Warwick Corvettes - Korean vs. German

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by punkjazzben, Mar 20, 2012.

  1. punkjazzben


    Jun 26, 2008
    There seem to be a few threads skirting around this issue, but I couldn't find any clear opinions, or enough of them.

    I'm wondering if, in people's experience, there is a discernible difference between the new Korean Pro Series Corvettes, and the older German Corvette Standards. I can tell the difference between a RockBass and a Warwick - RB's just don't feel like a Warwick should - but I haven't had the chance to play anything from the Pro Series line.

    As far as I can tell, the post-'99 Corvette Standard's are all made of the same materials (bubinga or ash body, wenge fingerboard, ovankol neck) whether they be German or Korean. I guess that leaves it to the quality of the wood selection and hardware, the build quality, and I suppose the out-of-factory setup. The change of climate might also factor into things (although I've heard of some pretty amazing climate-control technology being used in bass/guitar factories).

    Part of the reason I ask is that I own a 2001 German six-string bubinga Corvette (weighs a ton), and have always wondered about whether these things are 'more sought after' or higher-valued now that there are the cheaper Korean instruments on the market?

    Would it come down to the perceived 'prestige' of a German-made bass, or are there actual differences in the quality of the instruments?
  2. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    I'm going to give you a little bump here because I'd like to hear the answer myself.

    From what I've seen shopping around for a used Warwick, it seems like most of the one's out there are either German or the Chinese Rock Basses. I don't know if the Korean made basses just don't have the market penetration or if the pricing misses a sweet spot, but they are pretty hard to find online.
  3. gt96g

    gt96g Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2008
    Philly Area
    i've only played german warwicks and the newer rockbasses, I have never played the pro series but I hear good things.
  4. bongostealth

    bongostealth Supporting Member

    Jun 3, 2011
    Atlanta, GA
    I currently have a German-made 2004 Thumb NT 6 and a German-made 1999 Corvette Standard 6. Previously I used to own a Korean-made 2010 Corvette Standard 6. I could NOT tell the difference in quality at all OTHER THAN one small detail: a few of the edges of the frets along the higher part of the neck weren't fully sanded down so you could feel them a bit if you run your fingers along the sides of the neck where the fret markers are. But that was it.

    German-made will always rule. But mostly because of community perception. But quality-wise, the Korean ones are very good.
  5. DeathFromBelow

    DeathFromBelow Never Forget. Banned

    Dec 23, 2010
    Horten, Norway
    Having never owned a german Warwick, I can't make a direct comparison. I do however own a Pro Series 5 string Corvette, and on it's own, it is a very nice bass. Fit and finish, sound and playability are all top notch. The hardware is stamped with "Warwick Germany", so I'm guessing it is the same as on the german models. Electronics are the same. Also, this is the only bass I've ever bought that was perfectly set up from the factory; didn't need to touch either the bridge or the truss-rod.

    So I guess it comes down to quality control. If it is consistent, which I fully expect it to be, I think you would be more than pleased with a Pro Series.
  6. Dansepicchops


    Dec 31, 2011
    I own a Corvette standard 5 string and it has quickly become my go to bass. While I do not personally own a corvette pro, Mr. Ed Freidland did a demo on the corvette pro and had only good things to say about it, going so far as to say that the koreans "quality control is as good as anyone." He does say in one of his replys "I assume you're talking about a Warwick bass made in Korea. They are good, but the German made instruments are better. I can't say how much... there is no scale to measure that."
    I have copied the url for the video below. I hope this helps answer your question.
    Warwick Corvette Standard - YouTube
  7. punkjazzben


    Jun 26, 2008
    This all sounds promising. I don't know if I could actually get rid of my German Corvette - I nearly traded it for a Fender, but got cold feet and just saved the money instead.

    But if I ever wanted to expand my Warwick collection and pick up a four or five string (do they do fretless?) I wouldn't be 'downgrading in any sense by getting a Pro Series by the sound of it. So that's awesome.
  8. DeathFromBelow

    DeathFromBelow Never Forget. Banned

    Dec 23, 2010
    Horten, Norway
    Yes, they do fretless, both four and five string (and maybe six, don't remember). At least the Corvette, not sure about the other Pro Series models. Check out Warwick.com.
  9. grenadilla


    Aug 22, 2011
    I paid $1000 at Guitar Center when they sold out of German Corvettes {bubinga 4string}. The Pro Series bubinga Corvette 4string is supposed to be about $1100 when Musicians Friend get them from the new distributer, Music Corp. They look good.
  10. dudelove


    Apr 16, 2010
    Greenland, Nuuk
    i will take germans for sure, but i know the new rockbass´are better than old ones
    and still i better like the germans
  11. All the electronics are the same. The materials are the same. Just the pro series is made in Korea. They all go through the German factory for final inspection & set up; as do Rockbasses.
  12. dnosewor


    Apr 14, 2009
    I just bought a used corvette$$ 5 string. How can I tell if it's German made or Korean?
  13. dudelove


    Apr 16, 2010
    Greenland, Nuuk
    rockbasses are made in korea or china, and warwick basses are made in germany
  14. IngerAlb


    May 11, 2007
    The Korean Ws are NOT the same as the German basses - except for the Corvettes, all of them have maple with ekanga veneers necks (instead of ovangkol), like the RockBasses.

    @dnosewor: RockBasses are made in China, not Korea.
  15. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    My understanding is they are the same components and woods. The x factor would be whether the woods are aged equally and whether the build quality control in Korea is as tight as in Germany. Warwick was an incredible German factory which you can see in action on their YouTube channel.

    All things being equal I would imagine they are very close as production of the German Corvette and most other models for that matter is so automated.

    As to the question of value over time my bet is on the German model. Typically in these situations the model made in the more expensive country will prevail as the more valuable over time. Eg USA fenders cost more than MIJ fenders which cost more than MIM fenders. Mi recently visited the Warwick custom shop in NYC and they had a corvette standard there made in the custom shop for $3500. Cost of labor is a huge input and to the extent that it drives new replacement cost up, it drives second hand prices up.

    That said, i beieve you would be better off buying a Korean Corvette brand new vs a German Corvette brand new. Save for the pre 99 basses, Warwicks have pretty steep depreciation when bought new. The last ones who bought German Corvettes paid $1600 or more. You can see them used for the $600s all day long. I haven't seen many second hand Korean vettes yet as they are new but I am guessing they cannot sell for much less and they "only" cost $1k.

    All said though these are fantastic basses. The design, woods and electronics are pretty great.

    My two cents and only my opinion, of course. hope this is helpful nonetheless.
  16. monkeyboner


    Nov 16, 2012
    Due to the technology exchange "pact" between Korea & Germany (http://english.etnews.com/policy/2393912_1302.html), the Korean-made Warwicks are/would seem almost on par with it's German brothers.

    A friend tells me this is why even Korean cars like Hyundai have suddenly made a huge leap forward in the market, due to their sharing of German tech. Not so sure yet what Germany has gotten out of this deal.

    On a side note I'll be going to Seoul this December in hopes of picking up a Pro-Series 'wick :D
  17. Midinut


    Nov 2, 2007
    I own a German Thumb 6 (1999) and a Taranis 5, and then two Korean Warwicks - Corvette and Streamer 6's. Whilst the sound on all these Warwicks is absolutely superb, there are differences. The German basses just feel a little more slick, especially the Thumb and the wood and fretwork is finished off 100%. Hardware wise it is all the same on both German and Korean.

    In terms of the Korean jobs, my Corvette arrived with one pickup dead - I had to properly solder the pickup wire to the pan pot, otherwise the bass is perfect is all respects and I love it. The Streamer again had rough fret edges and also a slight buzz on the C and G strings from the 12th fret onwards. Nothing that cannot be fixed but not perfect like the German basses.
  18. chrls_vns


    Aug 8, 2009
    This is an old thread but I don't see any reason to NOT bring it back.

    I've owned 2 German Corvettes, a bubinba body and an ash body.. sold the bubinga because it was a little too heavy but I still have the ash bass. Both basses were excellent... perfectly level frets, no sharp fret edges, neck fit very tight in the pocket, hardware worked perfectly, pickups sounded great, etc.

    I've always wanted a Streamer lx but those things are way expensive.. so i decided to pull the trigger on a pro series streamer lx. The bass is absolutely georgous! All the hardware seems to be the exact same as my german vette. This pickups sound absolutely massive and this thing plays great.... BUT, upon furthur inspection I found a couple issues that shouldn't have made it past the German inspection.

    First, I noticed the neck was making a slight 'creaking' noise where it connects to the body, so I checked all the neck screws.. three were tight, one was stripped. I didn't strip it while trying to tighten it, it wouldn't even get tight at all. It was stripped from the factory.

    Second - the fret edges are horrible! I've seen better work on basses that were under $200. Every fret, top and bottom, are sticking out of the fret board and are ridiculously sharp.

    Third, the G string doesn't just buzz at the 12th fret, it's almost completely muted by the 13th fret... The factory setup wasn't horrible but I do the same setup on every bass I get so I did a setup and the buzz was still there.. after checking every note on the fret board I found at least 3 more spots where I have buzz so I checked every fret with a straight edge and have at least 3 frets that are not level.

    Now, all of these issues can be fixed but I'm almost certain that if this was a German bass, it wouldn't have left the factory. I would send it back, but to be honest, it's the best playing and sounding bass I've ever played.. its the ONE I've been looking for all these years so it looks like I'll be breaking out the files and making this thing perfect.

    On a final note... when did basses $1000 and up stop coming with hard shell cases?
  19. joebar


    Jan 10, 2010
    I have owned 5 german wicks and one pro series wick.

    the german ones were all excellent and consistent across the board.
    however, the german ones all tend to be heavier than all get-out; but OTOH the heavier ones sounded the best.

    my pro series korean star bass was as perfect and on par as any of the german ones I owned. it was equal in every way.

    the cheapest german ones (streamer STD and corvette STD are made from carolena wood for the body ( a type of pine) and generally do not hold their value on the used market and the grain on these are not very attractive IMO. in this case, the Korean ones are better .

    a korean wick would have no bearing on whether it would be good enough as a german one-they are.

    one bass I absolutely am wanting is the pro series Robert Trujillo streamer-

    worthy of note is this model doesn't come In a german model.
  20. tobias3469

    tobias3469 Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2013
    West Los Angeles
    Warwick most definitely does offer German made Robert Trujillo signature basses.

    As far as German vs 'Made anywhere else'

    I highly prefer the fit, feel, and sound of the German made basses. I've tried a lot of the other imports. None of them have "done it for me" so to speak