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The Sadowsky difference?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by TonyP-, May 11, 2010.

  1. 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
    Hello Sadowsky owners.

    Can those of you who owned/gigged with other highend basses of similar nature for example: Nordstrand, Alleva Coppolo, Lull, ect...

    What makes your Sadowsky's different?

    Can you explain the what and/or how they are?

    I'm looking for honest open discussion on this subject.

    Granted one aspect that I do see different is the NYC chambered bodies that shave off a little weight.

    How do they play and sound differently the other boutiques???

  2. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    Ive owned and gigged Fender, F bass, Celinder, Pensa, Fodera, Lull, etc. I feel the Sadowsky has superior fretwork, tone, balance, lightweight, fit and finish, customer service

    As far as tone goes, I feel its the perfect combo of vintage pickup spacing and modern electronics. I also feel that Roger makes the clearest sounding, punchiest, most musical pre out there. Boost only, easy to dial in any tone on the fly. Practically plug and play. Bottom end is never mushy or boomy. Top end sparkles. Tom Hamilton(Aerosmith) has been quoted as saying the first time he slid down at the end of a song on a Sadowsky was magic!! You could hear all the notes and they all came out on tape when recording. He had never experienced that before. Funny thing is my singer's Boyfriend, a very good bassist himself, said the same thing about my tone the other night. Told me after we were done that he could hear every note clearly, top end was sparkly, every slide and wiggle I made came thru my amp and the PA. Nothing sounded buried behind the kick. Said it sounded like bass on a CD. He loved it. Im still trying to talk him into getting one!! LOL

    Thats my rant. Cant know the magic until you gig one a couple nights

  3. VroomVroom

    VroomVroom Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    SF Bay Area, CA
    I've got a Metro M5-24. It's just over five years old now, and the same things happens today when I pick it up that has occurred every time during the whole period...I smile. It feels great, it sounds incredible, and it just flat-out works. Every gig, every session..."Hey, that bass sounds great!" It's the most unique sound I've heard - the only thing that comes close IME is a Zon Sonus Special/Custom, but drawing a line-by-line comparison isn't fair to either brand.

    I love the 'J' basses too, and owned a UV70 for a short period. In a nutshell, the Sadowsky basses I've really dug do the same thing for me as special basses from other companies - they offer their own character and voice. Unique enough to be identified and enjoyed, but versatile enough to be used.
  4. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    Thats one thing that worries me about the pre, no doubt it sounds incredible, but I really like to cut freq's too, I suppose its just something to get used to.
  5. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    Many players use the VTC to get the effect you speak of in conjunction w the bass and treble. Ive never owned and amp or played a show where I had trouble finding my tone

  6. 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
    Hi Rob

    Thats what I was looking
    I would expect fit and finish & customer service would be right up there for all the brands you mentioned (except maybe Fender)

    I like your detail on the following

    "As far as tone goes, I feel its the perfect combo of vintage pickup spacing and modern electronics."

    Thats specific...nice
  7. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    I know you've played some, including a couple of mine at the GTG's weve attended together. The beauty is when you record or gig them. No other way to put it. Hopefully I'll see you again soon

  8. DrSmaggs


    Oct 15, 2003
    Endorsing Artist:
    I agree with Rob.

    Plus... my personal logic is as follows.

    I finally own basses (both Sadowsky) and I never desire to make changes to them. With my various other basses, I would always come up with ways I'd like to improve them, but not with my Sadowsky basses.

    Another reason.... they sound insanely good and you don't have knobs all over the place. Plug and play!!!!
  9. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    My first boutique Fender clone was a Lull P5. Excellent bass, but I didn't care for the timbre of 35" scale. When Sadowsky finally came out with a five string P-bass, I grabbed one immediately. It's wonderful in every way: tone, looks, weight, playability, quality, etc. The only thing on my wish list would be an asymmetric neck profile, but that's not so much a complaint as a nitpick.

    If you're looking for one difference, it would be tone. My P5 has the P-bass vibe, but with more clarity and evenness. I love the active EQ and VTC, it's all the tone-shaping I need: I can easily go from bright/aggressive to mellow/traditional.
  10. 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
    Hey Rob
    I hope to see you as well...

    I'm going to try to make the NY GTG
    Also there is one in Mass Dave's house next month.
    (I will PM you the info)

    There is no doubt that they are great instrument, however it is true I have never gigged or recorded with one so I never experienced one on the same level as you. Maybe I will have to trade a Q5 or Nordy for week with someone to see how it is...:bag:
  11. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    As far as feel and playability go, to each their own and someone could very well prefer another but as to what hits an ear...

    A Sadowsky is the most get-r-done, set it and forget it, tight, clear, articulate, professional, bass that sounds like a bass is supposed to sound, tone that you are likely to come across.

    They can, under ideal conditions, be beaten but the other 99% of the time when the room is not perfect or the mix, the sound man, the guitar player, the keyboard player is dense...the sonic profile of a Sadowsky will work long after anything else has failed you.

  12. Playability and the way the sit or stand out in a mix.

    My bass player borrowed my Sadowsky instruments and was blown away. His tone in the mix improved dramatically. He saved up and purchased a Metro PJ 4.

    When played bass in band, everybody comment how it was the best sounding bass they'd ever heard: singer, drummer, keyboardist, guitar player.
  13. Quite a bit of difference among all these high end J type instruments.

    Lull.... it totally depends on how you spec those basses, since the pickups and preamp are 'off the shelf'. They can sound very Fendery or quite modern. Lull and Valenti are VERY good lower cost options when you don't want to spend a ton of cash for the more customized instruments (i.e., body, hardware, pickups, preamp all manufactured and designed to work together).

    Alleva-Coppolo... Jimmy really goes for a vintage vibe with these, both in look and feel and tone (i.e., full size bodies, low fretboard radius, and a very vintage pickup wind with a very transparent, subtle preamp). They really do feel 'old' and 'vintage' to me.

    Nordstrand... the original Nordy's were basically quite modern sounding basses that kind of looked like J Basses... very different from these other models. However, Carey has somewhat recently put out a Nordy classic line that is much more similar in feel and tone to the more vintage vibe of the Alleva-Coppolo's.

    Sadowsky.... still all J Bass, but with a unique, modern, Sadowsky twist. The body is downsized and the neck radius is a touch flatter than a typical J Bass. Even with the single coil pickups, there is a Sadowsky sound to my ear, which is a bit more aggressive (deeper lows, higher highs) than some of the other more traditionally voiced basses. One of the unique features of the Sadowsky models is that one of the more popular combination is ash/maple with 60's pickup position, which moves the tone a bit away from vintage. I really like this combination of aggressive ash/maple tone, but with some of the bridge pickup burp from the 60's pickup position.

    I would put every bass you mention at a high enough fit and finish and quality level that you really don't have to worry about it. I do prefer the 'integrated approach' of Alleva-Coppolo, Sadowsky and Nordstrand (i.e., custom wound pickups and preamps that are voiced to work together and deliver a signature tone), versus the more 'off the shelf' offerings of, for example, Lull and Valenti. However, you will pay quite a premium to get that sort of 'integrated custom boutique' sort of thing.

    IMO and lots of IME.
  14. Arnold

    Arnold Supporting Member

    I've had my 5 string since 2000 and it's fit into every situation perfectly. One thing that others haven't pointed out yet are how in tune these basses are. I have an old fender that I love (with Sadowsky pickups and pre of course) but the intonation on it will never be as good as my Sadowsky. The only other basses my ears have found to be this in tune are Musicman's. I had an experience in the studio where 2 producers thought that 5 strings were for people who overplay, after they heard the Sadowsky, they made sure I brought it every time I returned.
    Let me say that my main fretless is an AC. It's an incredible work of art and very close to a 5 string 60's Jazz bass with a great preamp. Different flavors, both great.
    The thing about the Sadowsky for me, is that it will cover any gig. I do have a Fender P and a J for specific things, but if I have to choose one, I'll always choose the Sadowsky.
  15. I guess if your old Fender has an issue with the bridge placement (i.e., something mechanically wrong), this could be true. However, there really isn't such a thing (that I know of) as one bass being more 'in tune' than another. Everyone uses the same formula for cutting in frets and placing a bridge for the different scale lengths, and a proper intonation should result in one bass or the other being just as 'in tune' as the next one.
  16. columbo


    Feb 9, 2009
    trieste, italy
    just try one and see. I bought two a year. If you're used to a Sadowsky bass you can not play another bass. Is like being married to Angelina Jolie, you can not want another woman .....
  17. joinercape

    joinercape Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    I certainly agree with you about Sadowsky basses...but the part about Ms. Jolie....something you would like to share with us?;)
  18. columbo


    Feb 9, 2009
    trieste, italy
    unfortunately no .....:(
  19. ()smoke()


    Feb 25, 2006
    good question for a thread, i've enjoyed reading through the responses!

    sadowsky builds beautiful instruments, and i'll hopefully have the opportunity to play one some day--everything i always hear about 'sitting in the mix' 'gets the job done every time', etc. sound like a very well-designed instrument with a great signature sound that can do a variety of music very well
  20. bass12

    bass12 Say "Ahhh"... Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    I'll be honest, for fit and playability I prefer my MTD 535. Everyone is built a little differently and no one bass is going to suit every bass player perfectly. There is, however, something about the tone of a Sadowsky that just stands out in the bass world. The tone is like a good cream sauce - it's rich with plenty of "fat" and it just coats everything perfectly. It's thick but not in a flavour-killing, pasty way. I've played several basses that sound fantastic on their own but you'd never know it in the context of a full band. I'm convinced that nothing sounds better "in the mix" than a Sadowsky. These basses really do their job well - they always provide a strong bottom-end (without getting muddy) and there is consistency throughout the frequency spectrum (it doesn't, for example, just sound like low end coupled with some sparkly high end leaving a gap in the middle).

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