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The Sadowsky / Warmoth connection

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by AnTz0r, Jun 27, 2004.

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  1. Yesterday a friend of mine had his birthday, i went to visit him. A mutual acqaintuance of ours was there too, he is an amateur luthier, knows very much about guitars and basses. Very bright man, helped me out with my warwick earlier. He is a guitar collector, has some expensive pieces but also very many warmoth guitars. He does inlays and paintwork for some dutch luthiers.

    Along came the point Sadowsky. He told me Sadowsky got both his bodies and necks from Warmoth. He doesnt modify them or anything. On talkbass i read that someone else does his paintwork. So basically, all Roger does for his basses is electronics and setup right? So what would be different if id order some Warmoth parts, sadowsky preamp and pickups, and have it sprayed by the same guy that does it for sadowsky?
  2. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Three sides to this story.

    A while back (years and years. I wanna say early 90s or something) he did get his bodies and necks from Warmoth for a period, because simply could not keep up with orders. However, they were fretted, assembled, and hand checked by Roger himself. The bodies were also built to Sadowsky specs, so they weren't standard issue Warmoth products, either. He hasn't used them in many moons.

    Roger himself claims he does not use them. I'm not sure if he says he has them built in house or not, but he has solidly refuted using Warmoth producs.

    I've heard otherwise from varying sources, from rather legit to completely asinine.

    I dunno.
  3. bassaussie


    Oct 6, 2001
    This is 110% true.

    Supposedly Roger goes through the Thrift Shop selection every Thursday, picks what he wants, then has the parts sent to New York to have the basses assembled by a team of Lithuanian balalaika luthiers who he pays $1.50 an hour because they haven't got greencards. They sleep in his shop, and he only feeds them two meals a day, and quite often, it's takeaway from McDonalds. He's a very cruel and mean man.

    I've even heard stories that Sadowsky, Lull and Lakland have drop shipped instruments directly from Warmoth, only for a Lull to turn up in place of a Sadowsky, or a Lakland instead of a Lull. Most of the times, people don't care, because they're all the same anyway. But worse, sometimes a Warmoth bass will turn up, then when the buyer has tried to return it, they can only get half their money back because it's not got the Sadowsky magic!

    It's a conspiracy at the highest level, and it needs to be exposed.
  4. MascisMan


    Nov 21, 2003
    Dallas, Tx
  5. JimS

    JimS Supporting Member

    Do a search and you'll see this topic and Roger Sadowsky responded to this himself. Also, check his website, go to the questions and you'll see he comments on the bodies and wood he works with.

    Regardless, all Sadowsky instruments are just overpriced pieces of assembled garbage for status symbol slaves.
    The show 60 minutes did a spread and actually filmed Roger on the shores of Brooklyn paying for immigrant slaves to be shackeled to his workbenches and assemble the parts basses and guitars in exhange for barley & oats, water, and shelter.

    Oh...I can't wait for my 6th Sadowsky to get finished. No bull.
  6. bassaussie


    Oct 6, 2001
    These were the Lithuanians I mentioned above! ;)
  7. JimS

    JimS Supporting Member

    Maybe. But does he really pay them that much?

    BTW, since we are on the rumour mill, I have never ever seen Roger Sadowsky and Michael Jackson in the same place at the same time. I wonder...do you think...could they be...one and the same?

    [​IMG]"I can't believe I left Lithuania on a boat for this. My children, my family, I miss them so much. All I can do is sing Lithuanian folks songs to keep my spirits up. ...Uh-oh, here comes Lord Darth Sadowsky. I'd better look focused and sand away this Warmoth logo a.s.a.p. Maybe I can covertly inscribe a plea for my rescue into the shielding paint when he's busy extinguishing his cigarette in one of my co-worker's eyes."
  8. MascisMan


    Nov 21, 2003
    Dallas, Tx

    oh my god I havent laughed this hard in a while. I literally snorted up my Pepsi when I read this
  9. bassaussie


    Oct 6, 2001
    :D Nice one! I like the idea of the inscription!

    Actually, I might just go and check my Sadowskys to see if there's any inscriptions on either of them!! :eek:
  10. what did i miss?
  11. Toasted


    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    Lots of us, laughing at you :)
  12. bassaussie


    Oct 6, 2001
    This issue has been discussed ad nausem on this, and various other forums. It's REALLY old news. Roger openly discusses the subject, and is more than willing to give you the REAL version, rather than the BS versions spread by "amateur luthiers".

    Do a search through the forum, you'll find plenty of discussion on the subject.

    Or read this. It's from an email Roger sent to me, and it's part of a thread he responded to years ago on this subject. I trust he won't mind my reprinting it.

    I guess it is my turn to join this discussion:

    1) Several people have posted and commented that Sadowsky uses Warmoth
    parts. I would like to address this for what I hope will be the last time. I
    did use some Warmoth parts during the 80's and have ordered an occasional
    neck from them for some of our repair customers during the years. However,
    Sadowsky has not used any Warmoth necks or bodies on their basses for at
    least the last 12 years.

    2) Regarding subcontractors....Many instrument companies use subcontractors.
    It is very difficult to balance quality and maintain costs. If we were
    making every body by "hand" (which no one really does), costs would be
    absurdly high and consistancy would be very low. The average cost of a CNC
    machine (a computerized carving machine), with software, is about
    $125,000.00. Because that is beyond the means of most of us "smaller" guys,
    there are companies that own these machines who make parts for the "rest of
    us". Sadowsky, Lakland, Lull, Turner and lots more of us use various
    subcontractors. I know this takes some of the "romanticism" out of the
    process for you, but that is the way it is.

    Regarding our electronics---when you go through hundreds of circuits a year,
    you don't hand wire each one by hand. You design the circuit, make the
    prototype, and then you outsource it to a shop than just makes circuit

    I had to make an important decision about 20 years ago. I could set up shop
    where I could do all the woodworking by myself. This would have meant
    locating where there are very few professional players. Instead, I chose to
    locate in the middle of Manhattan, where the top players could easily get to
    my shop. As long as I had good subcontractors I could depend on, I felt it
    more important to have the one-on-one and the indespensible feedback from
    the top players. This was also motivated by the fact that I still do a lot
    of repair and restoration work. I have never regretted this decision. It is
    hard to make a "working musician's" instrument if you don't have many
    working musicians to interact with.

    I build a Fender style instrument because that is what my clientele demands
    of me. 20 years ago, it was almost impossible to walk into a studio in NYC
    with anything other than a Fender. In fact the Union directory had two bass
    listings: Upright Bass and Fender Bass! All electric basses were referred to
    as Fender bass. There was a great deal of pressure on the bassists to only
    bring a Fender to a session.

    If I had a couple of million dollars, I could set up my own manufacturing
    facility outside of the city, but I can only be in one place at one time so
    it works just as well to use the subcontractors.

    Keep the following in mind: We purchase all of our wood directly. We hand
    build all of the "prototypes" that get sent to the subcontractor. We own all
    of the fixturing and programming. We continuously monitor the quality of our
    parts to be sure they are worthy of the Sadowsky name.

    The bodies come into our shop unsanded. We do all of the finish sanding and
    hand fit every neck pocket to get a perfect fit to out necks. Many of our
    bodies get additional routing and shaping done in our shop.

    The necks come in unsanded. We true each fingerboard one at a time, finish
    sand the necks, fret the necks, dress the frets, and spray the necks. On
    custom orders, we hand shape the neck too.

    Our assembly process is impeccable with regard to the quality of our
    components and workmanship.

    So I hope you can see that we definetly are a "hands-on" shop. I could not
    have achieved the reputation I have if I were simply buying a neck and body
    and "screwing them together". I think anyone who has had the opportunity to
    play a Sadowsky can appreciate the quality of the instrument. That doesn't
    mean they are for everyone---instrument choice is very subjective. What is
    nice is that all of us....Sadowsky, Lakland, Mike Tobias, Spector, Fodera,
    etc....all have lots of players that think we make the best instrument in
    the world! It's kind of perfect that way---don't you think? You don't have
    to disparage the other builders just because you prefer someone else's

    Lastly, many people speculate on this forum about issues related to Sadowsky
    without ever bothering to email me directly with their question. I am here
    and I am happy to answer all of your emails individually.

    Hope this clears things up for some of you.


    Roger Sadowsky
    Stingray5 likes this.
  13. JimS

    JimS Supporting Member

    LMYAO at this!
  14. :bag:
  15. bassaussie


    Oct 6, 2001

    Don't worry too much about it - HEAPS of people get taken in by this rumour. It's been around for years, and it'll probably continue doing the rounds for a few more years yet. I'm not surprised you said it came from someone who you'd think would know the truth on the matter - I've heard the rumour pushed by a few people who should've known better, including shop owners and competitors. :rolleyes: And when I say "should've known better", I'm not discounting the possibility that they DID know better, but found it in their best interest to continue the rumour.
  16. Toasted


    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    Just to clarify;

    My post up there sounds alot "harsher" on second read than i meant it to.

    Dont take offence :)
  17. Don't_Fret

    Don't_Fret Justin Schornstein

    Dec 10, 2003
    Maybe someone should make a movie about it.... :bag:
  18. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    Asked and answered. Now, go practice.

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