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Luthier Spotlight – Interview with Roger Sadowsky by Alberto Rigoni

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Luthier Spotlight – Interview with Roger Sadowsky by Alberto Rigoni…

Ciao Roger, first of all thank you very much for this interview! Could you tell us when and how you started building basses?

I started building basses in 1982. I began building acoustic guitars in 1972 and electric guitars in 1979.

Could you explain your approach to the design of the instruments?

When I began my own shop in NYC in 1979, my clients were primarily all of the NYC session musicians. The 802 Musicians Union directory had two chapters for bass. “Acoustic Bass” and “Fender Bass,” so all electric bass at that time was considered “Fender”. I felt a lot of pressure to build in the Fender style to gain acceptance from the players, producers and arrangers at that time. At the time, I did a lot of modification work so I used to advise my clients to pick up a nice early 60’s L series J bass and then I would retrue the fingerboard, refret, new nut, shield the electronics, install preamps and upgrade hardware. When the vintage market took off in the mid 80’s, the prices of the vintage Fenders more than doubled, and the work I was doing would “devalue” them as vintage instruments, so I decided to build my own, based on the Fender design and incorporate all of my upgrades.

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Where do you get all your design ideas?

I have to say that Leo Fender got a lot of things right from the beginning. So for me, it was more about quality materials and craftsmanship, than new design. In a sense, I was the Fender custom shop before Fender had one!

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What could you tell us about the tone of your instruments? What about woods and electronics?

I was one of the early pioneers of active tone circuits for bass. The preamp I installed in Marcus Millers bass in 1979 is still being used by him to this day. I have also worked hard in the areas of shielding and hum cancelling pickups, as hum was always an issue for my clients, especially those working in the Broadway pits and under stage lighting.   I also brought my background in acoustic guitars to the table. I became convinced in the early 80’s that the better a solid body instrument sounded acoustically, the better it sounded amplified. So I chose woods for my basses the same way I would select woods for an acoustic guitar.

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What’s your opinion about the finishes used on the basses? Do they affect the sound?

I think just about any finish will sound fine on an electric instrument, as long as it is applied thin.   I use a matte nitro lacquer on the neck because I like the way it feels, even after it glosses up by one’s hand rubbing the finish. I prefer polyester on the body for durability.

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Are you planning to release new series in the future?

We are working on two new things. The first is called the Satin Line. It will be a less expensive NYC line that will all have matte finishes. They will be initially offered in our 21 fret vintage series and our 24 fret Modern series.   We will not take orders for them and there will be no custom options. We will maintain an inventory of available instruments on our website. They will will be 100% Sadowsky NYC.

The other new project is a single cutaway bass we are designing along with bassist Chip Shearin, one of our artists.

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Is there something you would like to tell to our readers?

I just want to say that after 43 years building instruments, I still love to go to work every day, and deal with as many of my customers directly, as possible.   I have structured my business to primarily sell my NYC instruments direct to the customer, as I want to know the person who is purchasing our instruments and help advise them to get the best instrument possible.

Visit online at sadowsky.com

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Bass Videos

New Gear: Aguilar Amplification Next-generation Tone Hammer and AG Series Amplifiers

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New Gear: Aguilar Amplification Next-generation Tone Hammer and AG Series Amplifiers

New Gear: Aguilar Amplification Next-generation Tone Hammer and AG Series Amplifiers…

Aguilar Amplification is excited to unveil the next generation of Tone Hammer and AG series amplifiers. These amplifiers are designed to meet the exacting standards of today’s bassists, enhancing their musical expression through in-demand features and fresh new designs.

The latest innovations in the Tone Hammer and AG series include the introduction of the Aguilar Cabinet Suite, dual XLR outputs, expanded connectivity options, and power section upgrades. These features not only provide superior sound quality and flexibility but also maintain the classic Aguilar performance that musicians have relied upon.

Key features of the next-generation amplifiers:

Aguilar Cabinet Suite: This new software allows players to load Aguilar ’s custom-designed SL/DB cabinet impulse responses (IRs), or their own custom IR files. This feature is available through both XLR and headphone outputs, offering new tone shaping and cabinet emulation options.
 
Dual XLR Outputs & Expanded Connectivity: Musicians can now tailor their tone and utilize cabinet IRs for their monitor mix, while also sending a pre-EQ ’d signal directly to the front-of-house. This dual functionality ensures optimal sound for both the artist and front-of-house. The new amplifiers include auxiliary input and headphone output options for silent practice. They also feature mix controls to fine-tune the listening experience, ideal for both practice and performance.

Upgraded Power Sections: Previously exclusive to Aguilar’s 700-series, the upgraded power sections in the Tone Hammer and AG 500 now support a 2.67 ohm load and include universal mains. These enhancements make the amplifiers perfect for international touring, offering seamless voltage adaptation.

“The new Tone Hammer and AG series amplifiers are a testament to Aguilar ’s commitment to world class sound and performance, providing bassists with the tools they need to define their sound on the global stage,” remarks Jordan Cortese, Brand Manager, Aguilar Musical Instruments.

The next-generation Tone Hammer and AG series amplifiers are available for purchase through www.aguilaramp.com and Aguilar’s extensive dealer network worldwide. For more information about the new amplifiers and other Aguilar products, please visit www.aguilaramp.com.

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New Gear: Spector Doug Wimbish USA Custom Series Basses

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Doug Wimbish, pictured with the new Spector Doug Wimbish USA Custom Series basses

Spector offers Doug Wimbish USA Custom Series basses…

Spector, a leading authority in bass guitar design, unveils two new Doug Wimbish USA Custom Series basses. Synonymous with bass excellence since 1987, Wimbish collaborated with Spector’s USA Custom Shop to create the DW-4 and DW-5 models, echoing the iconic instruments that have been favored heavily throughout his recording and performing career.
 
These signature basses faithfully replicate Wimbish’s originals, down to the smallest details like neck contours and nut widths. Customized EMG pickups, developed in collaboration with Wimbish, capture the distinctive sound that has shaped his monumental musical impact. These models invite players to explore the feel and response that have defined Wimbish’s signature style over the years.
 
Available in 4-string and 5-string versions, each model boasts unique features & finish options. The DW-4 comes in Amber Stain Gloss and Black Stain Gloss options, while the DW-5 offers Dark Blue Stain Gloss and Faded Natural Gloss. Every purchase includes a certificate of authenticity signed by Doug Wimbish. Wimbish comments, “Spector took the time to get every little nuance right, and that to me is dedication and being thoughtful enough to know ‘I want to nail it,’ and they did. I’m able to pick these instruments up for the first time and play them like I’ve already had them for years.”

For more information, visit spectorbass.com/doug-wimbish-usa-signature-series/.

Photo: Doug Wimbish, pictured with the new Spector Doug Wimbish USA Custom Series basses

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New Campaign: Alberto Rigoni, Nemesis Call – Queens Of Strings

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New Campaign: Alberto Rigoni, Nemesis Call - Queens Of Strings

Italian bass master and composer ALBERTO RIGONI is thrilled to announce his brand new project “Nemesis Call – Queens Of Strings”.

Nemesis Call – Queens Of Strings features a super talented drummer from Japan (TBA) and tons of female guitarists such as SAKI, Giusy Busetto, Alexandra Zerner (TBC) and many many others (TBA). Furthermore, Alberto has also launched a Fundraising Campaign for the project. 20% of the income will be donated to Lega del Filo d’Oro legadelfilodoro.it/it, an Italian association that helps deaf and blind children!

Alberto shares:
“Hello friends and music lovers! I’m Alberto Rigoni, an Italian composer and.. a BASS GUY! Between 2008 and 2024 I released 13 solo albums, spanning from progressive, rock, ambient to funky and experimental music, which also features contributions from musicians such as keyboard wizard Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) drummer Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree) and Marco Minnemann (the Aristocrats), keyboardist Kevin Moore (ex Dream Theater), singer John Jeff Soto (ex  Goran Edman (ex Y. Malmsteen), bassists Nathan East, Stu Hamm (Joe Satriani), Nik West (ex Prince) and many others. I’m also bass player for BAD As, Sunset Groove Society, Kim Bingham, The Italians bands and co-producer of Mistheria’s Vivaldi Metal Project.”

Alberto on the new project Nemesis Call:
“Even if my latest album “Unexpected Lullabies”, dedicated to my newborn Vittoria Parini Rigoni, will be released on June 4th, 2024, when Vittoria came to life I felt the need to compose new music (yes, I really can’t stop!!!!!). This time will be quite challenging because I’m willing to release an instrumental ambient/prog/rock/metal album, that will feature a talented and young drummer (TBA) and tons of female guitarists (that’s why I will call the album “Queens of the Strings”) such as Alexandra Zerner, YOKA and many others (TBA/TBC)). It won’t be easy to manage all such great musicians but I will make it!! Are you ready to face a new prog experience? The album will be released in Digipack CD and in high-quality digital format approximately at the beginning of 2025.”

The Fundraising Campaign:
As an independent artist, Alberto is looking for supporters who can help him reach the budget for the production (recordings, mix, mastering, artwork etc.) of this new album and has started this fundraising campaign that will end successfully on October 15th, 2024.

Get further information about Alberto Rigoni’s new project Nemesis Call Fundraising campaign at albertorigoni.net/nemesiscal

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Bass Videos

Artist Update With Bassist Derek Frank

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Artist Update With Bassist Derek Frank

Bassist Derek Frank…

Many of you will remember the last time I chatted with Derek Frank was back in 2017. The main thing that impressed me was how busy Derek was and how he juggled playing with many huge acts.

Now, I am happy to hear that Derek launched a new album last March titled “Origin Story” where he digs deep into his roots and pays homage to Pittsburg.

Join me as we get caught up after all these years and hear the details about the new album, how Derek gets his sound, and his plans for the future.

Photo, Stephen Bradley

Visit Online:

www.derekfrank.com
www.instagram.com/derekfrankbass
www.youtube.com/derekfrankbass
www.facebook.com/derekfrankbass

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This Week’s Top 10 Basses on Instagram

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TOP 10 Basses of the week

Check out our top 10 favorite basses on Instagram this week…

Click to follow Bass Musician on Instagram @bassmusicianmag

FEATURED @foderaguitars @bqwbassguitar @lecomptebass @xvector_basses @vuorensaku_guitars @phdbassguitars @meridian_guitars @sterlingbymusicman @ramabass.ok @overwaterbasses

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