Dingwall SJ4 vs. Sadowsky and other J-styles

Discussion in 'Bass Guitar Discussion' started by narad, Jan 6, 2019.

  1. narad

    narad SS.org Regular

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    So I have a Dingwall Z3 (5 string) and it's obviously a killer bass, but the scale length is pretty aggressive and I've never gotten along with it for proper funk/slap/classic rock/stoner type songs. For the usual SSO stuff, the Z3 is the way to go for sure, but I really want to progress my bass playing... watching a lot of Adam Neely vids, more into that material.

    So I think I need a new bass. I love the Dingwall craftsmanship, so curious if the SJ4 might be the answer. Anyone have some hands-on experience and can compare to traditional jazz 4s like Sadowsky? I think over here I can play Sadowsky, Atelier, Bacchus, Momose, Freedom, etc., and those are the guys in the jazz category (besides Fender of course) but Dingwalls are rare. Would have to go sight unseen.
     
  2. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Do you need the fan?

    I have absolutely no doubts about the Dingwall. I've played a number of Canadian made Dingwalls and the quality is great. But, owning both a Sadowsky Metro and with a USA Satin on order, you can't go wrong there either.

    I haven't played anything else on that list, bar a Bacchus long enough ago that I don't really remember much about it. I've always drooled over Atelier Z stuff. How are they? Worth importing over Sadowsky Metro?

    Are any other American brands available over there? Aside from Sadowsky, Lull makes some killer J-Basses. Alleva-Coppolo are top notch too, but tend to be "too vintage" for a lot of folks, and get expensive fast, even compared to Sadowsky.

    Full disclosure: I'm a Jazz Bass Traditionalist(tm). I like simple electronics, full size bodies and 34" (with the occasional 35" on the right bass) scales with "classic" materials.
     
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  3. narad

    narad SS.org Regular

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    I definitely don't need the fan, in fact, the question is probably: is the SJ4 enough not-a-fan that it becomes fun to play these fun more traditional basslines. Those 1-4 fret movements on the Z3 are not comfortable at all. Maybe I could learn a whole different style of play for it, but when I watch guys playing traditional jazz basses in groovy stuff in the lower frets and just being totally relaxed with it, I'm really not sure that's possible on the Z3? 37" The SJ4 is 34.25" - 32"

    But yea, actually checked out a killer Sadowsky today:

    [​IMG]

    Ultra vintage. Great neck. Price is ...pretty insane.

    Going to check out a used Atelier later in the week, in a rare color I missed out on last year, and will report back. Superficially they look great, but the fretboards are always very light rosewood. The work looks clean but also the binding comes across a bit toy-ish, satin white thing. Reminds me of Duesenberg or Zemaitis if that makes sense, if you look at the binding up close.

    Awesome! That's exactly where I'm headed.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019
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  4. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Fans have never really bothered me ever, same with different straight scales, it's always been more of a tone thing. I like short scale basses in certain contexts, but not when I want that J (or P) sound. It takes away a lot of the punch and articulation, unless you're going for that super bright modern solo/lead bass style.

    So, I'd be inclined to say stick to something straight scale in the traditional 34" range.

    I have an NYC Satin on order, I got a decent deal that made it cost about the same as my Metro. But, the Metro is freaking awesome already. Honestly, if I don't bond with the Satin I'll probably just trade it in for another Metro series bass. They're that close in quality. The NYC Customs tend to look much fancier, but I'd still grab a solid color either way.

    That Sadowsky was probably, what, around $7k? That's way too rich for me. At that point I'd probably look into something like a Fodera Standard or F Bass VF. They can nail the J Bass thing, but are unique enough to somewhat justify the major price bump, to me at least.

    What's the availability like on Japanese Sadowsky basses? They've been getting a lot easier to get a hold of here. That would probably be my first recommendation. Grab a Metro that suits your needs and if you love it, and want to go big, grab a custom. Sadowsky has very reasonable build times and unless you're getting something weird they probably have something similar already in process.
     
  5. narad

    narad SS.org Regular

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    Heeyyy, whoa, cut me in on that haha. I'm not sure what a metro amounts to over there, but here they're like < $2k now most of the time.

    Yea, I'd totally do a Metro if I find one with the right specs. Not many hear have the block inlays:

    [​IMG]

    In terms of availability they're all over. I just don't see any that really speak to me spec-wise at the moment. Quality aside, the Atelier body is not quite as elongated and I do prefer it a tiiiiiny bit more. But everyone I've chatted to has usually put the Atelier and Metro series stuff together as basically equals.

    btw though, that expensive (yea, around $6k) NYC Sadowsky had a cool string retainer:

    [​IMG]
     
  6. narad

    narad SS.org Regular

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  7. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Yeah, new Metro basses are closer to $3k here! :lol:

    At least those with blocks, which is my preference.

    I ordered my Satin directly through Sadowsky. I was being told all different delivery times from retailers so I went to the source.

    Said and done I'll be paying about $200 more than I paid for the Metro two years ago. Granted, the Satin is more basic. I just had to scratch the NYC itch and couldn't swing a regular model.

    That pricing is much closer to what they go for in the US.

    That thing is beginning for a tortoise guard.
     
  8. SamSam

    SamSam GAS problems Contributor

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    I haven't had the opportunity to try out a Sadowsky but I do own a Dingwall Super PJ and am very happy with it. I use it for rock styles and pop/funk stuff like the chilis and slightly rocky pop covers and the pick ups cover all the tones I need to. The tone knob is very responsive and between the jazz bridge and precision pickup i am very happy. Passive model btw. :yesway:
     
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  9. narad

    narad SS.org Regular

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    Haven't heard of this Ryoga brand before but seems alright:

     
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  10. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    I can't get over the headstock and neck by the body. :ugh:
     
  11. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    Damn...the Dingwall's fan is 34"-37"...a 3" fan!! That seems like it would be super uncomfortable to me, unless the neutral fret was at like, the 4th fret, or something.

    (edit: ignore the below...I missed that you are in Tokyo...value proposition is way different in asia).

    The Kiesel JBM4 starts at $1349 ($1419 for the 5-string) with an an alder body, maple neck, ebony FB, stainless frets, luminlay side dots, and your choice of quite a few finishes. It's easy to get carried away with wood and finish upgrades, though. Going with "non multiscale" saves $200 off that price.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  12. Mwoit

    Mwoit SS.org Regular

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    I'd also be interested in hearing thoughts on a Super PJ. I own 2 x ABZ6 and they're great, but I'm trying to learn how to play other genres of bass and I am tempted by a shorter scale for traditional feel and sound. The ABZ bass has (as mentioned above) quite aggressive fanning on the lower frets and have a bright clear tone acoustically. I love the build quality and feel, so I'm curious to hear what the Super J models are like.
     
  13. TemjinStrife

    TemjinStrife Power Metal Cellist

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    Sadowskys are great, but the prices on the NYC basses have just gone off the deep end for me (part of the problem of running a shop in the NYC metro area, these days). If you want boutique non-fanned, there are a lot of great options, including the aforementioned Lull, Alleva-Coppolo (also $$$$), Fodera, STR, etc.

    If I wanted to spend a few grand on a nice Fender-style bass that wasn't fanned, I'd personally look for a Nordy VJ. The one bass I've played that could have replaced the Dingwall ABI that's been my #1 for a decade was a Sherwood Green Nordy VJ5 owned by a guy at a Talkbass meetup I went to. Carey isn't doing build-to-order anymore so you'd have to look in the used market; they're uncommon but do come up from time to time.

    That said, I do really dig the Dingwall SJs; but I've been playing an ABI for about a decade in everything from blues covers to alt-rock, and as noted, that's "home" for me. The short scale thing doesn't bother me quite so much either, as when I haven't been playing the ABI, I've been playing ~32" shorter-scale oddities like my Kubicki Ex Factor and Aria Pro II TSB-550, so I'm fine with the shorter scale sound.

    EDIT: Forgot about the F-Bass VFs; I've not spent really any quality time with them, but they're absolutely gorgeous-looking, and some of the finishes are spectacular. Might be fun to check out.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
  14. stinkoman

    stinkoman SS.org Regular

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    FWIW with my opinion I was a full time bass player for almost 20 years before switching over to guitar full time and was big jazz bass fan and played or owned all the big name brands mentioned. Being in your in Tokyo I HIGHLY recommend playing a few Bacchus if you can. I am referring to the MIJ made ones, they do have a cheaper line. Everyone I have played has been has been great. Build quality was amazing and could hold their own against any jazz bass and will be by far much cheaper too. No it won't be as nice as a Sadowsky, Lull, or Coppolo but you are paying 1/4 the price of a Sadowsky for one and IMO getting almost as much bass. You could pickup and pre-amp swap with Sadowsky pickups and still be saving a lot of money. I also consider myself a jazz traditionalist so just strictly focusing on the tone aspect, they was all overkill for my needs. Moon is another high quality bass made in japan if you can find one.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
  15. TheEmptyCell

    TheEmptyCell Dingwall Player

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    The shorter scale of the SJ makes things so easy to play in the low frets it’s absurd. I have a Combustion 5 (previously ABZ6) and an SP5. I love Dingwall so much that I’m too biased to offer an opinion on something else. I’m sure other boutique J basses are great, but I’d reach for the Dingwall every single time.
     
  16. tylerregh

    tylerregh New Member

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    I love my Sadowsky. Been to the NYC shop a few weeks ago while on holidays, every single staff member is an absolute legend. I also have a Dingwall, and love it very much, but im a traditional jazz guy that plays in a metal band (that's what the Dingwall is for!) but i always grab my Sadowsky first every chance I get
     
  17. narad

    narad SS.org Regular

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    Anyone play a Mayones Jabba? Curious as they're actually selling a lot around $2k, so even less than a made-in-Japan Sadowsky.
     
  18. Mwoit

    Mwoit SS.org Regular

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    I've seen a lot on basschat.co.uk and on bassdirect. They seem alright, but I've not read much about them beyond the guitars.
     
  19. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    I feel like we've had this conversation before.

    Quality is great, and they actually sound pretty good, but I absolutely hate how awkward they look with 24 frets and the shifted cutaway.

    The neck shapes don't scream JBass either, which isn't a bad thing of you want a more contemporary feel, which is kind of what they nail: modern bass dressed up as a classic.
     
  20. narad

    narad SS.org Regular

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    Ha, yea, I do feel I led us down this road before. The last-minute-before-buy jitters in effect.
     

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