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Warwick Tone Question

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Basshole, May 27, 2005.


  1. Basshole

    Basshole Banned

    Jan 28, 2005
    I own both 5-string and 6-string Wenge/Bubinga neck-through thumb basses. I like the 5, with its J-bass style MECS better, because it's more nasty. The 6, with its MEC sopabars, is more piano-like, with a bit more highs, and maybe a tad less growl.

    I also own a Pedulla Buzz 5 (PentaBuzz). It has a very sweet tone.

    I've recently decided that I also need an evil sounding 5-string fretless bass too. I know that a Thumb 5 fretless would nail it, but I was wondering how close in sound other Warwicks are.

    Would a Corvette, or a Fortress, Dolphin or even a Rockbass give me that dark evil fretless sound I'm after? ...or is that strictly the domain of the older neck-through Thumb, with it's peculiar angled pickups and Wenge/Bubinga woods?

    The Wenge/Bubinga neck-trough Thumbs are getting harder to find, and command a bit of a premium price. If I could get a Rockbass for under 7 bills, and record my nasty fretless tones on the cheap, I think I'd live happily ever after, and with more lunch money to spare.

    If those other models are just too far from the Wenge/Bubinga neck-through Thumb's tone, would a bolt-on Thumb in Ovangkol work? How close is their tone?

    What the consensus, men of Warwick?
     
  2. neptoon

    neptoon

    Jul 25, 2000
    summerville, sc
    i've owned a couple of warwicks (check my profile) and in my experience, i gotta tell ya, the bolt neck thumbs are some nasty sounding basses...i think that the n/t thumbs i've owned (a 4 and two 6ers) were way less aggressive sounding than the bolt neck fivers i've owned...as far as n/t 5ers, i've only noticed more difference in feel than tone in the necks...they sound pretty close...i would also check out maybe a fretless bolt neck thumb...if you're looking to hit the thumb tone on the cheap, i would check ebay for one of those
     
  3. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Hey, neptoon... how close does a Zon Special get to the Thumb b/o tone?
     
  4. vene-nemesis

    vene-nemesis Banned

    Jul 17, 2003
    Bilbao España
    hmm, warwick again, i dont know why ppl always ask this instead of asking do you know were can i try a fretless thumb 5 and some other fretless wicks??(no ofence ok :smug: )

    However, if you like the tone of the basses u already have go for it, i like the tone of the dolphing pro 1 best having a little more treeble sweetness (but lacking on 3 band preamp) or at last it sounded much more rich than the thumb NT i tried.

    I always dreamed about a thumb NT 5 but im turning 18 and i want a car and need to get the drivers license so it might take 3 years until ill be able to buy it (the bass), i have at the moment all the gear i need, vigier basses rool :bassist: .
     
  5. Basshole

    Basshole Banned

    Jan 28, 2005
    See, that's just it; I don't want sweetness. I want ARRRRGGG. I have a Pentabuzz for making polite fretless noises.

    I just found that to best cover a tune I'm working on, I'm gonna need that contemporary heavy/power metal fretless sound. Y'know; I got the guitar in drop D flat and I need that evil, dark sounding fretless - something just too rude to coax from the Pedulla.

    I'm already well familiar with the Thumb tone, and I just wonder how far apart the other Warwick bretheren is. Whether I should consider broadening my search...

    Neptoon - your B/O Thumbs...what woods were they?
     
  6. philiprst

    philiprst Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2005
    I currently own a Thumb NT and also owned a Corvette bolt; both 4 strings. The Corvette was a great bass and had the famous Warwick growl that you are after. It was less refined that my Thumb NT and more two dimensional sounding, if that makes any sense. My main issue was ergonomics and feel; I have never felt that the bolt-ons play as well as the more expensive NT instruments. This is not a criticism of the bolt-ons because we are talking about two different price ranges.

    If you are willing to be patient then you can find good deals on NT Warwicks but I also think that Corvettes are some of the best values on the used bass market right now. Pop down to GC; they usually have a pretty good selection of the bolt ons.

    Philip
     
  7. vene-nemesis

    vene-nemesis Banned

    Jul 17, 2003
    Bilbao España

    Nice, the bubbinga corvette std sounds LIKE the thumb but not the same in GC (if u live in the US) they usually have them, with bad setups but have them.
    The Thumb nt fretless is gonna sound a little less bright than the freted with some more mwah thats all.
     
  8. neptoon

    neptoon

    Jul 25, 2000
    summerville, sc
    both of my bolt neck thumbs had ovankol bodies with ovankol necks...wenge fingerboards
     
  9. neptoon

    neptoon

    Jul 25, 2000
    summerville, sc
    Jeff...i don't think that my warwicks sounded anything like my zon...it's like this...the warwick cut through where the zon cuts it in half :D depending on the application, though, i think the warwick may have been a better bass...i have a 70's influenced rock band that my zon just couldn't find a niche in, where the warwick sounded great and wasn't as obtrusive...
     
  10. Basshole

    Basshole Banned

    Jan 28, 2005
    Called GC. They ain't got crap. 4-string, fretted only.

    Still looking. Opinions still wanted.
     
  11. Basshole

    Basshole Banned

    Jan 28, 2005
    OK, I called Bass Central, and ordered a Bolt-On Thumb, but because I'm impulsive, and like to cover my bases (basses?), I couldn't pass up a Wenge/Bubinga neck-through that popped up on Ebay.

    Now, I have a quandry:

    The N/T supposedly came with Duncan Basslines pickups, and the owner has replaced them with EMG pickups and an 18v EMG preamp. He will include the original Basslines pickups and 9v MEC electronics.

    I am not familiar with either the Basslines, or the EMGs in the context of a Warwick Thumb, and I wonder if the very characteristic sound that I seek may in fact lie in the MEC pickups.

    The question for you Warwick guys is:

    Should I go ahead and order a set of MEC pickups from Warwick? The MEC electronics that came on it were apparently 9v and not 18v (no seperate battery door)...should I get the 18v preamp and the pickups? ...Use the EMG 18v preamp? ...the original 9v MEC preamp? Will I be able to cram the 18v MEC rig into the cavity without the separate battery compartment?

    What are the chances that the EMGs will have a growl anything like the MECs? ...The Basslines?

    :confused:
     
  12. vene-nemesis

    vene-nemesis Banned

    Jul 17, 2003
    Bilbao España
  13. Basshole

    Basshole Banned

    Jan 28, 2005
    Well, he claims it's a 1996 model, and that it had a 9v preamp. Might it have been updated by a previous owner? What doesn't fit is that it doesn't have the second battery compartment usually found in the 18v model (I'm speculating here...back me up). Basslines pickups from the factory? Was this an option? Did the basses fitted with Duncans maybe come with a different (9v) preamp?
     
  14. vene-nemesis

    vene-nemesis Banned

    Jul 17, 2003
    Bilbao España

    Well if it is a pre CNC era (wich i think started before 1996 but im not sure) it might have come with those with an upcharge, rather than that i was told once by a guitar tech that they changed the p-ups in a thumb NT mecs to basslines and it sounded the same, however i will go with the nowadays thumb NT preamp.
    You should consider e-mailing warwick (i think that their germany custom service is better than the one carried by Danna B Goods in the US).
     
  15. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Thumbs characteristic growl come as much from the construction of the bass and the placement of the pickups as the pickups and preamps themselves.

    I for one do not like MECs, on any of the Warwicks. I think that they are thin sounding, and the preamps are noisy.

    All of the high end Warwicks have always been available with Bart, EMG or Basslines pickups and preamps, for an upcharge.

    My favorite sounding Thumb was a Basslines equipped Thumb 5 bolt on. But it sounded pretty similar to an MEC equipped model, just a little fuller, more defined tone, and less noise from the preamp.
     
  16. Basshole

    Basshole Banned

    Jan 28, 2005
    Well, at this point I have the brandy-new Ovangkol/Ebony fretboard Thumb bolt-on (with stock MEC pickups and electronics), and the 1996 pre-CNC Wenge/Bubinga/Ebony fretboard Thumb neck-through with the EMGs coming this week. I can't wait to compare them. I probably couldn't find two more radically different Thumb Bass extremes...I wonder just how far apart they will be in tone....

    Which one will win the Evil Metal Tone of Warwick award? Which one will be relegated to playing loud Jazz gigs, where the Pedulla Buzz is just too sweet? ...Will I fall in love with the 1996 so much that I restore the pickups to stock MEC? ...Or will I take the old Basslines that come with the neck-through deal, and stick them in the bolt-on in place of the stock MECs? Arrrgh.

    Right now, all I seem to have is my Thumbs up my azz.

    Iz comfuzed.
     
  17. HamOnTheCob

    HamOnTheCob Jacob Moore Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Cambridge, Ohio, USA
    Endorsing Artist for Warwick Basses, Mesa Engineering, Joyo Technology, Dr. J Pedals, and Levy's Leathers
    I would absolutely take out the EMGs and put the Basslines back in. I have Basslines in my Thumb BO 6 (wenge neck) and it definitely has the growl. I had a set of EMGs in a Wenge neck 96 Corvette 4 and though it was the greatest sounding bass I've ever ever heard, it absolutely did not growl. Those pickups are too smooth and well-rounded. The Basslines are more rounded than the MECs, but I like the versatility of tone in the Basslines. I had a wenge neck 94 Thumb 5 BO with MEC Js and though it had a ton of growl and cut right through any mix, it was so lacking in full round tone that it was 100% useless for every type of music other than metal. While I know you're going for a metal bass, I would try to pick up a configuration that you at least COULD use for other things if you had to.

    Jake
     
  18. HamOnTheCob

    HamOnTheCob Jacob Moore Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Cambridge, Ohio, USA
    Endorsing Artist for Warwick Basses, Mesa Engineering, Joyo Technology, Dr. J Pedals, and Levy's Leathers
    Warwick used Basslines almost exclusively for the Thumb 5 Wideneck and Thumb 6s for a while I'm pretty sure. Mine has the Basslines pickups and the 9v 2-band preamp. Mine's a 98, by the way.

    And to answer someone else's question, they started CNCing their bodies some time in late 95/early 96. My 94 and both 95s I've had have been hand made, and the 96 and newer 'wicks I've had have been CNC.

    Also, they switched from the brass nut to the composite nut sometime in 98 (one of my 98s has a composite nut, one has a brass nut). They switched to the easy-access truss-rod covers in 95. They discontinued the recessed Dunlop straplocks some time in 98 or so I believe. My Streamer has them, but my Thumb 6 BO from 98 has Schallers, so I don't know if it originally had the Dunlops or none at all. And they switched from Wenge necks to Ovankol necks in 99 I believe.

    Jake
     
  19. vene-nemesis

    vene-nemesis Banned

    Jul 17, 2003
    Bilbao España
    hes got more basses, and seems like he has the money to afford a change if its ever needed.

    Wanting some warwicks, Alex.
     
  20. Basshole

    Basshole Banned

    Jan 28, 2005
    Jake,

    Your posts have been perhaps the most useful of all. Thanks.

    I have a shipload of basses, that serve me well with plenty of lattitude in tone. I really do just want the angry metal sound this time around, so perhaps I am looking to put the MECs back in, from what you tell me. Your "reading" of the tone available from the various pickups mentioned here has given me a good feeling for where each will fall.

    I agree that the Thumb/MEC tone can be very unidimensional - I have fretted N/T Thumbs w/MECs, and they are indeed one-trick ponies, to be sure. I just so happens, I'm a damn big fan of that one particlar trick, and have plenty of other much more versitile basses to do other things.

    I guess all that's left to decide is whether to leave the N/T the way it currently is (or put the basslines back in), in the event that the B/O covers the need for "that tone". I'm guessing it's going to be a full restore to MEC pickups and electronics, though.

    Thanks again for all of the info, man.