Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sadowsky NYC Vintage 5 Bass Guitar


Today we are looking at a very nice Sadowsky Vintage 5 bass guitar. As you all know by now, I do not play 5-string basses, so it should be no surprise that this one is not around anymore. But it is a beauty.

Sadowsky NYC basses are built in New York City by Roger Sadowsky’s minions, and are the best Fender-inspired guitars and basses you can buy. Some haters sneer and call them “parts basses”. I say go buy a box of parts and see how well you can build a guitar. Then call Sadowsky and buy the best.

This one was made in August 2000, and has quite a striking appearance. It is finished in ’59 burst with a quilted maple top over the ash body. The body is not chambered, so the bass is a little heavier (8 pounds, 15 ounces) than current production Sadowskys. There is a control cavity and a battery compartment routed into the back of the body.

There is no neck plate on the body, as there are four recessed ferrules in the body at the neck joint. This design saves weight and looks trick. The neck pocket fit is super-tight, and after 10 years of use and transportation there are no signs of finish damage (i.e. cracking) around the joint. The Sadowsky luthiers really do a fantastic job.

The 21-fret neck is very good, and the original frets are still in great shape. The frets are perfectly level and were finished very well on the edges. The trussrod adjusts at the heel, and there is a nice cutout in the body and pickguard, making the process a little easier. The five tuners are very small (for reduced mass), and look a lot like Hipshots.

This bass has its original single-coil pickups and Sadowsky pre-amp without VTC. The four pots control volume, pan, treble boost and bass boost. It has no unusual noises, and sounds flawless.

The overall condition of this bass was very good when I had it, as It had never been gigged and only had some light swirl marks on the body and pick guard. It showed less wear than most any new bass you would find hanging on the wall at your local guitar shop. It played very well and sounded killer, but then again that is really the least I would expect from a bass that cost as much as it did.

This bass came to me a as a trade for another high-end bass that I was having difficulty selling. I knew I would not be keeping the Sadowsky, but thought it would be easier to sell. I was right – this one sold right away for more than I was trying to sell the other bass for.

If you want one of these, it might be time to start saving. A Sadowsky Vintage 5 will run you about $4,000, and it will take at least 6 months to get it built.


1 comment:

  1. Extremely nice bass, and a "absolutely!" to your comments on so-called "Parts Basses" and their construction. My Jazzes are from Mike Lull Custom Basses, which are on the same built quality & level of Sadowsky (they're often called "The West Coast Sadowsky") but aren't as big simply because Mike's repair business is much larger owning to being located just outside of Seattle and being "The Guy" for Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam, Eddie Jackson of Queensryche and large amounts of other pro-level bassists, Seattlites or otherwise I heartily agree - I *could* purchase the parts from Warmoth for a fraction of the price, but do I have anything close to the know-how to both assemble & set-up a bass to play as beautifully as his do? Hardily. And that he has a 6-figure PLEK machine on premise for both his build and repairs doesn't hurt as well... :D