For both guitar and bass players, the name ‘Sadowsky’ has always conjured up an image of quality and innovation.
So when Jazz Guitar Today was scheduling our next instrument review, the Sadowsky Thinline models were at the top of my list.
But first, a
In the early
to early mid ’90s there was a archtop guitar resurgence.
Ed Benson’s Just Jazz Guitar magazine was popular and luthier-built archtops for 10k to 30k were being produced and sold to well-heeled consumers. The problem was working musicians and their students had no chance affording these premium instruments. The offerings by Gibson and other large guitar companies were also expensive. Roger Sadowsky realized there was a space in the archtop world for an affordable, “players” guitar. So he set out to build an instrument to fill that void.
Roger knew from his years of servicing and building guitars that laminate was the way to go for a “players” guitar. Not only did it help keep costs down but also kept in check the destructive resonances while producing a powerful acoustic output. Roger went on a search around the world to find a high-quality laminate that met his demands; o
Personally, I have always loved the Sadowsky basses and “bolt on” guitars for their beautiful attention to detail and useful features.
However, when I was introduced to the Sadowsky archtops, I was totally blown away by the quality, playability, sound
The jazz guitarist today is all over the map when it
come to guitar selection and performance demands.
Things like which genre of jazz, and setting (i.e. solo, duo, organ trio to
Now for a look at the Sadowsky archtop guitars… The guitars arrived and out of the box I was immediately impressed.
The fit and finish were flawless. The playability due to the comfort of the neck profile,
The LS-15 or “long scale” has a 25 1/2 inch scale length, 1-3/4″ nut and two pickups. The sound is as crisp and articulate as I could want.
Since I often play a Stratocaster, I am very much at home with the scale length. In addition, the 16 frets clear of the body and most solid body players will feel equally comfortable.
The SS-15 has a shorter 24 2/4 scale length.
The “short scale”, think Les Paul, 335 scale length, is appreciated by a lot of players who find it familiar to play but like the decidedly warmer tone and archtop response. The SS-15 is also 1-3/4″ at the nut. As with the LS-15, this nut width made some voicing much easier to “grab” and gave a nice separation, particularly on the lower voicing. The SS-15 was noticeably warmer delivering some very lush, full of dense overtones to add to the very familiar and comforting responsiveness. I quickly adapted to the scale length. I need to mention 14 frets vs 16 frets free of the body of the LS-15. This design puts the meat of the fingerboard right under your eyes as many players prefer – think ES-175 with the additional advantage of the thinner body giving an even more, to my eye, easier to view sightline.
Both the Sadowsky SS-15 and the LS-15 are balanced tonally, articulate and just plain fun to play in that addictive sort of way.
I did not want to put down either from the “git go”… All this made for what was quickly a very rewarding experience and a tough choice as to what my preference would be with these two guitars.
To hear the guitars in action, check out the Trey Wright videos below.
Sadowsky SS-15 Archtop Guitar Video Review
Sadowsky LS-15 Archtop Guitar Video Review
Atlanta Jazz Guitarist Ede Wright says…
“Big fan of Roger’s guitars. I have been to his spot in NYC a few times, played a variety of guitars. His semi-hollow and hollow body designs are some of the best. On this particular LS-15, the fit and finish are beautiful. The scale length and the 1-3/4″ nut feel right – in fact, everything about this guitar feels right. The guitar balances nicely but would be great with a strap too. Biding is great – I pay attention to many of the finer points – like how the neck joins the body. Fantastic guitar! “ edewright.com
Jazz-rock guitarist, composer & music educator Bill Hart on the LS-15…
“The minute I picked it up I fell in love with it – I didn’t even have to play it… But once I did – the first thing – the TONE! For guitar players like us – guys that have been around for a bit, it takes a lot for us to be blown away by a guitar. But this one floored me. “
LS-15 vs. the SS-15 ?
“Yea, it would be a hard pick – but I am one of those players that prefer the short scale, one pick up version. I really like it. Everything is balanced across the neck – each note has the same clarity. You hear all the harmony – each note rings out – like a perfectly tuned grand piano. It’s just beautiful…” billhartmusic.com