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What's So Good About Sadowskys, Laklands, etc.?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by rickreyn, Jul 23, 2001.

  1. rickreyn


    Jun 16, 2000
    Lutz, Florida
    I look at what these guitars are made of and what they look like (Fenders or Music Man Basses), then I see the cost, and I wonder, why pay the premium? Are they that much better? I can see why you might get a different sound from exotic woods and why elaborate laminations would cost more. But a bass is still basically a neck, fretboard, body, pickups, tuners, strings and a bridge. Without a rare hunk of wood, and hours of labor that may not effect the sound, I just don't think that you can reach $3,000 +/- without buying a little perception and prestige.
  2. lo-end


    Jun 15, 2001
    play one and you'll know pal.
  3. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    I ahve a Spector & Sadowsky bass. When you buy one of these basses, you buy a peice of the company. When I had a problem w/one of my Spector's, I called Stuart & we got the problem solved. If I ever have a problem w/my SAdowsky, I'll hop on a train & bring the bass Roger's shop & have it servuced where it was built. You build a relationship w/these people that is far greater than buying a Fender or a Music Man.

    The instruments are FLAWLESS!!!!!! I got my Sadowsky & it was PERFECT. No dead spots, no blem in the paint, no worry that mass production has tainted my bass.

    What other bass company would post reply in a Bass Players discussion webpage to back his product?

    most of all, I feel that these 2 basses of which I speak are the best basses I've ever played in my life!!!!
  4. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    We're at the point now where you can find a very nice bass for well under $1000.

    The higher end basses, to me, epitomize the strange occurrence called "speaking". That's not to say a MIM Jazz can't speak to you but at least in my case I notice very real differences in basses. Some are obvious, some are subtle but they are there.

    Flawless playability takes more than just good ingredients, it takes someone who can combine them to create something "special". Modern day artisans fighting an uphill battle...

    Okay, enough of my BS ;)...play one and you'll know, pal.

    I have a much easier time finding basses I like for under $1000 than over $3000. For $3000 I expect magic...and I rarely find that.
  5. Yvon

    Yvon Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    I already told that story but here it is again.

    When I received my Sadowsky, the ownoer of a little music store wanted to see and try it. When I got it, I went there and show the bass to him. He looked at it and laugh at my. He said, why did you pay 4000$ for that bass you could have a '75 RI Jass bass and put good pick up and a pre amp for 1000$. And he was laughing, and telling all those bad thing while he was looking for a cord. The he plug the bass and played an open E. Then He said, now I understand, good buy.
    I thought it was funny and I laugh at him.
    Of course 4000$ was a lot of money. I could not do it anymore, and I don't think I would do it anyway anymore, even though I loved that bass.
    I guess I would do like Brad and wait for some good deal.
  6. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Play one, and you'll know, Pal :D

    If you wanna get picky, though.... Take a common business card and try to insert it anywhere into the neck joint of a Lakland or Sadowsky. You won't do it. Now try the same with any Fender. Or, just give the neck a good hard sideways yank...

    Open the rear cavity cover on a Lakland or Sadowsky, notice the "work of art" shielding and wiring, screw inserts, etc. Now pull that big-ass, homely plastic Fender pickguard (which doubles as a cover for a HUGE, sloppy body route). Which one would you rather have?

    Try to find a bad fret job on a new Lakland or Sadowsky. Try to find a good one on a new Fender.

    In case of problems, Dan Lakin or Roger Sadowsky will happily work with you. Try to find anyone manufacturing Fenders who'll even speak English.

    I could go on...but if you don't have the point by now, it doesn't matter anyway.
  7. lump


    Jan 17, 2000
    St. Neots, UK
    I echo Brad's sentiment (although he actually has the experience to back it up). Often, the higher-end basses are more than a sum of their parts.

    And as I've mentioned before, bass/geetar players are spoiled. Try to get any other professional-level musical instrument for $3,000. You can't. $3K is nothing, and we all should be JUMPING at the chance to own something as fine as a Sadowsky or Lakland or whatever for so little. In comparison to other musical instruments of similar quality, they are GROSSLY underpriced.

    It's all a matter of perspective.
  8. Jeff in TX

    Jeff in TX Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2000
    Lone Star State
    I agree with the folks who posted above and just add that I have never played a more perfect instrument than my Sadowsky - and I've played most brands. It's not just the sum of the parts.

    I would also argue than outside of some very small circles, you don't buy prestige with a Sadowsky as most people have never heard of them. You initially get more "respect" with a Fender logo on the headstock because of the brand recognition and history.

    So, I own a Sadowsky (and have another on the way) just for me. It feels great, it's flawlessly made and always sounds wonderful both live and in the studio. It's the best use of my bass dollars so for me, it's a value. :)

  9. j.s.basuki

    j.s.basuki Supporting Member

    May 14, 2000
    I think the price of Sadowsky or Lakland is low comparing to the service and friendship they gave.
    Roger and I has exchange hundreds of mail for the detail of the order, even he sent me by DHL the colour , and pickguard sample of the bass before he put final touch on the electronics. Even he help me with finding the most economical airfreight cost. All those think does take time and cost. I do not think any other mass produced company will do that.
    I was once the importer and distributor of Warwick in Indonesia. I was really dissapointed and upset with them. When there was nobody wants to push their product, they ask my help [ I just did it for a favour because the business just to small for me]. In return after some shipment the turned to someone else. The worse thing is their service was very lousy. If I complaint for warp and delaminate necks they didn't bother and asked me to return before they shipped a new one. Shipping department was like circus [handled by owner's wife] and was admitted by new export manager. Wrong shipment everywhere, short shipment etc.
    And their quality is far to compare with above mentioned brands. Warwick is cheap to my opinion, I bought a Dolphin Pro for less than DM 2000{ approx 800 US$} but please forget about after sales service later on. How can you face the end users?
  10. rickreyn


    Jun 16, 2000
    Lutz, Florida
    I had a neck replaced on my Warwick within a two week period including shipping time. My ovangkol neck was replaced with one made of wenge without my asking for it. Now we can't ignore the fact that the original neck developed a twist, but the service was top notch. Perhaps that doesn't happen on a Sadowsky. I would hope not. Great service is wonderful and it makes you feel important. It reduces stress and its the way it's supposed to be. But in the end, it's how the bass plays, sounds and holds up. I would never buy a Sadowsky because I was sure they would hop right on a warranty problem. I would expect no warranty problems. I agree with the fact that most quality instruments cost a great deal. I agree with the fact that Fenders are not put together with a lot of loving care. I also agree that it would take a lot of "magic" to warrant an extra $2,000 to $3,000 for a bass when one costing $1,000 can sound and play fantastic.
  11. snyderz

    snyderz Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2000
    AZ mountains
    I find this to be a very interesting topic. I have wondered about the "value" of high end basses, and some of the above answers have been enlightening. One thing that comes to my mind is that I see about 500 Fenders a day on ebay, and have never seen even one Sadowsky. There must be something special about them if few people sell them once they have them! I hope to play one some day.
  12. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    In all fairness, Doc, Roger's production numbers are slightly lower than Fenders ;).

    There have been several Sadowskys on eBay recently, the other high end basses that show up there are like a Who's Who of luthiers. Fodera's, Lawrences, a bunch of Roscoes and Laklands, Alembics, MTDs and Tobiases, Smiths, Zons, Stambaughs, Travis Beans, Wals, Surine...the list goes on. The prices are pretty amazing sometimes, too. It's a buyer's market, the best time I've seen to go pre-owned on boutique bass gear.

    I guess my POV falls somewhere in the middle. I've played high end stuff that grabbed me and I had to have it and the same has happened for lower end stuff. In Fender's defense, I can't really say how much love was put into my JD5's but mine are flawless. Tight neck pocket, rock solid neck, flawless finish,very nice fretwork, quiet...the same things I'd expect in a higher priced bass. IMO the 97 MIA JD5 was a flat out bargain and holds it's own with my higher priced basses. It has it's own sound and that's worth a lot to me.

    I just put a J-Retro in one of them and Hoo Boy! this thing kills:D
  13. j.s.basuki

    j.s.basuki Supporting Member

    May 14, 2000

    You are lucky, but I believe this is because Warwick is very depending on US market for their export, and they have been pouring huge amount of money on ad in the US , they cannot afford to get the name spoiled overthere. While in Asia their market is very small, they even told me they have a very tiny business even in Japan and Korea. So I believe they could ignore our country just as well. They can spent money overthere because the different between their export price and their retail list price is almost 4 times. Their export price can be low because they mass produce the basses.
    I could not believe myself receiving 2 Thumb bolt on with neck of different wood , but it is true. And to my experience they never bother to entertain this problem.

    In regards to the sound, it is very subjective and personal. Some like Warwick the other hates them.
    There is no comparison in sound, just a matter of taste.

    Let us not debate any more about price of any instrument. If you like Sadowsky or Lakland and have the money to spend , go ahead and buy.
    If you think you like Warwick just have them.
    For me I like them so I bought 2 Sadowsky instead of only 1 because I like them and Idon't care.
  14. snyderz

    snyderz Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2000
    AZ mountains
    Hi Brad,
    I certainly wasn't putting down the Fenders. I play a 98 fretless Jazz myself. I have noticed a lot of high-enders on the bay, just hadn't seen the Sadowskys.
  15. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    I like the older Americian Fender DLX's w/out the Noiseless p/u's. A new one would cost about 1150-1300 depending on finish. IMO, That also is ALOT of money. I spent $3000 on my Sadowsky & I played compared it to the newer "Noiseless" DLX's & the Fender wasen't even in the same ballpark..... forget about ballpark, it wasen't even in the same sport. I'm not talking about construction. The Fender's construction was excellent (Sad. was better) but, IMO, the playability & sound wasen't even close.

    If I'm gonna spend that much money on a bass, it has to become a part of me as soon as I play it, & Spector's & Sadowsky's were that from the 1st time I played them!!!!

    Personally, I don't think I'll ever spend that much $$$ on a bass again unless my financial situation changes. I sold a few basses to buy the Sadowsky & all the basses I own now are keepers or if I sell it, I won't get what it's worth.
  16. BassMan2000


    Sep 27, 2000
    yea sadowskys are great basses, but I also love elricks :)
  17. yeah, that, plus there's just over seventeen ounces of pure heroin hidden inside a secret compartment in the control cavity.

    what, you guys didn't know? ;)

    hey, ain't it your birthday, BJ? how old are ya? looks like munji and yottskry have it today too. happy berfday everybody!!
  18. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    I have an '84 G&L L-2000 that has the finish stripped off the body & neck, the body was poorly refinished natural. I paid $200 for this bass w/the case & I strongly feel that this bass is one of the best basses in my collection. It sound's so right. It's so versatile. The neck feels great. I've compared it to many newer G&L L-2000 & countless other basses & they didn't compare. And I have a Sadowsky & 2 USA Spector's thet are the Holy Grail's of basses (<i>for now</i>;)) It's all what you like. If you have $3000 to spend on a bass that you feel is what you are looking for, do it. If you have it & don't wanna throw it all on one bass, there are ALOT of basses under $1000 that are EXCELLENT BASSES.
  19. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Hi Doc,
    I didn't think you were;)

    There have been a few lately. Some Sadowsky guitars, too.
  20. narud

    narud Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    santa maria,california
    my lakland 5594 didnt exactly have the greatest construction. the neck pocket had a slight gap on the treble side. the fret ends also were all rounded over differently with some file chatter. also, i compared the control cavity on mine compared to the lakland reviewed in the jaco issue from 97 and mine looked like a birds nest. nothing that could be called a work of art. overall the construction on my mm sterling is a little better. is it just a case of a couple fluke instruments? maybe

    as for sadowsky, ill be getting the sadowsky 4 string i won on ebay for 1500 on thursday so ill soon be able to see how that stacks up.

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