Saturday, March 29, 2014

2008 Sadowsky NYC Vintage Jazz Bass Review


Today we are looking at a very nice Sadowsky NYC Vintage 4-string bass guitar. It is one of the nicest basses I have ever owned, and that is saying something as a lot of instruments have come through the studio over the years.

Sadowsky NYC basses are built in New York City by Roger Sadowsky’s luthiers, and are the best Fender-inspired guitars and basses you can buy. Some haters (i.e. guys without enough money to buy one) sneer and call them “parts basses.” They should go buy a box of parts and see how well they can build one…

This bass was made in August 2008 for one of Sadowsky’s endorsing artists, Fuji Fujimoto, and it has quite a striking appearance. I am not ordinarily a fan of natural finish basses, but this one has a vintage tint applied to its ash body and it looks wonderful when contrasted with its tortoise shell pickguard. It is not too heavy, coming in around 8.5 pounds.

This bass has a traditional four-bolt neck and 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 are finished very well on the edges. It has a 1.5-inch wide neck with a 12-inch fretboard radius, but seems to have a shallower profile than most jazz basses. The trussrod adjusts at the heel, and there is a nice cutout in the body and pickguard, making the process a little easier. The tuners are first rate, as is the high-mass bridge.

This bass has its original hum canceling pickups and Sadowsky pre-amp with Vintage Tone Control. The knobs control: volume, pickup pan, VTC/preamp bypass (push/pull pot), and stacked bass and treble boost. Vintage Tone Control minimizes the treble for a darker tone, and works in both the passive and active settings. Overall this bass is astoundingly quiet, and sounds flawless. It is versatile, and can attain high-gain growliness and ultra clean tones.

The overall condition of this bass was very good when I had it, as It had been well cared for so it only had some light swirl marks on the body and pick guard. 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.

So why did I get rid of it? For the amount of money one of these basses costs (even used they are stupid expensive), it has to be the perfect bass for my feel and playing style. I did not like the feel of the very thin neck, and I prefer the tone (and appearance) of a rosewood fretboard. I have since found a Sadowsky NYC Standard with a chunkier neck and a rosewood board that works out a lot better for me. Keep your eyes on the blog, as a review is coming soon.

If you want a bass like this, it might be time to start saving. A Sadowsky Vintage 4 starts at $4175, and it will take at least 6 months to get it built.


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