Friday, May 16, 2014

1997 Sadowsky Standard J Bass Review

Hi there!

Today we are looking at a gorgeous Sadowsky NYC Modern 4-string bass guitar. It has to be 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 1997 and it still in exceptional condition. I love burst finishes, and this one has a perfectly sprayed ’59 Sunburst poly on its alder body and it looks wonderful especially as their Standard series basses do not come with a pickguard. It is not chambered but it is not heavy, coming in around 8 pounds, 12 ounces.

This bass has a traditional four-bolt neck and the neck pocket fit is super-tight, and after 16 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 and has a 12-inch radius on the pau ferro fretboard. The trussrod adjusts at the heel, and there is a nice cutout in the body and pickguard, making the process a little easier (newer Sadowsky instruments use a truss rod wheel). The tuners are first rate, as is the high-mass bridge.

This bass still has its original pickups and Sadowsky pre-amp -- this was made before Vintage Tone Control. The knobs control: volume, pickup pan, bass boost and treble boost. There is a separate mini switch to switch from active to passive. 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 is very good with only a few light dings and no fretwear. It plays well and sounds killer, and is probably the best bolt-neck bass you can buy. Unfortunately I am way overloaded with basses right now, so it is on loan to a friend in Texas. I will surely be re-united with it someday, one way or another.

If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up. But now is the time to start saving -- a Sadowsky Standard 4 starts at around $4000, and it will take at least 6 months to get it built. Be patient!


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