Roger Sadowsky Speaks On Licensing Distribution Agreement with Warwick - Bass Magazine - The Future of Bass
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From Roger Sadowsky:

There has been a lot of speculation and questions on social media about the Warwick part- nership and model lines. I want to explain everything in detail so that there is no confusion.

First of all, I am not retiring! This is a licensing and distribution agreement only. I remain fully involved and behind all decisions regarding design, quality, branding, and everything else Sadowsky. The Sadowsky NYC Custom Shop will stay open, continue to take custom build orders, and deal with everyone on the personal level that you have come to expect. We will also be keeping our archtop and solid body guitars from the Sadowsky NYC Custom Shop.

I am very proud of our 17 years of MetroLine and MetroExpress production. Yoshi Kikuchi has been my protege since 1982, and the instruments that he was responsible for have always been amazing. That being said, we have still been held back by limited distribution.

One year after we began the MetroExpress production, I was still unable to inform my customers when they could expect to receive their bass. Due to that situation, I spent two years thinking of how we could get our instruments into customers' hands in a more efficient manner.

I had the opportunity to get to know Hans Peter Wilfer, owner of Warwick/Framus, and visit his facility in Germany. I have seen many factories in the US, Japan, and Korea, but I have never seen a facility as mind-blowing as the Warwick factory. The quality of the work they do there is fantastic. Marcus Spangler, their production manager, and wood buyer, is brilliant in guitarmaking and production. Before becoming production manager, he was the wood supplier to Warwick, which is why they have the most fantastic wood inventory I have ever seen. Marcus still goes out to purchase logs and supervise the milling of each log before it gets shipped off to Warwick.

One final discovery that impressed me is that the facility is 100% Carbon Neutral. They generate all of their power from solar panels and burn wood waste to make energy for heat and air conditioning. They generate zero pollution.

For these reasons, I have chosen to move my Japanese production over to Germany, where Warwick will manufacture several lines of Sadowsky basses at three different price points and distribute Sadowsky basses and accessories worldwide.

MasterBuilt basses will feature lightweight chambered bodies, premium Sadowsky hardware, pickups, a full palette of woods, finishes, and other premium options. Most current models will be offered, including our Will Lee and Verdine White models.

MetroLine basses will closely match the Japanese MetroLine and offer most Sadowsky models, including our Will Lee and Verdine White models. Bodies will be solid Ash or Alder with each body blank selected to guarantee a bass at 8.9 pounds or less. Ash bodies will be matched with Maple fingerboards. Alder bodies will be matched with Morado fingerboards.

MetroExpress basses will closely match the Japanese MetroExpress featuring 4 and 5 string J-style basses as well as our Verdine White P-J model. Bodies will be lightweight Okoume paired with Maple or Morado fingerboards. Pickups will all be single coil, and the preamp will be the original Sadowsky with Volume-Blend-Treble and Bass controls. Pickup and Vintage Tone Control upgrades will be available for the MetroExpress.

The MetroExpress Story

I am very aware that there are many players, especially young and upcoming players, who have never been able to afford a Sadowsky. With this understanding, the new MetroExpress starts at $899 for a 4 string and $949 for a 5 string.

Warwick works with an excellent factory in China and sends one of their builders to China for two weeks out of every production run to supervise quality. I honestly know of no other company manufacturing in China who does this.

For lightweight, I have chosen Okoume for the bodies. Necks will have Maple or Morado fin- gerboards. I realize that many are unfamiliar with Okoume and may have tonal concerns. At the NYC Custom shop, we have used Okoume as a lightweight body wood for many years and have always loved its tone, regardless of which fingerboard wood it was paired with.

I am committed to having the best bass at this price on the market and will go to China myself to supervise the quality.

Some of you may have noticed the different logo on the headstock. Please permit me to explain... About 15 years ago, when I went to trademark Sadowsky in China, I discovered that a pirate had trademarked Sadowsky before I could. I have been fighting for the return of my trademark for the last five years. We won the previous round on the basis that he has never used the trademark. However, on the last possible day, he appealed the decision, and until the appeal is heard, he still owns the mark. As a result, I have trademarked RSD (Roger Sadowsky Design) and will use that in conjunction with the MetroExpress until the issue is resolved, which I am confident it will be.

Finally, we will continue to operate the Sadowsky NYC Custom Shop, making our basses, solid body guitars, and archtop guitars. Ellis Hahn, our shop manager, and I will always be available to you. We are not going anywhere!

I hope I have covered everything that might address some of your questions and concerns. I appreciate all of you every day, and your emails continue to warm my heart and keep me going. If you still have any questions or concerns, you are always welcome to reach out to me at roger@sadowsky.com.