Sadowsky vs. Pre-CBS Jazz

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by KPO2000, Oct 1, 2001.

  1. KPO2000

    KPO2000 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 5, 2001
    OK, I've narrowed down my J Bass search to between a Pre-CBS Jazz bass or a Sadowsky Ultra Vintage J bass (and keeping my Stingray). I know these are very different basses, but can anyone go in specifics on the details? Playability, tone, etc?

    I am definetly more into "vintage" gear than newer modern designs and I love the vibe of old Fenders, but I've been hearing such good things about the Sadowsky's I can't seem to ignore them either. Besides, in most cases I can get a Sadowsky for considerably less moolah. (Maybe I can get a relic Sadowsky....

    Any thoughts? Thanks!
  2. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    The only problem here is you're dealing with a known (Sadowsky) vs. an unknown (a pre-CBS Jazz).

    A Jazz could be in any condition. I guess when there are 50,000 40 year old Sadowskys out there this might be a fair comparison;)
  3. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    I've played a bunch & some were GREAT and some were not so great. I know Sadowsky's are alot of money, but I've seen some PRE CBS's go for well over $10,000. You might be able to find one slightly modified @ a good price that's a total player.

    IME, I haven't played a bad Sadowsky yet. Everytime I go into his shop, I wanna buy one. He has a nice 4 string in his shop that was played by Will Lee & I want to buy it, but he's asking $3500 for it & that a little out of my $$$ range right now.
  4. what is a pre-CBS Jazz Bass?

    how is that different from a Fender Jazz?

    and where can i see this bass?
  5. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    A Pre CBS Fender is a Fender made before the mid 70's (i beleive). Leo Fender sold the compamy to CBS & went on to create Mucis Man then G&L.

    You can find one probably @ any store that sells vintage instruments of you might be lucky & pick one up @ a pawn shop.
  6. Pre-CBS is before CBS bought Fender circa 1964 and earlier.

    No brainer: Sadowsky.

    Much better consistency as every Sadowsky bass I've played (around 8) has been phenomenal and his reputation supports that; not all Fenders are great and you have to make sure it's all original, etc. The Sadowsky will be more versatile, sound better, play better, and probably much cheaper.
  7. I think it would be much easier to find a great Sadowsky than a great pre-CBS Fender. Plus, you would have Roger to keep your Sadowsky great.

    If you haven't you should play a Sadowsky. I would think your choice would be very clear - either the Sadowsky is what you're looking for or it's not.

  8. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    Can I add a late entry? The are some bad mo fo's!!:cool:
  9. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Pre-CBS doesn't automatically mean it's good.
    The quality varied a lot, perhaps more so than today.
    Not only the wood, the pickups can differ quite a bit.

    I think the Sadowsky is the better and safer choice.
  10. air_leech


    Sep 1, 2000
    if you want a Sadowsky it will only take a phone call or a drive to someone who carries them or to Roger's shop.

    but if you want a pre CBS Fender you will have to rely on aviliability in the shops.
    thus it might take you a few years to find a good specimen of a pre-CBS Fender in the stores.

    so basically what I'm saying is that you'd better off with the Sadowsky, worst case you will end up selling it for not much less than what you payed and go for a vintage Fender,
    and with the positive reviews coming from Sadowsky owners you will probably never want to part from it anyway.
  11. ive given my opinion to your question elsewhere, but ill give it a go here as well. if you're looking for precbs tone, a sadowsky isnt going to cut it. however, if you do go the new route, do what chuck m said and check out a lull. everything a sadowsky is, but with a much more realistic price.
  12. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Considering he likes vintage stuff, there's one area where the Jazz wins hands down...


    Still a no-brainer? Nah;)

    $3500 into a Sadowsky will get you an excellent bass... that will depreciate.

    $3500 into a good pre-CBS Jazz could get you several thousand $$ more in the (near) future.

    Plus it's possible to get an old Jazz for less than a Sadowsky. It still happens. High teens is considered a bargain for a used Sadowsky. It can be a steal for a Jazz.
  13. I owned a ’63 L series Jazz for over 20 years, and yes it was a great bass, in fact the best Fender out of the 15 I have owned over the years, but my Sadowsky is for me the best bass I have ever played.

    I do regret selling the Jazz because of the silly prices they’re going for now, but even if I still had it, the Sadowsky would be my first choice to play. Since owning the Sad I’ve found that it’s the first bass in over 30 years of playing that I’m completely satisfied with. No Fender dead spots and it cuts though the mix in a loud live situation completely and better than my pre EB Ray, Status, Pedulla MVP and T-Bird, most of which I rate higher than that ’63 Jazz.
    Don’t get me wrong, I love Fenders and still have eight various models from ’74 – 2000.

    As Brad points out, a pre CBS Jazz will be a better investment, but would you be willing to take it out on gigs?

    Good luck in your decision.
  14. Bass Guitar

    Bass Guitar Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2001
    I agree with Brad here. I would go for the Pre-CBS Fender Jazz. But I am a person who likes collecting vintage things, so it would be less the fact that it sounds good, and more the fact that it is collectible. For playing and tone, the Sadowsky would be the better choice, but for investment and sentimentality, I would go for the Fender.
  15. i think ken will obviously be the one that needs to decide which is better in terms of playing and tone. my 62 jazz has a nut width of 1 7/16 and has a very slim profile. its much more comfortable and quick than a sadowsky. tone is going to depend on his ears. i personally dont like the boost only sadowsky preamp. i find the treble boost to be completley useless. its already a very bright instrument and boosting the treble can get pretty intense. btw, i got my 62 jazz last december for less than a new sadowsky.
  16. cbs bought fender in 65 not 64. as far as compairsons go there is no compairson.a sadowsky is merely a copy of leos work.
  17. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    ?!? :confused:

    That's what makes them comparable in the first place, as opposed to e.g. Fender vs. Alembic

    ...and isn't it comparison? ;)
  18. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    Dammit!!! I have GAS and i have enough money, but i can't get it. Why did you have to do that?!!!
  19. Why not? The Sadowsky Ultravintage line or a Sadowsky Vintage with alder body and rosewood board wouldn't get the classic tone with the preamp bypassed?

    I like to think of the Sadowsky as the ultimate Fender bass on steroids with the finest craftsmanship, incredible quality control and consistency, customer service at your beck and call, and a killer sounding supremely quiet preamp with bass tone that rips live and in the studio with or without the preamp.

    If you do go the pre-CBS route, be very, very careful. There are plenty of superb masterful copies that people--knowingly and unknowingly--pass off as original vintage pieces. They may sound good but you'd hate to spend that kind of dinero on a copy that will depreciate mercilessly.