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I had Sadowsky GAS 😳 (formerly “I’ve got...”)

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Re: Sadowskys sounding better 'in the mix' than compared to bedroom levels. 

I am trying to get my head around this idea, as I do think that there is maybe something to it, but just barely, and even then I only think that it applies to a specific scenario. Apologies for the lengthy post to follow...

I love my Fender Precision. It is old, passive and barely works. See the picture a few posts above and you will see that scratch plate is cut into two. This was done by the previous owner to provide for easy access to the jack input wiring (which was shocking when I got it circa 1999)...I managed to fix it when I was 15 by re-soldering it with the help of my brother... The neck lacquer is also coming loose and flakes off when I play it. The bridge is, at best, operational. The pickups are fairly low output and deliver a lovely mellow tone when I playing on headphones or through a practice amp. I love this sound.

Playing live, I find it tricky to replicate the bedroom tone of the Fender at gigging levels, at least in a manner that can cut through on stage. I can, but it requires judicious use of amp or preamp pedal EQ and some compression to make up for some of the deadspots or unevenness of the output (which occurs no matter how I set up the bass, it just a characteristic of the bass). However, the EQ has to be set up for each rehearsal room and/or gig. It just takes time. Sometimes at a gig I don't really have time. If I am using the amp EQ, then if the sound engineer runs a DI box then I am back to relying on what the hell the sound engineer does with my basic signal. 

In comparison, with the Sadowsky, I can pretty much dial in a big hefty, aggressive tone by adding a touch of bass and treble EQ on the bass and running my Mesa Walkabout with pretty much everything at 12 o'clock. No dead spots or overly muddy notes. Just a really powerful, clear tone, even at moderate to high volume levels (subject to the lack of natural headroom on my chosen amp). My set up generally takes about two minutes. Does the Sadowsky have that lovely vintage thump of my Precision when I get the sounded sorted? No, but it is a great tone that I can pretty much use for every scenario. If the sound engineer wants to take use a DI box then that is fine as my basic tone signal is set up from the bass itself. It is also much lighter than the Precision. 

I think that the Sadowskys sounding great 'on the gig' statements might stem from Talkbass members in the early 2000s who were ditching their old passive Fenders that I assume suffered similar issues as mine. Accordingly, I don't take it too seriously. It is mostly a myth. Had I chosen to replace my Precision with a Spector Euro, then the Spector Euro would have provided me with the same benefits of the Sadowsky Metro but I can't say I have ever seen statements like 'Spectors are more for gigging not for bedroom players'. 

I tried out basses for 3-4 years before I settled on the Sadowsky. Sandberg, Lakland, Overwater, Spector, Musicman, Rickenbacker, vintage Fenders. All great basses (well, a couple of the vintage Fenders not so much) but the right bass for me was the Sadowsky. It is personal though, I would imagine that any number of basschatters would have chosen a completely different bass from the one I ended up choosing at the end of the process. 

In terms of the other Sadowsky bonus of 'how well it sits in the mix', from gigging and recording with the Metro for years I would just say that it really depends on who is mixing it! 

Edited by thodrik
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59 minutes ago, thodrik said:

 

In terms of the other Sadowsky bonus of 'how well it sits in the mix', from gigging and recording with the Metro for years I would just say that it really depends on who is mixing it! 

It also depends entirely on what you’re trying to achieve with the mix and what every other instrument sounds like. And of course, what sound you’re after for the instrument. 

In addition, it’s not that long ago I was talking to a friend who’s a highly respected luthier who told me they had a client who had bought a Sadowsky and was struggling to get it to work in context. So, as always, take absolutes with a pinch of salt.

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Apologies all... I started a post and then disappeared... lots going on this weekend. 

So just putting this in context I’m not a bedroom bassist by any means.  

I have always wanted a sadowsky. I played one in a shop a long time ago and loved the tone. I’ve had quite a few basses in my time, some much better than my capabilities but I’m fortunate enough to have played them and moved them on. Warwicks, Laklands (joe Osborn and skyline) Mike Lull, Fenders......

I don’t get on with P basses. I have a lovely Jazz, a gorgeous shuker (with lane poor) and a status that is currently my go to gigging bass. 

I recently tried some yammys and currently have a nice PJ Bb1100s which I use at home. I like the pj config. I considered having a shuker pj made but my Sadowsky itch needs scratching. 

I was after your thoughts, good and bad ! 😃

Edited by bassfan
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I own a Sadowsky MV4, and have had Sadowsky preamps put into two Dingwall Supers (a J5 and a P5). All these basses sound very good at bedroom levels. However, they sound absolutely superb in a band context - clear and precise, but still with plenty of warmth and punch.

I liked them enough that I also bought a Preamp DI which lived on my board for years, only being displaced by a Noble Preamp a couple years ago. If you already have a passive bass you like, a Sadowsky Preamp DI is a very inexpensive way to get the Sadowsky active sound (footswitchable) and it’s also a very good DI with a tuner mute.

The EQ points and curves just seem to work extremely well for getting the bass sound you want without getting in the way of everyone else even in a dense mix. 

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@thodrik and @therealting - really helpful couple of posts thanks.

Picking up on the last comment about the Sadowsky preamp DI, I did separately suggest to the OP that might be a very good / relatively inexpensive way to work out whether the Sadowsky tone would still be for him; however we weren't sure how close it would get to the real thing? Seems, from your comment, that the pedal preamp comes pretty close in terms of providing a "bottled" Sadowsky sound?

If you were to try to put into words what that "Sadowsky sound" is, how would you describe it?

Edited by Al Krow

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The Sadowsky preamp was originally designed by Alex Aguilar so knowing him it’s likely a bass boost at 40Hz and a treble boost at 4kHz. I’m not sure if there’s much difference between the OBP-1 and the Sadowsky pre which on paper appear to be similar.  One cool feature on Sadowsky basses is the passive tone which can still be used in active mode. Great feature to have even if it might sound counter intuitive. 

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14 minutes ago, krispn said:

The Sadowsky preamp was originally designed by Alex Aguilar so knowing him it’s likely a bass boost at 40Hz and a treble boost at 4kHz. I’m not sure if there’s much difference between the OBP-1 and the Sadowsky pre which on paper appear to be similar.  One cool feature on Sadowsky basses is the passive tone which can still be used in active mode. Great feature to have even if it might sound counter intuitive. 

Pretty much, I'm sure that that Roger Sadowsky will say that it was slightly tweaked to his desired specification. 

Anyhoo, there is a short video about of Roger Sadowsky himself explaining the preamp. Tut tut, it is boost only and produces the bass forum 'no no' of a 'mid cut' which can only be cured by umm, adding some mids back in your amp EQ.

Seriously though, the voicing of the preamp is not going to be for everybody. Even Sadowsky endorsee Will Lee eventually got his own model which featured a 'mids boost' feature to the EQ. Personally, I love the two band preamp and feel that the voicing of bass naturally produces quite a lot of mids anyway. There are certainly more sophisticated more modern preamps (for example the Vigier Arpege has a separate three band EQ for each pickup), but the Sadowsky preamp is certainly a classic which has stayed pretty much unchanged for a couple of decades now.
 

 

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Kinda slightly amused after all the chat about HPF being applied from 80 Hz to tighten up the low end and why bass is all about musical mids etc etc. that the Sad pre is providing a clearly much liked boost at 40 Hz.

Folk may start to get a taste for a meaty low end at this rate... 

As you say @thodrik tut tut! 😂 

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I had the Sad preamp DI for a year or so. I gigged it loads. I thought it was ‘meh’ and over hyped. It seems very limited and doing nothing a lot of other EQ boxes Or amps can do. I guess if you like the freq points they it will work but to me it was missing a few things.

As a bass’s tone comes from a mix of wood and pups etc I can’t see what this brings to the table if you are looking for a Sadowsky tone.

Its not a bad DI by any means, and does what it says on the box, but I never heard any magic coming from it like I had been lead to believe.

 

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@Al Krow IMO the Sadowsky pre gets you a hefty chunk of the way towards the Sadowsky sound. The rest of the bass is fundamentally just a (very nicely) tweaked Fender. I’ve plugged all sorts of basses in including my two pre-CBS Precisions and the pedal adds that extra polish to them that I really like. M

Roger is very open about it being an Alex Aguilar design. I think the Aggie pres have a wider sweep, but similar EQ frequency points. I do not find the lack of mid control a problem.

Someone earlier said that they were unlikely to try a Sadowsky at a gig because they didn’t like how it sounded at home. To me this is like not wanting to try a Ferrari out on track because you don’t like trying to park it at a supermarket 😂

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4 minutes ago, dave_bass5 said:

I had the Sad preamp DI for a year or so. I gigged it loads. I thought it was ‘meh’ and over hyped. It seems very limited and doing nothing a lot of other EQ boxes Or amps can do. I guess if you like the freq points they it will work but to me it was missing a few things.

I think a lot depends on what you like out of a bass sound, it’s certainly a lot cleaner sounding than - say - a Tone Hammer or a Darkglass. Tone is so subjective, for instance although I am a Dingwall player I can’t stand that grating bass sound that lots of NG2/3 players seem to want to replicate. 

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10 minutes ago, therealting said:

I think a lot depends on what you like out of a bass sound, it’s certainly a lot cleaner sounding than - say - a Tone Hammer or a Darkglass. Tone is so subjective, for instance although I am a Dingwall player I can’t stand that grating bass sound that lots of NG2/3 players seem to want to replicate. 

Oh I agree. To my ears it was very transparent. My point is it just seems like a very limited EQ. Having never played a Sad I can’t comment on how close it can get you but I’d be very surprised if it did anything even close to that on its own.

 

 

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1 minute ago, dave_bass5 said:

Oh I agree. To my ears it was very transparent. My point is it just seems like a very limited EQ. Having never played a Sad I can’t comment on how close it can get you but I’d be very surprised if it did anything even close to that on its own.

 

 

For me, the Sadowsky pre-amp is a great 'on the bass' pre-amp to get a good/great basic bass tone which is then sent your pedals/amp/board for additional sound shaping.  If I was running in-ears at a gig or really needed to get a specific EQ sound (for example a really mid-heavy tone) I would probably want to run my signal into another EQ. For that reason, I can totally why someone could try the Sadowsky EQ pedal and not be totally satisfied.  

The Sadowsky Preamp pedal was initially designed to allow players to use the Sadowsky pre-amp with vintage Fenders without Sadowsky having to mod the bass (and thus devalue it) by installing the active EQ in the bass. So from the very start I don't think it was designed to be a really sophisticated pre-amp with lots of tweaking and soundshaping possibilities. As a standalone pre-amp pedal it is fairly limited compared to an Aguilar Tone Hammer, EBS Microbass, Radial Bassbone. Darkglass (insert whatever) Ultra edition or any other modern ultra flexible pre amp design.

 

 

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40 minutes ago, dave_bass5 said:

I had the Sad preamp DI for a year or so. I gigged it loads. I thought it was ‘meh’ and over hyped. It seems very limited and doing nothing a lot of other EQ boxes Or amps can do. I guess if you like the freq points they it will work but to me it was missing a few things.

As a bass’s tone comes from a mix of wood and pups etc I can’t see what this brings to the table if you are looking for a Sadowsky tone.

Its not a bad DI by any means, and does what it says on the box, but I never heard any magic coming from it like I had been lead to believe.

 

This - a Sadowsky sounds like a Sadowsky with the preamp flat, the pre amp is just an EQ like any other. Plugging a thunderbird into a Sadowsky preamp will give you a thunderbird sound with some bass and treble controls.

IMO a great bass sounds great with the pre bypassed, then it’s there for fine adjustment. 

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48 minutes ago, therealting said:

Someone earlier said that they were unlikely to try a Sadowsky at a gig because they didn’t like how it sounded at home. To me this is like not wanting to try a Ferrari out on track because you don’t like trying to park it at a supermarket 😂

Believe me parking a Ferrari at any of my local Tescos and expecting it to still be there when you return with your chicken nuggets, demonstrates a very optimistic world view...

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GAS not cured. 😂

I don’t think the pre amp pedal is for me. I tend to agree with @dave_bass5 its as much about the woods used, pups etc. The general Sadowky experience. I have a fantastic amp (thanks @thodrik 👍🏻👍🏻) that gives me the right amount  of eq fiddling I can deal with. 

Back to the basses.... is anyone using a PJ currently? Or has one? 

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3 hours ago, therealting said:

@Al Krow

Someone earlier said that they were unlikely to try a Sadowsky at a gig because they didn’t like how it sounded at home. To me this is like not wanting to try a Ferrari out on track because you don’t like trying to park it at a supermarket 😂

That’s actually not what I said at all; I’ve never played one at home. 😉But I have a very specific tone that I use and response that I require and a Sadowsky doesn’t do it. I’ve played enough basses over 40 years (literally thousands) to have a good idea how a tone translates to live. If you don’t then maybe you simply haven’t played enough basses. 😉

FWIW I  don’t like Jazzes (super or original). I also don’t like Aguilar gear either, interestingly. Don’t like Spectors either and I’ve gigged those. They certainly cut through, but the sound they produce isn’t one I like. It’s not just about cutting through, it’s about the character of the instrument’s sound, especially when in context. I may be able to get a sound out of a Sad that you would think was great, but that doesn’t mean I’d like it. 

 

Edited by 4000
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@4000 Apologies for the poor paraphrase! That’s all fair enough. I’ve found that I tend not to favour the Jazz tone too much, in general a good P tone tends to do the trick for me. 

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Just now, CamdenRob said:

Got Sadowsky GAS now... 😕

Whats the deal? Order direct or through a dealer? Build time etc?

For an NYC just contact them directly and then they will take you through matters and discuss timescale for the build, basic design etc.

I think Bass Direct are now a dealer for NYC basses and you can put an order through them. I don’t know if that makes it cheaper/more expensive than ordering direct. 

In terms of build time for an NYC it is 10-12 months as per their website. 

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Wow, that got out of hand! It’s something I’ve experienced when playing other people’s Sadowsky’s both in a band, and not in a band context and at various levels. I also love hearing other people playing Sadowsky’s in a band. But when it’s just me playing one I don’t hear any character. Yes the pre gives you lots of options but they have never delivered a sense of occasion. I had a Sire for a couple of years and that had tonnes of character. When I’m playing at home, whether through headphones or an amp I really want to be inspired by the sound of the bass and for me Sadowsky’s don’t do that.

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13 minutes ago, OliverBlackman said:

Wow, that got out of hand! It’s something I’ve experienced when playing other people’s Sadowsky’s both in a band, and not in a band context and at various levels. I also love hearing other people playing Sadowsky’s in a band. But when it’s just me playing one I don’t hear any character. Yes the pre gives you lots of options but they have never delivered a sense of occasion. I had a Sire for a couple of years and that had tonnes of character. When I’m playing at home, whether through headphones or an amp I really want to be inspired by the sound of the bass and for me Sadowsky’s don’t do that.

I'd like to say "damning with faint praise". But phrases such as "I don't hear any character" and "doesn't inspire" suggests "damning" would be closer to the mark!

This thread has been a bit of an eye opener for me. I was genuinely expecting Sadowskys to get a uniformly gushing fanboy response, but it's been a lot more marmite than I'd guessed it would be!

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4 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

This thread has been a bit of an eye opener for me. I was genuinely expecting Sadowskys to get a uniformly gushing fanboy response, but it's been a lot more marmite than I'd guessed it would be!

A very emotive subject obviously! 

I happen to like marmite 😃

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18 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

I'd like to say "damning with faint praise". But phrases such as "I don't hear any character" and "doesn't inspire" suggests "damning" would be closer to the mark!

This thread has been a bit of an eye opener for me. I was genuinely expecting Sadowskys to get a uniformly gushing fanboy response, but it's been a lot more marmite than I'd guessed it would be!

It is one of the things I like about this forum. People are actually free to give negative opinions or reviews on pieces of gear, rather than being hidden away in separate 'club' forums where everyone gets a club number and any negative comments are treated with banning orders or even worse passive aggressive posts featuring RANDOM BLOCK CAPITAL LETTERS.

I was thinking that the slightly more critical opinion towards Sadowsky here might be a reaction to the near universal praise the basses get on other forums, to the point that reading gushing praise for months (even years) can lead to expectations of how good the basses getting so high that by the time you get to try a bass there is a bit of 'is that it?' vibe and the player can walk away a bit unimpressed. I had a bit of that when I tried an Overwater and a Wal for the first time. I thought I was going to be playing the most amazing bass ever but I walked away thinking 'meh'. They were great basses without doubt, but they did absolutely nothing for me. 

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8 hours ago, Al Krow said:

I'd like to say "damning with faint praise". But phrases such as "I don't hear any character" and "doesn't inspire" suggests "damning" would be closer to the mark!

This thread has been a bit of an eye opener for me. I was genuinely expecting Sadowskys to get a uniformly gushing fanboy response, but it's been a lot more marmite than I'd guessed it would be!

Like I said though, amazing in a band situation. When I was playing regularly I had terrible GAS for one but now my situation has changed and I look for other things in a bass (Ken Smith 👀). 

Also on the plus for Sadowsky the playability has been amazing on all the ones I’ve tried. It must be really easy to setup and I think attention to detail of fretwork probably helps. Again something that we’re all very grateful for when playing 2 hours + a gig but not necessarily essential when noodling.

 

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