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Custom Build - Tone Question

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by FunkMetalBass, Apr 5, 2009.

  1. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    I'm going to build a NT bass w/ a 5-piece maple/wenge/ovankol/wenge/maple neck, ebony fretboard, mahogany wings, and a walnut top. I also want to put in some active MEC pups and electronics.

    I really like the Warwick Thumb sound, and I'd like to be able to emulate it with this bass. I know that a lot of the tone comes from the wood, but I like the look of my wood choices.

    Will the mahogany wings and maple in the neck take away much of that Warwick tone?

    All help is appreciated. Thanks!
  2. tdogg


    Jan 17, 2001
    Brooklyn Park, MN
    i would like suggest that MEC electronics are NOT the secret of "warwick tone". i know there has been alot of debate on here about MEC pickups, but i have played and older thumb bass that had bartolini pups and pre, and it sounded more "warwickish" than the newer ones with MEC's (this is just my opinion). i personally cant wait to get the MECs out of my corvette. i think the biggest factors in the thumb tone are: pickup placement, heavy body wood, and a wenge fingerboard. again.. this is only my opinion.
  3. XylemBassGuitar

    XylemBassGuitar Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 14, 2008
    Durango, CO
    Owner and Operator, Xylem Handmade Basses and Guitars
    In my experience the types of wood matters a lot less than the density of the woods when you're talking about their effect on tone. You might consider using woods with similar density to those that the Warwick Thumb uses.

    Also, in my experience, playing style, scale length and pickup type/placement play a much bigger role in determining a solid-body instrument's tone than the types of wood you use.
  4. eleonn


    Aug 24, 2006
    Lima - Perú
    Why dont you just buy one Warwick?
  5. LedBelli Bass

    LedBelli Bass Fine, Handmade Custom Bass Guitars

    Dec 25, 2008
    Pasco, WA
    To try and offer an answer to your specific question: I'm inclined to think that maybe your NECK wood choices will take away from the Warwick tone.

    On a neck-thru, I believe a big part of the tone is the wood that makes up the neck blank; that section of the guitar that anchors the strings on both ends. You are choosing to make a significant change to the Warwick recipe for the woods in the neck. There are not a lot of Warwicks that use Maple in the neck (at least, that I am aware of).

    As I am sure you know, the wood make-up of a Warwick neck from the 90's is significantly different from the wood make-up of a recently produced Warwick. This is why 90's vintage Warwicks command better prices and are very desireable.

    Therefore, if you are looking for that classic Warwick tone, I would look to build the neck up as closely as I could to a classic Warwick neck.

    As for the Mahogony Wings . . . I'm not sure . . . it might even help the tone!
  6. Stone Age

    Stone Age

    Apr 13, 2008

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