In the November issue of Mixdown we reviewed one of Warwick’s Masterbuilt basses, the Streamer. This month we had the pleasure of sitting down with one of their Custom Shop Corvette basses, and this one was just as mind-blowing as the previous. The Corvette is one of Warwick’s more popular models, even at budget levels, with its iconic body shape, dual pickups and very playable neck. While the Masterbuilt Streamer we reviewed in November is a specialist bass, the Corvette is noticeably more playable as it feels more like a workhorse bass for a more modern player. The Warwick Corvette $$ four-string is a 34” scale length, neck-through electric bass with active MEC pickups, an eye catching buck-eye burl finish and what is maybe the smoothest ebony fingerboard I’ve ever seen, let alone played.
The hardware is black Warwick including the Warwick security locks for your strap. The active pickups are powered by a rechargeable lithium battery via the micro USB port on the electronics cover of the bass. The Corvette is inherently more suited to holding down a rhythm section of a band than the Streamer, which felt more like the instrument of choice for a band where the bass really shines through.
With a 34” scale length, the Corvette is a particularly long scale bass, but it doesn’t feel it. The first and second frets are a little bit of a reach, but not so much so that it’s uncomfortable. This is aided by the nicely rounded neck for playability and comfort, whereas some bass necks can feel more like a baseball bat. This model specifically features a bolt-on neck, allowing the back of the neck to be unfinished for speed and comfort. Glossy finishes look great but don’t do well as a neck finish, as they become sticky and slow. The bass is fairly light, and could definitely be worn on stage comfortably for extended periods of time. It will safely stay attached to your straps thanks to the security locking strap pins included. It’s easy to play, and inspires smooth rhythms to sit perfectly in the pocket and remain the backbone of a mix. The Warwick tuning pegs and bridge tune easily, accurately and don’t let go.While your lead guitarist is dancing around, shredding and noodling, you can remain confident your bass will hold tune and the band will remain anchored.
The pickups on the Corvette are more malleable than those on the Streamer, and I mean this in the best way. A clean DI is honest sounding. It’s rounded with enough attack when you need it, but not when you don’t. The splittable volume and tone knobs allow for a multitude of sounds and tones, even before a preamp or amplifier. The DI tone is smooth and woody, and it feels organic. Warwick’s tagline, ‘The Sound of Wood’ really rings true (literally) with the Corvette. Amplified, the Corvette adapts to whatever you put after it. The pickups can give a lot more bottom end than I’ve heard on a bass before, but can easily be adjusted on the bass itself, or on your amp.
Some EQ tweaks can easily make this an aggressive beast full of attack and spank, or a smooth, pocket sitting workhorse. The pickups take distortion well, whether through pedals or your amp; however, they clean up just as nicely. The organic tone is even and balanced, but a little compression can do wonders for any bass sound and the Corvette takes this nicely as well. The attack of the bass itself remains present with a nicely set compressor, bringing up the woody tone and retaining the spank and your note definition.
The Warwick Corvette $$ four-string really lives up to Warwick’s name as a top-tier bass guitar. The bass plays phenomenally thanks to world-class Warwick hardware and tuning pegs, and a very solid and calculated build. The bolt-on unfinished neck makes faster playing a breeze, and won’t get grabby with sweaty palms on stage. The pickups themselves are the most adaptable and accommodating pickups I’ve ever played, in guitar or bass. Whatever you throw into the signal chain, they’ll respond well to, even before the multitude of tweaking that can be done on the bass itself. The Corvette is a home-run, but without the baseball bat neck.
Hits and Misses
Phenomenal playability, masterful build quality
Great sounding, adaptable pickups