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Jazz Guitar Today Review: Sadowsky’s Electric Nylon Guitar



JGT contributor Brad Jeter takes a close look at the Sadowsky Electric Nylon Guitar – and there’s a lot to say about this one.

I am always intrigued when creative people are able to conjure an idea to fruition that is not only unique but functional and desirable. Obviously, this is a specialized instrument that will appeal to a certain segment of players; players who are confident and mature in their playing -and looking for an instrument that broadens their artistic horizons.

Sadowsky Electric Nylon Guitar

The Sadowsky Electric Nylon guitar is indeed a unique instrument in the ever-expansive world of guitars. Roger Sadowsky designed an instrument that provides a different and exciting playing experience compared to traditional acoustic nylon-string guitars. 

Let’s start with a general overview of some of the key points about this instrument:

  • Unusual Design: The Sadowsky Electric Nylon guitar is unconventional in its design, featuring a solid boy, electric guitar-style construction. This departure from traditional hollow-body classical guitar design makes it distinct.
  • Versatile Player appeal: This guitar has found favor with a diverse group of musicians, including Lee Ritenour, Earl Klugh, Pat Metheny, Gilberto Gil Djavan, Daryl Stuermer, and even rock legend Keith Richards. This stellar and diverse range of artists speaks to the versatility of the instrument.
  • Exemplary Quality Materials and Construction:  Roger Sadowsky has built his reputation on producing the highest quality instruments with supreme playability. The Sadowsky Electric Nylon guitar is no exception. It is crafted with the greatest attention to detail, ensuring it meets professional standards and expectations.
  • Playability: The guitar is designed to accommodate myriad playing styles including fingerpicking and the use of a pick. The electric performance of this instrument opens up new tonal possibilities for nylon-string guitarists.
  • Unique Sound: The Electric Nylon guitar offers a more contemporary, clean, and versatile tonal palette making it suitable for various musical genres.

Sadowsky Electric Nylon Guitar

Let’s state the obvious here: The Sadowsky Electric Nylon is not a replacement for a traditional classical guitar, and, it’s not for everyone. Its unique design and sound may not appeal to classical purists who prefer the warmth and resonance of traditional nylon-string acoustics. However, for those looking to explore new sonic possibilities and genres, it is a fascinating option.

I must confess to not being much of a classical player. On a good day, I can maybe get halfway through Asturias…on a good day. That being said, I am familiar with what makes a good classical guitar and my guitar of choice has been the Ramirez 2CWE which is a cut-away guitar. One of the obvious differences between this and any acoustic classical and the Sadowsky is the body. It immediately feels familiar because, well, it is essentially a Tele with a classical neck. That really is an oversimplification but, in essence, the truth.

Not just any Tele body by any means, but rather, an absolutely flawless beauty of a body. When I was not playing it, I was admiring it. It truly is a work of art.

Sadowsky Electric Nylon Guitar

The neck is very comfortable for players with classical guitar experience. If you have only ever played electric then this is going to seem like a different world in hand! For those in the former camp, it has wonderful action and fretwork. In other words, it arrives with an immaculate set-up. All notes ring true at every position and the intonation is spot-on. Again, if you have little or no experience with a classical guitar, you will need to put in a bit of time to realize proper left-hand technique, especially how to grip it. This is important if you are going to use it in a traditional classical sense (finger picking) but, with a pick (can you say Al DiMeola?) it becomes very fun immediately. 

Plugging in the Sadowsky Electric Nylon really is what this guitar is all about. To put it succinctly, it sounds excellent and doesn’t feed back. It doesn’t require any fuss on stage—plug and go! This, to me, is the magic. I have never played a classical guitar with piezo or mic that was this easy, and, did I mention how good it sounds? Even through a guitar amp, it sounds convincing.

Sadowsky Electric Nylon Guitar

In conclusion, although I believe this guitar to be somewhat of a specialty instrument, I enjoyed my time with it. You also cannot argue with the pedigree of players of this instrument noted above. It is a very premium guitar in every sense of the word. To those players who can appreciate what it offers, and are looking for a premium instrument that is built to the highest standards possible, the Sadowsky Electric Nylon guitar is not on a short list, rather, it is the list!

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