Warwick Research: Thumbs with Wenge and Bubinga

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by krovx, Oct 15, 2016.

  1. krovx

    krovx Thump or Bust Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2003
    Michigan, USA
    I had played Thumbs in the past and never gravitated towards them. Always appreciated their tone on the Mudvayne albums. I realize that the pickup placement on the 5 string and 4 string are different and they sound quite different.

    A few weeks ago I was able to play a master built Thumb for a few hours and it was the bees knees. It had a one piece Wenge neck and a Bubinga body. The tone and feel were incredible. Typically I am not too big into the tone wood thing, but there was something magical going on here. In the future, I want a Wenge neck if I do another Warmoth build. Feels incredible!

    Now I typically try to get my gear used, and there is no way I could afford a brand new German Warwick. I know in the past used German Warwicks were steals, not sure if that is still the case. I want to add a Thumb to the arsenal but I am having trouble finding one with those woods. It seems that many of the Thumbs I come across are made out of Ovangkol, with maybe a Wenge fretboard, or Bubinga top. Is there a certain year where the Thumb changed? Or is Wenge and Bubinga only available on custom shop/ master built levels?

    I think I saw an earlier 90s Thumb with a 1 piece wenge neck but that sold years ago. I appreciate any information the Talkbass zeitgeist can share!
  2. krovx

    krovx Thump or Bust Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2003
    Michigan, USA
    From my limited research this seems to be what the consensus is:

    walnut (small) body, wenge/wenge C neck (93-95)
    bubinga body, wenge/wenge C neck (95-97)
    ovangkol body, wenge/wenge C neck (98-99)
    ovangkol body, ovangkol/wenge U neck (99-2009)
    ovangkol body, ovangkol/wenge C neck (2009-2011)
    bubinga body, ovangkol/wenge C neck (2011-...)
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  3. kkaarrll


    Jun 1, 2014
    agree on the wenge

    also now trying to learn more about these things
    krovx likes this.
  4. A year or so ago Warwick went back to doing wenge necks on their German-made models. So I think it's standard on the German Pro Series (teambuilt) instruments. Those are still pretty expensive despite being sort of the "affordable" Warwicks.

    Came across this guy on Reverb in case you're interested: Warwick Thumb 5 String Bolt On 1999
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  5. kkaarrll


    Jun 1, 2014
    addicted to wenge neck now
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  6. krovx

    krovx Thump or Bust Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2003
    Michigan, USA
    Want a 4 string. The 5 just doesnt sound the same, just something more magical to me about the 4. Plus I tend to run BEAD anyway.
  7. I moved from a solid Wenge neck (1994 model) to an Ovangkol neck/Wenge Fingerboard (2008 model). Weight is about the same. I transferred my gold hardware to the 08 model. The lows are similar, highs a tad more 'in the mix' - but the real beauty for me is the mids and mid lows. Just can't describe how much fuller and deep sounding they are with the 08 model. Probably this is why the necks now are two woods rather than just the Wenge by itself. On my 94 model playing in passive really didn't do anything for me. But with the 08 model, playing in passive is as rewarding as playing in active. I love my 2008 model. As for pricing, moving from the "Custom Shop" Corvette NT $$ to the 'Team Built" BO $$ lowers your price quite a bit; currently on the Warwick pricing PDF file it's around $1,800 USD. And to my ear, having played both, I can't really tell of much of a tone difference between the two. The current model has an Ovangkol neck, Wenge finger board, and a Swamp Ash body.
  8. When playing a 5-string I use a Fdeck HPF set to around 70Hz, then go through a Compressor with very low settings but a fast attack. That cleans up the 'mud' on the low B string a lot. You might try that in a big box store, or see if someone nearby has both of those boxes. Works for me. And it sounds very delicious.
  9. krovx

    krovx Thump or Bust Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2003
    Michigan, USA
    Thanks for the feedback. How does the ovangkol compare in terms of feel? Cant remember what playing one was like, I knoe I must have in the past.

    Wenge just feels amazing.
  10. I've owned both the neck through and bolt on German made thumb 5s.

    He's the bolt on 5
    image.jpg And then the neck through 5 image.jpg
    I paid $1800 new for the bolt on and $2800 new for the neck through back when guitar center was trying to unload them.

    Ironically I make more than three times as much money as I did when I bought those warwicks and today I'm playing LTD bass. image.jpeg
    IMO the bolt on thumb has a lot more aggressive midrange than the neck through so if you want that old school mudvayne vibe id actually recommend the bolt on but the neck through feels better and has a little bit better low end. You also have to understand that a lot of the bass tone on ld50 was the way he biamped. Most of what you hear on that record is an SWR workingman10 combo powering a mess boogie 412 guitar cab. That's why the bass sounds so different has awesome mids and highs and almost has fretless qualities at times. He also used an Ampeg rig just to fill out some lows. I was really into warwicks when I was all about cleaner tones. I always ran them into SWR amps and could never get them to work well with dirt. These days I'm all about my LTD f-415fm with its neck through body, EMG 40dc pickups and I use both a b7k ultra and a sans amp RBI and go for much dirtier tones now which I feel works a lot better for our band.
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