I've played both types. I've played a thumb 5 stringer and a corvette rockbass. The only difference being the aesthetic part, and even then they are both beautiful instruments in their own rights. So, are people just choosing the German ones just because they are made in Germany? I mean I understand German Wicks use different woods etc...and have higher end electronics, but the Rockbass Wicks have to meet the same if not similar standards. As for tone, if you are a solo artist I understand, but most people play in groups where the tones, well to me sounds the same. At least with that thumb and the vett that I played with. Maybe I'm missing something.