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Warwick Dolphin -I want one (advice, etc.)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Yamarc, Jun 26, 2002.


  1. Yamarc

    Yamarc Supporting Member

    Jun 25, 2002
    Northville, MI
    Any offers? Opinions? Marc
     
  2. DinoSco

    DinoSco

    Mar 8, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    Well, what do you know? You ask for advice on two different basses in the same day and I happen to own both. Lucky you! :)

    My Dolphin is a 1998 model 4-string with the Ovankol body. Before '98, the Dolphin was made with a boire rosewood body, which seems to be the wood of choice for those that own them and have listened to them. According to the Warwick rep that I correspond with, boire is now an endangered wood and to keep using it for Dolphins would jack the price up considerably. Don't know if that's a company line or not, but as much as I love mine, if a mint boire became available, I definitely would like to switch, mainly because of all the good things I've heard about the boire.

    Still, I really dig the ovankol. These are beautiful instruments with a distinctive shape -- some love it and some hate it. Playing-wise, it's a smooth neck-through with a lot of versatility. It has 26 frets and a 2-band EQ, but you can also disable the active electronics for a passive pickup sound, and you can split the dual-coil bridge pickup to add even more range of tone. I find the neck to be fast, and the body allows you to get all the way down to the last fret easily.

    I play almost totally fingerstyle and I get a good range of sounds out of it. While I don't really slap much (I'm very poor at it), you can get good slap tones out of this bass too. Highs are clear and lows are growly; the mids are okay but not overly special in my opinion.

    Other things I like about this bass are the adjustable nut and bridge, the look and feel of the wood, and the hidden neck-through design. The back is contoured to help fit your belly, and it balances very well -- much nicer than a Thumb.

    Overall, I love my Dolphin and don't see myself parting with it anytime soon -- that is, unless a mint boire Dolphin becomes available (anyone have any leads?). I got mine used in perfect condition for 2 grand with hardshell case. Search long and hard enough, and you can get as good or better of a price.

    I also note that you mentioned Stefan Lessard in your other post re: Modulus. Probably not so coincidentally, Stefan is famous for playing a Dolphin on the first few DMB albums. I would never dissuade anyone from getting one of these instruments -- in fact, I would encourage it -- but if you're basing your interest mainly on his tone, I would add a couple tidbits that I got from the Warwick rep:

    * While he used his boire Dolphin in gigs up until around 1999/2000, he recorded with a custom birdseye maple Dolphin from the albums Remember Two Things --> Crowded Streets because he felt it recorded better, and the boire sounded better live. So the distinctive tone you hear on songs like "Crush" is the maple. (There was recently a mint maple Dolphin 4 on ebay; don't know if it sold, but it was listed twice, so keep checking back if you're interested).
    * The rep cautioned that, as great as he thinks the Dolphin is, much if not most of Stefan's tone (as is often the case) comes from both his playing style and his outboard gear, and not just the bass itself.

    Things to think about if you're mulling a Dolphin. Hope this helps; happy to provide more info if needed.

    Dino
     
  3. Yamarc

    Yamarc Supporting Member

    Jun 25, 2002
    Northville, MI
    Actually, Stefan recorded his their first two full length albums and EP with his 4 string boire Dolphins. R2T was the an earlier one with Bartolini pups. Recently and UTTAD were recorded primarily with the Boire 4 string that has basslines replacement pickups and very distinctive sound. Crash was done with a combination, but all of the lower register stuff was done on his 6 string Thumb bass with Bart soapbars, and BTCS was done with a combination of the Boire 4, Maple 5, and Bubinga Thumb 6. Listener Supported obviuously has the Modulus q5 and Boire 4. Stefan used the Maple 5 (primarily after the BTCS album) extensively live in 97, 98, 99 before going to modulus full time. I am interested in a boire one also, just clearing a few things up, Thanks, Marc
     
  4. DinoSco

    DinoSco

    Mar 8, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    Not disputing you at all, but where exactly did you get your info? I'm curious to know how you have such detailed information regarding his recording equipment, in part because it goes against what the Warwick rep told me. It sounds like you are a hardcore fan so maybe you are a better source of info.

    Also, if you have any insight, maybe you can clear something up for me: is he playing a fretless on "Spoon" -- specifically on the break at 3:26, which sounds like a fretless with effects? That's been bugging me for a while.

    Thanks,
    Dino
     
  5. jasonbraatz

    jasonbraatz

    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    i don't think he's ever played a fretless electric - but i know he did play upright on some parts of BTCS.
     
  6. dreadhead

    dreadhead

    Feb 1, 2002
    Europe
    Hei, I know a guy who needs to sell his one... it's a 1991 (last hand made year!) with MEC pickups and chrome hardware. I think he would want about $1,700.00 for it.
     
  7. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Man..Dolphin's are one of those basses that are on my short list of basses I need to get ahold of. I dig the looks...and if they have the Warwick sound (most precisely an approximation of the Thumb) I'd snap it up in a second...
     
  8. dreadhead

    dreadhead

    Feb 1, 2002
    Europe
    Well, I know that it sounds like a Thumb, but the tone is more flexible and the body is well balanced...
     
  9. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    OH NO!!!


    GAS! :eek:
     
  10. dreadhead

    dreadhead

    Feb 1, 2002
    Europe
    I'm actually selling all my Warwick basses to change brand... but I think that they are great basses... if you get a pre-91 you'll be a lucky man.
    Newer basses, sad but true, are just garbage... what a shame...:(
     
  11. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Where you headed in this bass multiverse?
     
  12. DinoSco

    DinoSco

    Mar 8, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    Dread,

    Thanks for the lead. Check your email... I have some questions.

    Dino
     
  13. DinoSco

    DinoSco

    Mar 8, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    Hmmm... dunno if you can really say they sound like a Thumb. Thumbs seem to be a little more growly, and have a 3-band EQ. I dunno, maybe people who have owned and played both can elaborate on the differences and similarities.

    Dino