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For Sale/Trade 1986 Warwick JD Thumb Bass NT-5 - Very Rare

Discussion in 'For Sale: Bass Guitars' started by MaddAnthony_59, Nov 7, 2019.

  1. MaddAnthony_59

    MaddAnthony_59 Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2006
    Columbus, IN
    I Channel Surf During Commercials. (Drives my Wife CRAZY!!!)
    History / Background:

    Greetings, if you’re a fan of Warwick basses, this instrument needs little introduction. It’s a 1986 Warwick JD Thumb bass (5-string). This bass is unique and quite rare; it would certainly be the crown jewel of any Warwick aficionado’s collection. The JD Thumbs are the grandfather of the current Thumb bass produced today en mass by Warwick. When you compare a JD Thumb bass to the modern, mass produced, Thumb Bass NT/BOs, the JDs have shorter horns, a smaller body, smaller headstock (with partially-recessed machines and a milled rear “spine”), more aggressively angled pick-ups, single battery compartment, electronics covered with screw fasteners, and the strap pins are strategically located to prevent the dreaded “neck-dive” that plagues modern Thumbs (especially 5/6 stringers). This bass also has the first gen brass Just-A-Nut (which allows for individual string height adjustment) and the early one-piece Schaller Warwick-branded bridge and machine tuners.

    I have only seen photos of two other JD Thumb 5-string variants on the Internet. I know that very few JD Thumbs were made and even fewer were 5-stringers produced (remember this was ’86), and not many have survived to today. Most of these early JD Thumbs never left Europe, so finding one in the States is a bit of a rarity. The mid/late-eighties are considered to be the “golden age” for Warwick as the shop was small and producing less than a hundred basses per month and they were all made by hand – and believe me (I’ve owned four other modern Thumb basses), the craftsmanship shows on this model.

    The sound of this bass is spectacular. Again, I’ve owned several Thumbs in the past (all mid-nineties or newer) and thought they looked and played well, but this Thumb is in a league of its own. This JD Thumb has a very warm tone and a distinct growl that everyone attributes to early Warwicks.


    Bass JD Thumb Bass NT, 5-string
    Serial Number L 6086
    Year 1986
    Month November
    Number 60
    Neck Wood Wenge Wood with Afzelia Layers
    Fingerboard Wenge Wood, with 4 mm mother of pearl Dots
    Frets Bronze Warwick Frets
    Nut Just-A-Nut Brass Version
    Neck construction Neck-Through hidden neck construction
    Body 3 pcs. solid Afzelia Wood
    Surface Oil Finish / BeeWax Surface
    Pickups 2 passive JJ Bartolini Pickups
    Electronic 2 Band MEC Active Electronics (9v)
    Hardware Made by Schaller for Warwick

    Made in Germany / Pretzfeld (Franconia / West Germany)

    Hans Peter Wilfer’s Words

    After purchased this bass, the previous owner immediately emailed Hans Peter Wilfer (HPW) at Warwick (the founder and President of the company) for any additional information he could share. His words are pasted below and I think they speak a lot about the rarity and condition of this bass:

    Dear Mr. -,

    Thanks for your mail and you have one of the first ever made Warwick Thumb Bass NT 5 strings manufacturer in November 1986.. we presented the Bass at Frankfurt Musik Messe 1986 in the spring time. The first models where still a experience because it was very hard in this time to get the right pickups with the right length so your Bass has from this time Bartolini Pickups.

    The first Name of the Thumb Basses was called John Davis after a local Bass Player in Nürnberg like the Nobby Meidel Bass only in 1987 or so I changed the Name finally to the THUMB BASS... the design from the Bass is from my side...

    I hope you will love your really rare Thumb NT 5, this is a collector model already.. you must be proud to have it.. hope it is still in a great condition....

    So all the best, I hope this information is helping you.. enjoy playing your very early Warwick Bass and we wish you a happy and healthy New year, freedom and peace...


    Hans - Peter Wilfer
    Owner / President
    Warwick GmbH & Co Music Equipment KG



    This bass is absolutely stunning – when you consider this bass is over 30-years-old, the condition of this instrument becomes even more unbelievable. I would gauge its present condition at a 9.5 of 10. The only blemishes are a few superficial scratches from string changes around the lower left screw hole on the truss rod cover, a couple of small scratches on the rear circuit cover/plate, and some speckling in the black coating on the tuning pegs (this was not captured well in the photos and I can provide additional photos upon request). This bass has no dents, dings, gouges, or even belt buckle rash. There have been no repairs. I would be shocked if this bass was ever gigged at all(Actually I played 1 set on it 2 weeks ago to show a potential buyer. He bought my Streamer instead.)

    ; my guess is it was a studio instrument for most, if not all, of its life and I believe its superb condition backs that statement up. It truly is amazing that a bass this old is in such impeccable condition.

    All of the hardware is original and none of the plastic pieces are cracked or chipped – the small battery door is even intact (which is amazing as most of these older Warwicks have missing battery doors as they break easily). The neck is straight with no abnormal curvature. The frets are in great shape with plenty of life left in them – I believe they are original as they show very little wear.

    Thank you and enjoy the photos. I believe they speak volumes about the beauty of this instrument.

    JD15. JD16. JD18. JD100. JD0. JD1. JD2. JD3. JD4. JD5. JD6. JD7. JD8. JD9. JD10. JD11. JD12.

    Price is $3500 shipped to a CONUS address. I would love to avoid paypal fees if possible. I'm not looking for trades, but if something Amazing or Embarrassingly Lopsided in my Favor were to be presented, one never knows! Please PM any Questions or Offers.

    Attached Files:

    DrZ, ajkula66, bobunit and 11 others like this.
  2. BWorm

    BWorm Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2014
    My goodness!! I really wish I had the funds to get this one back! Amazing bass that has given me seller’s remorse a time or two!
    Some Warwick fan will be in tone heaven if they purchase this one...
    MaddAnthony_59 likes this.
  3. MaddAnthony_59

    MaddAnthony_59 Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2006
    Columbus, IN
    I Channel Surf During Commercials. (Drives my Wife CRAZY!!!)
    Yes, it is an Amazing Bass. I'm just not a Thumb Guy, although I don't mind having it hang between my Dolphin Pro1-5 BN and James Earl Sig. Quite a Sight...
  4. RedMoses

    RedMoses Supporting Member

    Jul 4, 2012
    I had an '87 Thumb for over a decade, these instruments are amazing and light years better than anything Warwick has put out since, this is from the days of 5 string and truly hand made. Mine was well used, this one is in nice condition.

    MaddAnthony_59 likes this.
  5. I'm a bit of a Warwick freak and yet I had no idea they ever made a Thumb bass with a Afzelia body. It's always a pleasure seeing the old handmade Warwicks. If you have a good eye you can usually see slight differences in body contours, especially in the transition of the neck to the body and the horns. This JD is so beautiful, I hope it goes to a good owner who appreciates what they are getting. Cheers!
  6. joebar


    Jan 10, 2010
    I owned an 88 thumb and let me tell you, the neck and FB radius on these old necks is not like the new ones- totally different- much rounder. I agree about the quality of the old ones; I had a brand new flaming blond V at the time; I bought the vintage thumb and sold the other one immediately- no contest in sound or feel
    In case a potential buyer was on the fence about that.
  7. MaddAnthony_59

    MaddAnthony_59 Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2006
    Columbus, IN
    I Channel Surf During Commercials. (Drives my Wife CRAZY!!!)
    Lot's of "Curiosity" about this GEM, but no one ready to try and Tame her.
  8. TateEvan

    TateEvan Supporting Member

    Jun 23, 2008
    How is the neck dive on this one?
  9. TravisBickle


    Jan 5, 2009
    Chapin, SC
    What is the weight on that beast?

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