Three months before I moved to Nashville, in 1999, I ordered a Sadowsky bass. I knew Sadowsky’s 5-string basses were an industry standard in the studios and on the major tours there, and I had high hopes for work in both. It was the main bass I used to pay all my bills for the next several years, so given my long history with the brand, I couldn’t wait to check out the new MetroExpress. Built in Tokyo through a partnership with Japanese luthier Yoshi Kikuchi, the MetroExpress is the first factory-made model to carry the Sadowsky name.
When I first grabbed the bass out of its case, I could tell right away I was holding something incredibly solid and well built. I was also surprised with how light and balanced the 8 1/2-pound instrument felt. The curb appeal is there, too, with its visually striking sunburst, and the action was set perfectly. Available options for the MetroExpress are limited to keep the price affordable. The model is offered with an alder body and morado fretboard, or an ash body with a maple fretboard, like our test bass. Six different colors are available.
Upon closer inspection, I was also thrilled with the height of the pickup pole pieces, which followed the string radius properly. I’ve encountered quite a few 5-string J-style basses where I felt the foundation of the third string was not quite as strong as the others due to flatter pole pieces. This bass did not have that issue.
The MetroExpress comes equipped with the same Sadowsky preamp that’s used for the handbuilt basses from his New York shop. I’m in the camp that prefers basses in passive mode almost exclusively, but the Sadowsky preamp is one of the few active systems I’ll occasionally engage. The center points of the frequencies boosted are well chosen, and the passive tone control—which allows a player to cut top end from the active tone—makes the preamp a lot more user-friendly for those of us who generally prefer passive tones.