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"Sadowsky" Metro Express Basses


Crawford13

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Just now, lonestar said:

The one I tried was very light, possibly lighter than my 4 string US Jazz. I’d quite like one of these now and will probably buy one when funds allow

 

Excellent stuff thanks.

 

I fractured my left clavicle earlier in the year and while it's normally fine I can feel it after a 3hr rehearsal playing my Sire which is 11.5lbs, my backup bass (a Cort C5P) is 8.6lbs and I can play that all day. Will be starting more physio soon but I've had me eye on a lighter active J 5er for a while.

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So here's the review I wrote for De Bassist (please excuse any errors or Americanisms, I translated it pretty quickly):

 

Sadowsky is a big and most of all expensive name in the bass world. American master luthier Roger Sadowsky has been building amazing basses (mainly Jazz-like models) in his workshop since the 1980s. To make the brand more available for people without deep pockets, a few years ago the Metro range was introduced, which was produced in Japan. In 2020 Sadowsky started to work with the German brand Warwick: since then Warwick has been building the MetroLine in Germany, and an even more affordable line of basses was introdced: the MetroExpress. These basses are being built in China under supervision of Warwick and according to instructions by the master himself. For under 1000 euros you can be the owner of a “real” Sadowsky: are they worth the money and can you be convinced in the already pretty full world of Jazz Basses?

 

Sadowsky styling

If you look at the MetroExpress you immediately see the real Sadowsky shape. The slim body, straight cut retboard and the shape of the headstock tell you immediately from which family these basses are from. The bass I have here is “sage green”, a metallica kind of froggish green which I, especially combined with the maple fretboard, find very charming.

 

The slim body has to big advantages: the playability is absolutely excellent and the weight is very low. This low weight is also caused by the body wood: Warwick uses okume wood for the MetroExpress series, a wood that resembles mahogany but is a lot lighter. On Warwick’s web page they say their basses are always under 9.5 lbs and this bass absolutely fulfills that criterium – in fact, I think it’s well under 9 lbs and that’s very important to many bass players. It’s pretty difficult to find a good five string Jazz that sounds great ánd has a solid B string. I’ll get back to that sound in a bit, but this bass certainly is light.

 

The technical stuff

Fortunately you can find knobs on this MetroExpress that you can also find on a regular Sadowsky: volume, balance, active bass and treble (boost only) and the treble knob is a push-pull with which you can switch to passive mode, where it’s good to know that in passive mode you have no passive tone control. It’s all very intuitive, except for one thing: the balance knob is, as on many Sadowskys, reversed. If you turn it clockwise and expect to hear your neck pickup you’re gonna be surprised: it switches to its bridge pickup. Pretty unpractial, but not the end of the world and playing this bass for an hour or so is enough to get used to it. Other than that, the hardware, finish and overall construction are pretty much impeccable and there’s no way to immediately see you’re playing a sub-€1000 bass.

 

Feel and sound

It seems pretty easy to build a good Jazz-like bass, considering the enormous amount of brands that have one in their model range. However, it’s pretty difficult to design one that has a sound of its own, its own place in the big market. A bass you buy because it’s this particular bass, not because you just need “a” good Jazz-ish bass. I can’t really determine what it is about this Sadowsky, but I get that particular feeling. I’ve played and owned dozens of Jazz-like basses over the last decades and this one has, like a good Jazz Bass should, something special and unique.

 

I’m not a huge fan of preamps in basses, especially when they lack subtility. The MetroExpress, however, is subtle. You have lots of control over the amount of bass you add, without immediately ripping your trouser legs apart. The same thing goes for the treble knob, but this bass is pretty clear of its own so I couldn’t add much more treble without the sound getting a bit too harsh for me.

 

So, should you buy this bass?

If you get a compliment about your sound from the rest of the band, you know there’s something seriously good about your bass. I took this bass to a gig and everybody was surprised about how good this bass sounds. It sounds great through an amp, but also through the PA and my in-ear monitoring, without getting too treble-ish (something that happens a lot with bass when playing on in-ear monitors). 

Closer investigation on the internet tells me that the first batches of the MetroExpress basses had some initial problems with setup and buzzing electronics, but none of that is an issue on this bass. The MetroExpress is an amazingly well built bass and if you’re looking for a good Jazz for under €1000 it’s definitely worth checking out these instruments. A simple preamp, good sound, comfortable weight, amazing B-string and excellent setup make the MetroExpress a serious contender in this market.

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Lovely looking basses though think I would want that sage green with a tort pickguard and the morado/pau ferro board option. 
 

I found the back to front pickup blend on the Sadowsky preamp on my Valenti really illogical. Just couldn’t re-train my brain, no matter how much I tried, so changed it to what I know. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Mine arrived today from Thomann.

Out of the box it was very nice, after a quick set up (allen keys and truss-rod bar included), it was lovely. Will probably replace those strings with a set of Fat Beams though.

 

I second the very helpful review from @BassAgent above. Thank you for your encouragement to go ahead with this.

It plays well, no sharp frets,well finished and crucially no noise ! Thepickups and preamp are really quiet on all settings, in fact it was quieter than the one that I tried in Guitarguitar recently, so possibly a newer one.  He told there's was a later model and they all sound like that. Hmmm!

Slight negatives are the hardware does have a bit of a "Far Eastern" feel, (well it is) and there is a big drop in gain from active to passive. To be expected I suppose, however I can't see me using passive much unless the battery dies.

 

Rehearsal tonight so I'll give it a proper test.

 

 

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23 minutes ago, lemmywinks said:

Gigbag looks decent as well.

 

You would think they'd leave a nice blank space on the headstock and ship out decals to customers from a distributor's address separately, like the old Warmoth stick on logos or something like that.

I wonder if one emailed Roger, you could source such an item?

 

That looks very nice @lonestar, certainly looks how they should’ve been released from the get go. How’s the weight?

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53 minutes ago, lemmywinks said:

Gigbag looks decent as well.

 

You would think they'd leave a nice blank space on the headstock and ship out decals to customers from a distributor's address separately, like the old Warmoth stick on logos or something like that.

Yes I thought about getting a water slide Sadowsky logo but annoyingly the Tesco Express badge is in the way.

The gig bag is alright but I probably wouldn’t spend £80-90 on it which I think they are as a standalone. 
It came with Allen keys and a little bar thingy for the truss rod adjuster, plus it’s fitted with set of Sadowsky strap locks, although these are a bit bigger than Shallers I use, so changed both bits over as included in the bag.

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Quote

I second the very helpful review from @BassAgent above. Thank you for your encouragement to go ahead with this.

 

You're very welcome!

Quote

 

Slight negatives are the hardware does have a bit of a "Far Eastern" feel, (well it is) and there is a big drop in gain from active to passive. To be expected I suppose, however I can't see me using passive much unless the battery dies.

 

I noticed that as well but my plan is (as on my Blade bass which is boost only as well) to turn all the preamp knobs all the way down and just use it as little additions to the neutral sound. Makes it easier to switch between the Sadowsky basses and my other, passive Jazzes.

Edited by BassAgent
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I played this last night for a couple of hours at a band rehearsal and was very pleased with it. That preamp is quite hot but really nice sounding and controllable once you get the hang of it. Nice even tone across the strings and punches well in a band mix.

I did find some slightly rough fret ends when sliding up the neck so I’ll get busy with a fret file on those when I change the rather crappy supplied strings  at the weekend.

Edited by lonestar
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1 minute ago, Black Coffee said:


yeah, the metro express line.

 

Sadowsky is clearly quality, but £725 price mark for a sadowsky ?

 

ive no chance of a play on one anywhere, just wonder if anyone else has?

luckly a helpful mod has merged your question into a thread all about what you're asking about! :D

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4 hours ago, Black Coffee said:

I will apologise first if this has already been discussed 

.

 

The Sadowsky metro basses.  Are they too good to be true at that price ?

 

And eh….that headstock ……. looks like a fisher price toy 

 

They are Warwick basses made in China with no Sadowsky parts or input. When comparing with other Far East basses they might be considered a truffle expensive.

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