Yet another comparison thread

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Dave Metts, Oct 28, 2001.

  1. Ok, I'm looking for a fairly simple comparison here:

    Which of these 3 basses cuts through the best (as all are known for their cutting ability)

    1.) USA Spector 5 or 6(neck-thru)
    2.) Zon Sonus Custom 5 or 6
    3.) Sadowsky 5 (24 fret)

    Also, how much are each going for (just ballpark figures) on both new and used markets?

    I love the tone of each of these 3 basses, but I'm really looking for cutting ability as well.


    Addition: one other thing....
    I noticed the Sonus Custom is only 34" scale. Is the B still good? Would it be smarter to go Sonus 5/2 instead? thanks again


    I've owned both a Zon Sonus Custom 5 and Sadowsky Vintage 5. Both fretted. Both made-to-order. IMHO, the Zon Custom model is the best of the Sonus versions.

    I prefer the Sadowsky for "cutting thru" the mix. So do my band mates... and by a large margin. I've owned Modulus, Warwick, Zon and Carvin within the last 4 years and the Sadowsky has the best tone of all the basses I have owned or played. YMMV...

    I have not found that a 34" vs. 35" scale makes any difference if the bass is designed correctly. Both my Zon and the Sadowsky have 34" scale where the Modulus had 35". The Sadowsky has a better (more articulate) "B" than either of them - and it has a one-piece maple neck. I think it's all in the design execution.

    I've seen Zon Sonus Custom 5s going for around $1500. Sadowskys at around $2200. I'm sure there are deals around.

    Nino can give you a great perspective on Spector and Sadowsky.

    Bottom line, all three are great basses. It really will come down to what you prefer.

    Good Luck!!
  3. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    My Sonus 5/1 is 35". I thought all Zon 5's were. And the 4's were 34".
  4. All three Zons I have owned (2 Sonus Customs, fretted and fretless and a Lightwave fretless) were all 34". All were 5 string.

  5. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    Wow, you really do learn something everyday.:)
  6. That is exactly what I expected to hear on the 34" vs. 35" scale issue. I know JT is a huge advocate of that viewpoint, and it seems to finally be gaining more acceptance across the board. At this point, I'm very interested in the Sadowsky and Zon (I've already got a Czech Spector, which people say is ALMOST as good as the US). How much do each go for brand new? I'm not talking about list or "retail," but how much do they normally sell for direct or from a store?

    Thanks again!
  7. Sadowsky basses do not have this artificicial "list" price that is designed to make you "think" you're getting a deal because NO ONE actually sells the instrument for that price. A 5 string will run around $3000 - $3500 US depending on options. IMHO, they are worth every penny.

    You can get a custom-made Zon Sonus Custom with a figured top and matching headstock for under $2500 US. Again, a great bass.

    Both Joe and Roger are great to work with although I've found Roger to be more responsive and more accurate with his time estimates.

  8. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    I've never hyad the pleasure to play a Zon bass because if I do, there will probably be a new thread in basses, "Went to lunch & bought a Zon." :p

    Spector's & Sadowsky's. I have both & they're both 34" scale & the B's on both KILL!!!!!! They both cut through EXTREMLY WELL!!!!!! They both sound great. I don't like one's sound over another.

    The thing is the Spector is kinda heavy. I love the countour of the body!!!!!I love the super quilt, I love the gold hardware. When I bought the Sadowsky, I kinda went in the opposite direction. No fancy figured top, black hardware, etc. It's a really tough choice!!!!!! Both basses will run you new @ about $3000. I've seen & sold Sadowsky 24 fret 5's in the $2000-2500 range used. I've seen Spector's sell for $1500-2000 used. Since you have an NS-5 CR, I'd personally go for the Sadowsky. But there is a nice Spector NS-5 XL on ebay for $1750 w/no reserve. <a href=""><b>CLICK HERE</b></a> to check it out. :)
  9. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    I checked Zon's site, and even though my Sonus 5/1 as well as the Sonus j/j basses are 35" scale, their other Sonus 5's (Customs, etc.) are 34" scale. I wonder why. Any ideas?:confused:
  10. Wow, with all of the differeing opinions this is going to be a tough one!

    I definitely welcome all of the info. This is going to be something I won't be doing for quite a while (gotta get my amp situation sorted out - some of you may have been following those threads in "Amps"), but I like to start my research early.

    Regarding the Sadowsky, which pickups are the better choice: Sadowsky's own or EMGs? Keep in mind I really have cutting power in mind (I know the tone would be great no matter what).

    Also, what are you opinions on the Ash vs. Alder Zons. Also, do the top woods make a significant contribution to the tone?

    I would love to be able to actually TRY these basses for myself, but there aren't many high-quality instrument to be found in this area.

    Thanks for being patient with my stream of ridiculous questions!
  11. I would call Roger to discuss the difference between the the 2 PU choices. He will definately provide you a thorough answer taking into consideration your specific needs. My fretted Sadowsky has single coil "J" Pups. I wanted that tone and it has worked well for every situation I've needed. The fretless I am having built will have EMGs based on Roger's recommendation regarding what i was searching for in a fretless design. Also, Roger probably has someone in your area that wouold let you check out their bass.

    Regarding the Zon question, I asked the same question of Joe when I ordered mine. Ash is brighter. Also according to Joe, the top does make a difference - although I think it is very subtle.

    I think you're asking great questions!

  12. My experience is the same as yours with fretless Zons. When I ordered my first Zon it was a fretless Custom (the one embellisher has now). I loved that bass! It wasn't too bright at all. Well, I wanted a fretted just like it! So, when I got it, I was surprised at how bright it was. I talked to Joe several times about it - I wanted it to sound more like the fretless. In the end after playing several models, I realized I just wasn't crazy about fretted Zons - just wasn't my thing. Very different than the fretless models. I ended up returning it to him and having him make a fretless Lightwave instead.

    Thinking I didn't need two fretless basses, I sold the Custom and kept the Lightwave. What can I say - I was wrong! ;) I DO need 2 fretless basses! (The fretless Sadowsky is due in November :))

  13. Actually, the fact that Jeff bought it made it easier. He's a great guy and the fact he was local made it even better. I know he takes great care of it. The LW is also a beautiful bass. There's pics of it on my bass album below.

    I'm really excited to get the fretless Sadowsky. It will be the first one Roger has ever built with a spalted maple top. He tells me it's beautiful... and I trust him :D

  14. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

  15. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    I saw the bodies before finishing & they're ABSOLULTY GEORGOUS!!!!!! If I wasen't in the hunt for a 4 stirng Sadowsky, the 2nd would be mine. It is INCREDIBLE LOOKING!!!!!!
  16. I emailed Roger to see about how much a 24 fret 5 with an ash body, flame maple top (dark green stain), and maple fretboard will run. Now I'm wondering if I should look into some other fretboard, like ebony (don't even know if Roger will do a fretted ebony board). Those Sadowsky basses look so deceptively simple, but it's just as hard to to spec one of these out as it is to spec out a complete custom!

    Do you know if Roger is making the second spalted maple bass fretless or fretted? I may be interested in it, though it's probably out of my price range.
  17. If you wanted the other spalted body, I would bet you could choose most if not all the additional options, including the neck. Call Roger.

    BTW, ebony boards are available...

  18. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Here's my theory and as usual I could be wrong...

    It is much easier to offer a 35" scale 5 string than try to convince people 35" is not absolutely neccesary:)

    My Legacy Standard fretless 5 is a 34", so is my 84 Tobias, so was my Surine 7, etc. They all have or had excellent B's.
  19. Oh my god.....Jeff.....

    I just emailed Roger to ask about the second spalted body, and he said it was accounted for. However, he said they'd probably do some more in the future. So it looks like I'll be saving for a while so I can afford one.

    Here's the real point of this post. He sent me some pictures of the two bodies. I'm glad I wear glasses, otherwise my eyes would have popped completely out of my head! :eek:

    These bodies are absolutely amazing! I'd love to have a Sadowsky with a maple fretboard, EMG 40Js (I believe these will be better for funky and heavy playing), and one of those spalted tops.

    I mean, WOW. You, sir, are a very lucky man.
  20. got the OK from Roger to post this....

    Check it out:

    Jeff is a VERY lucky man