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Used Wawrcik thumb, criteria to look into before driving 70 miles to see it?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by yoshi, Nov 19, 2002.

  1. yoshi


    Jul 12, 2002
    England, London

    Ok, my mums offered to fund for the most part a new bass for my 18th, and by some strange coincidece ive been offered a 4string warwick thumb, used, for £600,about $1000.

    Now before driving 70 miles, 140 there and back to test it, id like your help to construct a small list of things to ask about over the phone just to get more of an idea, eg model number, year of production, through to things to look out for when playing it.

    thanking you ;)
  2. On the phone.
    Type of pups, EMG,MEC Barts
    Fingerboard (Some have Ebony option, very nice).
    Thru neck or bolt on.

    When you see it.
    Check the neck if it's been well played it should be nice and 'oiled'.
    Check the neck laminations don't feel rough.
    Check around the jack socket for cracks.
    Check the finish for sweat stains around the controls and where the thumb rests on the pup.(It shows up more on the lighter streamers).
    Check for damage on the body in front of neck pup if the guy is a slap monster.(Only seen this once, it looked like he'd been playing it with a hammer!!).
    Check neck for trueness,fretwear etc.
    The black finish on the bridge on Fum basses peels of quite easily if a pick is stashed in the gap.
    Check the straplocks to make sure they are secure.

    If in doubt don't buy it !!!

    By the way, Overwater in Carlisle had a Streamer S1 for ages and it was £600, might be worth a look on their web site or a phone call, it also gives you a bit more come back dealing with a business rather than a private sale.
  3. yoshi


    Jul 12, 2002
    England, London
    Great! Thanks very much, doc'! :D
  4. Can't add anything to DrDrill's excellent advice, but if the bass will pass his rigorous test: play it with a strap. Some people find Thumbs to be too heavy and to have less than great balance. If you're one of them, give Overwater a call. Streamer Stage Ones are excellent basses, and they're very nicely balanced. Oh, and check the tuners. They should turn smoothly, but if they don't and you like the rest of the bass, they're easy enough to change. Good luck, and don't forget to tell us how it all went!
  5. The Doc gives great advice - also, the earlier Warwicks tend to be far better made than the later ones. To find the age, check the stamp on the end of the headstock - the last 2 digits will be the year of manufacture -


    Good Luck!

    - Wil
  6. Make sure its got a wenge neck instead of an ovangkol one :D
  7. Carl Brusky

    Carl Brusky

    Sep 21, 2000
    My Thumb is a 1999.

    Serial number is on the back of the headstock.

    Look for the brass nut which will tell you it is prior to 1999. Mine is the plastic or phenolic nut.

    I put Barts in mine but it came stock with the MEC.

    Early Warwicks had a Bart option.

    I agree with the Wenge neck and fingerboard statement. Mine is wenge and I love it. I played a newer one with the ovankol neck and hated it. It did not have the same feel.

    Good luck.
  8. yoshi


    Jul 12, 2002
    England, London
    thanks :)

    Im about to ring its owner and question him from the list ive constructed. Ill note down his replies and post them up here and get one last check over by you guys before arranging a 'sample' :)

    thanks again :D
  9. yoshi


    Jul 12, 2002
    England, London
    'Only me ;)

    hi again, its built in 85 (same as myself, so to speak ;)), and has active EMC's.

    ive aranged to go meet him sometime in the next few days, so fingers crossed.

    One last question, whats your views on the £600 price tag? bearning in mind the fundings coming from B-day presents (im no alcohol fan so not having a huge party), a bit fo my own savings and funds form selling one of my basses.

    Thanks again :D Sorry to have posted 4 times in my own thread!
  10. If it's built in 1985 it's an early, handmade one (Warwick was founded '82, and the Thumb was introduced '85). These are supposed to be a lot better than the new ones - just ask dreadhead, who seems to be knowledgeable when it comes to old Warwicks, and dislikes the newer ones, check this and this thread, and you'll see what I'm talking about - and will probably become cellectible, if they aren't already. So, considering this, and if the bass is in good shape and you like how it sounds and feels, I think £600 is a good deal. As I'd love a Thumb myself, I wouldn't hesitate picking an old one up for about that amount.
  11. Great advice from everyone...

    If it's a mid/late 90's model with the wenge neck AND the brass nut (neck through), it's a very good deal for that price. I have a 1997 Thumb 5, and is a bit better than the newer models for those reason.

    Good luck!

  12. yoshi


    Jul 12, 2002
    England, London
    hi again, ive organised a meeting for this weekend.

    One thing that struck my mind, was that when i asked him the year of production again today he repied '83' and you guys previously stated 85 is as early as it gets?

    Also, it has chrome hardware, does this tell you anything about it:confused: ?

    Im going to test it anyway, and if it sounds/plays good ill bag it ;)
  13. Some of the really early warwicks have a one part bridge and different hardware.
    I think the first bass they built was in 1982 so an 83 Thumb is very early.
    Just found an example on Ebay, go Here
  14. yoshi


    Jul 12, 2002
    England, London
    aww, i just got a meesage on my answer phone from the guy saying he couldnt sell it as hes been reaccepted into his band so needs it :'O(

    Im really dissapointed/upset, and i never even looked at it:(

    ah well..
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I wouldn't be upset - there are loads of great basses around for £600. And I've never liked Thumb bass - necks too thick and they all have terrible neck dive. Means that altogether, although they sound nice, they are very hard and uncomfortable to play!!

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