Looking to buy a Warwick Thumb 5 but unsure what time period is best (if such a thing exists

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Sergius Durante, Aug 25, 2019.

  1. Sergius Durante

    Sergius Durante

    May 21, 2019
    So I’ve heard that there are some baseball neck years of Warwick, and if this is true, what are the best years/time period to look for used models? I sometimes see good deals but a few bad comments on some years of Warwick having necks like baseball bats

    Is this true? I have tried one warwick thumb and it was an 05, felt fine for what a five string should be.

    Also, does anyone know any musicians or band that have used the Warwick thumb? Found a few jazz and funk bands and like 1 or 2 that aren’t Mudvayne or Robert Crab-walking Trujillo (love this man tho)
  2. Wisebass


    Jan 12, 2017
    Lost in Space
    Hi Sergius Durante :)

    Warwick Thumbs are only played by unknown amateurs! :D

    Jack Bruce was one of them. :laugh::roflmao:



    edit: wrote thumb with a p :banghead:
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2019
    IamGroot, MattZilla, kesslari and 2 others like this.
  3. Sergius Durante

    Sergius Durante

    May 21, 2019
    Nani? Impossible! The sacred texts lied to me!
  4. My Thumb is a 2006 and it’s a baseball bat neck alright.
  5. Dean N

    Dean N

    Jul 4, 2006
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Stefan Lessard has recorded a bunch with a Thumb.
  6. Sergius Durante

    Sergius Durante

    May 21, 2019
    Ahh, see that’s what i was worried about. Heard that a lot of post 01 Thumbs have had this problem
  7. I don’t mind it though. The thick neck kind of offsets the narrow string spacing. I had a 2014 Corvette with a slimmer neck and it really made the narrow spacing noticeable. The 05 you played probably had the same neck shape as mine.
  8. Sergius Durante

    Sergius Durante

    May 21, 2019
    Yea, I suppose it didn’t really bother me. But again Im suppose I don’t have much experience on what a baseball neck truly is

    The closest I remember a bass having a neck being a literally basball bat was messing around with a cheap squier bronco, I had never felt something so uncomfortable in my life
  9. Lesfunk

    Lesfunk Bootlegger guitars : S.I.T. Strings Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    Florida USA
    The older the better
    burgerdj, The Nameless and MordBass like this.
  10. MordBass


    Nov 1, 2017
    As a former thumb owner.... the 98ish and older ones are absolutely the better instruments.
  11. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    Are there bad ones? I think it comes down to preference. Mine is fairly new, and it is a quality instrument.
  12. Sergius Durante

    Sergius Durante

    May 21, 2019
    Somewhere around after 2000 the warwicks between 01-possibly 2010 have had necks that are much thicker (which was my initial concern)

    Why? Not sure, but a few people have noticed that these basses have had slightly larger necks, even for 5 strings.

    Note this is nothing conrete but I’ve noticed and had people come up and say that this is true
  13. Dincrest

    Dincrest Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2004
    New Jersey
    Yeah, it was around 1998 when Warwick changed its necks from wenge to ovangkol and the ovangkol necks are more baseball bat thick. The Wenge necks are slender. I think that was also the time they switched from the brass nut to the synthetic material.

    However, I think Warwick's gone back to wenge in recent years? I read/saw that somewhere, but I don't always believe everything I read/see. I believe they've also gone back to brass nuts.

    And you should check out Ryan Martinie's new band Soften the Glare. They are a jazz-fusion type band and a far cry from Mudvayne. He's still killin' it on those Thumbs.
  14. ugly_bassplayer


    Jan 21, 2009
    Warwick thumb.....all hail the king of neck dive!!!!
    TheHardOne and bass12 like this.
  15. MordBass


    Nov 1, 2017
    not with a quality strap lol Ive seen local guys complain of neck dive with numerous instruments and they usually have one thing in common... a $10, thin nylon strap. Put 4-5" of abrasive leather on your instrument and the neck dive is almost gone.
    8liter, BigBatch, IamGroot and 3 others like this.
  16. It's not a problem if you like a thicker neck. The standard profile cut on the Ovangkol-necked Thumbs was noticeably fatter than some of the older ones, but by no means is it unmanageable. I prefer the older, slimmer wenge-necked models but they are comparatively more expensive. There are no 'bad' Thumbs, since most folk wouldn't be able to tell the difference between either model on sound alone. I recall that Warwick had moved to Ovangkol at the time because Wenge was becoming harder to source due to issues in the central African regions that supplied it. It's back on the menu these days. Ovangkol is by no means a bad wood and I would not hesitate to check out a decent looking Thumb, irrespective of what the neck wood is. If you've got some hand strength, you'll probably find the bigger neck just fine.
    Mili likes this.
  17. Goatrope


    Nov 18, 2011
    Sarasota Florida
    In my opinion, 2013 and on models are superior to whatever folks identify as “the golden era”. The return of thin Wenge necks, and better hardware.

    But, it’s just my opinion, so.... do your own research rather than believing the ghost stories.
    MattZilla and comatosedragon like this.

    HELLonWHEELS Supporting Member

    Jun 13, 2005
    With my Warwicks (neither is a Thumb, but both have the standard Ovankol bolt on neck) the 2000 is medium/thin thickness and the 2006 is a thicc boi.

    For the Thumb, I would say the models with Wenge neck & fingerboard are the most desirable.
  19. +1. I actually prefer the fatter ovangkol neck on my Thumb to the slimmer Wenge neck on my Corvette.
  20. The thicker necks of some Warwicks were actually designed ergonomically. To be the same thickness the length of the neck, thus giving a consistent feel at every position. 98 is when Warwick switched to Ovankol. But I've played a ton of em from all eras. They all work. Well. Norwood Fisher from the band Fishbone used Thumbs. He's the reason I fell in love with em. I have had to replace more Warwick onboard electronics than all other manufacturers combined, tho. The electronics can be a weakness. Bad pots, bad components. And Warwick, in my experience, were not nice nor quick to admit the issue. So, I quit usin Warwicks. Despite my avatar. I found the same tone in my G&L M2500 fretless 5 as I had in the Thumbs I've used. With better balance, lighter weight and far less of a sticker price. Still, the feel is different, and nothin feels like an old Warwick. Get one from before 98. That old style adjustable nut is the best design ever. And one other note. Long ago, Warwick used Aluminum, removeable truss rods, to better balance the basses. Those aluminum rods failed at a high percentage, so Warwick replaced that design with a steel rod. Improved stability and adjustability, longer life. The trade off was more weight. Neck dive is a bit of a myth. As someone mentioned, a good, wide, high friction strap cures this. But if the bass is a bit neck heavy, it prolly means the rod was upgraded. A good thing!
    MordBass likes this.