Jump to content


Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

A Warwick Thumb 5 Neckthru review


zeronyne

Recommended Posts

As I mentioned in another thread, I recently got a Warwick Thumb 5 neckthru from Guitar Center for less than I have ever even seen one used. I advise anyone even remotely interested in one to go to your local GC and check to see if any have been placed on clearance. As an example, the Thumb 5 neckthru that was hanging next to the one I purchased was $900.00 more. They are clearly marking things down based solely on shelf life.

 

Anyway, here's the scoop on the Thumb. I had been talking with Getz76 for quite a while about how to achieve a monstrous, aggressive tone without any distortion, and he immediately said "Check out a Warwick". I, in my infinite conceit, immediately dismissed them because I think they are some of the ugliest basses I have ever seen.

 

But when I saw this bass hanging there for a steal, I bought it knowing that there is a 30 day return policy. I just wanted to know what the big deal was. I have now owned it for 1 week.

 

Hardware The nut and bridge are very well made. The brass frets are a little weird looking, but I like the natural tarnish on them. The tuners are great, and I really like the raked-angle at which they are mounted.

 

Playability This is a double-edged sword. The Thumb has a fretless-like "bloom" that must come from the neck wood combined with the ebony fretboard. Because of this, however, the neckdive is almost unbearable. Maury was kind enough to advise a modification to the back strap pin that will alleviate much of the dive. I noticed that Warwick's literature shows the pin being placed off center...this must have been a recent change.

 

Warwicks lit:

http://www.warwickbass.com/images/thumbcurve.jpg

 

Mine:

http://www.rhee.net/LDLD/thumb1.jpg

 

I think this change was ill-advised. I imagine they will change it back soon.

 

This bass has the lowest action I have ever played, and there is almost no fret buzz. The B string is not floppy whatsoever. It IS heavy, and because of the tiny body and 26 frets, the reach feels way different than a Fenderesque bass.

 

Sound I cannot believe the jaw-dropping tone of this bass. I am relatively new to bass, but I've been a musician for a few years, and I've recorded many basses...mostly in the hard rock/electronic/metal/industrial vein, and I would put this dry (straight through a Mackie mixer mic pre) tone up against any that I've recorded in the past. Through the Avalon 737, it's like being punched in the face with a giant mylar balloon.

 

And with the Bass Pod XT...well, all I can say is that this bass is what effects were designed for. It maintains its sonic integrity through distortion, flanging, even filtering. The low B is clear and defined. I have to be honest...I never really believed it when people said that it's not just scale length that affected a low b. It seemed like simple physics that the longer the scale length, the tauter the string, hence the better defined the tone. Man, do I have a lot to learn.

 

I get it now. I understand what the big deal is about these funny-looking, neck-heavy basses. Would I have bought one if it was at the regular price? Probably not, but only because I have something else up my sleeve...

 

I have to give a shout out, also, to Dana B Goods, the US distributor of Warwick. My emails were answered in a very timely manner, and they've gone above and beyond the pale to make sure I am a happy customer.

 

Now I wonder how much a factory refinish to this color http://www.warwickbass.com/images/blkh.gif would cost...

"For instance" is not proof.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites



  • Replies 37
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Awesome Sam! Glad to hear about the purchase. Was it at the GC in Hobart? And for $900 less how could you go wrong.

 

I've never been a big fan of the Warwick either but, after a review like that I'll have to check one out before I buy another bass.

 

Wade

Link to comment
Share on other sites

HI there, what is the serial number on the bass, this will give you the year of construction.

 

There is a general concensus that the basses made before 1996 are the best. This is due to their higher uality woods, handmade construction, and in earlier cases their higher quality electronics(bartolini), not to mention hardware....such as brass nuts.

 

My bass is a 1990 thumb with barts, brass, and high quality figured woods......its me baby.

 

I know c alex clabber replaced his mec circuit in his streamer and he loves his "new bass".

 

for an even crazier example, I have a bud with a mexican jazz that has replacement emgs.

 

Well he compared his jazz to a friends new thumb, and both agreed that his bass killed the warwick.....

might have been a lemon,

 

Now, i'm off to listen to clatter.

Hiram Bullock thinks I like the band volume too soft (but he plays guitar). Joe Sample thinks I like it way too loud (but he plays piano). -Marcus Miller
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't doubt that the older Warwicks may have been better constructed, sound different, etc. I was just giving my take on a new 2004 Thumb 5. It was not a value judgement on any other model year.

 

And Wade, it was the GC in Arlington Heights...but the one in Hobart has a nice Thumb 4 used... :D

"For instance" is not proof.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh. ok

I thought yours was either used oran older floor model type instrument.

 

NO effense to you or your instrument meant.

 

(cyanide pill taken)

Hiram Bullock thinks I like the band volume too soft (but he plays guitar). Joe Sample thinks I like it way too loud (but he plays piano). -Marcus Miller
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by zeronyne:

And Wade, it was the GC in Arlington Heights...but the one in Hobart has a nice Thumb 4 used... :D

You're lucky it's a 4 or should I say that I'm lucky it's a 4 because I'm sure the wife would kill me. If it was 5 there would be some serious problems.

 

I should've known it wasn't GC in Hobart they usually don't have squat. Does the GC in Arlington Heights have a decent bass section.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by zeronyne:

The brass frets are a little weird looking, but I like the natural tarnish on them.

I do like the frets on my Warwick - nice and low and seemingly impervious to wear. Amazingly how much more zing you get if you clean the frets though! Shiny too.

 

Originally posted by zeronyne:

The Thumb has a fretless-like "bloom" that must come from the neck wood combined with the ebony fretboard. Because of this, however, the neckdive is almost unbearable.

If the strap button shift doesn't solve the problem try that mod as in my other post. Make sure you're using a good thick rough-backed leather strap to grip your clothes too. Ooh, ebony board - that's not standard!

 

Originally posted by zeronyne:

and 26 frets, the reach feels way different than a Fenderesque bass.

Mmmm, more frets - now I remember why I was so keen on the Thumb...

 

Originally posted by zeronyne:

I cannot believe the jaw-dropping tone of this bass. I am relatively new to bass, but I've been a musician for a few years, and I've recorded many basses...mostly in the hard rock/electronic/metal/industrial vein, and I would put this dry tone up against any that I've recorded in the past.

Explains why it's THE choice for heavy music doesn't it?!! They do record very well - naturally compressed with so much growl that they cut through even with the bass knob all the way down.

 

Originally posted by zeronyne:

And with the Bass Pod XT...well, all I can say is that this bass is what effects were designed for. It maintains its sonic integrity through distortion, flanging, even filtering.

As a effects addict I can certainly confirm this!

 

Originally posted by zeronyne:

The low B is clear and defined. I have to be honest...I never really believed it when people said that it's not just scale length that affected a low b. It seemed like simple physics that the longer the scale length, the tauter the string, hence the better defined the tone. Man, do I have a lot to learn.

That's a complex issue - static tension is simple physics but dynamic tension (i.e. feel) is a whole different kettle of fish.

 

Originally posted by zeronyne:

Now I wonder how much a factory refinish to this color...

Don't do it - natural wood is so much cooler!

 

Alex

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by musicfiend:

...such as brass nuts.

I replaced the original brass nut on my Warwick with a graphite Just-A-Nut II. If it sounds different, I can't tell! (And it's so nice being able to tweak the height precisely).

 

Originally posted by musicfiend:

My bass is a 1990 thumb with barts, brass, and high quality figured woods......its me baby.

Nice.

 

Originally posted by musicfiend:

I know c alex clabber replaced his mec circuit in his streamer and he loves his "new bass".

I do indeed. But I should point out that my bass already had EMG pickups as standard (I don't think Warwick were making their own pickups back then) the tone from them flat at 18V is fantastic, if a little short of bottom. A judicious tweak of the bass knob sorts that though.

 

Alex

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Alex..........youve got a streamer with emgs and an aguilar pre.....wow

 

I would get one of those, but im gonna need some clean sorts after hearing you talk about your bass

Hiram Bullock thinks I like the band volume too soft (but he plays guitar). Joe Sample thinks I like it way too loud (but he plays piano). -Marcus Miller
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by musicfiend:

Oh. ok

I thought yours was either used oran older floor model type instrument.

 

NO effense to you or your instrument meant.

 

(cyanide pill taken)

LOL...no offense taken...I had just realized from your post that i wasn't very specific...so i was trying to be clear.

"For instance" is not proof.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by WCunha:

I should've known it wasn't GC in Hobart they usually don't have squat. Does the GC in Arlington Heights have a decent bass section.

It's not a bad selection. About 13 or 14 Warwicks, a huge number of cheap Spectors, the regular Fender, Ibanez and Musicman complement, including an inordinate number of Bongos. What's really weird, though, is their somewhat cool selection of used stuff. A Fodera lefty 5 Monarch, a beautiful Cirrus 6 fretless, 3 Alembics, 2 Ken Smiths, a Ken Lawrence, a few EB3's, etc. not bad for the WalMart of MI.

"For instance" is not proof.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well BMW is actually in the deign department.

 

Yep, technology is a GREAT thing :rolleyes:

 

I can't say I've ever been a big fan of the sound or feel of stingray's, but the Bongo turned me off even more than the MM's.

 

I've got a little thing for the vintage Musicmans though........ooh....vintage musicman, string through body bridge, alnico pickup, darkly voiced preamp........loks like I need to buy some more clean shorts.........if youll excuse me gents

Hiram Bullock thinks I like the band volume too soft (but he plays guitar). Joe Sample thinks I like it way too loud (but he plays piano). -Marcus Miller
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Bongos sound great, especially the dual MM config, and the body, while very odd design-wise to a guitar or bass player, feels great...much more ergonomic than the Stingray or Sterling.

 

From a pure product design perspective, it makes sense to maintain the universally recognized oval pickguard. The problem then comes in integrating it into a uniform design scheme.

 

This, of course is IMHO. I don't think the BMW guys (and girls) did such a bad job. I'm sure they were given a set of ergonomic parameters and were told to go innovate without the crutch/cage of history. At least they tried.

"For instance" is not proof.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought the pick up configuration was a good idea but, I just can't get used to that body and headstock. Maybe if I stare at it a while it might not bother me so much.

 

Anyway enough with the Bongo talk. We were discussing Sam's new purchase and how it brings the RAWK!! :thu:

 

So, Sam what's next?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by WCunha:

Anyway enough with the Bongo talk. We were discussing Sam's new purchase and how it brings the RAWK!! :thu:

 

So, Sam what's next?

You know, this thing really does bring the rock, and sadly, I have nothing to do with it. It just rocks on its own. Wade, you'll definitely have to come over to check it out.

 

As for what's next...I am truly too embarrassed to say. I'll save it for a thread after Xmas. :o

"For instance" is not proof.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by getz76:

Originally posted by C. Alexander Claber:

Ooh, ebony board - that's not standard!

It's standard on the Thumb NT.

 

Congrats, 0-9. Welcome to the club. ;)

A check of the warwick site says it's not standard....i know it was on the jack bruce bass and on fretless models. Looks like your special 0-9
Hiram Bullock thinks I like the band volume too soft (but he plays guitar). Joe Sample thinks I like it way too loud (but he plays piano). -Marcus Miller
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know that when i played the bongo on several occasions the light basswod body didnt appeal to me tonewise, twas a thin sound. The pickups with the neodynium(sp?) magnet pickups sounded on the harsh side also. The preamp was just beyond me, it seemed to be the type of preamp in which one knobchange affects the other.....but then a gain I'm judging on the GC test run....and we all know how most basses sound in GC :freak:

And also a namm test drive, which may have a featured a proto.

Meh, not the cup holding my hot herbal drink of caffeine.

Warwicks and bongos are two different beasts though, and I love my warwick. Bongo's probably still a beast though :thu:

Hiram Bullock thinks I like the band volume too soft (but he plays guitar). Joe Sample thinks I like it way too loud (but he plays piano). -Marcus Miller
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe there were a batch that were ebony this year, because I have yet to see a wenge fretboard thumb NT hanging in a store in Chicago. They are all ebony. Weird. I could swear that I read it somewhere, too.

"For instance" is not proof.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ya know I thought my next bass was going to be a Ric, but after reading this thread, I'm not so sure.

 

I played a used late 90s model 5 string fretless Warwick(I think it may have been a thumb 5 neckthru)not very long ago in GC, and if it wasn't for my lust of a vintage 4001, I might have bought that bass. They wanted $999.00 for it, and it was banged up too.

 

I mean, I own 3 basses, and there's like a million more I want :freak: Yea, you guys know...

"The world will still be turning when you've gone." - Black Sabbath

 

Band site: www.finespunmusic.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by musicfiend:

Originally posted by getz76:

Originally posted by C. Alexander Claber:

Ooh, ebony board - that's not standard!

It's standard on the Thumb NT.

 

Congrats, 0-9. Welcome to the club. ;)

A check of the warwick site says it's not standard....i know it was on the jack bruce bass and on fretless models. Looks like your special 0-9
Lay off the caffeine and read closely next time:

 

http://www.danabgoods.com/WPRICE04a1RETAIL.pdf

 

See the top of page 3.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by getz76:

Originally posted by C. Alexander Claber:

Ooh, ebony board - that's not standard!

It's standard on the Thumb NT.
I wonder when that changed - what era is your Thumb? It seems that Warwick are using less and less wenge due to sourcing difficulties - pre '97 almost all the basses have wenge fingerboards and necks.

 

Alex

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by getz76:

Originally posted by musicfiend:

Originally posted by getz76:

quote:

Originally posted by C. Alexander Claber:

Ooh, ebony board - that's not standard!

It's standard on the Thumb NT.

 

Congrats, 0-9. Welcome to the club.
;)
A check of the warwick site says it's not standard....i know it was on the jack bruce bass and on fretless models. Looks like your special 0-9
Lay off the caffeine and read closely next time:

 

 

See the top of page 3.

I KNEW I read it somewhere! Thanks Maury.

"For instance" is not proof.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by zeronyne:

You know, this thing really does bring the rock, and sadly, I have nothing to do with it. It just rocks on its own. Wade, you'll definitely have to come over to check it out.
I'll definitely take you up on that. If you would like I would even bring over an Acme for you to check out.

 

As for what's next...I am truly too embarrassed to say. I'll save it for a thread after Xmas. :o
How bad could it be?
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry guys, my mistake on that board.

Well, not entirely, on the warwick site it does say they feature wenge my boards. False advertisement i suppose. Take it as you will.......

Hiram Bullock thinks I like the band volume too soft (but he plays guitar). Joe Sample thinks I like it way too loud (but he plays piano). -Marcus Miller
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...