Warwick Corvette $$ NT Bubinga

A twin-humbucker Corvette with an impressive platter of features

Yet again we are faced with German manufacturing expertise and are once more in awe of the sheer attention to detail that Warwick consistently provides.

It's not just the general build quality, although this is high, but something that is apparent within every piece of hardware, component, nut, screw and ball end that is employed. And that degree of overall precision and detail is bound to have an effect on the instrument as a whole.

Design and construction

The $$ (Double Buck) is the latest addition to the highly popular Corvette range so the styling is well tried and tested, but here we have the benefit of neck-through body construction. Another trademark feature of Warwick is the oil/wax finish and on this particular model the wood is just so natural and organic you can almost feel the tree from which it was cut. The downsized body not only reduces weight but also enhances the comfort and the whole playing experience. The bass also has exceptional balance and a two-octave complement of frets on the wenge fretboard, so playability is extremely enjoyable.

Although the body wings on this particular model are made from bubinga, a swamp ash option is also available and that will provide a different quality to the sound, of course. However, the cherry on the cake for us is the twin-pickup configuration from which the bass gets its nickname.

Whatever the material choice for the body may be, the main source of sound shaping comes from this impressive pairing of MM-style humbuckers. Although the control circuitry is active, these are actually passive MEC units situated closely together and roughly positioned equally spaced between the bridge and the neck. Each pickup is provided with its own three-way mini switch that offers a choice of series/parallel/ single-coil sound then is adjusted further by the two-band EQ.

Being endowed with an ultra slim neck and a nut width more similar to classic Fender Jazz dimensions, this will obviously appeal to a great many players. The instrument also presents generous string spacing for such a small-bodied bass, and there’s a Just-A-Nut system that allows for highly accurate string height adjustment: a great addition.

So although this may look like yet another variation of the already vast Corvette range, its pickup arsenal and unique circuitry means there is a lot more to discover here than you'd imagine. The reason there are so many variations of the Corvette, of course, is simply that it has proven its worth in style, adaptability and popularity.

In use

There’s little point employing the Double Buck presentation unless you fully exploit those humbuckers to the best of their abilities, and that is precisely what Warwick has set out to do with this bass. We’re pleased to report that in spite of this very comprehensive circuit, the distinctive tone associated with all Warwick's bass models is still present.

This is an extremely powerful bass. Pulling up on the volume knob bypasses the onboard preamp, and this, coupled to all the other features, makes the versatility of sounds available from this hybrid passive/active machine quite exceptional.

If you think having just a two-band EQ is inadequate then think again; the tone circuit is perfectly matched for the job and as each control has a centre detent you can feel as well as hear where things are set.

As good as these tone controls undoubtedly are, by making use of the mini switches and treating each pickup in a separate way you can achieve various sound options even before you take advantage of the active circuitry provided. These switches even allow for hum cancelling should you find it necessary. For each pickup the switches work thus: up, humbucking in series; middle, single-coil (but still hum-cancelling, presumably by using one of the other coils as a dummy coil) down, humbucking in parallel wiring. So it's not hard to appreciate that mixing the switch settings with the EQ, or even with the volume on bypass, the Double Buck is obviously well provided for tonally.

In certain basses this sort of tonal complexity can mean loss of good old fashioned bottom end, but for those of you worried that these fat traditional bass tones will be absent please rest assured that with the neck pickup switch up, the bridge one down, treble rolled off and bass control fully on you're going to get as much full-on bass tone as you - or any amp - will want to handle. As for cleaning things up, there's so much here to focus your sound, (particularly in those hollow sound areas, sweet spots and upper mids) you're going to be spoilt for choice. With so much power seemingly to hand even the single-coil and passive settings can offer some extremely worthwhile sounds delivered with punch and tonal precision.

The close proximity of the two pickups does mean that the hollows are slightly less dynamic and a little harder to isolate, but well worth experimenting with. Finding your way around will take a while before it becomes second nature, but as always this necessary exploration is immensely enjoyable as you continually make new tonal discoveries along the way.

The keyword here is flexibility in both sound and general attack. One humbucker is good but doubling your buck apparently proves to be much more than twice as effective. This is a whole new tonal experience.

Conclusions

Any new bass from Warwick is enough to get the blood pumping, but a new configuration to the highly popular Corvette range is particularly exciting: this through-neck construction with twin humbuckers is well worth getting worked up about. Its design is neat and compact, yet in spite of this general lack of bulk it remains stunningly full-blooded in sound, very powerful and has excellent projection qualities. What it represents in real terms is a bass that has the potential to make any player shine whatever his or her preference of style.

MusicRadar Rating

4.5 / 5 stars
Pros

Compact size; huge tonal potential; gut wrenching volume.

Cons

Finding your way around the controls takes time.

Verdict

The attention to detail, the quality, the natural feel of the woods and the flexibility of the electronics make playing the Double Buck a delightful experience. Try it as soon as possible.

Country of Origin

Germany

Available Finish

Natural oil (as here), coloured oil or high polish

Cutaway

Yes

Features

Tri-laminate through-neck. Includes a Just-A-Nut II nut. Black Warwick two-piece bridge, Warwick sealed gear tuners.Passive MEC MM-style humbucking pickups, push/pull volume control, balance, active two-band EQ, two three-way mini switches

Guitar Body Material

Bubinga

Left Handed Model Available

Yes

Neck Material

Maple

No. of Frets

24

Options

Fretless at same price; five-string version at £1,489; the Corvette range is vast so check website for full variations

Review Policy
All MusicRadar's reviews are by independent product specialists, who are not aligned to any gear manufacturer or retailer. Our experts also write for renowned magazines such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Computer Music, Future Music and Rhythm. All are part of Future PLC, the biggest publisher of music making magazines in the world.

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