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Warwick RockBass Fortress Questions.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by MoonChild2112, Mar 28, 2016.

  1. MoonChild2112


    Oct 16, 2013
    I'm about 90% sure that my next Bass will be a fretless RockBass Fortress, and I have a few questions for anyone that has or has played one (since Oklahoma City SUCKS for Bass shops, and no one around here stocks Warwicks).

    been a P Bass guy most of my life (been playing since 1972), my current #1 Bass is a FrankenFender with a 67 reissue body, late 70's pickups and a MIM neck, Gotoh bridge, and graphite nut, growls like a beast with sustain for days.
    I'm wondering how they compare to the Tony Franklin Sig. P (which I would love to have, but just can't afford/justify the price since I don't gig regularly anymore).

    hows the weight/balance?

    what's the neck shape like? I don't like skinny or thin necks that are the most common right now ( including J Basses and Ibanez} and I've heard the Fortress has more of an early 70's P Bass profile on the neck, slightly thicker with a similar width.

    if I order it through a distributor does it come with a hard case?

    and finally what shop would be the best to go through for price, service, product knowledge, etc.?

    anything else is irrelevant since I will most likely put higher quality pickups and preamp in it right away.

    I tend to favor RotoSound strings if that makes a difference, although I'm toying with the idea of switching to flats.

    I play mostly Progressive Rock, lots of King Crimson, Yes and Jethro Tull, with some Rush and QueensRyche when I'm feeling aggressive.

    any info would be greatly appreciated...

  2. ClassicJazz

    ClassicJazz Bottom Feeders Unite!! Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2005
    Delray Beach, Florida
    I had a fretted version that sounded absolutely awesome. The bass was very well built and the wood grain on the ash body was beautiful. It balanced great.....BUT, it was a boat anchor. It weighed a ton, which is not that uncommon with Warwick basses. It was due to the weight that I ended up letting it go.

    Now during the time I had it I ordered a fretless version (both basses were 4 strings). When I got it I was very disappointed. Mainly due to the side dots were in the wrong places! Typically on a unlined fretless, the side dots are placed exactly were the fret would be, not inbetween the frets like on a fretted bass. They are usually placed at every other fret starting on the third fret. Well the side dots on this bass were like they would be on a fretted bass! Unless you are like Steve Bailey, it probably wouldn't matter. But with me, it really screwed me up. At first I couldn't figure out why I was out of tune! And I am pretty good on a fretless. Well needless to say I spent 10 minutes with it and packed it back up to return it.

    The attached photo is the one I had.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 29, 2016
  3. MoonChild2112


    Oct 16, 2013

    Thanx for the info... sounds like it may be worth my while to just spend the extra grand on the Tony Franklin.
    the boat anchor thing doesnt really bother me since I play sitting down most of the time, although I do like to get up and go a little crazy when we do Rush tunes.
    I am by no means a Steve Bailey, pretty good... not that good. but the side dot thing sounds like it may be an issue for me as well.
    since I'm already more than a little bit familiar with the fingerboard on Fenders it definitely won't give me any problems (had one for many years, bought new in 1972... sold it in the 80's, biggest mistake I ever made).

    Thanx again...
    ClassicJazz likes this.
  4. ClassicJazz

    ClassicJazz Bottom Feeders Unite!! Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2005
    Delray Beach, Florida
    I'm sure the side dot issue was a fluke thing, I would hope so!

    But that Tony Franklin is a really nice bass. The best of both worlds. P-Bass pickup for a fat P-Bass sound and that Jazz pickup if you want a Jaco tone.

    Personally I love PJ setups. Have that on my Fodera.
  5. I have owned and played a 1994 Warwick Fortress One 5-string (German made) since 2010. It is everything I need in my current bands (Gospel / Blues). If you want rounds put EMP Warwick strings on it. (Same strings that come on the Custom Shop basses) Mine weighs about 12.5 pounds, and has a baseball club sized neck. I put all gold hardware on mine this past winter. Here's a photo: What I have is a German Fortress One. What you are looking at is a Rockbass Fortress - made in Asia. The electronics will be different. The wood will be different. Strings will be different. BUT all in all it's worth a price of maybe $500 used, but can be had for $900 new. You can get a gig-bag for it for $50 at GC or SA. Do not order it because the Fortress has a huge horn which will not fit some gig bags. I play sitting down 80% of the time. If you prefer flats it will sound just fine with those. Be sure and find out if Rotosound has tapered string sets as many of the Warwick two-piece bridges will not take a B and/or E string unless it is tapered. Plan a trip to Nashville this summer and go by the Warwick shop on South 12th Ave, just 4 blocks from Music Row. They have every model of Warwicks and many Rockbasses in stock and ready to play. Look here for some models at Bass Central. Pricing at Bass Central (Orlando) is slightly lower than pricing at the Warwick shop. Both shops ship. Warwick Rockbass | Warwick Bass Guitars | BassCentral.com

    Attached Files:

  6. MoonChild2112


    Oct 16, 2013

    Thanks for the info... would love to be able to just buy a German made with a few custom touches, but due to being on disability (Military) my income is very limited and doesn't look to increase anytime soon (thanx Republicans).

    I might be able to manage a trip to Nashville (I'm in Oklahoma city, about a 6 hour drive), and if it would be worth my time/money to see all the goodies it would be worth the trip...

    thanx again.
  7. If you come to Nashville, do some homework before hand. Lots of live music in town, and a lot of it is on lower Broadway around the riverfront area (Titans Stadium is there). Several TBers play in bars and honky tonks in that area. When you visit Warwick make sure you call or email ahead of time (maybe a week) as the two employees do a lot of displays and shows around the USA and are gone several days a week. Jon Giroux is the main salesman, Rob Smith is the luthier. M: [email protected]
    T: +1(615) 730-6497
    F: +1(615) 739-6891 If you play guitar also, do some research on the used market in Nashville. LOTS of used high-end guitars, mandolins, banjos, dobros, steels, etc. for sale every day of the week. While they are expensive, they are still just a fraction of what they sold for new. And for fun, find a shop where custom instruments are built and see if they will give you a tour. Corner Music is the happening place near Music Row for lots of instruments, amps, strings, and a lot of musicians hang out there every day. Look up Gruhn Guitars or the Madison Sam Ash (they had three new fretted Warwick Rockbasses for sale last week). Corky's BBQ on lower Broad. Might be a Preditors match-up going on (they play at the Gaylord on lower Broad). Hall-of-Fame is worth a visit. Ryman has a lot of shows almost daily and many do not sell out. I got a single front row ticket last year for Bruce Hornsby and Ricky Skaggs show in the Ryman for less than $50. Motels in the tourist area charge about 20% sales tax, and that includes the area around the Opryland Hotel - so get a place further out. You'd drive right through Memphis so you gotta do the music things there also. Make it a road trip and enjoy. You might go home with a nice Warwick too!
  8. MoonChild2112


    Oct 16, 2013

    I take it you live in Nashville? I haven't been there in about 25 years or so, passed through on my way to California from Fort Jackson after I mustered out of the Army.
    I doubt there'd be much of interest to me besides a few Bass shops... as I hate country music and am not really a fan of Blues or American style Rock, don't like sports and I'm not really a foodie... last time I was in Memphis was when B.B.King opened his club and I was dragged there by my ex-wife... but thanx for the suggestions
  9. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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