workhorse (also: Sadowsky / Van Der End opinions)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by christoph h., Nov 26, 2005.

  1. christoph h.

    christoph h.

    Mar 26, 2001

    i'm looking into a reliable classic (5-string jazz-style) workhorse bass. classic versatile tone that cuts through - "plug & play" so to speak. i'm interested in a swamp ash body / morado (or rosewood) fingerboard combo.

    this seems to be found mostly with sadowskys. does it really have to be a nyc, though? the metro UV-70 seems to fit the bill nicely. i would get one with the VTC.

    also, i like "flat fingerboards", so what about the Sadowsky radius?

    another builder that i'm very interested in is andre van der end from the netherlands.

    i guess that on a mostly american/uk board not many people have played a dutch "van der end" bass AND a sadowsky.
    if there is somebody though, could you explain some of the differences? feel, sound? maybe even design/build philosophy.

    thanks for any input...
  2. IMO the first thing you need to do is decide if you want a 60's style instrument... smaller body, 60's pickup placement (for example, the Sadowsky Vintage or standard) or a 70's style instrument... larger, heavy ash body, 70's pickup placement (for example, the Sadowsky Metro Ultra Vintage or the Celinder Update).

    It's hard IMO to find a really flat board on a J style bass... The Sadowsky 5's have a 12" radius... not flat but in the ballpark IMO. Chris Celinder will build any radius you want in either a 60's style (Classic and Vintage models) or 70's style instrument (Update model). Since you are over in the EMEA, his prices might be pretty good. I would highly recommend his instruments.

    If I was looking for a 60's style J, the Sadowsky Vintage Metro's with optional Vintage tone control is great, although you have to choose either maple board/ash or RW/Alder. The RW/Alder combo still has plenty of sizzle on the top end... so no worries there.

    If you are looking for a 70's style J, the Celinder Update is just simply amazing... totally nails that vibe.
  3. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    The Metro UV 70's are available in an Ash/Morado combo with the 70's pickup placement and block inlays on the neck. Although I'll second what KJung said, the R/V or M/V Metros have plenty of "sizzle" especially with stainless strings. In fact to most perspective Sadowsky customers I recommend the VTC to tame the sizzle. I also second Ken's comments about the Cellinder, in fact I'd love to do a shoot out between a UV70 Sadowosky and the Cellinder. KJungs Cellinder (I've played several times) is beautiful and certainly nails that "aggressive 70s" Marcus vibe. And being in Europe I doubt you'll have the service issues that some in the states have had with Celinder.
  4. Matt Power

    Matt Power Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2000
    Magnolia, TX
    You've GOT to play one of Benavente's Jazz-style basses he makes for Brian Barrett at The Low End....simply amazing. A very flat radius on the board, play and sound fantastic, and are quite inexpensive....check 'em out!
  5. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    Christoph, you should really find a Celinder to try. I'd take a Celinder over any other jazz style bass myself.

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    Sounds like an Ultra Vintage Metro 5 string with Ash/Rosewood would work for you plus you can get some sweet blocks and binding on it as well ! :bassist:
  7. christoph h.

    christoph h.

    Mar 26, 2001
    Well, which one will be more versatile? I actually like some aggressiveness, so I'm favouring the 70's PU placements...
    what are the trade-offs?

    I didn't actually mean a "no radius"-fretboard, so "in the ballpark" would be ok. But I've played some "real" Fenders, and their necks/fingerboards are too round & massive for me.

    I looked into Celinder, but I didn't like the bad reputation of their customer service.

    burk, if I get a Sadowsky, I'll definitely get one with the VTC. Is the ash on the UV-70 swamp ash or heavy (northern/hard) ash?

    I'd like to, but since I'm in Europe/Germany, finding one is out of the question, especially just for trying it.

    Another question - do you really think that this famous "sitting in the mix"-quality is exclusive to Sadowskys?

    thanks for you help!

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    The Sadowsky 5 string necks are pretty wide and flat :hyper:

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

  10. Trade-offs in the 70's pickup placement are IMO that you get serious slap sound at the expense of some mid punch fingerstyle with the 60's placement.

    Regarding Celinder customer service, I've read that on TB, but never from anyone who has owned a Celinder :eek: ... so unless you have some experience from an unhappy Celinder owner, I'd be careful basing a decision on that. Chris is definitely not an Email guy, though... and will not 'chit chat' with owners like some other luthier's. That's maybe where this is coming from. In my case, I have no doubt that if I had any trouble with mine, I could send it back to Austin Bass Traders and it would be taken care of. Being much closer as you are, I would think this would be a non-issue.

    Regarding 'sitting in the mix' as something unique to Sadowsky.... absolutely not. Sadowsky's are great, as are IMO any good J Bass type bass.

    Regarding the neck, the Sadowsky's are quite wide at the bridge... I think full .19 spacing... Celinders are .18... at the bridge and also narrower at the nut than the Sadowsky... however, both play great.

    Finally, looking at the weights on the Sadowsky UV Metro's... they seem to come in at a little over 9 pounds. I'd call that moderate weight Ash. My Celinder is about 10.5 pounds.. so about a pound of difference.... shouldn't be a big deal. If you really are going for the 70's vibe and you decide on the UV Metro, I would go for one of the heavier side to really cop the late 70's J Bass thing.
  11. christoph h.

    christoph h.

    Mar 26, 2001
    Major Metal, that are some beautiful basses!

    KJung (Ken?), very helpful, thanks! So seeing that in most gigs slapping isn't the main part of playing :), do you think the 60's PU would be more generally useful? Also, how big is the difference after all? You hear it all the time, but people can get kind of "esoteric" on Talkbass...

    By the way, I chose the Morado fingerboard to counter some of the swamp ash "Marcus mid scoop"...

    Regarding the "in the mix" quality - as I understand it it's more a quality of the old school Leo Fender designs than their incarnation in the form of Sadowskys?
  12. Most non-slappers that I know prefer the 60's pickup position. There is definately a 'hearable' difference between a 60's style J Bass versus a 70's style... having to do not only with the pickup placement but the larger, typically heavier body, and the fact that most 70's style basses are ash with maple board.
  13. Personally, I think this might be your ticket right here:

    THAT is one sweet ride! I almost bought it myself but went for a Transparent White MV5 from them instead.

    Weight on that one is a bit over 9lbs so it is on the lighter side for Metros and it definitely looks classy. Give John a call at Music Emporium and ask him about it. Great guy and great service. I have bought a few things from them and never had a problem.
    Good luck and hope you find what you are looking for,


  14. Mr_Dave


    Mar 11, 2005
    Melbourne, Australia
    Employee - Basscentre Melbourne

    i have an ultra vintage metro 4 string. maple/ash

    i love the slap sounds, but i have been feeling that i wish i could have the pickups in the standard jazz positions when i'm playing on the bridge pickup. it is quiet middy and a little thin, but hey thats what i expected and how my orginal 75 fender jazz was... however fingerstyle with both pickups is great...

    i prefered to have single coils put in my bass to counteract the scoop a little and have a little more growl.
  15. I was a real celinder owner who had issues with the "customer service", if you look at the celinder megathread you'll see the story, or you can pm me. They are amazing basses, beautiful tone and playabilty. I was ready to buy another one, it didn't work out that way though.
  16. Just read your post on the megathread. Wow, that's totally uncool and very disturbing. Thanks for the post.
  17. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    Yes indeed, that's a bass I could live with.

  18. Yeah, it really sucks cause I really loved that bass.
  19. christoph h.

    christoph h.

    Mar 26, 2001
    ogyen, that is a pretty terrible story. Living in Europe doesn't really help me: As long as Celinder is in another country, things can get complicated.

    That is actually one thing that draws me to Van der End - he's about 2h away and has a great reputation. (BTW, no dutch bassplayers here wo could comment on them?)

    tommix - that's my favorite Metro design (together with the Geddy look). A German dealer has one just like that. I'll have to do some calculations. Depending on the price I get importing it myself may be an option. But why did you get a 60's style Jazz over the UV-70?

    Do any of you have some comments on Mr Dave's experience? Is the fingerstyle sound of the 70s PU placement that much weaker?
  20. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    I went out today and played some Fender American stuff. I have bad luck with these things, I think, but it seemed like many had neck issues. It was the same 10 years ago when I worked at a dealer.

    My main problem with most jazzes is that the neck profile is too deep compared to the boutique basses I own. Also, the neck radius is too high (if you're used to boutique). The LowEnd neck feels just like one of my boutique necks. Sets up super, super low as well.