Warwick’s yearly limited-edition instruments are always eye-catching and a great reminder of the possibilities available to any bassist interested in the custom instrument route.
Having seen Warwick HQ for ourselves, we can wholeheartedly confirm that the only limit is your imagination - and the necessary funds.
For this particular bass, Warwick has returned to using the Corvette body shape and incorporated some interesting features. As an eco-friendly company, it has turned to USB technology to charge the lithium battery that supplies the active circuitry instead of requiring standard 9V batteries. It’s a great idea, and not the only one here...
The curvaceous Corvette body with its elongated top horn lends itself well to this limited edition, while the natural beauty of the satin-finished black korina and black walnut burl timbers is a real winner. The white ebony fingerboard with black walnut block position markers contrast nicely with each other. The truss rod cover and rear control cavity plate have also been made from matching instrument timbers.
Access to the upper frets is unhindered and the instrument balances well on a strap. The seven-piece wenge and black korina laminate neck sits nicely in the player’s fretting hand, its D-shaped profile working well for a five-string instrument, while the 45mm nut width, low action and 18mm string spacing contribute to a highly playable neck. The quality of finishing is particularly impressive across the whole instrument - but then it should be, considering the pricetag.
As this bass is equipped with passive Nordstrand Bigman and Jazz pickups and a Nordstrand 2-band EQ, there are plenty of tonal switching options on hand. The selector switch allows the Bigman pickup to be switched between series, parallel and single-coil modes while the bass and treble controls can be applied in conjunction with the passive tone control, itself operating in both active and passive modes.
The gold Warwick hardware is as solid and reliable as it has ever been, and the brass Just-A-Nut III and two-piece bridge give the player extensive control of the string height.
As a limited edition, this Corvette is generously fitted with extras, such as the fluorescent side position markers, matching headstock, lasered signature on the headstock rear and the aforementioned, mini-USB charging system for the active circuit.
This bass sounds rich with a thick midrange, but acoustically, the low B string feels and sounds indistinct. Plugged in, however, the low B comes to life with a fairly solid display, although with a noticeable mid-bias: in fact, this bass exhibits a strong mid-presence across all five strings from the outset. The active EQ is only able to boost and cut the top and bottom frequencies, so you’re well advised to start with the EQ set flat and then work with the tone from there.
Each pickup has distinct characteristics of its own, so some experimentation is definitely required, especially where the Bigman unit is concerned. Obviously, in single-coil mode, with both pickups operational, you have a twin single-coil setup - so the tone has a lot of bounce and bite.
Move into full humbucker mode and the series and parallel options create very distinctive tones. In series mode, the signal accentuates the natural low mids and adds a noticeable degree of power to your sound, while taking away some of the top-end sizzle and replacing it with a mid-biased honk. Switch over to parallel and the signal becomes less robust, but slightly more refined and smooth.
Warwick basses are adept at catering for players of all styles and genres - just have a look at the Warwick artist roster for evidence - and this bass is no different in that it offers a broad range of tones. In offering both active and passive modes and a passive tone control operational in either mode, this is a very flexible instrument indeed.
At a little under £3,000, this bass is a serious investment - but your money buys you a top-quality instrument capable of delivering the goods, no matter what, or how, you play. With sumptuous looks, a striking tonal display and all of the comfort and playability boxes ticked, this limited edition Corvette is certainly a bass to be checked out.
With the Brexit effect taking hold, you may want to track one down as prices of European imports will soon rise. Get hunting!