A custom bass that’s almost impossible to play.
We pluck a Warwick Thumb NT seven-string custom bass – an instrument that’s almost impossible to play.
Bassists dreaming of their ultimate instrument may well find inspiration within the custom catalogue of German bassmeisters Warwick, and the example pictured, the fretless Thumb NT seven-string, is arguably about as custom as it gets. Taken from the company’s Masterbuilt range, it’s a wonderful piece of work that’s as stunning to look at as it is difficult to play, and there’s no avoiding the obvious drawback: that whopping fingerboard. It ranges in width from 55mm to 99mm(a Fender Precision fretboard is just 41.3mm at the nut) and is nighon impossible to play using conventional fretting-hand techniques unless you possess hands like the Incredible Hulk’s.
Common tuning sin c lu deF#BEADGC or BEADGCF, low to high, and the NT’s MEC ‘soap bar’ pickups and active electronics are adept at handling any sonic frequency. A striking grade of swirly bubinga wood has been used for both the body and neck, and the oil finish makes the wood’s figuring to almost glow from within. The tuners are capped with buttons fashioned from the same material, and the expansive pearl inlay at the octave is the cherry on the cake. The neck even has illuminated side-dots.
Fretless basses, while certainly challenging to play, provide an arsenal of unmistakable tones, and the NT is no different. Arguably the greatest frettless bass player of them all, Jaco Pastorius, reinvented the art, while
Pino Palladino (The Who, John Mayer Trio) lathered his fretless all over
Paul Young’s best-known 80s hits.
A Warwick bass with this spec will set you back almost £6,200, but the company do offer a raft of options that are closer to the mainstream. As far as the Thumb NT goes, we’re not sure whether we should play it or simply hang it on the wall.
More info at warwickbass.com