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Ibanez vs... Warwick

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Sabertooth, Dec 3, 2003.


  1. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth

    Oct 16, 2003
    Kiev, Ukraine
    Hello everyone.

    First I have to warn you this will be a long post. Then, I have to say I don't mean Warwicks are bad, and don't want to offend anyone with my post, I just want to share my rather unexpected experience.

    Well, now I own an Ibanez EDB600. Overall I like this bass, it has a nice dark and punchy tone, it plays great, and, to my taste, it is absolutely the most beautiful of all the basses I know of (just as Ibanez S series is among guitars). Well, the latter is just my humble opinion.

    But lately I began thinking about swapping my bass for another. One of the reasons for this is that is smells gasoline, and after almost three years I still haven’t gotten used to this. The other reason is that I wanted to get more growl. So it was quite natural that when Warwicks had finally come to my parts, I was very interested. The first time I tried several Corvettes, I was literally blown away with the growl. But a few days ago I went to the shop again and I was disappointed.

    First, I dislike attack on Warwicks, especially on lower notes. On my Ergodyne, when you pluck the E string, you hear punch, with mids and highs in their place. The sound is resonant, maybe somewhat piano-like. On a Corvette, what you hear is rather some dull wooden thump. Really, some sort of wooden percussive sound, followed by the note. And the lower the note is, the more I dislike this.

    Second, as for the growl. It seems to reside in the lower notes only, and disappears on higher frets. I suppose it is dependent on string tension. Thus, on a 5-stringer, the B string growls the most. What is really surprising, Chinese-made RockBass 5-stringers growl! Though they don’t have that bubinga body, not even wenge necks! This leads me to think that the “wenge neck” explanation for the infamous “Warwick growl” is, sorry, a hoax. Just pure marketing. And at the same time, RockBasses have real problems with sustain on lower notes. The same “wood thump” tendency, but multiplied by their cheaper production. Their B string is rather floppy, and this is evidently the source of growl, but at the price of definition. Even the E string is somewhat floppy (compared to the Ibanez), and probably this is why it growls much, much more than on a German-made Corvette Standard 4-string! On a Corvette Standard, you will hardly find ANY noticeable growl on the E string at all! Now I understand a reviewer of a Corvette Standard who wrote “the Warwick growl must have been left at the factory”. And I tried Standard 4-string in all possible combinations: ash/bubinga, active/passive. Of course, if you roll the pan knob to 100% bridge pickup, you get some growl, just like on any bass with a bridge pickup, but it is hardly useable, too nasal to me. I was really shocked when I tried the bridge humbucker on my bass through the same combo – it growled much better, more growl and more lows.

    I’m not trying to say that Warwicks are bad basses. Probably they have a fuller tone than my Ergodyne, in middle or upper registers. They are also very attractive, the exotic woods are much more pleasant to hands than the gasoline-stinking metallic finish. The Ergodyne has also more fret buzz. The Warwick’s neck profile has also grown on me. But I’m disappointed with not finding what I was looking for. Now I’ll continue my search further, but without hurry. I think I should check out some other Ibanezes: ATK400, BTB405, SR700, SRX700. Maybe one day I’ll get a MusicMan (sadly, there is no local distributor). They seem to have what I want: punch AND growl at the same time.

    Again, sorry if I’ve offended some Warwick fan. You know, for any product that constantly gets praised there will always be one or two persons to say “what are you all listening to?” :D I’m not writing this just to bash Warwick. I just was so surprised myself that I couldn't help posting.
     
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    You have to know that the basses in a store get played a lot, and so the strings do dead fast, especially the lower ones.

    So it's useless to compare your own bass (probably even with new strings) with store basses (and I guess the Warwicks are getting played a lot in the store).

    Or wait 'til you play a Streamer Stage II ;)

    For the record, I'm no Warwick fan either, but for different reasons.
     
  3. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU

    I have a Corvette Standard (bubinga) 6, and believe me, that what you define as "growl and low wooden thump" are just because of the bad condition of the strings. I now have TI Powerbass strings on, and even though its a bubinga 6-string, I can get a beautiful slap sound from it; the sound would be the perfect definition of piano-like sound! (even though its waxed bubinga!) And the wenge does matter, it is not a hoax - just the strings on those were so old and worn, but most probably full of dirt, that the real sound could not come out of it. With the right strings and technique, i can get piano-like notes, crystal-clear slap notes AND growly notes. So :p :D :D

    And ps: my Corvette smells of beeswax after waxing it - but it is much more pleasant than gasoline, i suppose... :D
     
  4. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    And it is true what JMX says:

    This is especially true for Warwick strings, which loose all clarity and high "zing" quite fast, but get that deep growl afterwards. oh and dont you think that in the stores they clean the strings afterwards even if it was played by a million people during the day - including you ;)
     
  5. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth

    Oct 16, 2003
    Kiev, Ukraine
    Well, all the Corvettes were new there, so there had to be new Black Label sets on them... While on the Ibanez, the strings were old. In fact, there were a recently boiled set of Dean Markley SR2000 :) because about a month ago I bought Ernie Ball Super Slinkies and disliked them SO much that I decided to boil and restring the old Dean Markleys.
     
  6. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth

    Oct 16, 2003
    Kiev, Ukraine
    Then how am I supposed to decide whether I want to buy a bass if I can't test it under objective conditions? :)
    Anyway, my bass was strung with a many months old set, so by "piano-like" and I refer midrange punch rather than new string clang.
     
  7. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    I told you black labels are not that good - especially their B-string; other than that, they should be in a better condition than how you say they are; anyway different strings will make quite a difference...
    Take for example Ibanez: their basses are decent, but heir strings... you would not believe how old Ibanezes sounded like before they set the contract with Elixir... hehe, how those strings sucked...
     
  8. bassjigga

    bassjigga

    Aug 6, 2003
    If growl is what you're after and you've got the cash, try a Zon. I've played Warwicks in the past and my Zon Sonus Special blows away any warwick in playability, growl, punch, clarity, the list goes on...
     
  9. zeronyne

    zeronyne Recovering Keyboard Player

    Nov 24, 2003
    Chicago
    I returned my EDB before i got it out of the car for that very reason. I swapped for an EDA...the piezos are very nice.
     
  10. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Warwicks in Europe are much cheaper. My Corvette 6 instead of the $2000 list was $1550 ordered and made for me (im lefty, so it had to be ordered) Zons must be quite a bit more expensive, if they are to be found somewhere - me, i havent seen any here...
     
  11. incognito89x

    incognito89x ♪♫♪ ♪ ♪ ♫&#983

    Sep 22, 2002
    Royal Oak, Michigan
    I sold my Ibanez EDB 605 because it lacked the puck, clarity, and general tone that I wanted. It sounded to sull and lifeless. My warwick was fantastic and I never had a problem as to what you were describing.
     
  12. tkarter

    tkarter

    Jan 1, 2003
    kansas
    Well, all the Corvettes were new there, so there had to be new Black Label sets on them...


    Were they all strung on the tuners the same way.

    I went shopping for Fenders bought a good MIM Jazz then learned that if there wasn't the proper break over the nut they all sound like crap.

    Before I even play I look at the strings. Then I decide if it is the bass or the strings.

    tk
     
  13. You had an EDB but you didn't like the gasoline smell, so you swapped it for...another luthite bass:confused: :confused: :confused:

    Oh well, whatever.

    JMX: Why aren't you a Warwick fan? You're one of the most intelligent persons who posts here, and you're German, so I'd really like to know.
     
  14. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth

    Oct 16, 2003
    Kiev, Ukraine
    To be honest, I don't believe the strings explanation for the reasons I've already mentioned.

    Why many people love the sound of Wariwick and I don't is probably not due to the condition of the basses I've tried. I's due to subjectivity. Different people tend to notice different things. I don't say those Corvettes were totally uncapable, I just didn't like their characteristic sound. The moral I meant was: just because everybody likes something doesn't mean you will.

    There are no special reasons to suspect strings, except that everybody is convinced that Warwicks sound good :) It is really funny to observe.

    Probably it was senseless to post this thread, sorry. If we had the possibility to post sound samples... :) I mean, sampled under the same conditions.
     
  15. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    keep in mind that any stainless steel strings will lose their SS appeal if they are subjected to severe temperature changes: be it at the factory, in transit to the store, and/or in the store itself. and not only do they lose zing, they lose midrange definition. warwick strings are notorious for this IME. now if you don't think that warwicks are right for you, then don't buy one. the general consensus is that warwicks are pretty darn growly which is a subjective term (at least until we get a growlometer mass-produced). i once knew a young bassist from egypt who said that i should lose my tens and play through a monstrous 15/18 combination to really bring out the "growl" of my FNA (which was very growly). this kid turned mids and treble all the way down on his EQ's. to him, i guess our thump was his growl. go figure. :confused: :rolleyes:
     
  16. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth

    Oct 16, 2003
    Kiev, Ukraine
    Well, what can I say. I guess it would be strange of me to ask salesmen to restrung their basses for me :)
     
  17. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Whoa, geez, thanks for the compliments :oops:

    I don't really dislike them, it's just that the design(s) didn't do anything for me, and I always thought their higher-end models were too expensive compared to other German luthiers. Also I'm just a fan of small independent luthiers with a vision, e.g. Jens Ritter, Reiner Dobbratz (Le Fay), Christof Kost, Gerald Marleaux, Siggi Jäger (Human Base), etc., so there's no need to feed the big fish ;)
     
  18. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    i own a corvette, and have owned lots of different basses. my main bass now is a MM, and that ain't changing anytime soon.

    the only basses i HATE are ibanez basses and strangely enough, for the exact opposite reasons you have in your post. rather than get into a long description of my opinion on the sound of Ibanez basses i ask that you do this - keep your ears wide open anytime you see a band onstage (not a signed mtv band, a club band) with an Ibanez. Every single time I see one, the bass is lost in the mix - either there's no bottom whatsoever and it's sounding like a guitar imitating a bass, or the bass is just non existent - a big blur.

    listen then when you see someone playing a warwick.

    i've played enough clubs over the past ten years to see this countless times. i don't think it's coincidence, nor predjudice. in fact, i always loved Ibanex guitars, when i was a guitarist I was the proud and happy owner of 2 of them. sorry if this upsets any of you Ibanez players, but it's my experience.
     
  19. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk

    Apr 14, 2001
    Pennsylvania
    Agree.