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New Vs. Old warwicks????????

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by shock2system, Aug 20, 2002.


  1. :confused: I heard that in 2000 warwick started "cuttin costs" to make there basses, does anybody know anything about this. Im going to get a warwick cos i like there sound and dont know if the "old" ones sound better/diffirent cos of this.

    Thanks:
    Chuck
     
  2. jasonbraatz

    jasonbraatz

    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    the only hard and true facts are that they changed from a brass nut to a plastic nut in 98/99, and started replacing the wenge in the necks with ovangkol around the same time (though i've seen 2000's with wenge necks)

    some "could be true" observations are that since wenge is getting scarcer, their making their fingerboards thinner - making the neck profile different. some say fit and finish is taking a turn down. some say they're using lower quality woods now. i'm not really sure if any of that is true...


    i say - while i've played new warwicks and still thought they were better than most of the stuff out there, and if i HAD to buy new, i'd buy one in a second....


    ...i'd still buy a mid-late 90's w/brass nut first.
     
  3. The beauty to your left (the instrument, not the player!) is a 99 FNA with teflon nut and all-wenge neck. I installed Hipshot bass Xtender key, but would be hesitant to do so on a brass nut. I have noticed that on the ovangkol necks the fret wires are thicker, and the ovangkol doesn't seem to feel as fast, but once I put the Warwick beeswax on the back of the ovangkol neck the difference became too small to really notice. I did end up selling my ovangkol-necked Streamer...at a profit.
    One other thing: depending on what you end up getting, you may find the instrument is routed for the recessed Dunlop straplocks of yesteryear, as was my FNA, but it had a spacer with wax stuffed in the openingand a normal strap button installed. I have removed this and installed the Dulop 2-way straplocks, using the Warwick spacer and some wood dough to really secure the whole area. Happy hunting.
     
  4. dreadhead

    dreadhead

    Feb 1, 2002
    Europe
    It's NOT a 2000 problem.
    In 1990 Warwick began to cut the costs... no more EMG pickups, no more brass bridge...
    In the 90s they also gave up using the brass nut and the Wengé in their necks... I'll never buy a new Warwick bass... they simply are 1000 times worse than the 80s ones.
     
  5. I dunno.
    Besides the stuff already listed...

    I've noticed that when I bought my '97 the Wenge is a rich, deep dark black.

    The new one's I see at GC the Wenge is light brown.

    Another hard and true fact:

    Warwicks used to come standard with Flush Mount Strap Locks.

    Now they have cheap looking strap buttons with a rubber gasket.

    On the New Warwicks the Color Stains aren't as good.

    Let's see: Plastic Nut with STUPID edge rails, the inferior Ovankol Necks, thinner fretboards, strap buttons instead of flush mount, cheesy finishs, cheap Wenge....

    ....AND a 25% HIGHER Retail price from 1999 to 2000!
     
  6. mrsfnkta

    mrsfnkta

    Dec 7, 2001
    OK, I'm a pretty big Warwick fan so I will give you all the info I have.

    I am not sure the year, but it was around 1990 that Warwick began changing things around quite a bit. They introduced the MEC pickups on all models and moved the heretofore standard Bartolini/EMG pickups to the custom order column.

    In 1987/1988 they changed from a "1-piece" bridge. The original, all brass bridge is actually 2 plates (for height, I assume) and the top with the saddles and most of the mass. Check out a really early Thumb (a JD) or Streamer. I have an '85 Streamer with the "1-piece". They changed the bridge to the design you see today, complete with the Alembic-ish tailpiece. The older ones still used brass, but Warwick now uses much cheaper metals.

    The frets are still marketed as "bell brass" and they always draw comments from users. They really are better, IMHO, and they last much longer.

    Woods, that's a weird one. I understand that wenge and bubinga are getting very scarce (read: expensive). The methods used to harvest these woods are very poor, and there have been virtually no efforts to try sustainable farming methods. Add to that a much higher demand than in years past, and now you have to get that wood dried just a little faster. Warwick has now adopted, in some instances, the use of chemical drying agents to get the woods ready for use. Back in the 80s/90s they still had plenty of stock and were inthe habit of air-drying or kiln-drying when needed.

    The quality is definitely lower than it used to be. Personally, I don't like the new neck profile. My older Warwicks are great, but I played a buddy's newer Corvette (bolt-on ovangkol neck, bubinga body) and just felt wrong. Granted, he has his action wicked high (and I have my basses all set LOW), but the neck is where I really noticed the difference. Warwick also used to pride itself on the fact that their basses were neck-through. What happened there? Quality tends to give way to profits, that's what.

    Here's my big rub - the Dolphin. The Dolphin used to be one of the coolest basses out there. Very sleek, very simple. The body was made of boire (an African rosewood) which is incredibly dense and gives a wonderfully focused tone. Now, it is made of ovangkol which has completely different characteristics. I say that if you are going to change the chips from chocolate to butterscotch, than they ain't chocolate chip cookies no more!

    That's all the griping I'll do today. If you are really interested in a Warwick, go '80s. You may have to look a while, but the market is way down right now. I bet you can find an old, used Thumb (in great shape, BTW) for around $1000. How much is a brand new Thumb (with MECs, ovangkol, and non-brass hardware) going for today? You make the call.

    Or go independent. I just got my FBB Custom, and I have Darrin Huff building me a 6-string. Since getting my FBB, I am now contemplating selling my other basses (1985 Streamer, 1988 Thumb, 1993 Pedulla Buzz, 1973 Rickenbacker). Seriously, it is that good.

    Jim Isbell
     
  7. I'll buy your '85 Streamer...
     
  8. I'd own a Warwick, if I could have anything but MEC. The ones I've played never felt cheap, and the newer models were good feeling, but sounded awful IMO. However, one of the nicest basses I've ever played was a '96 Thumb Fretless neck thru, with EMG electronics. Made me see what all you warwick nuts were talking about. But the stuff I can pick off the shelf today seems underpar.
     
  9. Pharmecopia

    Pharmecopia

    Jul 31, 2002
    i love my brand spankin' new warwick! ;) :)
     
  10. jasonbraatz

    jasonbraatz

    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    my 98 has the same assembly. i'd be really curious what they're made of now if they're not brass.

    no way in hell will you find an 80's warwick for 1000. earliest warwick i've played was a 92 dolphin, and i seriously think that it was no better than my 98 ss2 (after i put the brass nut on it. plastic nut can eat me). i'd say - as long as it's a neck thru with the brass nut and the wenge neck, you're doin great. yeah the electronics aren't that great, but as soon as i get the cash for a u-retro it's going in, i'll let you all know how it sounds. :D
     
  11. Woodchuck

    Woodchuck

    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    The only thing I miss about the old Warwicks is the "Just-a-nut" nut. Other than that, I don't have a problem with it. In fact they're sending me a Stage 1 5 next week, of course it will have Basslines. I think the newer ones are somewhat brighter, but not worse or better, IMO. I once played an early Thumb, and didn't like it, but I like the older Stage 2's better than the newer ones.
     
  12. dreadhead

    dreadhead

    Feb 1, 2002
    Europe
    Hello Jim, you already know me... you did send me some e-mails about my older Thumb basses... I don't know if you remember me, though. :)
    I wanted to say that the real value of an '88 Thumb is higher than $1,000.00... but if you're selling yours for that price, I'll certainly buy it!!
     
  13. dreadhead

    dreadhead

    Feb 1, 2002
    Europe
    It's cheap alloy, called "zama". The new bridge costs $60.00, the older brass one costs $300.00... go figure... I know these things very well, I've owned about 10 older Warwicks and I usually carry lots of replacement parts.
     
  14. mrsfnkta

    mrsfnkta

    Dec 7, 2001
    Man, I got both of my older Warwick's for around 1K apiece. The Thumb is great - the hardware shows some wear as do the pickup covers (but not much). The Streamer is awesome - not a spectacular piece of wood, but clean, clean, clean. I will also insert here that I wax them both on a regular basis. I cannot stress how important that is for any bass. I have been thinking about what a previous member said about a good coat of wax on the back of the newer ovangkol neck. Hmmm....

    Now I also did a little checking on ovangkol vs. wenge. Ovangkol seems to be a bit denser, producing brighter highs. Also known as shedua, one of the favorite woods by the folks at Wal. Wenge has those great open pores and gives a bit "darker" sound. Ovangkol is still widely available, and from what I understand, there are some sustainable farming efforts in place. Thus the reason for its lower price. Personally, I just like the feel of wenge as a neck wood. All things considered, I guess I hereby give up my gripe against ovangkol. It is a valid wood and is now formally recognized. Welcome to the fold. However, you will not be on one of my basses. No offense.

    Jim

    Yeah, Dread, I remember you. It seems you Italian guys have managed to capture the lion's share of the good Streamers and Thumbs. I know that Warwick made quite a few Dolphins back then, too. Where are they all hiding? I am (have been forever) looking for a nice boire Dolphin. Tough to locate, though.
     
  15. jasonbraatz

    jasonbraatz

    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA


    sixty dollars?! that sounds way low...


    i'm shooting an email to danabgoods right now.
     
  16. DinoSco

    DinoSco

    Mar 8, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    Oddly enough, Dread is hooking me up with a boire Dolphin right now. I'm looking forward to getting it!

    There is a boire Dolphin in very good shape on ebay at the moment, so check there. There have been several auctioned off there in the last few months... dunno why.

    Dino
     
  17. dreadhead

    dreadhead

    Feb 1, 2002
    Europe
    The folks at Warwick would OBVIOUSLY tell you that this is NOT true and that their new basses are a lot better than old ones... I know it, I've already sent them a mail... :eek:
     
  18. Woodchuck

    Woodchuck

    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    Hey if you need a bridge for a Stage 2, PM me. I have one that was sent to me about 2 years ago. It's still in the plastic. I think it'll fit the Thumb as well.
     
  19. dreadhead

    dreadhead

    Feb 1, 2002
    Europe
    Yeah Dino, the bass will be in my hands for a check-up in about a week! However it's true, there were lots of old Dolphins on eBay, but they didn't take a lot of bids. It's a matter of timing/taste/luck, I guess.
     
  20. iplaybass

    iplaybass Guest

    Feb 13, 2000
    Germantown, TN
    Popularity does strange things to brands.