Dilemma - Jazz Bass or Warwick $$

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by scott sinner, Aug 3, 2021.

  1. I am in a bit of a dilemma and am seeking opinions.

    I recently had a great longing to play bass again. I'm mainly a singer and a multi-instrumentalist, but my first main instrument, my first love, was bass.

    I have an idea for a pretty drum and bass heavy set of songs. So I feel like I need a wide array of bass sounds. I'm good on fretlesses. But for fretted, all my basses are a bit on the aggressive side. With tone controls down, sure they can be tamed, but I'm looking for something with more of an inherent gentleness while still having upper harmonics.

    For fretted, currently have:
    1980s Ibanez Musician
    Very aggressive sounding. Always clearly visible knives, even played quietly, the concealed weapon outlines are there.

    Reverend Thundergun
    More of a beefy brawler aggressive, capable of plot twists of tenderness at times but isn't what he is type cast for.

    Sterling Ray34
    The mostly fun party-guy, but you always know he is on the edge of throwing down.

    So I need something more mellow.

    Option 1: Jazz Bass. I've been looking at Fender Jazz basses. I like the sound, but I don't like the neck. One option I am thinking about is putting a Warmoth neck on one. I've played some Warmoths and I like the chunkyness. I can also get them in unfinished (I think=?) and just oil them like I prefer.

    Option 2: I have my eye on a nice looking German Warwick double humbucker. I know for sure I'd like these. I have the 5 string (that is another story) and a fretless Warwick with the same neck wood.

    So really the question is, which has better range of mellow? I've only been able too play in stores with amps very different from mine, but I think the sounds of either breed are fine actually.

    Is the Warwick just staying too close to my comfort zone? I've never had a Jazz Bass in 30 years of (granted on and off) playing bass.
  2. If you’re going the Jazz Bass route consider buying a Squier and putting a Warmoth neck on it. It will save you money over a Fender. Be aware though that you will have to rout a truss rod access channel on the body.


    Jun 13, 2005
    I own both a Warwick $$ and various Jazz basses over the years. To me, the smaller warwick body is my favorite out of may be all instrument shapes. When standing with the warwick there's a bit more of a reach to the 1st fret then on a Jazz bass which I've heard people complain about, but doesn't bother me.

    For tone my Jazz bass and Warwick are running on modded active preamp systems so tone is relatively comparable; I can get everything I need out of both. In terms of being more "mellow" I would give the nod to the Jazz (front pickup solo'd, tone rolled off, finger style close to the neck) for that more classic reggae sound.

    For equal money I take the Warwick assuming it's a swamp ash model and comes in around 9lbs or less. However you can get a lot more Jazz bass for a lot less money so it's not so simple...
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2021
    Gizmot and vintagedevil like this.
  4. That is helpful to know. I thought the necks were a direct replacement. However, I can swing a little routing.
  5. Ya, huh. Haven't ever thought about that, but totally get that now that you mention it. Doesn't bother me either. I have long monkey arms.

    That helps confirm part of what I'm thinking, it is a good bit a cosmetic and feel decision.
  6. I’ll post mine later. It turned out great, although the Lindy Fralin pickups that were given to me didn’t hurt! :thumbsup: I love Warmoth necks and currently have 2: a Wenge and a roasted maple. If you want a Warwick vibe on a Jazz bass consider a Wenge neck.

    I’ve owned a Warwick $$ five string. They’re quite versatile but can be pricey.
    scott sinner likes this.
  7. Wenge was exactly what I was looking at.
  8. Re-read this. Is there something particular about the swamp ash for the tone versus the other wood these come in? Or just the weight?

    I've always felt like neck wood was a big contributor to sound but haven't intensely scrutinized it. Haven't worried as much about the body on a solid body.


    Jun 13, 2005
    Weight is the primary reason. I guess if there was an 8lb bubinga Warwick I would jump on it. In my experience they tend to be more around the 10lb mark. Personally I believe weight is significantly more important then whatever the effect of the tone wood is (especially on an active bass).
    MattZilla likes this.
  10. thank you much!
  11. Obese Chess

    Obese Chess Spicy Big Dad Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2005
    Portland, OR
    If you want "mellow" I'm not sure the Warwick Double Buck is going to give you that tone. That said, nothing else sounds like a Warwick, and they're great basses. So, if that's the sound you want, you can't get it anywhere else.
  12. dbsfgyd1


    Jun 11, 2012
    Mascoutah, IL
    Having a Warwick Corvette STD 5 string I’ve not had an issue of getting it “Mellow” when needed, and I use round wounds. Also, having a Warwick 5 string, I’m having a hard time figuring out what you find objectionable about a Fender neck…LOL!!!

    Seriously, I just read you preference of a chunkier neck. Seems like a lot of trouble to replace a neck, but if that’s the voice you are looking for and it would be lighter.
    Ggaa likes this.
  13. I like the chunk. I long played upright. There aren't many I find too thick.

    Also wanting something different in the fretboard than maple or rosewood just for contrast.

    Weight isn't something I ever really noticed, well except for this Peavey t-40 I helped a guy restore....wow...bass and home defense all in one.
    selowitch, Bass Man Dan and dbsfgyd1 like this.
  14. Gothic


    Apr 13, 2008
    There's your answer. You can bring the tone to where you want to but fiddling with swapping necks and all that isn't worth it if electronics can get you there.
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  15. Katoosie

    Katoosie Bleep-bloopin' thru existence. Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2020
    Yep, that is a thing with every Warwick. That wenge/bubinga/ovangkol sound and feel lovely but you can also use your bass as a weapon to murder someone if need be. They're heavy...
    db59 and scott sinner like this.
  16. Yes, I'm pretty good on that front though. I have an old banjo that must be 12 pounds. Plus, just playing the beginning of Dueling Banjos and using my southern accent is a pretty good deterrent.
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  17. Gizmot

    Gizmot Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2009
    Pittsburgh area
    I'd go for the Warwick! I love their neck profile and the overall build quality is in a completely different league. Better woods too.

    The classic Warwick tone is one of the various Thumb models, but I know that the $$ sounds good and shouldn't disappoint. Make certain to get one with active electronics and you'll be able to dial in a wide range of tones.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2021
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  18. Bartrinsic

    Bartrinsic Supporting Member

    Jan 6, 2018
    San Diego
    Another vote for the $$ here. I sold my Ibby 4 string after playing the neck on mine. It's easy to get mellow tones out of it. I agree that the ash body is a good idea for light weight--with an ash body the neck wood influences the tone most--maybe a little mellower with Ovankol vs. Wenge.
    scott sinner likes this.
  19. MattZilla


    Jun 26, 2013
    I suppose any bass with tons of upper harmonics like a Warwick or StingRay can be played gently and sound more pretty than aggro.

    I’d be curious about the richness/up-front-ness of the harmonics of a regular JJ Corvette vs a $$, and would be inclined to expect more out of the JJ, and obviously even more than that with a JJ Thumb.

    For “Inherently Gentle” however, I would go for a RW Jazz. I lack self control and a Warwick always coaxes me into any form of digging far deeper into the strings than I intend to at the beginning of any song.
    scott sinner likes this.
  20. Warwick. All day, every day.
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