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Help on Warwick Thumb

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by nastyn8c, Mar 6, 2005.

  1. nastyn8c


    Feb 7, 2005
    Tampa, FL
    Originally Posted by Larzon
    "The Thumb - Too neck heavy! The TONE is tremendous! It's soo Punchy, growly, tight, warm, clear, powerful...especially the low midrange and the low end. Even the highs is brilliant that never become obtrusive. The Thumb is more a fingerstyle Bass, but you can get a nice slap on it too."

    I guess general consensus around here is that it is too heavy, so that's settled. My big question is about Larzon's description of the tone. Do you guys agree with him?
  2. Heavy & neck-heavy are two entirely different things. A fairly lightweight bass that won't balance well could be worse than a heavy one that does. I had a wide Thumb 5(bolt-on)- horrible neck dive. I also had a Corvette 6 that weighed a ton(11 pounds, actually)but balanced much better. My first 'high-end' bass was a bolt-on Thumb 4- not too heavy, a bit of neck dive, but manageable. Suh-WEEET tone(for me)- middy, bassy, punchy, slap, fingerstyle, all that. Wish I still had it.
    Tone-wise- yes, I agree.
    sssludge likes this.
  3. Bassconbeatz

    Bassconbeatz Way down low Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Porter Ranch, CA
    I have two thumbs 5s'. One an "87, and a "98". I love them both, 'nough said.

  4. Dincrest


    Sep 27, 2004
    New Jersey
    If I'm not mistaken, I believe people have relocated the strap pins on their Thumbs so they balance better. So this way, you can get the tone and not have to visit the chiropractor as often :p
  5. Lowtonejoe

    Lowtonejoe Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Richland, WA
    Yes, you do have to contend with neck dive on a Thumb.

    Here is an example of their tone. FYI my pickups are Barts not MEC's.

    The first bass is the Thumb 4 Bolt-on and the second is a Yamaha RBX375 with stock humbuckers. I just got the RBX375 and it is my first 5 string so I fumbled a bit but you get to hear the tonal differences quite well.

    Click here for the clip.


  6. I agree with the statement except for the 'fingerstyle' remark. Fingerstyle sounds good but you can get great slap sounds from a thumb, too.

    Regarding neck dive the thumb is simply poorly designed. I am one of those who relocated the strap buttons and that solved the problem, but how annoying it was to drill holes into my brand new bass!
  7. mrbungle


    Nov 13, 2000
    tampere, finland
    My Thumb is bit weird one, but I'll answer anyway.. It's '94 model with cherrywood body, wenge neck and emg pups. The description of the sound is quite accurate, but the mid-oriented sound doesn't fit in every mix. When it fits into the mix the sound is awesome but sometimes it just doesn't deliver enough bottom end for a (rock)song. Some midcut eq and tube saturation corrects the problem though. The dry growl of a Thumb is something you won't find in any other bass (except for some other Warwick models), and once you get used to it, there's no coming back.

    I bought a Fender Jazz for situations where Thumb just won't work so well. My Corvette is tonally between these two, so it's a good compromise.
  8. dhadleyray

    dhadleyray Guest

    Dec 7, 2004
    I must have some kind of mutant thumb basses, because I've never experienced "neck dive" with my thumb basses. I have seen thumb bolt on necks and they all looked like baseball backs, but they were all 3 x's as thick as the ones I own. I was wondering, is it bolt ons with that circumference only? I think thumb basses are classy in their simplicity and elegance. I have average size hands and I play a fretless and fretted thumb 6 strings. I've seen this before on TB and I suspect it's a "price" issue. "don't like the thumb basses I've seen in stores, but they don't look like mine. They look like a mass produced version. I would love to figure out what's up. My fretless is retailed at around $4K to 4.5K. On tape, they cut through any mix. I just don't believe I've got some "rarity'! :eyebrow:
  9. dhadleyray

    dhadleyray Guest

    Dec 7, 2004
    Forgive the typos :ninja:
  10. MrWalker


    Apr 3, 2002
    It may be an older Thumb you have.

    I had a pre-90s Thumb 6 with the Bartolini mics in it, and it sounded great. It was a bit on the heavy side, though, and the neck-dive was terrible. I solved some of it by getting an "acoustic end-pin" installed, you know the jack output that allows it to be used as a strap point in addition. It looked a little strange, but it worked nicely. Apart from the neck-dive, I had no complaints about this bass at all.

    I have read many places that early (pre-90 or so) Warwicks were a lot better than the Warwicks produced these days. It sounds right to me, because I haven't played a Warwick in ages that appealed to me. Don't like the necks, balance, or anything with them. But my old Thumb 6 was a good bass, so maybe there's something about the pre-90 theory? :)

    They are great basses, just not my cup of tea. And I think they should have nailed the balance a little better from the start. :)
  11. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    My thumb NT has EMGs in it. The fingerstyle tone on that thing is beastly, and the slap tone is okay. It's more upper-mid rangey, almost twangy. When I want a smooth deep low end that kicks arse for slap, I pick up my MIA jazz.
  12. dhadleyray

    dhadleyray Guest

    Dec 7, 2004
    I concur, :rolleyes: My fretted is an '88 with the brass nut. It is "heavy as hell", but the fretless is a '94. Still, I've never had "neckdive." The strange thing is, they have the same neck dimensions. I was also wondering, has anyone played the Jack Bruce thumb basses? Are they different? Oops... One more thing, did you know that Jack's band the "Cream" have reformed? I wonder if he'll play fretless? :bassist:
  13. goloa


    Apr 22, 2005

    i'm thinking of doing the same with my thumb (relocateing strap buttons ) and i'm a bit scared of drilling holes in that beauty :D so can you post any pics of your modification ? how's the neck dive now ?
  14. Hi Goloa, I sold the Thumb a year ago so no pics, but the modification is easily described.

    Since the strap buttons were countersunk into the body I left them were they were and added a third strap button to the back of the lower horn just where the lower horn grew out of the body. So the left/neck side of the strap passed behind the body to the lower horn, pulling the neck up into a comfortable position. No neck dive at all.

    A downside that you will have to think about is that the bass can flip over horizontally if you don't have your hands on the bass. (In your mind, draw a line between the right strap button and the location of the new one and you'll understand.) You might find a way to prevent this, I didn't bother as I always have my hands on the bass anyway.

    There are other mods like relocating the right strap button or prolonging the upper horn. Haven't tried these, don't know how well they work.

    Good luck.
  15. goloa


    Apr 22, 2005
    aha .. i see what you mean. I was thinking of relocating the right strap button just like on thumb neck-trough. I think that will work :)
  16. Dincrest


    Sep 27, 2004
    New Jersey
    Isn't the neck dive and all less of a problem if you wear a Thumb bass at chest height? The design seems to be meant for that what with the concave back that won't crush your sternum, the short upper horn that won't poke your nipple, and if you play at chest height, it'll be a reach if the neck's pointing upward, right?
  17. bannedwit


    May 9, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    The whole bass is "heavy"
    The Thumb body probably weights the same or a little more than the neck but since the neck is longer, it does a nice little neck dive like everyone mentiones.

    The warwicks can create some different sounds that I love!
    I wish i never sold mine!
    The mid and high strings and notes ring out and sound amazing! it purs, growls, oinks and whatever else...
  18. Daywalker


    Apr 13, 2005
    I own a 97 NT-4 and I love it. It is a lil heavier than a lot of other basses out there. But being 6'5"/260, it doesn't bother me at all...:)
  19. zeronyne

    zeronyne Recovering Keyboard Player

    Nov 24, 2003
    I would agree 100% about the tone.

    2004 Thumb5 NT, Stock MECs
  20. pommes


    Jun 13, 2005
    I used to have a Warwick Thumb 5 BO. Sold it because of the neck dive. Just could not handle it when it came to gigs and longer rehearsals.

    I tried a looong screw in the upper strap connection. That worked but just looked awful. You have to enlarge the upper horn to the 12th fret to balance it.

    Another thing I tried: I put some weight on the Thumb's ass but until it was okay, I had to put 4 pounds to balance it. And as the bass is already heavy as hell, that did not work for me (and the coke bottle inside my DocMartens hangin down the bass did not look too well either :D).

    Tonewise, I totally agree with the statement in the 1st post.