In August of this year, wandering around the Melbourne Guitar Show at Caulfield Racecourse, I spotted a Streamer Stage hanging from the wall in the Warwick booth. The price tag was as eye-catching as the European ash burl top over the swamp ash body, and the gold hardware and bronze frets stood out against the wenge fingerboard and deep, rich burls. Warwick is the bass of choice for some of the biggest names in music, such as Metallica, Pantera, Alice in Chains and U2. The list really does go on. The Warwick Streamer Stage I 5 Ltd is a 34” electric five-string bass. It features dual active Aguilar pickups, a brass Warwick bridge and Warwick tuners.
The golden hardware on the Warwick contrasts beautifully against the selected European ash burl top wood of the Streamer and creates a cohesive image. The burled top is tied together by the seven-piece wenge fingerboard and wooden machine head knobs. The Streamer features two stepped volume knobs (a really welcome feature) and two tone knobs that control the dual active Aguilar pickups. The solid, two-piece brass Warwick bridge holds down the strings and the bass retains tuning phenomenally. The intonation is easy to adjust and laser accurate, perfect for a bass that focuses on holding down the rhythm of a band or noodling beyond the 12th fret.
With a scale length of 34”, the Steamer Stage I five-string is an average sized, five-string electric bass. Wenge is an increasingly popular wood for basses and extended range guitars because of its response to lower frequencies, and the wenge fretboard suits the Streamer to a tee. The frets themselves are immaculately finished, they’re smooth and out of the way. Bass lines come easily and the Streamer body shape sits comfortably against your torso, and the Warwick machine heads keep everything tuned. The tone is mid-forward and present and remarkably even without sounding compressed. The Streamer is as close to a polished and finished bass sound as you’re going to get, and this isn’t just the work of the pickups. The bass’ construction is immaculate and provides bells and whistles that most manufacturers can’t even dream of. Warwick have produced an instrument so masterfully put together that the sound resonates and inspires in a way I hadn’t experienced before, partially because of the price.
The price tag of a Streamer Stage I 5 Ltd 2018 puts it out of most buyer’s eyes (and let’s face it, probably their peripheral’s as well), and realistically, this isn’t your workhorse bass, it’s closer to an investment. In saying that, if you were going to buy yourself one bass, it would be a Streamer. While the tone produce by the bass’ construction and Aguilar pickups is rich and forward, the Streamer is a bass player’s bass and may struggle to sit in a pocket. This can either play in your favour if that’s what you’re looking for, in which it would be the perfect buy. The tone and volume controls provide a lot of help to shape the tone, and the DI’d sound is so good that amplified, this bass only gets better. The amplified tone is both full and rich, perfectly boomy while staying precise and focused.
Warwick’s Streamer Stage I 5 Ltd 2018 is really a dream inside and out. The Swamp Ash body is beautifully crafted and allows the dual Aguilar pickups to resonate and respond in a way usually unknown for a bass guitar. Top-to-bottom, the Streamer Stage I 5 is the flagship bass guitar. No stone has been left unturned and no corners have been cut (the edges themselves are beautifully crafted and shaped, not cut). The price tag is eye-watering, but it’s not without reason. This would be arguably the best bass money could buy, point blank.
Hits and Misses
Masterfully built bass guitar
Aguilar pickups deliver even, balanced sound