I really wanna like Warwicks, but why do they just not do it for me?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by electricdemon3, Jul 11, 2003.

  1. electricdemon3

    electricdemon3 Guest

    Jul 28, 2000
    I was at G****r Center today trying out some 5-string basses. I really wanted to try a Stingray5 but they didn't have one. So, I tried a Stingray 4-string and Spector(I don't know the model, but it was a 5 string in the same price range as a Stingray5). The salesman said here, try this one. It was a neck through 2800 dollar Warwick Thumb. I was all excited to try one at first because of all the rave reviews I hear from Talkbass about them.

    First of all let me back up a little. The kind of music I play is sort of a cross between groove oriented metal and odd timed prog rock, with a psychedelic/grunge edge to it--think Deftones meets Meshuggah with some Dreamtheater and Soundgarden thrown in. Right now, all I have is an Ibanez SR400 with EMGs in it. I like it, but I want a 5 string with a little more guts to it. I mostly play fingerstyle.

    So, I loved the Stingray. I think I probably will end up buying the 5 string model eventually. I also liked the Spector a lot. It didn't have the gutsy sound of the Stingray, but it had a huge low end sound to it that I liked, and it had clear, crisp highs, which was probably due to the EMGs. The B string was kinda dead on it though...

    Anyway, then I tried out the Thumb. I must say that it felt nice, but I was really disappointed in its sound. It was really dark with not much highs to it. I wondered if that was partly because the strings were old. However, I have tried out many other Warwicks and they all seemed to sound really dead. They just don't have the punch I am looking for.

    Am I crazy for liking a 1200 dollar bass better than a 3000 dollar bass??? Is it possible that those basses really can get punchy high end but that every time I try one the strings are old? It seems to me that it is easy to make any bright sounding bass sound dark by EQing out the highs, but I would be nervous to pay so much for a dark sounding bass and then want it to sound bright later on!

    Anyway, tell me what you guys think, and Warwick lovers, please don't hate me; I am simply trying to understand what the hype is all about! :)
  2. where you find dissapointment, others find pleasure. that's why there's so many basses for so many people. congrats, you've found warwicks are not your bag (mine either). ;)
  3. I too find Warwicks "not my bag". I much prefer the Fender/Music Man sound.

    I wish I did like them though, they look cool and everyone raves about them. On the other hand, I guess I'm lucky to not like a really expensive bass :eek:
  4. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Central Texas
    I felt the same way until I first tried an FNA last year. I finally found one used last week, and I'm impressed so far. Never thought I'd like, let alone own, a Warwick.

    You may be surprised when you finally get your ears around a SR5 - they aren't the same as a four!
  5. electricdemon3

    electricdemon3 Guest

    Jul 28, 2000
    Surprised in a good way or a bad way??
  6. I've played a few different Thumbs, both BO's and NT's 4's and 5's, and I've found them to be the punchiest basses around, granted I dont own many basses, I've played a decent amount of them, including spectors and Music men and the thumbs to me seemed hands down punchiest, then again this this is only my opinion on them.

    I also tend to eq and play close to the bridge for added punch as well. It's all personal taste though on what you like, I tend to like powerfull growly, punchy mids over everything else. I also use a good amount of highs for tapping, harmonics and chords, and the Thumb didnt seem to lack there either, just lightly boosting the highs on the bass was enough.

    Warwicks are definatly a love/hate kinda bass, and then again, I've only tried the Corvettes, Streamers, and the Thumbs and I dont really like the others, I want to try a Dolphin, or a Infinity though.

    If you chose a Music Man, or Spector, you wont lose out though, both company's make great basses.
    Music Men are very punchy basses though they seem a little shy in the low-mid and mid range, but make up for it with nice high mids. Spectors have a nice high midrange as well.

    If I would have to chose between the Spector and the Music Man I'd probally go with the Spector, because of more tonal options.
  7. David Wilson

    David Wilson Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    I'm a Warwick lover, and have played a Thumb 5 for ten years now. But I can totally understand that they're not for everyone. Your own opinion can never be wrong, if the $1200 bass did it for you then great - you just saved yourself a bunch of money over the Thumb!

    That being said, I've never thought of the Thumb as being dark sounding. The stock MEC preamp can dole out tons of highs, I usually had to cut them down in fact.

    But, whatever works for you best is great. One mans Cort is another mans Sadowsky.
  8. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Central Texas
    Just different - more like a Sterling. It doesn't have the same pickup placement as a SR 4.
  9. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    When a Thumb is described as dark-sounding, there's something wrong.

    But Warwicks are not exactly my faves either - and I'm German :p
  10. jivetkr

    jivetkr Supporting Member

    May 15, 2002
    I played a thumb BO5 for a while & I loved it. I still miss that sound. However, I have a slipped disc in my neck & at 12+ pounds that bass does not work for me.

    Warwicks are definatly not for everyone. But when money permits, I will definatly own another one...at least just to record with.
  11. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    Don't feel bad. I know that Alembics are works of art and DAYUM good basses, but they do NOTHING for me. Same with Spectors.
  12. electricdemon3

    electricdemon3 Guest

    Jul 28, 2000
    This is what I don't understand though. I swear that every Warwick I have tried sounded darker than most basses. Almost not treble at all. Either we have different opinions on what "dark" means when referring to tone, or every Warwick I have tried happened to have real old dead strings on them(they definitely were not new strings on the bass I tried today)...or maybe the battery in the preamp was old.

    When I compared basses today, I didn't use any eq. I set the amp and the tone controls on all of the basses flat. I am sure if you turn up the treble control on the Thumb it would not sound as dark, but I didn't want to mess with the tone controls. I wanted to hear the pure sound from the instrument.
  13. I would have to say that in most cases, Warwicks tend to be on the brittle sound in the highs. I've never heard of anyone who said they lacked highs. My guess would be that the strings were dead. Did you adjust the highs at all or did you play it flat? When I adjust boost the highs, I almost think sometimes it's too harsh.
  14. electricdemon3

    electricdemon3 Guest

    Jul 28, 2000
    Yeah, I played it flat. All tone knobs were in the center detent. I actually believe that the battey was dying on that bass now that I think about it. It was slightly distorting too. That is exactly what happens on my Ibanez when the battery starts to die. I think that the GC near where I live don't take good care of their basses. People are always trying out stuff all day, and I can see where they might not know if a bass has a dead battery until a customer points it out. I am thinking about going to a different music store sometime this weekend to try the same bass.

    From what people describe of the Thumb bass's sound, I think something must have been wrong with the bass I played today.
  15. vlad335

    vlad335 Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2003
    Latrobe, PA
    I don't think a Guitar Center is a good place to rate Warwicks. In the one near me every Warwick has completely dead strings. One neck is even backbowed! I pointed this out to the salesman and he just gave me a blank stare...

    I think people really like to try the Warwicks out at GC. Those basses are probally handled more than all the others. I know when I first went there I played every one.

    Try that Thumb with some new DR Fatbeams on it.
  16. FiveStringsNme

    FiveStringsNme Guest

    Sep 27, 2002
    Suffolk County, NY
    I know what you mean. Everytime I've played the Thumb BO, something about it and me don't click. I love how it looks all organic and wicked, and yet when I plug it in, the sound isn't me. I love how Ryan Martinie gets his Thumb basses to sound, and that sound is the one I want in the warwick basses. I guess I'll have to sit and tweak with it more, but the guys at the GC I go to are aholes!
  17. electricdemon3

    electricdemon3 Guest

    Jul 28, 2000
    I totally agree I am starting to think that this must be the reason why I have been disappointed so many times with Warwicks. They are probably the most played basses at GC. Who knows what kind of condition they are in by the time I get to try one.

    I am going to try out some more Thumb basses until I find one I know is in top notch condition, and then I will post a follow up. I haven't completely given up on them yet!

    Oh yeah and while I am not much of a Mudvayne(sp?) fan, Ryan Martinie does have wicked tone!
  18. iplaybass


    Feb 13, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Maybe its just the Thumb basses. I love Warwicks, I own two, a Streamer and an FNA Jazzman, but the Thumb does nothing for me at all. Its just too thin sounding. My Jazzman is FAT.
  19. tuBass


    Dec 14, 2002
    Mesquite, Texas
    There are lots of $3000+ basses that I would pass by to get a stingray. That's going to be my next bass.
  20. Why? This makes no sense whatsoever. You've already stated that you've tried multiple Warwicks and you just can't make yourself like the tone. So, Warwicks aren't your thing. Get past it.

    My experience is that if a bass doesn't do it for you the first time, it never will.. its either there or it isn't.