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Warwick Thumb - suggestions

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bassaussie, Oct 5, 2005.

  1. bassaussie


    Oct 6, 2001
    I've just picked up a '95 Warwick Thumb neck though.

    At present, it's loaded with EMG pickups, and a simple volume/volume/tone setup - no preamp.

    I'm thinking about changing out the pickups and/or adding a preamp, and I'd just like to hear some suggestions about what some of the Warwick owners on the board think is the perfect setup on this bass.

    One thing I will add, though, is that I'm not keen on going back to the MEC setup. I've owned a Streamer Stage I in the past, as well as having used MEC replacement pickups, and I don't like them.
  2. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    I'd keep the EMGs. I threw an EMG JV set in mine and it sounds amazing. If you get a preamp, leave out the blend knob. Individual pickups on a thumb are useless. you need both at 100% to get the real thumb sound. You'll have room for a good 3 band like this too.
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I would never recommend someone who just got a bass change out the pickups. What's wrong with the EMG's? Does the bass sound bad? Do you not get enough control with the preamp that's in it now? Leave it until you can make a rational decision. Changing pickups just to change them is never good.
  4. Lowtonejoe

    Lowtonejoe Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Richland, WA
    I have Barts on my Thumb Bolt-on and they absolutely kick butt!

    I have recieved many, many compliments on my tone.

    Bartolini, check it out!

    Click here.



    P.S. The preamp is the stock preamp.
  5. bassaussie


    Oct 6, 2001

    That's an interesting suggestion, as I'd kinda come to that conclusion myself regarding the 2 pickups. The bridge by itself is really too thin sounding to use. The neck by itself sounds okay, but it's definitely the combined sound that is "the" sound on the bass. I'm leaning towards adding a BTC assembly - a simpe treble/bass unit, as I just want to beef up the current sound. However, I'm always open towards other ideas.
  6. bassaussie


    Oct 6, 2001
    "Stock" meaning the original 2 band MEC unit, yeah?
  7. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    Stay away from the BTC. I have one in my thumb. It's weak. I'd go for an aggie or something cool.
  8. Lowtonejoe

    Lowtonejoe Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Richland, WA

    And for the record I disagree about leaving out the blend knob. I find being able to use both pickups individually very useful. In general, though, I lean the blend knob just a tad towards the neck pickup most of the time. Personally I don't care for the 'dead center' setting.

    But to each his own.


  9. Halftooth

    Halftooth Supporting Member

    Nov 24, 2002
    Tri-Valley, NorCal
    I think EMGs are the way to go with Warwicks personally. I'd leave your pickups and simply add a EMG 3-band pre with the sweepable mid function.
  10. I have a 97 Thumb Neck-Through with the stock MEC pickups and 3-band MEC electronics that i'm probably going to replace pretty soon, so i've done a ton of research here and elsewhere, here's the stuff i've gathered:

    - The most popular pickup choices by far are the EMGs and the Seymour Duncan Basslines pickups. The Barts are also popular but not quite as popular.

    - EMG, Bartolini, and Seymour Duncan have all had their pickups used by the Warwick factory. EMG pickups were used in the 80s, Bartolini pickups were used on 6 strings through the 90s until MEC developed their soapbar pickup, and Seymour Duncans were used in a few models in the late 90s.

    - The impression i've gotten is that the MEC pickups were designed after the original EMG pickups and have a similar tone character, with the EMG pickups being considered a "better quality/sounding" version of the same thing.

    - The Seymour Duncan pickups are used in Warwicks by alot of the more current/popular Warwick endorsers (P-Nut, Dirk Lance, Sam Rivers).

    - Alot of people believe that the shortcoming in the stock Warwick setup is the preamp more than the pickups.

    - Davidmwilson has written a ton of posts on here about his experiences replacing the pickups in his early 90s Thumb. In the end he ended up with an Aggie OBP-3 and EMG JV pickups and felt they were the best setup.

    Based on that information I am torn right now between the Seymour Duncans and EMGs. For your situation however i'm sure that most people are going to recommend hanging on to those EMGs and to replace the preamp if anything. I would recommend the same from what i've seen/read. There are alot of great things said about the OBP-3 on here as well as the Bartolini and Demeter preamps, though I can't really help beyond that. Good luck, let us know how it turns out if you decided to replace anything.

  11. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    I've found that the marriage to Basslines was the best one. I wish they would have kept that relationship going.
  12. bassaussie


    Oct 6, 2001
    Thanks guys, this is all great reading.

    So far, I'm leaning towards sticking with the EMGs, and just adding a preamp. I do like the sound, but I want to give it a bit more balls.

    It's funny, actually, as I got this bass in a trade purely because I thought I could shift it easier than the bass I already had and was trying to sell. However, having had it for a while now, I'm really enjoying playing it. It's bloody fast, that's for sure!! The sound is really nice, as well, but I'm finding that I really want to make it a bit ballsier. But it's a great bass - certainly brought me back to liking Warwicks, that's for sure.
  13. Yeah, I remember you mentioning that the vast majority of endorsed Warwick players have Basslines in their own Warwicks, that says alot to be honest. The only knock i've ever seen about Basslines was one player on this board complaining that swapping out MECs for Basslines "got rid of some of the growl" that he wasn't happy with.

    One other issue for me is that most of the endorsers i've seen play Streamers and the Basslines pickups they can use (their modern, soapbar models) wouldnt fit on my Thumb. The only Basslines pickups that would fit on my bass are the "Pickups for Jazz bass" selections that seem to be aimed at getting different 'vintage' sounds out of them.
  14. You know, one preamp i've never heard someone mention using with a Warwick is the Sadowsky onboard unit. People *rave* about that unit in their fender-style jazz and p-basses but i've never heard of someone trying one in a Warwick. I think Bassaussie should volunteer to try it so I can try out high-end bass electronics vicariously through him. What do you think?

  15. bassaussie


    Oct 6, 2001

    Ah, well ..... I'm one step ahead of you there!! I've actually got a Sadowsky outboard unit here, and I've tried it with the Streamer I used to have, and also with the Thumb.

    On the Streamer, it sounded awesome. I defeated the internal preamp, and just used the Sadowsky, and it was a really nice match for the bass. Certainly sounded a lot tighter than the on-board MEC unit, but with a lot of warmth.

    With the Thumb, I've been experimenting with it since I got the bass, but so far, I've not really liked the results. It's too "clangy" sounding - the bass isn't all that tight, it tends to get muddy quite easily, and the top end doesn't appeal to me either. I'll keep experimenting, as I'm really surprised that I've not liked the results so far - I've always thought the Sadowsky unit was a match made in heaven for basses with J/J pickups, but it doesn't seem to be working with this bass.
  16. Interesting, that's another issue for Thumb owners, most of the pickup switching and feedback I read are people using Streamers or Corvettes, and all of the endorsers I mentioned above using Basslines' are Streamer users. I haven't played a Streamer but I get the impression that the basses are different enough to make a difference with electronics choices, etc. Oh well :)
  17. Lowtonejoe

    Lowtonejoe Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Richland, WA
    Here's an Mp3 of the Barts in the Middle, Bridge then Neck position.

    Straight into the board.

    Click here or right click and 'save as'.


  18. maxbass


    May 22, 2002
    Milano Italy
    IMHO EMG is the perfect pickup on a Thumb for the well known Warwick growl.

    Don't change it!
  19. HotRatz

    HotRatz Guest

    Mar 13, 2003
    Portland, OR
  20. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    If you decided to switch em out id go with an all bart setup.