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Warwick Wenge vs Ebony

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bachlover, Aug 7, 2013.

  1. Wanted to pick up a 5 string so I got the Thumb BO (came with a wenge fretboard) cause I've been reading about the growl these guitars produce & I've always liked that in my j bass. I was totally blown away by pretty much every aspect of this bass and want to upbgrade to the NT. I checked out the details about a new one and found that it comes with an ebony fretboard. What's your guy's experience with ebony vs. rosewood, wenge, etc. as far as sound goes, and do they play faster as I've been told they do? What will ebony do to that growl? Thanks, any input much appreciated.
  2. My 1994 Fortress 5-string's neck is all wenge - top and bottom. It's not as fast as a good J-bass or MM can be, but yes it do growl and can sustain the B and E nicely. The only 'warning' given by the forum dudes at Warwick is to NEVER clean a wenge neck with steel wool. Wenge has hundreds of tiny pits and the steel can jam into those and you will never get them out. And when that happens, expect bloody fingers from then on.
    I use the Warwick black tapered rounds and those hold the sustain for about 6 - 9 months. Flats will also growl but don't have that sustain.
  3. Posted this in the amp section - oops! Purchased a Warwick 5 string BO with a wenge fretboard, can't believe how good it is in pretty much all respects......love it so much that I want to upgrade to a NT. The neck through that I'm looking at comes with an ebony fretboard. Any opinions on what the ebony will do sound wise compared to wenge (or rosewood/maple)? I've always played the j bass for the growl, the wenge Warwick is growl king, will ebony change that? Thanks, any feedback much appreciated
  4. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Tampa, FL.
    Going from bolt on to neck through isn't necessarily upgrading and won't likely give you any benefits over the bolt on. Is there any reason why you want to change besides that one reason?
  5. With the diff in price (mine was $2150 in 07 - the NT is pretty much 5 grand now) I assumed that the NT would make a sizable diff in sound. Both are German made, the only other difference is the ebony fretboard on the 5 grander. Maybe I should post another thread NT vs. BO, might have to look into that aspect more, hear more feedback on it.
  6. I can only speak about bolt-on versions. I can't give a direct comparison on Thumbs- I have a 4-string Corvette bolt-on, fretless ebony board and a 6-string Thumb bolt-on, de-fretted wenge. Both strung with La Bella tapes. My impression (unplugged), is that the wenge is more growly, at least comparing between my Thumb and Corvette. However, I don't know how much of that is attributable to the fingerboard, of course.
  7. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Tampa, FL.
    You might want to read through this thread:


    I can't hear much of a difference between bolt on and neck through basses. If you like what you have then keep it. I've owned several Warwicks in the past, including a Corvette 5 string, Streamer Stage 1, Streamer Stage 2, a Dolphin, and I've played around 8 or so different Thumbs. With exception to the SS1 (which was a neck through), they all growled regardless of if they were BO or NT.

    And this is nothing personal against Warwick, but they are way overpriced in the US. If you really want a NT then try to find one used. It'll save you $3,000+ on some of their models.
  8. smperry

    smperry Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    If you love your wenge BO, keep it!
  9. Thx for the info!
  10. greggster59


    Oct 31, 2006
    New Jersey
    My Thumb has an ebony fretboard and it has the requisite Warwick growl. I do not know what role, if any, the ebony plays in that but it has the best feel of all the necks I play (rosewood, maple and a glossy Ric).
  11. Playing it while waiting for the responses - if it ain't broke don't fix it. Thx for helping me to decide to save a pile of $$ guys!
  12. smperry

    smperry Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    I merged the threads.
  13. bass12

    bass12 And Grace, too Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    "Upgrade" is definitely not the word to use. My Thumb BO was a better bass than my Thumb NT in pretty much every way (though I did really like the look of the NT). My NT was mud in a mix (sounded nice by itself but I like to gig my basses), horrible ergonomically speaking and, yep, the ebony fretboard cracked - twice. So I'd say save your money and stick with the BO.
  14. MaddAnthony_59

    MaddAnthony_59 Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2006
    Columbus, IN
    I Channel Surf During Commercials. (Drives my Wife CRAZY!!!)
    I'm not a big fan of the Thumb due to the forward strap button being South of the 12th fret, and to a lesser degree, the neck dive. I believe you get a 3-Band preamp with the NT, opposed to the 2-Band for the BO...

    The only Warwick I had with an Ebony board was a Katana, which was also Maple. I didn't particularly care for the tone as it was Uber Bright with only moderate Growl. And also had a forward strap button at about the 15th fret...

    I prefer NT over bolt on. It does cost more, and the benefits may not be worth the $$$ to everyone. The NT "Stage-X" Streamers are considerabley more "High End" than the BO offereings, The Dolphin is only available in NT (I consider the Pro II an abomination!) and the Fortress, sadly, is only available in BO. The only real Apples to Apples test would be the Corvette $$, which is available in NT & BO. I've played both, and Bought an NT. My preference maybe. Both sounded great.

    But as far as Growl is concerned, I'm not sure the NT has any more than the BO. And Ebony is known to be a Brighter sounding wood than Wenge, Rosewood, and probably just about everything else. So, you would certainly lose some of the Warmth in the Growl, which is a Warwick trademark!
  15. I've owned an older Thumb NT 5 with wenge neck, A bolt on Thumb 5 Broad neck and a Thumb 4 BO.

    The BO basses seem to be a bit snappier sounding and have a bit more attack. The NEck through ( remember , all wenge) was more focused in the low mids and had a more bell like ringing tone and sustain for days. There was no lack of growl in either bass although I would say the BO THumb was more aggressive sounding.

    From what I've read and heard from sound clips there isn't much difference in sound between the Ovangkol and Ebony compared to the all wenge necks. It's mostly feel of the wood and neck profile. People say wenge is warmer with more low mids and Ovangkol/Ebony is more focused in the high mids with more high end snap.

    I think I'll wait for more wenge Thumb BO 5s to hit the market and go that way. I like the BO sound, wenge feel and stability.
  16. What an awesome site this is!
  17. We are talking nuances here.
    Warwick Thumb is always Warwick Thumb, but they differ slightly depending on time they were produced and combo of woods used at particular time.
    They share family sound, even two Thumbs that differs the most will still sound similar, so no reason to hunt for perfect Thumb if one has already great one.
    I had 5 or 6 Thumbs in the last 25 years and all of them were fantastic. I believe I simply love that sound (cut through the most saturated mix of other instruments).
    My slight preference would be early 90s up to '96-'98, wenge fretboards as originally formulated. I believe that wenge has nice combination of qualities with warmer lower mids than ebony and equally good sustain.
    Also, I feel than NT (from that time) goes slightly lower in deepest end than newer BOs, what is not necessary better for some players.
    Generally speaking I love all Warwick NT basses (Jazzman is only BO I have and it is very good universal bass, but not same league as Streamer or Thumb NT).
    I don't hear that ebony means any improvement (or worsening) of classic Thumb sound, very tiny difference here, so I would take wenge, as this was original choice that made Warwick so popular among bassists all over the world.