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Question for Warwick Thumb (Especially Thumb 5) Owners

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by freshmeat1989, Jul 25, 2005.

  1. I have a couple questions for you Thumb (especially Thumb 5 String) string owners, since I have recently fallen in love with Warwicks.

    -Is the Neck-Through worth the extra money?
    -How does the Thumb B.O. and Neck-Through compare quality and sound wise?
    -Is there any real tonal variation on the Thumb 5's with the pickups being so close together at the bridge?
    -Is a big, fat, growly sound possible with the Thumb 5?
    -Does it give off a lot of finger noise and such?
    -How are your B strings?

    P.S. Whats the knob configuration on Corvette FNA Jazzman's?
  2. Funkzfly


    Jun 15, 2005
    Q:- Is the Neck-Through worth the extra money?

    A:- In my massively humble opinion, it's not. The difference in price is to do with how much more effort it takes to make a neck through bass...nothing to do with quality or superior electronics as such...although the Thumb NT does have the mid control.

    Q:- -How does the Thumb B.O. and Neck-Through compare quality and sound wise?

    A:- Like any NT vs. BO argument, it's subjective, but I'd go with the bolt on. It's been proven time and time again that NTs have substantially less attack than BOs. The only thing that you might want to consider otherwise is you get further intimacy with the wood and plus sustain with a neck through bass...one of which can somewhat be salvaged with a bolt on bass anyway.

    Q:- Is there any real tonal variation on the Thumb 5's with the pickups being so close together at the bridge?

    A:- In my opinion no.

    Q:- -Is a big, fat, growly sound possible with the Thumb 5?

    A:- Damn straight. The thing to remember is that Ovangkol and Bubinga are quite similar sonically, so with either bass the large mid presense is no problem.

    Q: -Does it give off a lot of finger noise and such?


    Q:- P.S. Whats the knob configuration on Corvette FNA Jazzman's?

    A:- Stacked Volume/Pickup Pan + Pull for slap contour, Treble, Mid, Bass, pickup coil tap.
  3. Chiba


    Mar 11, 2005
    I play Thumb BO 4s, not 5s, but to do some recording I have strung them BEAD. Never had a problem with the B after the requisite changes were made (action, intonation, neck relief).

    As far as BO vs NT, I'm with Funkzfly. I don't think the NT is worth the extra money in the Thumb line. When I was looking for a 2nd bass, I knew I wanted another Warwick, and I checked out a LOT of different basses, including several Thumbs of both varieties. I ended up choosing a '93 BO over several newer and NT models based on the sound and the feel of the instrument.

    The mid control on the NT vs no mid control on the BO... Yeah. Well, I guess I'll just have to live with the tone controls on my amp :)

    My advice is to check them out for yourself and make your decision based on what you hear and feel.

  4. Funky Tune

    Funky Tune

    Apr 28, 2005
    Puerto Rico
    bump for the very well explained post
  5. hasadari

    hasadari Supporting Member

    Jun 23, 2005
    IMHO, I disagree with some of the prior statements:

    -Is the Neck-Through worth the extra money?

    As someone who played both Thumb BO and NT extensively, the feel of the NT, as well as the intonation, are in my opinion superior.

    -How does the Thumb B.O. and Neck-Through compare quality and sound wise?

    The intonation is similar, but the NT has a greater sustain, especially on the B-E strings, than than the BO IMHO.

    -Is there any real tonal variation on the Thumb 5's with the pickups being so close together at the bridge?

    No, not IMHO.

    -Is a big, fat, growly sound possible with the Thumb 5?


    -Does it give off a lot of finger noise and such?

    No more than any other high quality pickup.

    -How are your B strings?

    Sounds growly and awesome.

    I do agree that you should try both. Not everyone agrees (clearly) and your preferences and your wallet should be your principal guide.
  6. sean_w_mcgrath

    sean_w_mcgrath does this forum name make me look fat?

    Well I don't own a Warwick yet (soon to buy a Thumb 5 BO), but after playing different thumb 5s (both BO and NeckThru) I prefer the sound of the the Bolt-On. So depending on your tastes, the Bolt-On may be better for you. If you can try them out, that will be your best bet....but if not i would say that the NeckThru is not worth the extra money.
  7. zeronyne

    zeronyne Recovering Keyboard Player

    Nov 24, 2003
    I own a Thumb 5 NT

    Is the Neck-Through worth the extra money?
    In my experience, absolutely, but let me qualify that. The NT and the BO sound completely different to me. I will concede that the BO seems to have a bit more bite in the attack, but if you a/b the two, you'll see that the NT has a lot more midrange growl...almost a slight distortion. Now, I don't know if it's the difference in pickup placement, but I played two each of the BOs and the NTs, and I bought a NT.

    How does the Thumb B.O. and Neck-Through compare quality and sound wise?
    As I stated above, I think the NT has a lot more warmth just past the attack when the sound "blooms". But the BO may be warm enough for you.

    Is there any real tonal variation on the Thumb 5's with the pickups being so close together at the bridge?
    Most definitely. It seems counterintuitive, but the placement does not narrow the tonal choices relative the the BO's slightly wider spacing. The single coils soloed are noisy, however.

    Is a big, fat, growly sound possible with the Thumb 5?
    I can't seem to get anything but a huge variety of big, fat, growly sounds out of it. It's a MEATY bass.

    Let me give you some anecdotal perspective on my Thumb 5's sound. Bass is not my primary instrument. In fact, I just started playing seriously in 2003, and I began lessons this year. While I'm a beginner bassist, I have had decades of recording and playing experience, so sound quality and character are the most important things to me.

    I really dislike the Thumb's ergonomics. The small body makes it "off center" when seated, and unless you play with the strap on the shortest setting, standing introduces the mother of all neck dive. And it's heavy. The neck (while I love it) is considered chunky by most people who've played mine.

    So why do I have one? It's that sound. I've never heard any other bass like it, and I'm not one who mythologizes instruments. It's the most aggressive sounding bass I have ever had the pleasure to play. As a beginner, I have to really struggle to play this thing, but the sound is undeniable.

    I'm actually selling mine at the moment, since I'm having a custom bass built by an luthier held in high regard here. I'm hoping he can bring me that magic tone with a bit more comfort and ergonomic appeal.

    Does it give off a lot of finger noise and such?
    Nope, but the pickups are sensitive. You can get very dynamic on a Thumb. But at their price point, you certainly better be getting some subtlety for your dollar.

    How are your B strings?
    The B on my Thumb is more focused and articulate than the one on the Schecter Studio Elite 5 I used to own and the one on my KSD J-5 fretless, both of which are 35" scale.
  8. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    I think you mean "tone" rather than "intonation"--"intonation" is the ability of the instrument to play in tune up and down the fretboard.

  9. Funkzfly


    Jun 15, 2005
    A few more things I didn't really clarify.

    I'm a Bolt On man, so maybe my desision would be bias, but believe me, don't consider the BO a less desirable option. The price is everything to do with the cost of construction. NT's have little attack as well from past experience.

    Secondly, don't choose the higher Thumb because of it's mid control...Ovangkol has a natural mid clarity that can be found by rolling off the treble. Basses with mid sweepable frequencies are wholly unneccessary in my opinion...the natural mid clarity is something that you've got to find in the wood first.

    EDIT:- One more thing...the newer MEC's, in my humble opinion, are horrible. I don't know why Warwick don't install their basses with some genuinely good pickups. Warwicks got progressively worse after '98. Wood changed, and so did some of the electronics, so if you can find a pre 98 Warwick, go for it. They're the better ones.
  10. hasadari

    hasadari Supporting Member

    Jun 23, 2005
    Sorry, grammar has never been my strong suit.


  11. Daywalker


    Apr 13, 2005
    I have played all of the above, Thumb BO/NO 4/5. I like the NTs better than the BO, but I like the 4's better than the 5's. The NTs have much better sustain, and the Ovankol bodies sound somewhat stale to me. Just my opinion...
  12. I have some more questions:

    -Which one would be warmer, Thumb Bolt-On fretted or a Thumb Bolt-On fretless with the Ebony fretboard?
    -Are Warwick fretlesses available regularly as Lined fretlesses or just unlined?
    -Just for curiosity's sake, how do you go about ordering a custom Warwick?
  13. Funky Tune

    Funky Tune

    Apr 28, 2005
    Puerto Rico
    always i liked the Thumb basses,some day i got mine :cool:
  14. About warmth, I'd say the fretless, I've never heard a cold, clinical fretless tone before... But they are two completely different sounds your talking about. You can't compare a bass' fretted tone with it's fretless IMHO. Lined is an option that carries an upcharge, so I doubt they'd be just as common as unlined. (unlined is cooler hehe)
  15. I prefer the NT 5 to the BO, but thats just that I prefer a more quality bass. it does have a very growly mid tone - this is the bass that set the sound that the warwicks are known 4! I actually have had difficulty trying to get a smoother sound out of it, so be sure its the sound you are after...

    The string spacing is quite close on the 5's. The B string is very tight - better than any other bass I've played. this is probably also partly due to the Pickup placement you mentioned which is quite far back and sloped towards the bridge at the top. The pickups don't really make any more noise than any other top of the line pickup, but they are very powerfull, as is the preamp inthe NT - I can't comment on the preamp in the BO, but I assume it is the same, but without the mid adjuster?

    the bass is a bit neck heavy (esspecially the 5) but balances better if you wear it slightly higher up - more like a jazz bassist... otherwise it neck dives and it's a pretty heavy beast to hold up for a whole gig!

    The NT definately has more sustain, but isn't as aggressive in its attack. I do believe that either bass can be eq'd to sound like the other though, as their tone isn't really "that" different.
  16. rx jr.

    rx jr.

    May 10, 2004
    imo Bolt-ons are great are getting a slap sound and neckthroughs are greater for plectrum-played metal.

    regarding tone, do you by any chance listen to metal? there's a band called mudvayne and the bassist uses thumb 4s and 5's, and he can get some really growly tones out of it and can slap silly too. too bad the bassist is the only thing good about the band though.
  17. vene-nemesis

    vene-nemesis Banned

    Jul 17, 2003
    Bilbao España
    Their whole band roolz, the singer is just a genious, the drummer never gets out of gas, the guitarrist isnt a silly a**hole who think that guitar should lead all the time, and ryan plays that great tap-slap technique that really cuts through.

    Highjacking aside, aesthetically the NT model is nicer with wider cut aways. The lowB in ALL warwick NTs is superb. I dont know why but the pickup placement doesnt makes that big difference but the 5ver has a little more attack (but this, if you want so, can be solved with preamplification) than is 4 string brother.
    But i also have to agree that the price / value of the B.O. is really hard to beat.
  18. :eyebrow: I didn't know there were different standards of quality between NT and BO.
  19. A sh*t load more work goes into the making of a NT and it also uses different woods - It just has better finishing IMO - but I have heard some bad reports about the finishwork on some NT's?

    I agree though that the BO is much better value for money...