NBD - Warwick Thumb BO 5

Discussion in 'Warwick Basses' started by jamestown94west, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. I found this on craigslist last week. The guy was interested in trading, so I made arrangements to meet him. I had to drive almost 600 miles round trip to make it happen, but damn it was worth it! I've never owned a Warwick, but I have dreamed of owning a Thumb BO for about 15 years now.

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  2. Awesome!
  3. Why thank you sir
  4. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    I've been stricken with GAS for one too. After I figured out how to get a good tone out of my Corvette $$ the GAS became even stronger.

    How do you feel about the weight balance of the Thumb 5 and the pickup placement in relation to a place to rest your thumb?
  5. I've only had a few minutes to play the bass since I got it, unfortunately.

    I've played Fender or Fender style basses almost exclusively, so this Warwick will take some getting used to.

    The best way I could describe it is a big neck with tuners at one end, and pickups and a bridge at the other.

    One thing I've already thought about is putting a thumb rest on the body somewhere. I hate to do that to an instrument like this, so I'm probably not going that route.

    It's going to take me awhile to get used to the large neck. Its got a very heavy, beefy feel. I don't think I would've ever thought I would like a neck like that. I've played 4 string jazz basses and p basses with jazz necks. I'm used to slim, fast necks. Even the Fender p bass v I had, had a really slim, comfortable neck.


    Even in the short time I've been able to play the thumb I've already noticed that its easier to play well on it, if that makes sense. Complicated runs don't seem hard to execute. The bass inspires me to play, and play better.

    The scale length is ok, but the way its set up is going to take some getting used to.

    I see this mentioned a lot on talkbass, and I can now attest 100% to the truth in the fact that you will have to get a wide, sturdy strap. Most of the weight of the bass is in the neck.

    Also, to be the most comfortable while standing, you have to wear the bass over your belly, or just slightly higher. That's how the bass was intended to be played and wearing it lower will make it feel way too goofy and be impossible to play well.

    Its also going to take some getting used to having to reach pretty far out to reach the first 4 frets or so. They're pretty far away, and I'm not real tall, nor do I have a long reach. The plus side to this is that the neck is two octave, and the 12th fret is just a little to your left, which puts a whole bunch of the upper register right in front of you. I've never had a bass where I didn't have at least a tiny bit of struggle trying to play past the the 10th fret or so. But with this bass, everything from about the 5th fret to the 24th fret is super comfortable.

    All of this is with me only getting to spend about 20min playing the bass, 15 of those minutes was with my band, so I've not had a chance to really sit down and discover all the ins and outs of the bass, and what all it has to offer.
  6. You also asked about the pickup position and where to put your thumb. Using the middle pickup as a thumb rest will work for me. I wish there was a thumb rest closer to the neck, but I'm determined to learn to play this bass without making any mods to it.

    I'm getting ready to start formal music lessons, and I really want to focus on proper technique, because that's something that will be required of me in the near future.
  7. A corvette $$ is next on my list. Is yours a German made?
  8. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    Yes, it is a German $$. The body is Ash, so it is a little lighter than the bubinga, ovangkol, or afzelia bodies, but not by much. It is still a substantially sturdy piece of equipment.
    There is a learning curve to Warwick basses that is noticeable. Even though they are 34" scale (I believe) they feel like a 35" because the center of gravity is in a different place. A couple of big time guys I listen to that play Thumbs do play them high, with what looks like a longer reach on the left hand.
    The neck is a trip. I'm not sure if the profile changes from model to model, however the 5 string Corvette is pretty deep. It also has an almost asymmetrical angle towards the bottom where your palm would rest. Definitely not your Daddy's Fender Jazz bass neck. But I've got to admit that the unfinished ovangkol neck, after its been played and properly waxed, feels so warm in your hand. Its the wood equivalent of broken in leather; its just suits you after a while.

    The tone of the $$ isn't the Swiss army knife some people make it out to be. Both pu's in single coil don't sound like any jazz I've ever played, the neck pu doesn't imitate a P bass, there is a hint of a MusicMan tone in the bridge pickup. After really tweaking the whole bass for weeks I finally made it sing with its own voice. Like the Thumb, I think the $$ is a unique sounding bass. The lows are still super deep but are a touch more traditional than the Thumb. All Warwicks are known for crisp highs, the Thumb has the most glassy sounding highs out of all of them.
  9. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    That's what they look like when you see other people playing them too. Its a small, compact, dense body.
  10. I've heard the $$ tone described as intense and aggressive. Is that pretty accurate?
  11. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    That's tough to answer since I don't think you could really call any Warwick's tone subtle. Comparatively the Thumb NT and SS2 are brighter because of the NT construction and brass nut; the Streamer LX 4 $ SS1 4 (P/J) have more pronounced mids because of the P pickup. It's a lot like a Streamer Jazzman with more balls. The lows really hold on to a nicely distorted guitar to make the whole thing sound bigger. The highs will growl if you dig in.
  12. so last night while i was sitting in the hotel in okc, i look at guitar center and they have a dirty blond thumb 5 string used. so when i was finished with training today, i drove on up there and picked up that bass to sit down and play. it was the first german warwick i have played, that i can remember, and here is what i have to say about it.
    when i first picked it up by the neck to carry it to the bass room, that neck was all there. it was a little thick but nothing outrageous and sturdy feeling as all get. i hear so many people complain about warwicks having baseball sized necks. this one was definitely D shaped, but super comfortable, smooth, and fast. there was a strap on it and i strapped it up. whoever owned it before definitley had set it high. and i know why. the first fret was way down there, but to me, since i dont have the stubby syndrome, was quite comfortable. my slapping, which i cant do for ****, seemed so easy to do on that bass. so which leads me to say that a thumb is #1 on the list of new basses to get. if i had $1900 today, i wouldve had a nbd with a 5 string warwick dirty blond. hell yeah!!


    i believe it was number 6.
  13. That's an awesome bass! It would be awesome if I could someday get my hands on a dirty blonde
  14. she was dirty ;)
  15. I know exactly what you mean and had the same experience when I first sat down to test my Thumb BO 6 in the music store, which I ended up purchasing. Although people always told me slapping is easy, that technique had always seemed to elude me for some reason... Never quite got the hang of it.

    I found the Thumb to be incredibly easy to play, and certain techniques like slappin' just seemed to pour out of the instrument with little effort.

    My hands are not large by any means. I had no difficulty at all going from a narrow Ibanez SR885 neck to the wide Thumb BO 6. I just changed the position of my thumb on the back of the neck & I was ready to go.
  16. im in the same boat. lol
  17. joebar


    Jan 10, 2010
    i just picked up a thumb BO6 last week.
    still waiting for my stringts to arrive from jason but...
    this could very well be the ultimate bass.
    the ONLY thing i would change to make it utterly perfect would be to give the FB some extra radius but that is it.
    easily the ultimate warwick and the gnarliest, clearest woddiest bass i own.
  18. What strings did you get for it?
  19. joebar


    Jan 10, 2010
    DR sunbeams 45 - 125
    i had this gauge on my vette 6er and was perfect.
  20. brotherbassj


    Sep 20, 2008
    Jim Dunlop USA, King Kong Cases, Golden Eagle Energy Drink
    Thumbs are pretty cool, especially the dirty blondes.
    Congrats again on your new Thumb 5'er