Brief notes from the overhaul of a 1990 Warwick Thumb NT Fretless

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Steve Welch, Dec 2, 2017.


  1. Steve Welch

    Steve Welch

    Mar 23, 2017
    West Sussex
    Hi All,

    Spent some time going over my recently purchased 1990 Thumb, and am super-pleased with the results. One or two tricky bits, so here's what I did - top to bottom.

    1. New Warwick Tuners in Gold
    Dropped right in, but the screws that come with the new tuners are notably smaller in diameter. Easy enough to re-use the old ones.

    2. New Just-a-Nut III Bridge in gold plated brass
    I've changed these a few times on Warwicks before, but this is the first time it's not been a drop-in. I suspect that this is because there was a lot more hand work compared with Machine work in those days. First up, the new nut is 38.5mm wide, and the neck is more like 39.5mm. Not a problem per se, but that half-mm each side could be annoying. In practice I can't see it, and only I know it's there but still ... More tricky: nut is too thick. The existing nut was a couple of mm thinner. I had to change it out because it was worn, and the strings were tending to bind on it. So to fettle the new nut, I carefully filed the back of the main body of the nut (it comes in two parts remember) taking about 2mm off. Then, same 2mm needs to come off the posts of the backing plate. This is not hard to do, but takes time as the nut is not an easy shape to work with in the vice.

    3. Truss rod in and out
    When I took the truss rod cover off, the nut fell out and I took this to be a bad sign - the more so when it wouldn't screw back on. Amazingly, this was a period where the truss rod was removable, so I carefully drilled out some brass tube in 0.1 mm increments until it was a super tight fit over the end of the truss rod, and then with a little sideways pressure and a straight pull, the whole thing came out. I degreased and cleaned thoroughly, then inspected with light and magnifying glass - happily it was perfect so I re-lubed using silicone grease and re-started the nut. My best theory is that the previous owner hadn't realised that for this particular instrument the nut is LEFT hand thread and had simply unwound it by mistake. Another observation: the truss rod needs VERY little adjusting - 1/4 turn makes a massive difference to the relief, so if you have one of these ... proceed at caution.

    4. New Electronics
    You might reasonably ask why bother ... but I was on a roll. The pickups are unchanged, but I replaced the electronics with a GlockenKlang 2-band preamp, which was an exact form-fit replacement. It makes a difference. Overall it has much better HF performance, so it lends more clarity to the sound overall, and the eq is really responsive. This preamp doesn't care whether the pickups are active or passive and it all fits v neatly into the compartment. Obviously I swapped the black knobs for gold also.

    5. New Bridge
    Nothing wrong with the old one, but I wanted to complete the gold theme. Drops right in. Minor observation: the backing plate for the original is thicker and heavier and I was tempted to leave that in.

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    Attached Files:

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