Sadowsky Guitars: High-end Guitars and Basses from NYC

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As seen in
Guitar Girl Magazine Issue 14 – New York-inspired

New York-based Sadowsky Guitars is a premier company that has been building hand-crafted instruments for over forty years. Roger Sadowsky is known for creating high-end guitars and basses with a distinctive appeal and tone.

In his early career, Sadowsky worked as an apprentice alongside luthier Augie LoPrinzi. He gained experience doing high-end repair and restoration work, but his passion for flat-top acoustic guitars led him to guitar-making in the ‘70s. In 1979, he founded Sadowsky Guitars and started building electrics in 1980 and basses in 1982.

Sadowsky became particularly known for his Fender-style basses made with the upgrades and modifications he had been doing over the years. Early on, high-profile musicians like Will Lee, Verdine White, and Marcus Miller enlisted his work. Over the years, Sadowsky has also worked with legendary guitarists, such as Pat Metheny, Paul Simon, and Earl Klugh.

For today’s top players, Tal Wilkenfeld, Adeline Michele, Gretchen Menn, and others, Sadowsky is keeping the tradition of personal service and thoughtful design at the forefront.

Tal Wilkenfeld performing at She Rocks Awards 2020 in Anaheim, CA with Sadowsky NYC bass. Photo by Jack Lue

Session bassist Tanya O’Callaghan, who has worked with Orianthi, Dee Snider (Twisted Sister), Steven Adler (Guns N’ Roses), and Nuno Bettencourt (Extreme), is a Sadowsky devotee.

“It’s so important to have a relationship with the company you use,” says Tanya. “People throw gear at you left and right, but you want to have a genuine relationship with the company you use and really love the instruments and gear. I am lucky to work with such a high-end company like Sadowsky.”

The brand has grown in popularity among professional musicians and the general guitar- loving community alike for their NYC Custom basses, Archtop series guitars, MetroLine Basses, Sadowsky Preamps, and Electric Nylon string guitars.

Nowadays, the talented team focuses on refining their techniques and seeking the most innovative materials to meet their signature artists’ needs and worldwide customer base. Last year, Sadowsky announced a manufacturing and distribution partnership with Warwick, where they will build and distribute their MetroLine and MetroExpress instruments, as well as distribute their strings and accessories.

Photo by Sean Larkin Photography


“I have the most beautiful bass on the planet, a Sadowsky [NYC J-style]. I always wanted to be a Sadowsky player; it’s the Holy Grail of basses. I got to know Roger at a bass convention, and he is just one of the best humans on the planet. Then, when I was in New York, I would use his basses for TV shows when I was playing with Jordan Fisher. Then it just evolved, and I became a Sadowsky player. I fell in love with the NYC basses, and I haven’t put them down since.” ~ Tanya O’Callaghan


Camila Meza – Photo by Chris Drukker


“The Sadowsky LL-15 has a perfect balance of warmth and versatility, allowing me to project its pristine acoustic sound and experiment with effects in different stages and settings, always keeping its consistent and great tone.” ~ Camilla Meza


Adeline – Photo by Dennis Manuel

“What I love most about my Sadowsky is its versatility. Mine is a jazz bass, but I can make it sound like a P bass if I want to. For live shows, it’s the gift that keeps on giving when every room sounds different. And the mega plus is that it’s light, and the neck feels so smooth.” ~ Adeline


Gretchen Menn – Photo by Diana Cordero


“My Sadowsky electric nylon string taught me a lesson: If you pick up a guitar, and it inspires you to play things you’ve never played before, it’s not an extravagant indulgence, but a legitimate creative tool.” ~ Gretchen Menn

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