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Musicman Stingray 5 VS. Warwick Thumb NT 5

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Trauma Boy, Apr 23, 2009.

  1. Trauma Boy

    Trauma Boy

    Apr 22, 2009
    cleveland ohio
    I'm debating on buying a new bass, 5 string...I just don't know which one I want. I've played them both at Guitar Center just don't know whats better in the long run, as for tone, quality, maintence, comfort, and my sound which I'm more worried about tone but for the most part I play metal but I'm learning jazz and other stuff now. I don't want to go to Ibanez, Schecter, or even the Warwick Rockbasses any other basses, I've played em' all. I wanna hear what the majority of people say between the two basses.

    Whats better (in your opinion)

    Warwick Thumb Neck Thru 5 string or Musicman Stingray 5 string!?

    Wouldn't mind hearing what bassist that have actually played these instruments have to say!

    Thank you!
  2. Well, my opinion is this:

    For the sound, tone and quality, I tend to lean for the Thumb NT 5. The warwick thumbs are true tone machines that will deliver extremely well in Metal and Jazz. But, most people don't like warwick necks. But, GOOD NEWS, warwick is going back, as of January 2009, to their older neck profile that most people prefer over the more recent one. If you were to buy new, I suggest asking the dealer to order on straight for the company if possible if you want to have the new neck profile. But, thumbs are known to have a big neckdiving problem. I have a thumb and don't mind it at all, it depends on the people. The warwick will also be a little more maintenance since it needs to be waxed at least once a week for the first couple months then once each 1-2 months is ok. Some strings don't fit the tailpiece, you'll need to buy tapered strings or to use pliers.

    For the Stingray. It's also a very good tone machine but it will be a little less good while playing jazz but as good for metal, its articulation being inferior to the one of the thumb. But, people in general prefer the slap tone of a musicman over the thumb's, it is not my case. The neck on a stingray is a little bit chunky, p bass like chunky. No neckdive on this bass and the maintenance will be much simpler. Quality construction will be little less good than the warwick, but the Stingray will be much much less expensive.

    Both are very growly bass, very solid feel, heavy weight (10 pounds and up) and high quality one trick ponies (kinda only one tone on each, but the tone usually fits most genre, like a p bass).
  3. xjeremiahx


    Apr 19, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    No longer a slave to GC.
    ^^ very good points.

    I have owned a stingray 5 for about 5 years now...and I've played metal, funk, reggae & good ol rock n roll and I have to say that the bass works great in those areas. As far as jazz goes, you can make it work...but it's not really the thing for jazz. the slap/pop tones on it are gorgeous...some of the best i'd say. in general i think it works rather well for metal too. you can play rather de-tuned and still get great articulation from all the notes.

    i will have to admit that they're kind of a 1 trick pony though...which sucks for me to say, because i LOVE my bass...but it is.:meh:

    as far as maintenance goes, it's been nothing but good things on my bass. i think i put a battery in the pickup backwards once(woooops!) and it was a pain in the butt to get out, but other than that it's been great.

    i'd say go with the stingray, but be ready to be stuck with the same tone, because stingrays are VERY distinct, not in a bad way, but...it is what it is, nothing more.

  4. There is a signifcant difference in price between those two basses. The BO Thumb would be more comprable in cost. Is there something about that model you dislike?
    Both of the basses you mentioned are outstanding instruments. Both will last you ages. You have to decide which one feels and sounds better to you. Either way, you're going to walk away a happy man.
  5. Trauma Boy

    Trauma Boy

    Apr 22, 2009
    cleveland ohio
    thank you! im leaning towards the warwick thumb 5 nt
  6. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I was in the same spot as you once upon a time only my choice was btwn a Sterling 4 or active Corvette 4. I bought the Corvette. Then I bought the Sterling. Then I sold the Corvette. Then I bought a 5 string Bongo. Then I bought an HS Stingray. Then I realized that as much as I love my MMs Warwicks do something altogether different that I missed a bit, and I got myself another, lighter one. And a fretless one too.

    Here's my finding after all of that. The MMs are way more comfortable for me to play. I never found the necks to be thick at all. The HS stingray is incredibly versatile. It can get growly, funky, jazzy, rubbery, snarly... it's an amazing machine. Bongo does the same only with a different flavor. Lately I'm favoring the Stingray but that might be because I prefer 4s to 5s.

    As for the Warwicks. Tonewise they're completely different animals. They have a different kind of growl (the Warwick growl really does exist), they have a little more bottom, and a different personality in the high end. They can be a bit clanky at times but I've learned to tame the clankiness with amp EQ and technique. What I DON'T like about Warwicks (and I've owned 4 of them) is that regardless of what you do or what people say, IMO they really are one trick ponies. They have a distict tone that you can make thicker, thinner, and add a little bottom and top - but for the most part when you mix em with a band they sound the same. I also noticed when ABing my jazzman with my stingray and bongo that the MM EQs seem to have a lot more of a frequency range than the warwicks. For lack of a more technical way to describe it, my Warwicks go from 1-4, and the MMs go from 1-11. I was going to make a video to show the differences btwn the versatility of the Jazzman and the Stingray. It's HUGE. And they have pretty much the same electronic setup. Perhaps one day I'll make the vid.

    If I had to keep only one bass there's no doubt it would be one of the Musicmans. The Warwick flavor I like from time to time, but it doesn't work for me in every situation.

    Oh, and the Jazzman is presently up for sale.
  7. pringlw


    Nov 22, 2008
    Seattle Area
    Musicman & Warwick basses are both amazing. I'm more familiar with Musicman basses - but for a reason - I love them. I'm always amazed when someone describes them (or Warwicks for that matter) as a "one trick pony". Perhaps that's true of the single humbucker bass. However I have a HS Sterling and a HH Stingray. I can get a huge range out of both. To me the only true "one trick pony" bass is a classic, single pickup passive P-Bass. An active bass with 3 band EQ, multiple comfortable places to place your right hand, and about 5 different pickup configurations gives you range.
  8. I've owned and played both for a long time. Warwicks tend to be very compressed and dark sounding. EBMMs have a more open growling tone.

    Personally I'm more into my MM at this point. My Thumb NT is nice but I feel that the MM is better because it's half the price and has twice the sound.
  9. Living outside of America this is not a question, usually here people prefer things that is rare. And MM bases are definitely much rarer (?) than Warwicks here.

    Their price are almost equal here.
  10. I'm from the US. Warwicks are the new Ibanez. They are kind of trendy in some genres
    of music. EBMMs are timeless like a vintage Fender. I think that years down the road
    companies like Sadowsky, EBMM, and Fodera will still be strong but other companies
    will get big and turn into a mass producing instrument company like Ibanez. So I would
    agree with Ach's statement. It seems like Warwicks are pretty trendy right now but that
    doesn't say much about their integrity. I've owned several Warwicks but I'm now
    getting rid of most of them. I'm just not happy with them anymore.

    Just so everyone knows I'm not some traditional, vintage bass enthusiast. I like Fodera,
    Fbass, and Elrick just as much as I like Sadowsky, Alleva-Cappolo, and EBMM

    I also think that everyone likes to think that they have something that nobody else does
    and that's why people tend to look for quality imported gear.
  11. David1234


    Jun 1, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    Endorsing Artist: SWR Amplifiers
    If you get a chance, play one of the (discontinued) Warwick Infinity Set Neck models before you make a final choice. Its response is very rapid like a Thumb (although the overall tone is more Streamerish) and has a slightly broader range of tones. It's also quite a bit lighter and better balanced, and less expensive. I play pop and jazz, and I am working up a solo (singer and bassist) thing, and my Infinity has virtually retired my other basses.
  12. yeah, I was talking about the single H stingray, the more classic model. The HH model is more versatile.
  13. GBassNorth


    Dec 23, 2006
    I love the sound and feel of the Stingray more than any other bass I own. That said, my next purchase will be a used vintage Warwick Thumb BO 5. I won't get rid of any of my MM basses or anything else for that matter but I view the thumb kind of the same way I view a frettless bass. When you need that special sound nothing else will do. At the end of the day I'll probably use my MM 60% of the time my P bass 30% of the time and the other 10% will be divided up between my Pedulla fretless and hopefully a bubinga/wenge/wenge thumb BO 5.
    An option you might consider is to buy a MM SUB5 bass for $650 used (its every bit as good as the stingray) AND a thumb bo5 used for about $900. Then you'd have the best of both worlds and the total cost might end up being about the same or less than a new thumb nt5.
  14. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    Both are fine axes. If at all possible, I would try to get each into a mix at rehearsal to see which you are more comfortable with.

    As for the the single pup SR5 being a "one trick pony," I have to strongly disagree based on my experience. That pup is very sophisticated and uses phantom coil noise cancellation similar to the Alembic Series electronics to give truly stellar tone in the single coil settings. This alone really sets these instruments apart. This yields a really robust Jaco tone in the single coil phased to the bridge side setting. That is a truly distinct tone from the parallel slap sound everyone is more familiar with; and it is really useful in a Jazz setting. Anyone who thinks this pup is limited for tones just hasn't worked enough with it.

    BTW, my SR5 weighs in at 9 pounds 4 oz; so, they have made lighter ones.
  15. bwv1013


    Mar 20, 2008
    southern cal
    i'll second this opinion. i have a SR5 HH and it definitely is not a one trick pony, very versatile. no experience with warwicks other than guitar center...

    now i'll second another opinion: both are fine instruments and will serve you well. get which ever speaks to you!
  16. moonbass


    Aug 10, 2007
    Brooklyn, NY
    What will happen if you don't wax the Warwick? And how do you do it?
  17. moonbass


    Aug 10, 2007
    Brooklyn, NY
    Have a 79 Stingray and a Warwick thumb. Haven't had the thumb very long and was wondering if something was wrong with it because it basically had only one usable tone. Now i know. The Music Man which i might be selling has more tone options. I don't care much for the neck on the Warwick but like the tone better overall.
  18. Z-Bass


    Apr 22, 2004
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Fortunately, you've been able to actually play and compare the two basses you're interested in. For some, they can never find the bass of interest in their local stores or have to rely on others descriptions. So you're ahead of the game so far. Make sure you thoroughly compare the two, meaning with a strap, sitting, standing, different volume scenerios (maybe you've done this already). Both basses are going to be high quality builds, it will come down to which neck you prefer and which tone speaks to you. I've owned a Stingray 5 for a while; loved the neck, body shape and construction. In the end, I couldn't get along with the tone, not that it was bad or lackluster, it just wasn't what I typically wanted to hear (you know the tone you hear in your head). I've never owned a Thumb but have played several, but I do own a Warwick Streamer LX 5 string. So I went back to the Warwick and have used this bass since for many different situations. I think the Stringray 5 would also work for a variety of music styles but can't base this on my experience. I don't think the Thumb is any less of a one trick pony (I use this term with hesitation) than the Stringray 5. Both have a specific pickup placement that focuses the tone to a general area, so no matter what you do, you'll always have a characteristic tone. However, you can vary that tone with what is provided (i.e. EQ, selector switch, etc...). Ernie Ball has opened up in this area with the added pickup configurations. I do like the HS pickup option they have. Unfortunately, the true test will be when you try out in the band situation or live. Maybe the store has a 30 day return policy or trial period. Good luck and let us know what you eventually purchase.
  19. Trauma Boy

    Trauma Boy

    Apr 22, 2009
    cleveland ohio
    Thank you!! I'm still debating, haven't had much time to go out and try all your advice. But I'm upgrading my rig first before I upgrade basses. Right not im playing a Musicman Sterling (4string) and I love it! It is very versitile and different tones but I can never be pleased with one, Yet Its one of those things where everytime I play on a Musicman or Warwick at Guitar Center I'm always stuck and I wanna get a 5 string!

    One thing though...why do you have to wax Warwicks so much??

    thanks again
  20. If you get a Warwick that doesn't have a finish it has to be waxed. The wood isn't sealed
    so you have to buff it with the wax to keep it from getting warped from temperature
    changes and such. Other basses (including some Warwicks) that have satin or high polish
    finishes don't need waxing because they are sealed.

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