Do Sadowky guitars have the best setup in the business?

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by jguss, Feb 16, 2020.

  1. jguss

    jguss Supporting Member

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    Serious question. I just got a Sadowsky Metro T style (with a Charlie Christian Lollar pickup in the neck) circa 2005, as part of a multi-guitar trade. I'm pretty committed to 24.75 scale necks these day so I thought I'd just move the Sadowsky on. After playing it I'm amazed at how great this guitar plays ( and sounds). I think a huge amount has to do with the setup: Perfect neck angle, low action, perfect fret job. So my question is, did I just get lucky, or is this why people pay a premium for Sadowsky. Is the quality control on all his instruments this good? I'm seriously considering thinning the herd way down getting one of his Broadway models for $6k, and calling it a day.
    I'd appreciate hearing any other Sadowsky owners experiences.
     
  2. romo

    romo Supporting Member

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    I don't own a Sadowsky but the other high end guitars I have purchased from a dealer or the builder have had impeccable setups (i.e the Collings CL in my avatar). I would wonder though, if its a 15 year old guitar, what are the chances the setup was changed under the ownership of someone else?
     
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  3. TexasHeartRush

    TexasHeartRush Supporting Member

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    Details count. Details combined with experience and knowledge make for a 'next-level' instrument. The cost is/and should be in the labor that experience provides. IMHO Sadowsky is one of many with impeccable standards. And please note, COST aside as plenty of expensive small builders do not quite have the depth of skill-set. The 'setup' exists within the standard of excellence applied to the WHOLE process, a process that is founded on a 'every detail' paradigm and a philosophy backed up by experience. 'Setup' excellence is also directly correlated to the guitars ability to be setup to that standard. Roger has always done excellent, next level work and with so many professional using his instruments over the years, he has been able to apply exceptional feedback to his craft. But he not alone in his passion for excellence IMO: This vid you have probably seen, but it is still a favorite of mine to watch:

     
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  4. jguss

    jguss Supporting Member

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    I'm not saying that Sadowsky is the only builder doing great setups. I've owned or own Tom Anderson, Ribbecke, Beauregarde, Forshage, Veillete, Collings, Gibson, etc. Too many to remember, and this Sadowsky is crazy good. I'm just wondering whether all of his guitars come out of his shop at that level. I guess a trip to his shop in NYC may be the best way to answer that question.
     
  5. BPlexico

    BPlexico Gold Supporting Member

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    FWIW - I have a Sadowsky Jim Hall Archtop and the quality of the build and setup are exceptional.
     
  6. Surfreak

    Surfreak Member

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    I think Sadowsky, like many other excellent builders, has perfected the ability for his guitars to be setup for optimal playability. As for his actual setup, since yours is a 2005 model, I doubt it still comes with the factory setup: in the past 15 years it must have had a few tweaks, truss rod adjustments, maybe a fret dress...
     
  7. jguss

    jguss Supporting Member

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    I’d agree except mine is showroom condition. The collector I got it from this more instruments than your typical boutique music store. He just never played this. I was surprised to see that based on the serial number, it was a 2005.
     
  8. Teleplayer

    Teleplayer Moder8er Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

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    j-

    Sounds like you've got a great guitar. Enjoy it!

    Not a Sadowsky owner, but if Sadowsky's guitars do it for you, then by all means grab another.

    I've owned various boutiques and have had my hands on many others. Also had my hands on many vintage pieces over the years.

    Certain luthiers/builders get it "much more right" for me than others. And then within those builders that get it right for me, certain of their pieces just get to another level when all of the stars seem to align.

    Interestingly, the guitar I've had in my hands that is an undeniable crazy-great player, on a different level, is my longstanding friend's real '54 Strat - one of the first 165 that Fender ever made. When I played it previously (I spent some quality time with it), the strings just felt like spaghetti - it was just unreal how well/easy it played.

    Glad to hear you found your muse (I have three); it's inspiring when that happens.
     
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  9. Bobby D

    Bobby D Member

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    Roger is one of the best, and I have owned a few of his guitars, mostly from the 1600 broadway era. He also tweaked and set up my ‘58 strat to perfection. He’s a great guy with fine taste in watches as well :beer
     
  10. themass

    themass Supporting Member

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    I picked up a used sadowsky Walter Becker model recently that is just awesome - neck feels perfect
     
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  11. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

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    There's no best....ESPECIALLY when it comes to guitar setups.

    One man's Sadowsky could be another man's Silvertone.

    My guitars are the best setup for ME because logically they were set up for ME.

    Your statement is built on a false premise.
     
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  12. trap

    trap Supporting Member

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    The “best?” Im sure it’s great but I don’t do ultimates.
     
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  13. The bear

    The bear Member

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    I have a strat style Sadowsky in the house that I am borrowing for a while. Nice fretwork and setup for sure, but no better than the Collings, PRS and Fender Custom Shops have.
     
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  14. customguitars87

    customguitars87 Member

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    1. For $5K+ the quality control pretty much better be flawless seeing as how plenty of companies can build flawless guitars for as little as $1K, so no surprise there

    2. The guitar is 15 years old at this point, so I am sure it's gone through quite a few setups in that time (and possibly fret work as well), so that's not really something anyone can say for sure with regard to how it was back in 2005.

    Overall though I've played a number of Sadowsky guitars and basses and was always very impressed. I do think there are guitars and basses that are just as good for less money out there, but I've never played a Sadowsky I didn't dig.
     
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  15. StummerJoe

    StummerJoe Gold Supporting Member

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    There is no "best" when it's done right. Roger Sadowsky gets it right, as do many other talented luthiers.
     

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