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Sadowsky vs. Lull

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Halftooth, Feb 18, 2003.

  1. I know there are a lot of TBer's out there that swear up and down that Sadowsky's are the best jazz basses, and even the best basses period. I've never tried one, but I have tried out a few Lull's, and those are amazing. Are Sadowsky's even that much better than the Lull's? What makes them that much better? Is it in the pickups and preamp combo? I'm interested in what people think in a head to head comparisson.
  2. vanselus


    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    To me, it's more a matter of "different" rather than "better" - they approached the same problem from two seperate angles.

    I own a Sad, but I take all my basses to Lull for maintenence because he's an amazing luthier.

    As for the reason I bought a Sad instead - it all comes down to how much i dislike Mike's headstocks. I think they're ass.

  3. RS


    Aug 27, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    I had a Lull and still own a Sadowsky. The Lull I had had an ash body, maple neck, and passive Lindy Fralin pups. The construction was perfect and the bass was nice and lightweight. It played well but it just wasn't bassy enough. The pups had pretty low output, which I didn't care for at all.

    My Sadowsky has an ash body with a maple top, maple neck and board, and Sadowsky preamp and stacked humbuckers. I usually favor a passive setup, but the preamp is awesome. Very musical and natural sounding. The bass has a certain oomph the Lull didn't have. The playability and construction are as good as the Lull. I would definitely buy another Sadowsky. I'd like to have an alder/rosewood one.
    The sound is very precise and punchy, yet still round with a good low mid presence. It is my number 1 bass, usually.
  4. RS


    Aug 27, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
  5. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    I was wondering when this was going to come up. No Celinder? :D I LOVE Lull's, and I also think that Sadowskys are the bomb, so I agree with Vanselus. It's a matter of different than better.
  6. KPO2000

    KPO2000 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 5, 2001
    Some body asked this back in January, so I'll repost what I said then

    Lull and Sadowsky
    I have a similiarly configured Lull and Sadowsky bass: M4V and Vintage 4 J style; alder body, rosewood/morado fingerboard, j bass pick-ups. Over a year ago, they arrived at my home literally on the same day. My goal was to check them both out and sell one of them. I've sort of tried selling the Lull a few times, but I really like both alot.

    Compared to the Sadowsky, the Lull has a bit more snap and bite that sounds great for slap and more aggressive playing. It's bright without sounding too hi-fi, tinny, or sterile to my ears--like the perfect 70's J bass to my ears. It has the bart two-band pre and Fralin pick-ups that seem to be a great combination for this bass. I also really dig the full size body and the way the bass balances.

    The Sadowsky's tone is more sophisticated--somehow rounder and more full bodied--regardless of whether I have the Sad preamp engaged or not. I like the Sadowsky neck better than the Lull, but like the full-sized body of the Lull a bit better than the 7/8 Sadowsky body....but I have to say, this has become less of an issue after playing both over time. There is a fair amount of overlap between the two basses: both slap well and feel great, but the Sadowsky is a bit more it's own beast.

    When I took the Lull to my mellowish Wilco-meets-Billy Bragg style rock gig in the studio, the singer/songwriter and engineer/producer both agreed the Sadowsky sounds/records much better. On the other hand, when I play with my psycho-rock meets the Minutemen friends, the Lull seems more suitable especially for playing hard with a little overdrive blended in. Even when I do take the just the Lull, I bring a Sad Preamp pedal and occasionally play the Lull through it in passive mode.

    Both are great, well-made basses, so I guess it's all about what your into. The way I decide which bass I choose is this:

    If I'm feeling Jamerson/Kaye/Lee/soulful or old school funky ala Larry Graham, I chose the Sadowsky or my old J Bass.

    If I'm early Minutemen Watt/Squire/Entwistle/Flea/Clarke or I want to play chords, I choose the Lull...or the Stingray, or the P bass.

    Strings have a lot to do with the above as well. Currently, I have Nickel Blue Steels on the Sadowsky and DR Hi Beams on the Lull. The Sadowsky brightens up a lot more with steel DRs.

    I've played more basses that sound like the Lull than sound even close to a Sadowsky. When I get antsy for something new, I'll probably replace the Lull with an F bass or a Sad 24F 5.

    Good Luck,
  7. JimS

    JimS Supporting Member

    Use the SEARCH button. There are many threads discussing this.
  8. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    I've never played a Lull but I agree that the HS looks like DooDoo!!! Speaking od Head stocks, if Celinder's HS looked anymore like a Sadwosky, I'd expect a Sadowsky decal on it. :)
  9. beermonkey


    Sep 26, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    "yuck, it doesn't look good"... please. :rolleyes:

    I've played a bunch of Sadowsky basses, I liked them and thought they sounded great. I OWN 2 Mike Lull basses, an M5 and an M4V fretless. The Lull basses are by far the best instruments I've ever played; for both tone and playability. I wouldn't trade either of my Lull basses for 10 Sadowsky basses.
  10. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
  11. If I was that into Lulls, I'd take the 10 Sadowskys and sell them and get 20 lulls ?? :D

    I never tried Mike's basses, so I can't really add much to the thread, but I do swear by my Sadowsky. It does everything for "me"
  12. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I own a Lull P5 because Sadowsky won't make a 5-string Precision (and sorry, a Jazz body with a Precision pup is still not a Precision).

    Oh... you specified Jazz clone... nevermind. :p
  13. vanselus


    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    Yeah, not to mention TBC (The Bass Company) - they seem almost identical!



    oh i see the difference, the curve on the TBC is 3 tenths of a degree more steep. right.

    hey, and thanks for the Sad Vin5 Nino :)

    and beermonkey - believe me, if you're one of those rare people that has found THEIR tone, then we're all jealous, truly :) Congrats!
  14. JimS

    JimS Supporting Member

    Roger is making me a PJ4 with a full size P body. Since he makes a PJ5, I imagine he could do that on a P body for you.
  15. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    Out all my basses.......I love my Lull best:) I'm from the old school;)
  16. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I've already asked. Roger replied that he only makes Ultra-Vintage P-basses with four strings... any PJ fiver would have to be on the Jazz body shape.

    I suspect it's a neck/body shape issue. The Lull P5 has a vintage body, but narrow (17mm) spacing. The Fender P5 has standard (19mm) spacing, but the body was redesigned to accommodate the wider neck (and additional fret). Roger's fivers have standard spacing. Roger is probably correct that there isn't enough demand for high-end 5-string P-basses to offset the expense of creating a new body shape. And a new body would probably be easier than coming up with a new (narrow) neck and FWIW if I'd never pay more than $3k for any bass unless it had my favorite string spacing of 19mm.
  17. vanselus


    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    amen!! i second that.

  18. Larry Kaye

    Larry Kaye Retailer: Schroeder Cabinets

    Mar 23, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    Let me ask you guys this: What's the most important factors in a bass. My priority list is of course, mine not your's, but here it is anyway.

    1. SOUND
    2. FEEL
    3. LOOKS
    4. FIT and FINISH
    6. For what price

    Now obviously it would be nice to have all six at the level I'd love to have in one instrument and I do at this time (F Bass BN5 black Ceruse....obviously not a cheap date either).

    Why I think this is an unfair comparison...You're comparing a $2000 instrument (for a Lull 5...I don't know their 4 pricing..sorry) to what is essentially a mid $3000's Sadowsky. Your comparison was not based on "price aside" or at least it was not stated as such.

    From the opinions so far in this thread, the two basses sounds are more "unique" rather than one being better than the other.

    Some people like the feel and looks better of one over the other.

    We know that Roger's work has prime fit and finish. I assume Lull's are good but maybe not consistently at the same level as Roger's work, but frankly, I don't know.

    In this comparison, is versatility really a major attribute one's looking for when we're trying to get a Jazz like sound, so I'd say the basses are probably both pretty darn similar.

    Now, so far it t seems to me the scorecard is pretty equal, maybe more people have experience with the Sadowsky's, but people who have both aren't jumpin' either way, but again, there's not enough information to draw a conclusion, right? EXCEPT, there's a $1500+ average differential staring you in the face.

    If that makes no difference to you, good for you. My personal opinion, I'll take a lakland joe osborn skyline 5, put in a J Retro preamp and for $1250 or so, have just as smokin a Jazz bass on steriods as a Lull or a Sadowsky sound and feelwise. Some people might find a traditional Lake Placid blue jazz bass more appealing looking than quilted maple tops, some might not. Looks are personal just like not liking a headstock's shape.

    Now, I'll accept that the fit and finish and therefore, maybe the feel is not quite as good on my Lakland JO 5 Skyline, but while I'm wallowing in how it's not a Lull or Sadowsky, I'll go out and buy an EA iamp 800 or a Walter Woods Ultra with the extra money I'm saving. That would make me feel a lot better than your Lull's or Sadowskys.

    That's just me.

  19. vanselus


    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    You bring up some mighty good points, and true, price has not even been discussed - since it wasn't brought up in the first post, I assumed it was a non-issue, that he wants to simply know the physical differences.

    Just so people hear a different viewpoint, my opinion is that a Lakland skyline bass isn't even in the same class as the lull or sadowsky - and the J Retro can't hold a candle to the sad preamp. i dislike the sound of the retro, and the feel of the skyline basses just doesn't do it for me.

    hopefully all the pitters on TB don't kill me now :D

  20. Jeff in TX

    Jeff in TX Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2000
    Lone Star State
    I also own a J-Retro - in a Warmoth with Lindy Fralin pups. Not exactly a cheap combo. And, although it's good and I spent more than I want to admit on that bass, it doesn't even come close to the sound of my Sadowskys.

    So, if the only bass I owned was $1500 and I know that the Sadowsky smokes it (at least in my opinion), the $1500 bass is not a value to me. I would save and get what I want and be happy. And, knowing me, I would not be satisfied until I got it! ;)

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