Aladji Touré CD Release

Although the bass has found an important place throughout Africa, there is no country as bass-crazy as Cameroon. In Cameroonian music, the bass is practically the soloist, playing blazing-fast counterpoint to the guitars and vocals. Thanks to a longstanding tradition of bass playing in the country, there is a seemingly endless number of virtuosic young bass talents today working out of Paris, especially in the realm of jazz-fusion.

Along with Vicky Edimo and Jean Dikoto-Mandengue, Aladji Toure was one of the founders of this tradition. In the 1980s, he established himself in Paris as one of the top makossa producer/arrangers, directing projects of stars Dina Bell, Guy Lobé, Ben Decca, Moni Bile – the stars of the genre. Behind every one of them was the indomitable Toure bass. Aladji remains active in the Cameroonian music scene, and released the solo album New Face in 2009.  The album will be released in Europe in November 2010.

Thanks, Russell

A big “thanks” to Russell Malone for including his LS-17 on the cover of his new CD, Triple Play.

Available November 2 on Amazon:

Thanks, Tom!

A big “Thank You” to Tom Hamilton of Aerosmith for including his Sadowsky bass in the new GK ad!
From Sadowsky Guitars

This Letter Made My Day!

I know you get emails like this all the time, and though I have no celebrity to add to your wall, I still feel compelled.

Bass #5625 is one of the finest electric guitars I have ever laid my hands on, and I have laid my hands on many more than my share. My two Sadowsky 6-string guitars (one S and one T) are pretty damned deluxe in their own right, but this bass just defines a whole other category. It is light as a feather and every aspect of it large and small is perfect, from the tone to the appearance. I naively whipped out my little phillips screwdriver when I first opened the bag, figuring I’d have to tweak saddles around to get the intonation my fancy meter demands. Nope, no need…perfect, like everything else. (I never found out if the saddle screws really are phillips.) The neck is so playable it plays itself. Feels like part of my hand. The wide nut-spacing is perfect. The resonance is…”shocking”, I think is a suitable word. The bout dimensions are brilliant. Active or passive each choice is perfect for different situations. Did I mention the neck? I would vote for it for President.

Sorry to go on like a teenage girl, which I am far from. But this masterwork of contemporary luthier’s art deserves a Public Display of Affection. I mean, once you play it for ten minutes, it really does sink in how even the top-of-the-line Fenders, some costing twice or 3x as much, look, feel and sound like happy-meal prizes compared to a Sadowsky…when their necks aren’t leaning way over. During those then minutes, the $4k price tag on this axe went from a guilty pleasure that I had to persuade myself was just barely affordable, to looking like a Costco front-table fire-sale bargain.

Blah, blah, I know. But I need to pay tribute to the artists who put this precious instrument together. I don’t want to make their heads any bigger, I’m sure their asses have been smooched by some of the best musicians on the planet. But in this case it would simply be wrong not to say thanks. Please convey them to all involved.

Thanks again.

–Ken Sarno


If I were asked “What was the special moment when you felt you had achieved all you had aspired to in your profession”, the following photo would be it:

This photo was taken at Madison Square Garden in 1987 or 1988. At the end of the Graceland tour, Paul did a benefit concert for his Children’s Health Fund. There were many guest artists and the show ended with Bruce Springsteen. Here they are, both playing Sadowsky guitars. The entire Graceland project was special for me. I remember being at Paul’s apartment in the early 80’s to appraise some guitars for him and he had me listen to some basic rhythm tracks from South Africa that he was composing to. By the time of Paul Simon’s 1991 Concert in Central Park, I had 8 instruments on stage between Paul, Ray Phirri, John Selowane and Armand SabalLecco.

You never know where things are going to take you in life. I remember having my first sushi meal at Lenge Japanese restaurant on 68th and Columbus in 1979. Paul and his brother came in and sat at the next table. I did not intrude, but I do remember thinking to myself that “one day I will be working on his guitars”. Two years later I was summoned by Phil Ramone to the Palladium theater on 14th Street where Simon and Garfunkel were rehearsing for their reunion Concert in Central Park. I ended up taking a couple of Paul’s guitars to my shop for some work and thus began a long relationship.

I have always considered it an honor and a privilege to work for Paul and he has always been one of my favorite musicians.