    There are two basses available, possibly just for the next few days, that I'm in love with. One a tealburst Lakland 55 deluxe for around 2500 delivered and a Sadowsky standard 5 with a natural colored maple premium quilt top that's going to cost around 3500 delivered.

    I've owned one Lakland in the past, but it was a 34 inch scale version and the b string was not tight, however the rest of the bass sounded pretty good except it was a little "darK" sounding according to my bandmates. I've since sold that bass last fall, bought 2 EA 208 cabinets which have greatly brightened up my sound without being at the expense of the bottom end.

    My bands play everything from standards to current top 40, but we "specialize" in Motown, Disco, modern commercial Latin etc., several horns, I don't play quiet and really push and drive the rhythm section. Tone is everything to me. I have plenty of volume and headroom with my current 1200S Sunn head. It's the neutralness of the bass and the cabinets I need that have either, through the on-board pre-amp or my outboard amp/Eq. some basic adjustability to work in many different, usually acoutically challenged rooms.

    My current #1 axe is going to be in the shop for some warrantee overhauling, and I've got the budget available to get either of these basses. I'll make a decision on whether to sell or keep my current #1 when it comes back from the shop or sell/keep my backup Reverend which sounds extremely cool through my rig, but really only has one usuable tone.

    I'm definitely a jazz bass, musicman, G&L Fender knockoff type of sound preference type of player, almost all exclusively finger style and only have a 5 string preference. We play some pretty "upscale" country clubs as well as a couple "decent" lounges and a "good looking" instrument is an icing on the cake to me.

    If comparing the basses soundwise, weightwise, playability, reliability (any neck or electronic problems at all let alone could not easily be repaired), customer servicewise from Lakland or Sadowsky, resale value, tone, versatility, noisiness of Pre-amps if in a bar/room with track and fluorescent lighting etc., what would any of you experienced with Lakland 35 inch scale basses or Sadowsky 5's with Sadowsky pickups and pre-amp say to me to convince me to go with one or the other if pricing wasn't a consideration?

    I know this subject has been covered but I'd like any current users or people who have seriously tried out either bass mentioned to comment in spite of it being redundant for you.

    Thanks a ton.

  2. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    If pricing or resale aren't considerations...

    It's a toss-up. Sorry, Larry ;)

    Having played a bunch of both basses here are my opinions:

    Playability: they both play well beyond the norm. I've experience no playability issues with either

    Fit and finish: flawless for both. Don't know if there is an "even more flawless than flawless" rating.

    Sound: Barts vs. Sadowsky...purely a personal preference thing. They both sound excellent.

    Noise: none.

    Weight and balance: didn't notice any issues.

    Stability: I only have long term experience with a 35" scale 55-94. Set it and forget it, and I live in Maryland, not the friendliest environment for a wooden instrument. I've heard of zero issues with the Sadowskys.

    Your decision will have to be based on which sound and feel you like more. Other than that you're dealing with:

    resale value (edge: Sadowsky)
    prestige (edge: Sadowsky)
    initial cost of ownership (edge: Lakland)
    overall cost of ownership (edge: probably Sadowsky)

    and all the intangibles that make a decision like this tough. Just to muddy the waters further, I have a Lakland 55-94 and I still take a Fender MIA Jazz Deluxe 5 on some gigs because it absolutely kills live. Go figure.

    have fun
  3. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    I was at Sadowsky's shop & I played 2 5's, one w/EMG's & one w/his pick-ups. They both sounded AWESOME!!! 2 of the best basses I've ever played in my life. I liked the one w/EMG's better. Everything about the basses was incredible. The feel, the sound, the weight. I want to buy one but I like my Spectors way too much.

    I've played a couple of Lakland's & the ones I've played had Bartolini's J/MM & I didn't like the sound. It had alot of characterists od a MusicMan. They played awesome but the Sadowsky played alot nicer!!!
  4. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Brad -

    Thanks for the comparison. I've been contemplating a Sadowsky, but I love my Laklands. I played a Sadowsky once at LABX, and I didn't really care for it, but I suspect my problem may have been with the amp and cab. It just didn't sound as "alive" as the Laklands.
  5. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    Did you try a Lakland through the same amp when you tried the Sadowsky's?
  6. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Personally, i'd only get a Lakland if it had the Seymour Duncan MM+Js. The Barts Lakland uses are just far to dry for me.

    Id say just save $1000 and get the Lakland. Other than the money issue, you really can't go wrong either way.
  7. Jeff in TX

    Jeff in TX Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2000
    Lone Star State
    The good news is you can't go wrong with either.

    That said, I chose the Sadowsky. I prefer it over the Lakland simply based on personal preference. It feels and sounds better to me.

    Since I purchased the Sadowsky, I have had no urge to for another fretted bass - a first for me!

    Roger will let you demo the bass. Take advantage of that! I think it is the only way to be satisfied with your decision.

    Good luck!
  8. Well, I've played one Lakland and I really was not impressed. It was the Joe Osborn model which probably isn't representative of the Lakland you're looking at, but it was just an expensive Fender Jazz to be honest. Just pick the bass that feels more comfortable and that you feel has the better sound.
  9. ka-tet


    May 2, 2000
    Hey Larry, are you not happy with your Pulcinella? Is that the one you sent back for warranty repairs? What happened?
  10. j.s.basuki

    j.s.basuki Supporting Member

    May 14, 2000
    I have both Lakland and Sadowsky but unfortunately only 4 srings.

    -For sound I prefer Sadowsky, tight, clear and punchy. Even you run passive it is still marvellous, just like aFender jazz, the best bass sound I have ever owned.
    Lakland is less punchy and tight ,and a bit like music man. Not as wet as Sadowsky.

    -Neck , I like Lakland a bit better than Sadowsky eventhough Lakland is wider at nut, but both great necks.

    - Versatility , Lakland has more different sound.

    At last, they're both great, but I play Sadowsky more and I'm getting another one, it's the sound!
  11. lump


    Jan 17, 2000
    St. Neots, UK
    I have nothing constructive to add, but if you're looking at <a href="http://www.sadowsky.com/basses_in_stock/B3522_std5_nat_body.jpg">This Bass</a>, it's a stunner. Even at $3500, I doubt it will last long. The quilt-top '59 Burst I've been dithering over sold this week for about $3200, thank God. You snooze you lose though - now I'm back at the end of the line, behind the bills for the flute for my daughter and the guitar for my wife that I just bought tonight, plus an impending set of bagpipes :eek: for my son.

    But it will be mine...oh, yes...it will be mine.
  12. Larry Kaye

    Larry Kaye Retailer: Schroeder Cabinets

    Mar 23, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    The neck has needed consistent adjusting which now is to the point where it can't be adjusted any more. Matt has been great and we're working through the simplest easiest way to replace the neck.

    I also happened to have some initial problems either with the Aero pickups or the Aguilar pre-amp. We couldn't really figure out where the staticy buzz was coming from. Matt offered to replace the pickups and preamp with the more traditional Bartolini jazz pickups and 3 band eq/preamp. That took care of the buzzing. The neck however is a different story.

    Matt did mention that this was the first neck that he's had any issues with. Again, this type of thing does happen and could happen to anyone's product. I will say that with the new pickups and when the neck was temporarily adjusted correctly, the bass was definitely awesome, especially for the price.

    Hopefully we'll get this together, but in the meantime I miss my more "upscale" Lakland and am looking to try and purchase something a little more "permanent" while the gettin's good job wise!!

    Thanks for asking. If we can get this neck situation resolved, I will likely keep the bass and use it for rehearsals and as a second bass on certain gigs. What remains funny to me is through all of the buying and selling, buzzing, neck problems and other things I've put myself through musically, the Reverend Rumblefish remains, yet it also had to have electronic repairs, probably due to my dropping the bass. It still sounds great. It just isn't very versatile.

  13. Thumper


    Mar 22, 2000
    Syracuse Ut
    Well Larry, I have to tell you, my input would be go with the Lakland, lower entry price, more versatility. As I've mentioned before, I had permission from "she" to get a Sadowsky, but then fell for a Roscoe (now I have 2 an LG 3005 and SKB 3005, but that's another story). My first Lakland was a bit of a disappointment, it was a maple board dlx 55 and I never could get any "thump" out of it (yeah, I'm partial to the Pbass vibe). Then I got my rosewood board dlx 55 and it is every thing I could ask for. It is really the only bass I ever need, I only got more basses because I could :). Being a bit of a show off, at our gig last nite, I planned on playing the LG 3005 1st set, Lakland second, and SKB third with the 4th set whatever. But I couldn't put the Lakland down and ended up doing 2 sets with it.

    My favorite aspect of Laklands are the necks, they feel like they've been played for 20 years from day one. You'll be happy with either, but for my money, get another Lakland.
  14. Larry Kaye

    Larry Kaye Retailer: Schroeder Cabinets

    Mar 23, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    In thinking about things based on what I've heard here, on my own, and other places, the Lakland, with the speakers/rig I now own, which have an EXTREMELY tight, punchy sound, seems to be a better choice.

    I also fear that even though the basic sound from the Sadowski may exactly "it" for some, I do like the idea of having more adjustability, not only in terms of adding more or less bottom, but also in different types of sounds along with using that deadly midrange control on the bass which is just in my opinion an absolute necessity for where I play. The ability to boost and cut that knob really can make a difference.

    Also, only one person has gone out on a limb and said the Sadowsky's are just so much better that wouldn't even buy another bass. I think that's a great testimonial and a true statement, but I think that there are probably Lakland owners who might feel that way too.

    In otherwords, I'm not hearing about a black and white, $1000 difference in the basses. Most everyone including the Sadowsky owners are saying "they're both good basses..... they're both good choices, it's a tough decision."

    If I keep either bass, the depreciation won't matter. However, I just saw a couple of newer Sadowsky's used posted for sale and they were still in the low 2000's yet I'm sure those basses cost their original owners closer to 3 - 3500. Resale might be easier for Sadowsky's 'cause there's less of them, but Lakland's are selling for 1750-2000 used, and sharp colored ones are selling for slightly more (or less depending on who's definition of sharp one uses.) so I don't see the overall cost of ownership or depreciation being a benefit of the Sadowsky either.

    Lakland....just as playable, easier to pay for, reasonably sellable in the used market at only a $5-700 loss, (probably at less a loss than Sadowsky,) no differentiation regarding customer service, just as reliable, more versatile, decent tone that probably will be plenty adjustable with my rig, but not quite as prestigious, but where I play, no one gives a rat's about prestige.

    So, I guess the Lakland it is if it's still in stock tomorrow.

    Thanks everyone for putting this thing in focus for me. You've all helped greatly and I especially want to thank Brad Johnson and those of you who really made a very tough decision much easier. I think if the Sadowsky would have been $2600-2800 instead, then it would have been a toss up in my mind. With the pricing of Sadowsky being in that my wife will really hate me category, the Lakland becomes even more the right choice.

    I'll be checking one more time for any more opinions this evening.


  15. Starrchild


    Nov 10, 2000
    The Bay.
    whatever get's you off Larry go with it you can't lose.simple as that.damn I love my lakland.
  16. thumper

    thumper Guest

    I don't have either brand, but I happen to know several folks who do. The ones with the Sadowsky use them in the studio and the ones with the Lakland use them live. The Sadowsky sounds and records great. The Lakland usually works best in a live situation. It's still personal favorite. Get the one you like the best. Each and every bass sounds and plays different. I have three of the same bass, and each one is different. So play all you can find, and buy the one which suits you the best.
    Merry Christmas.
  17. Jeff in TX

    Jeff in TX Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2000
    Lone Star State

    Good luck! Let us know how you like it!

  18. JimS

    JimS Supporting Member

    For me it's a no brainer: S A D O W S K Y. Extremely quiet electronics with superlative shielding and great tone, stability, and playablity. Beautiful wood. You've read it all before time and again. The bass for a lifetime. $3500 divided by n days divided by n months divided by n years.... not extreme when I look at it like that but it's all relative.

    I think if you going to spend $2500-3500 on a bass, it would be shame not to try either one, especially with Sadowksy's one week trial period. Worst case scenario you have to swallow the shipping charges.

    Originally I had heard about Sadowsky's basses but never played one. I played Lakland, Alembic, Fodera, Zon, G&L, Status, Warwick, Fender, Peavey,etc. Fortunately, toward the end of my hunt a salesman at one of the music store's I tortured happened to have his own Sadowsky on hand because he was going to a gig later that night. Again, no brainer.

    BTW, I bought a guitar from Sadowsky around 1990-91 and played in NYC, LI, Aspen, Baltimore, Ft. Lauderdale and south Florida. The neck has never needed adjusting in 10 years!
  19. Sammy


    Aug 31, 2000
    Not ever having played the Lakland and Sadowsky side by side, I can't say much about Sadowsky. I own a Lakland dlx 99-49 with barts and a Zon legacy fretless with barts. Even though I love the feel and playability of the Lakland, it doesn't have the fullness and depth (maybe even darkness) in sound the Zon has. It's a matter of taste how dark a sound you prefer, and the mix you're throwing it into. Hope this helps.
  20. Larry Kaye

    Larry Kaye Retailer: Schroeder Cabinets

    Mar 23, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    Thanks again everyone for your input. It should be arriving at the end of the week. They also have a 48 hour "tryout" period, costing me only the shipping if I absolutely don't like the bass which I seriously doubt will happen. Am playing on Saturday night and will give those interested a review on Sunday.

    Again, my sincerest thanks for your input.


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