Help with warwick/G&L axe selection, Warwick tone??

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Joebone, Mar 9, 2006.

  1. Joebone

    Joebone Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Los Angeles
    I'm soliciting feedback re a tone quandry, as I'm trying to figure out whether I can realistically choose between a G&L L2000 and Warwick Thumb NT and come up with one bass that will pretty much fill my needs.

    Background: I'm not much of a bass player, but once was a pro trombone player, and hi-fi has been an occasional vice over the years, so I'm pretty fussy about sound and tone. My goal -- perhaps unrealistic -- is to have one axe that I can use for jazz, latin and the occasional folkie situation, with the ability to get a warm, full sound, but also get more "penetration" when I want it, and lots of tonal nuance based on what I do with my left hand.

    For many years I've had an early 70's maple-neck Pbass w/ an EMG P-J combo, but have now brought the Thumb and L2K into the house, and know I won't be going back to that Pbass because these other axes give me so much more -- especially the extra frets. As a bone player, I get a kick out of being able to extend one's range by simply buying a different axe! On the amp front I have a Thunderfunk TF-420/Aguilar GS112, but do almost all of my playing on a small Fender practice amp. To be frank, I probably have not adequately explored the EQ capabilities of the TF420.

    I've always respected the L2K's versatility, and now that I have one in hand and my first exposure to a humbucking pickup, I really dig the sound. I find that if I back both tone controls down so as to bring out more mids, and play passive/double-coil, I get a nice range of usable tones by simply adjusting the pickup selector and my right-hand placement.

    But even with this approach, the L2K will never have the quickness of the Warwick- that axe is so articulate on the attack that it makes me think more like a drummer! And although most of my bass time has been with a P-bass type neck, as I get used to the Warwick I'm finding that my left hand is more likely to land in the right place when I try to jump up the fretboard without looking, and I seem to play more cleanly with the right hand - I guess I'm digging the neck and string geometry, and I love those 26 frets! But even if trying to get more meat from my right fingers on the string, and hitting just below the edge of the fingerboard, I cannot seem to get the big, warm, easy sound I want in the lower register when, for example, laying a line under a jazz guitarist playing standards. I should add that I prefer not to rely too much on eq adjustments to each amp as in my general experience, unless boosting or notching to deal with room anomalies, messing around with that stuff can generally create new problems when you solve the old. And in just experimenting with bass boost, I lose the clean chordal capability of the Thumb. So my current approach is to keep the amp flat and work the bas controls by backing the mids way off and boosting bass and cutting treble slightly, but this is not quite doing it, as I want a bit more sustain and warmth.

    So, the questions. Am I looking for the impossible? Is there any point in considering alternative pickups to the MEC pickups on the Warwick? I look forward to your collective wisdom!
  2. T-Funk


    Jul 2, 2005
    What type of strings are strung on your Warwick?

    When I played in a Latin Jazz band, I used flatwound strings on a Carvin LB75 fretless 5-string bass. The flatwounds produced more warmth than halfwounds and roundwounds.

  3. JBass1


    Dec 6, 2005
    get the Warwick.. i have the Thumb NT 4 and i use it for EVERYTHING...funk, jazz, rock....this thing gets so many sounds.....but a thing to note is that it took me a good week or two with it to master teh tonal responses...after sitting with it for a whule nad messing around you find every tone you're looking for..HOWEVER...i have never played a G&L so this is a biased opinion...but truthful as well

    EDIT: i have mine strung with Elixers
  4. I have a Warwick Corvette and a G&L L2500.

    The Warwick has just one sound, but it's a thick, rich sound without a ton of harmonics. Very focused. It sounds good in almost any context, though I don't think it would work in a punk band or any environment that requires an ultra-bright, "pingy" sound.

    The L2500 is about the most versatile bass out there. It can do a spot-on Precision bass imitation, a sort of faux-Jazz bass sound, and can get some of the Stingray vibe too. It also has its own sound, which can be found with both pickups selected and in series mode. It is less articulate than the Warwick, but has its own thing going on. More of a sonic sledgehammer than the laser-like Warwick.

    I hope this helps.
  5. jzucker


    Feb 3, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    Not to get too OT but is the thumb 4 neck heavy like the thumb 5? I loved the tone of the thumb 5 but found it useless for playing live.
  6. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Man, tough choice. The G&L is a fine axe, with a huge tonal pallette. Many folks like the Warwick; though it's not my personal cup of tea. I think you're down to personal preference here.

    Unless you can afford both;)
  7. Dincrest


    Sep 27, 2004
    New Jersey
    James above covered the tonal aspects wonderfully.

    But it sounds lto me like you have your heart set on the Thumb. The feel and playability of that bass are just "right" for you it seems. And though tone is a big consideration, the feel and playability have to be right as well. Not everyone digs the feel of Warwicks, but those who do are in heaven.

    I would try using some mellower strings on your Thumb, like maybe some SIT Silencers. I've used Silencers on my Warwick Corvette, and they added warmth, fatness, and smoothness without sacrificing the growl.

    EDIT: Zucker- do you play your Thumb strapped low or high? Because the compact body, short upper horn, pickup placement, and concave back are designed for chest-height playing using the "thumbs up" slap technique. At chest height, the neck-dive is far less pronounced, perhaps even desirable otherwise you'd be reaching into the stratosphere to play in first position.
  8. Joebone

    Joebone Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Los Angeles
    Thanks, folks.

    As I start playing out, over the last week I've backed a percussionist and trio of vocalists/acoustic guitarists doing Latin and South American songs, and a duet with a jazz guitarist. Thanks to the "timbre" control on my Thunderfunk amp, on the Thumb I was able to dial in the warmth I was looking for. If I can keep disciplined re my right-hand touch, there is plenty of warmth and thump...and when I want to go with more punch or attitude, there is plenty there. And I really, really dig the rhythmic bite of this thing - humbling when I am not quite grooving, but an incredible tool when I'm hitting it right. At this point my plan is to keep the Warwick and also try an Epiphone Jack Casady for rootsier stuff, then call it quits with the gear thing and just hunker down with the playing.

    But if I could have only one bass, then the L-2000 would be a serious, serious, contender.
  9. pickles

    pickles Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    You could always use the P/J bass for those warm n' thumpy gigs and use the NT when you want the bite. L2000s are great too though. I think you've got your finger well on the pulse of the strengths of those two basses you've got, so theres not much more we can tell you :D
  10. panic_striken


    Oct 13, 2005
    I had an active model Warwick Corvette that I wish I had never sold. I was also unhappy with the stock MEC's. I got a set of Aero Instruments type 1 j-pups, and was VERY PLEASED!!! I have also heard of folks using Lindy Fralins and getting good results.
  11. jzucker


    Feb 3, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    I'm using Dimarzio Ultra jazz in my corvette and they sound great though I'd like to add a preamp.