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How can I get vintage tone from Warwick?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by supremo, Dec 31, 2013.

  1. supremo


    Oct 20, 2008
    Well my Warwick Streamer Stage 1 (four strings) sounds too modern and very growly. I played with EQ but its natural modern tone and aggressiveness still exist.
    What can I do to get a vintage tone? Something between P bass and Jazz.
    I'm thinking to put a set of flats LaBella and replace the active MEC P/J pickups with Seymour Duncan Lightnin' Rods. SD characterized them as vintage-voiced pickups.
  2. Marial

    Marial weapons-grade plum

    Apr 8, 2011
    I don't mean to be flip, but you could get a used Fender P or J for not too much money. If you simply don't like the look/feel of Fenders then flats can help, a change of pick ups too, but maybe picking up a second bass is a better way to go? That way you can retain the natural character of your Warwick (never know when you might need that kind of tone) and get your vintage tones too.
  3. I'm very interested in hearing suggestions as well. I once had tracks pulled entirely from an album because the producer didn't like the tone of the instrument and claimed he couldn't get a good feed. I just passed it off as the guy being a tool and didn't know how to record a bass (there were amps involved). But I will admit that I had my doubts about the tone as well. In heavier parts I felt like the low-end kind of adopted a mid-growl, that sometimes came through clanky. Sometimes I noticed that bass was easier to feel than to hear, then again I was using 2 mesa powerhouse cabs w/ 4x10's, 2x15's and an swr 810 tower. I'm sure the amount of speakers, and lack of volume, played a big role as well.

    Great Thread Supremo!
  4. MIMike


    Jan 1, 2013
    West MI
    Passive electronics will go a long way in getting you to a more vintage sound. Either bypass the active pre you currently have or put different pickups in with passive controls. Also, use strings that are less than new. If not flats, at least not brand new.
  5. mmbongo

    mmbongo Chicken Pot Pie. My three favorite things!! Supporting Member

    Replacing the active pickups with active pickups won't help much, I'd replace them with passives.
  6. Matthew_84


    Nov 7, 2010
    I haven't done this, but replacing the pickups with something like a passive Lindy Fralin PJ set, or DiMarzio Model P and J, could help, and getting a preamp with an active bypass. Maybe put on a set of D'adario Chromes.

    When you want a warmer tone, solo or favor the neck pickup, put the bass in passive and boost the low mids on your amp. If you want the growl back, favor the bridge pickup, put it in active, and boost the upper mids.

    The Warwick growl is contributed by many factors and I believe their wood selection is one of them. The above should work, but you may still hear some growl when playing solo. My thoughts though are that would slightly disappear in the mix.
  7. Roland GR 88

    Roland GR 88

    Sep 16, 2013
    I have a Warwick and find rolling the balance towards the neck p/u gives a warm and wooly P-tone. Flats will give you a completely different tone and should be your first and cheapest step. I agree with Marial too, a used P-bass won't cost much more than a set of new pick-ups and then you'll have 2 basses which is 1 better than having 1 bass.
  8. staccatogrowl

    staccatogrowl Location: Spinning, shimmery aqueous sphere Supporting Member

    Jul 14, 2006
    Your Warwick tone is baked in. Some love it. Others don't. If you really must have P or J tone, get a P or J, or a very close variant. Otherwise you will likely waste time, modification money, and Warwick value, pursuing a specific tone that you probably won't ever produce with your Warwick.
    aguacollas likes this.
  9. jgroh

    jgroh Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007

    The amount of money you could spend on changing out pickups or preamps will be just as much or more than getting a decent used P or J.
  10. elBandito


    Dec 3, 2008
    Rotten Apple
    My passive corvette with labella flats sounded pretty close to a jazz.
  11. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

    I loved my 2 Warwicks. Well made and that thick neck was really easy to play. The sound was very distinctive - and that was the problem. For playing classic rock, I could not get the sound I needed. Sold 'em and play a P, J or Fury now.
  12. sotua


    Sep 20, 2004
    SF Bay Area
    Same here. Sold Thumb and Fortress I for a Fender. The Warwicks sounded great, and were better built and better quality than that Fender, but it turns out the tone I wanted was pretty much classic J with all knobs wide open. No matter how much I fiddled with knobs, the Warwicks did not have that tone, and could not achieve it.
  13. headband


    Oct 18, 2013
    Lake Havasu City
    I have a 5 string Corvette std. and never had any problems either recording with it or with live gigs, including both a blues group a and classic 70's rock band. I could get a good solid bottom end out of it, but it has been several years since I have used it and don't really remember much about how I went about it. I do think that I turned the pickups down a bit, and added a bit of low end boost. Recordings sounded great. Good luck.
  14. Rockbobmel

    Rockbobmel Supporting Member

    I had a Thumb5 BO and it was amazing! BUT- it only sounded like a Warwick! I also has a Spector BO USA HJ and it also was amazing- but in the same vein, it had NO vintage sounds available.
    Keep your Wick and get a Fender too. I have found uses for both. The Wick ans Spec are gone, but I have a Dingwall now that is back in rotation.
  15. I have that same thumb bass and even with flats it still doesn't sound like a p or j. It sounds like a Warwick (which isn't bad at all IMO). I also have Fender basses for a more old school tone and those are what I use in my classic rock cover band.

    So I agree. If you want old school get a p or j bass or something similar.
  16. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist Bassist for Michael "Epic Mic" Rowe

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    + 10000

    Seriously, why buy a bass like a Warwick only to do something that completely guts it of all the character it has baked in? :rollno:

    I mean, yeah, it's your money and your bass, but if you want something vintage then go get a used bass with a more vintage tone and setup...it'll be much cheaper and WAY less hassle than gutting your Warwick. MIM P's or J's can be had for $200-300 dollars used and you can buy an AWESOME Squier CV or VM bass for brand new in that price range. Without starting a debate on all that affects tone, putting vintage pickups in a Warwick STILL may not make it sound like what you want.
  17. Bassdude15


    Feb 26, 2013
    I know a guy who played Thumb with TI's in a classic rock band no problem.
    All he did was roll the balance towards the neck pickup, boost the bass all the way up, and cut most of the treble.
    Mind you he was playing through a beat-up tube amp with heavily boosted low-mids, but still.
  18. supremo


    Oct 20, 2008
    I don't want to buy a Fender P or J bass cause I owned already a Fender J bass and a Rickenbacker 4003 so I am ok with vintage tones. The thread writes "how can I get a vintage tone from my Warwick" not "how can I get a vintage tone". Anyway thanks for your answers, but if you have any suggestion how to get a vintage classic tone from the Warwick it's welcome!
  19. +1. My corvette double buck in passive mode on the neck pickup gets close enough to a P tone for me. If it didn't, I'd try flats and if that wasn't enough I'd consider just getting a P or copy.
  20. Warwick's just have a nice dark tone. Changing strings or pickups won't help. Passive makes little difference. And Bart's or EMG's won't get you there either. I know. I have been all through this. And I have had good studio engineers after me for using a Warwick. But these same guys then really flipped out when I pulled out an Alembic.

    There is no use fighting it if you have a specific tone in your head.

    It's good to have several basses.
    aguacollas likes this.