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1  Sadowsky Basses / Sadowsky Basses / Re: What Does a Sadowsky Bass Sound Like? on: May 17, 2013, 03:02:20 PM
Jeffrey Wash on a Sadowsky M5-24 fretless. Killer tone, killer groove, killer bass. did I say 'killer' enough times?:

I've been away from the online forums for awhile, just logged on last night and saw that this video of me with Bruce Kaphan's quartet had been shared here.  Fran, thanks so much for posting and for your compliments.  There are some very nice clips on this thread!
2  Sadowsky Basses / Sadowsky Basses / Instruments improving with age - truth or myth? on: November 03, 2011, 03:55:42 AM
Here's another question that I could have emailed Roger direct, but it seemed like it might be a good topic for discussion on the forum.  That said, I'm REALLY hoping to hear Roger's opinion on the matter:

Does the tone of an instrument really improve as it gets older?  Is this just a mythology, a romantic notion that's perpetuated by players and luthiers, in part because we 'want to believe' it?  Or is there some empirical evidence to back it up?

This has been on my mind lately because my fretless Sadowsky - NYC 24/5 - is coming up on 6 (maybe 7?) years old now and I'd swear that it's sounding better to me than ever.  Specifically, I think I'm perceiving a more focused top end and the low freqs feel... I don't know... I hate groping for words to describe tone... more luxurious, richer perhaps?  The tone coming up to me off the fretboard - acoustically - sounds warmer and more expressive than I ever remember; and I've always thought it was a great sounding bass.  

Now I know that I have to factor in my having spent a LOT of time playing this instrument over the last several years - if one keeps an instrument long enough and plays it enough it can be a bit like a marriage; there comes a point where you just know how to bring the best (and perhaps the worst!!??) out of the instrument and adapt your technique accordingly.  And maybe I should even factor in some changes in my hearing (due to years of loud stage volume). Plus, as I've gotten older I find that I listen differently than I used to, if that makes any sense.  And strings, of course, can make a huge difference in how an instrument sounds; I've been using the same strings - Sadowsky Blue Label Nickels - for several years now, so that aspect of the tonality has remained consistent.

But all these things aside, I've started to really wonder about this notion that instruments change (improve?) with age...
3  Sadowsky Basses / Sadowsky Basses / Re: Bridge saddle height screws/bridge finish on: August 29, 2011, 01:50:41 PM
I will do that - thanks Roger!
4  Sadowsky Basses / Sadowsky Basses / Bridge saddle height screws/bridge finish on: August 27, 2011, 09:02:53 PM
I've been traveling a lot with my NYC 24/5, often down to humid climates.  Have been noticing some rust and wearing away on the bridge finish, haven't paid it too much mind.  But I went to adjust the bridge saddle height this afternoon and the screws wouldn't budge!  I poked around online for awhile, not sure whether to use WD40, Triflow, Liquid Wrench or whatever... Since I needed to get it back up and running pretty quickly I opted to take the bridge saddles off, one at a time, and work em over with liquid wrench, rag and toothbrush.  I took this photo first.

The liquid Wrench did the trick - I can now adjust all saddles up n down again.  But I'm wondering if it's just a temporary fix?  The screws didn't appear to be rusty to my eyes (when I finally got em out).  They seemed more 'gunky' than anything.  But as you can see there is some wearing away of the finish on top of the saddles and what appears to be rust forming in those places.  Also I've read that WD40, Liquid Wrench and the like can actually promote the development of rust.  Don't know if that's true, but if so, maybe it's time to replace the bridge saddles?

Anyone dealt with this before?


5  Sadowsky Basses / Sadowsky Basses / Re: New soapbar pickups on: July 03, 2011, 03:09:04 PM
Roger and the crew make changes for  a reason.

There must be something to it albeit might be quite subtle.

Never doubted that for a second - I'm just looking forward to finding out more about it!
6  Sadowsky Basses / Sadowsky Basses / Re: New soapbar pickups on: July 02, 2011, 03:14:10 PM
Whoa!  This is first I've seen or heard of these newer soapbars (take a couple a days off and now I'm out of the loop - change happens so fast!)

The shape reminds me of the Nordstrand Big Singles/Fat Stacks... any connection there?

I fished around a little, haven't seen anything in the forum or the main website.  Where can I find out more?

7  General Category / Sadowsky Forum / Re: Location -(please) on: July 01, 2011, 03:29:17 PM
Hello from Santa Cruz, California!

I'm also a Gordon Lightfoot fan.  Never had the pleasure of seeing him live but have been profoundly moved by many of his recordings.
8  Sadowsky Basses / Sadowsky Basses / Re: epoxy or sim. coating for fretless fingerboard? on: June 22, 2011, 11:37:17 PM
Superglue??!!  Never would dreamed that one up... you are full of surprises Mr Sadowsky!
9  Sadowsky Basses / Sadowsky Basses / Re: epoxy or sim. coating for fretless fingerboard? on: June 20, 2011, 07:12:52 PM
Flatwoundbass, thanks much for the reply.  The compression over time of the wood is something I'd not even considered but, now that I think about it, it would seem to make sense.  Before acquiring my Sadowsky fretless I'd never owned and played one fretless long enough to make it to a 2nd re-dressing; it sounds like you have and I appreciate the longer range perspective. 

I'm impressed that you do your own fingerboard work.  Have you worked as a luthier or did you learn by trial and error?  I'm handy with tools around the house but have never gotten within 5 feet of any of my basses with anything sharp in my hands (excepting a pair of wire snips).
10  Sadowsky Basses / Sadowsky Basses / epoxy or sim. coating for fretless fingerboard? on: June 16, 2011, 09:20:03 PM
I have a Sadowsky 24/5 NYC fretless bass, #4298, have been putting a lot of miles on it over the last couple of years.  Recently had the rosewood fingerboard planed/sanded by Bill DeLap, a very fine luthier who lives in my area.  The bass is playing wonderfully, however after a couple of months of solid playing it's starting to show the signs of wear from the roundwound strings again (I use Sadowsky Blue Label, nickel wrap).

Not going to switch to flats - that's a great sound but not what I'm going for on this instrument - but I'm starting to re-evaluate my previous notions about fingerboard coating.  I'm not the bold sort, like Jaco, who would just take the darn thing apart and put some boat epoxy on it - wish I could be that brave!  But, alas, I'm not.  Also, I'm inclined to be more respectful of Roger's work (and my own investment in the bass) and so I want to approach this notion with a bit more caution...

Roger, do you recommend any specific coatings for fretless fingerboards?  DIY OK or better to have my local luthier do the work?  Any compelling reasons for not coating the board?

I'm aware that it would most certainly affect the tone of the bass - my fretless has an alder body, spalted top, rosewood board - but I'm inclined to think that the increased brightness from having a harder surface under the strings would not ultimately be an unmanageable thing.

Anyone else on here have any experience with this?

I'm hoping to play this bass for many years to come, hence my interest in prolonging the life of the fingerboard...
11  Sadowsky Basses / Sadowsky Basses / Re: Willie Weeks model - reverse P? on: March 17, 2011, 06:28:07 AM
We tried the reverse P on the 5 string with the idea that it might provide for a tighter B.  But after the fact, I realized that this also placed the treble coil in the same location as a neck position J-bass pickup, resulting in a more familiar tone when popping the G string.

This intrigues me.  I do find the tone between the 2 coils of my P pickup to be noticeably different and sometimes it bugs me - the D and G string being significantly brighter than the E and A string.  I've not yet found a pickup height adjustment that will balance it out. I can of course compensate to a degree by right hand placement, but it's not always practical to do so.

I'm wondering if the tonal difference between the 2 coils might be exaggerated, more pronounced, with a hotter pickup (like a Duncan QP)?  Is it reasonable to think that a more "vintage" P Pickup will have a better balance in this regard?

And if the treble coil is switched over to the other side, does it help smooth out that tonal difference somewhat?  I'm guessing that people who've done this, like Lee Sklar, have done so for this reason...
12  Sadowsky Basses / Sadowsky Basses / Willie Weeks model - reverse P? on: March 13, 2011, 05:49:55 AM
I've recently been rediscovering one of the bassists that was most inspiring to me when I was starting out: Willie Weeks.  His playing on Donny Hathaway Live is, and will aways be, on my top ten list.  I understand that he played a 62 P Bass on that recording. Every picture and video of him that I've seen shows him playing P basses with standard P Bass pickup, yet I understand that the Sadowsky "Willie Weeks" model has reversed P pickup.  I'm curious to know how that came about and what direction I might search in to find recordings or performances of Mr Weeks playing the Sadowsky bass. 

I'd also be very interested in hearing Roger's thoughts regarding the reverse P configuration.  I myself have a more modern P/J, modded with Duncan Quarter Pounder P (standard configuration), Bartolini soapbar at the bridge and Aguilar preamp and I have to say that, although I still really love the bass "unplugged" - very nice dynamic response and resonance - I'm not really sold on the pickup/preamp combination.  Have been thinking a Sadowsky preamp/pickup might be a better way to go...

13  Sadowsky Basses / Sadowsky Basses / Re: Jazz pickup locations - 60s vs 70s on: February 11, 2011, 03:21:53 PM
SO... have you played many JJ basses with different pickup placements?  What did you think?

Gerard, I have managed to play for close to 35 years without ever having a Jazz bass - at various times I've played Ric, MM, Yamaha, am currently playing a couple of Sadowsky 24/5 basses and a modded Fender Precision Deluxe.  I've gotten it in my head that I'm probably short changing myself as a bassist by not having a Jazz style bass in my toolbox, so have been reading up and asking questions.  Only very recently became aware of the 60s/70s placement difference.

I know from experience how much the placement of a pickup can profoundly affect the tone that comes out of a bass.  For the longest time I tended to go for an even balance between pickups (on 2 pickup basses) but have recently been favoring the bridge a bit more, going for a sweet spot where there's more articulation from the bridge pickup yet keeping the neck pickup in to the degree that a solid fundamental is retained in the notes up and down the bass.

I'm guessing that the change Fender made in 70s - 1/4" closer to the bridge - didn't make as significant a tonal change as it would have if they'd made that same adjustment with the neck pickup.  But that's only a hunch.  If I go and buy a bass off the shelf in a store I'm apt to not even think about it, instead just go with my gut instead.  But if I opt to have Roger build me a Jazz style bass then I thought I should at least get as informed as possible about this aspect of it...
14  Sadowsky Basses / Sadowsky Basses / Jazz pickup locations - 60s vs 70s on: February 10, 2011, 06:35:12 PM
Am wondering why pickup location of Fender Jazz basses was changed sometime in the 70s and what exactly changed?

Any general consensus as to the tonal effect of the change?

Am thinking of getting an NYC Jazz style or Will Lee, curious about the pickup placement aspect.
15  Sadowsky Basses / Sadowsky Basses / Re: Will Lee Model Preamp settings on: January 21, 2011, 08:35:25 PM
Hey Rob, thanks for the link.  And just for the record, it's TICKER, not "tinker" - but thanks for the good belly laugh!  (Maybe I should choose my forum names a little more carefully in future...)


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