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How do I appraise a Warwick Thumb in the Classifieds

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by PaulYeah, Dec 26, 2013.

  1. PaulYeah


    Mar 1, 2004
    Likes Received:
    I'm shopping for a used Thumb 5 in the Classified section, and I want to make sure I have a decent understanding of the variables that affect the price of this particular instrument. I think I've seem them going for anywhere between $1,200 and $3,200 and up but I'm not clear on how to value any particular instrument. I've never spent this much on a bass before, so I want to do my homework!

    I would like a German-made, I don't think I care much about neck-thru if it costs as much as I think it does, and as this is my first $1,000+ bass, I don't really know enough about the different woods to care.

    So how much do these typically affect the price, and what other important factors are there:

    Wenge/other woods
    MEC/other electronics

    Thanks, TalkBass community!
  2. JB36

    JB36 Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Search the TB Bass for sale classifieds for "thumb." You'll get a pretty good idea of the asking prices for the different models and how quickly they sold.
  3. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Roughly what makes price go up or down

    Asian -
    German +
    Bolt on
    NT +
    Hidden NT ++
    EMG +
    Bartolini +
    Wenge +
    Built before 2000 +
    Broad neck +
    Any specific custom option such as color, binding, exotic top ++
  4. itsalljustaride


    Sep 23, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Wenge is going to affect the value positively as far as resale, because it is commonly more desirable, but I would play one if you can get your hands on one, and A/B it with an ovangkol neck. They have a completely different feel. I prefer the ovangkol actually. The wenge grain is too open and textured for my tastes. Ovangkol is more akin to the maple or other woods in most other basses. If you're going to have this bass for a long time, make sure you get the one you like.

    Bolt-on will be significantly less money, like $6-900 less. On average. Can't speak to the exact difference in tone from bolt-on to NT, but the common refrain is that the NT has a more round tone, whereas the BO has more attack. Again, it's kind of a preference thing. The price difference is mostly in the extra woodwork involved in an NT, and some higher-quality woods (figured bubinga body/ebony fretboard, etc) on the NT.

    Speaking personally, I would hesitate to pay more than $1300-1400 for a german-made neck-through Thumb. There are factors that could make me pay more, like for an SE version that I really like or a really nice figuring in the wood, electronics upgrades, etc, but generally that's my personal range. Your market may vary though, depending on how available they are in your area.

    I think the non-German Thumbs are pretty new, and have a gloss finish, so you'll probably not come across them as much, but IDK.
  5. Nephilymbass

    Nephilymbass Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2011
    Likes Received:
    I've owned both the bolt and neck through German versions of the thumb 5. I sold my neck through for about $1800 and my bolt on for about $1200. While they both have some of that identifiably thumb tone i thought the bolt on had more midrange character but the neck through is just a great bass for pretty much any style and has one of the best low b tones of all the basses I've played. I sold my bolt on to help pay for the neck through. The neck through i would have kept forever but it became a victim of the extreme humidity where i live i got rid of it while it was still worth something to someone else. I honestly wouldn't recommend a neck through warwick to anyone who lives in a really humid area. But that said they are great basses. Personally for me if i was to buy another one i would get a bolt on from the custom shop, bubinga body, wenge neck with ebony board, and a 3 band eq basically combining the things i liked from both the bolt on and the neck through. There's no one in my area who could come up with a permanent fix for the structural issues i ended up having with my neck through thumb.

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