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Warwick Sound..Wood or Pups..

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ZenBass, Mar 29, 2004.


  1. Just looking into getting a new bass and i ahave always digged the warwick sound...i think that Stu Zender really made the warwick sound rock.!!..

    Anyway...I am not a grea tfan of the necks on warwicks that much, i much prefer to have a satin/gloss finish rather than bare wood i know you can get a custom jobbie but I really want something a bit different than a warwick..!!..cause they are everywhere

    Jon Shuker is going to be my next port of call in the next run to get a new bass..Just really wondering what makes the wariwick sound.??

    Cause They are just bassically standard woods....Swamp Ash bodies with maple caps on, Ovankol Necks and fingerboards...does the MEC's Pup's have a big part to play in their sound..cause ive heard Warwick with EMG's and they didnt sound as wariwicky..

    If u were gonna put together a Wariwick sounded Custom Bass what wood choices would you go for :)...

    Cheers everyone.!!
     
  2. Both. The pickup placement, and the woods really make the warwick tone.
     
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  4. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Also, beware that Warwicks are not what they used to be when Zender used his to get "that sound". Now, they are substantially cheaper instruments made with lesser selections of materials and workmanship. If you want a really good one, look for a 1997 or earlier.
     
  5. Knavery

    Knavery

    Feb 24, 2004
    Denver, CO
    Yet they are still fabulous instruments for what you pay for them, but yes... I think the ovangkol neck with the wenge fingerboard creates a nice tone.

    Knavery
     
  6. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    Bell Brass Frets...
     
  7. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Georgia
    I'd have to agree. I worked on a Warwick a couple of weeks ago that had EMG's intalled. Same Warwick tone! The player left the MEC pre in so I'm sure that it attributed some to the sound but I believe most of it's in the wood.
    However.....I do wonder how much the brass frets factor into the sound :meh:
     
  8. Figjam

    Figjam

    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Freltess ones still sound like a warwick tho :eek:
     
  9. Trevorus

    Trevorus

    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    That's true. I played a fretless thumb 5 and it still had that growly tone. It was awesome.
     
  10. bste9

    bste9

    Jun 15, 2000
    St. Louis
    Also, most warwicks are not swamp ash. Mine is bubinga, thumbs are bubinga for neck thrus and ovangkol for bolt ons and some of the streamers use afzelia.
     
  11. I've thought about this question quite a bit myself. Like others here have stated, I believe that it is a combination of the MEC pups and the tone woods used in the neck. Even the owner's manual states that the woods used in the neck and fingerboard contribute a lot to the "Warwick sound." But I also think that the MEC pups have a hot, somewhat distorted tone, which is very heavy in the mid-range (similar to the sound of the MusicMan pups, only more so). Notice that the passive Warwicks also have that "Warwick sound," as well.

    The tone of every bass is, of course, a combination of many factors. When it is well designed, these factors come together to be greater than the sum of the parts. Ultimately, that's what led me to decide NOT to have a bass custom-built. I just don't feel that I have the knowledge or experience to reliably predict how all these different factors will interact with each other. (You may have more success with this approach than I thought that I would be able to have.) Anyway, I believe that Warwick has made some very good design choices, by selecting a combination of woods that nicely accentuates the tone of the pups. The net result is a tone that cuts through a mix like crazy. It also sounds very good in a variety of musical situations, and through a variety of amplifier/speaker combinations.

    I'm very pleased with my new Warwick. But I understand your reluctance in getting one. There are, indeed, a lot of them out there, and the neck won't feel right to everybody. In fact, I didn't like the feel of the neck, either, when I first played one. But it came to grow on me.

    Lot's of luck with your bass building journey! Let us know how it turns out.
     
  12. bubinga, bell-brass and MEC's baby!
     
  13. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    Forgot about fretless... :D
     
  14. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    My Streamer Stage I (1998 according to the s/n) is neck-thru, with maple neck and body, Duncan Basslines soaps, and MEC preamp. It definitely has the Warwick tone. I think electronics and pickup placement are primary factors.
     
  15. By the way, for what it's worth, when I was considering having a similar bass custom built (similar to the sound of a Warwick, but with a different look and feel), here's the specs that I was kicking around:

    Body: Mahogany or Bubinga (Different top wood, if you like)
    Neck & fingerboard: A dense hardwood for both, probably maple & maple
    Electronics: MEC pups or something similar, such as a MusicMan replacement pup, with active pre.
    Hardware: A heavy bridge, such as the BadAss. Probably a brass nut, too.

    That was the idea, anyway. As I mentioned, I finally ended up just buying a Warwick.
     
  16. I think the wenge has a lot to do with the Warwick sound.
     
  17. Finger Blister

    Finger Blister

    Jul 8, 2003
    It's that big slab of metal that's under the Warwick bridge.
    Yikes!
     
  18. Halftooth

    Halftooth Supporting Member

    Nov 24, 2002
    Tri-Valley, NorCal
    I wouldn't agree with this statement totally because the high-end models, and even some the nicer BO's are still fine basses. Not quite as nice of woods, but still very good.

    As far as what contributes to the sound, I used to think it was the wood, specificlly the Wenge necks. I still think the wood combo's have a lot to do with it, but I think the "Warwick Growl" that people know about I believe is do the the pickups. As someone mentioned, even the passive Corvettes have that signiture sound which to me is more to do with the pickups than anything else.
     
  19. TRU

    TRU

    Apr 12, 2002
    Northern Europe
    What I consider as the Warwick tone, comes from the wenge neck and bubinga body combination.
     
  20. I have an '89 Thumb with a wenge neck which has the Warwick sound I like, the newer versions seem a wee bit 'lacking' to my ear.
    I also have an '89 Streamer Ltd Ed. with a maple body, wenge neck, ebony fingerboard and a Bartolini MM pup which sounds like an Psychotic Stingray on steroids!. :eek:
    It's a heavy bugger though!!.