Amber Technology | Expect to Pay: $1599
Where would the world of storytelling be without the humble bridge troll? That stumpy, much maligned antagonist whose sole purpose is to provide the privileged hero a stumbling stone in their road to everlasting grace is at once a source of almost universal disdain and indispensable fictional device. In spite of all the ugliness and trickery there is really only one wicked name to look up if you want dramatic upturn done right. They’ll probably hate me for saying this but I mean it as nothing less than a compliment. Warwick basses to me have many of the same traits as Rumpelstiltskin and his ilk; far from beautiful, but irrepressibly and sincerely good at their job.
The more I look at the curiously dubbed Corvette $$4, the more it morphs into a heavenly swan. That phallic upper horn riding high on a slim, tapered hip and that infamously lumpy headstock lose their sting once your eyes focus on the lush, matte charcoal body and its sensual revealing of the subtleties of wood grain beneath. This finish allows the ash construction a little breathing space and has a lovely, velveteen feel under your forearm. The maple underside is capped off expertly with twin Ekanga veneer stripes down its length echoing the variegation in the wenge fingerboard nicely, while the evening dark, cat-hair nature of said fingerboard makes jewellery of the nickel/silver polished frets.
Enough about the way it looks. I have long thought of Warwick builds as exclusively beholden to hard rock due in part to my limited experience of bands who utilised them in the mid to late ‘90s. With memories of the entry level, root note thud of my own brief Grinspoon worship filed away in my long term memory, I was pleasantly surprised at the complex yet subtle warmth that emanated from this black snake once plugged in.
In the neck position there is a peculiar and enticing sense of directness to the low end that almost feels like a hint of compression balancing blanket warmth with mix-friendly clarity. The bridge pickup has none of the honky, nasal blast that many other modern builds fall foul of and is aided along by the same assuredness as its companion. Both active, humbucking pickups are anchored by push/pull pots, triggering either series or parallel wiring modes that further expand your tonal possibilities almost endlessly.
Replete with 24, extra high jumbo frets, a super flat 20” fretboard radius and sleek, chrome hardware, the Corvette $$4 is, on the spec sheet, every bit the rock pig. However, that powerful, gruff exterior belies the subtlety and dexterity within.
Check out our updated 2021 review here.