Warwick Streamer LX Jazzman

Warwick Streamer LX Jazzman

Year: 2009/2004

Made In: Germany

Specs: Ash body with maple top, three-piece ovangkol neck, wenge fingerboard

Electronics: MEC MM & J pickups, MEC 3-band preamp

Controls: Volume with push/pull for active and passive circuit, Pickup blend, Bass cut and boost,  Mid cut and boost, Treble cut and boost, three-way switch for MM parallel/single coil/series

The other half of a tale of two Warwicks. This started life as an fretless Jazzman with an ebony fingerboard but I swapped necks with a fretted LX, which is covered in greater detail elsewhere. The regular P & J setup of the LX sounds great fretless and the Jazzman is a hugely powerful and versatile system fretted. Everyone’s a winner, baby, that’s the truth.

While it covers a lot of the same ground as the Stingray and Godlyke, it sounds very different from both. The MEC MM pickup is brash and aggressive in ways the EBMM or Bartolini in those basses just aren’t. Coupled with the three way switch, the MM pickup alone is more than enough for any task. Factor in the meaty sound of the J pickup and then the three-band EQ and you’ve got a really dynamic bass which still has that Warwick growl underpinning every tweak of the controls. There are so many usable and distinctive tones, it can almost be too much. It doesn’t have a signature sound, it has loads it does really well instead.

As ever, with Warwick, it’s a very comfortable bass to play. The 2004 neck is from their era of huge D shapes and it certainly does feel quite huge the first time you play it. I find it to be a very comfortable neck, however. The narrow Jazz sized nut combined with the sheer bulk of the depth of the neck is actually very easy on the hands. The fretboard is almost flat. Again, this is a big departure from old Fenders but the kind of thing you adjust to quickly and instinctively. The Streamer body shape sits well on a six pack or the beeriest of bellies, again featuring an arched back back common to the model.

If you were to have just one bass for every occasion, this one would have to be close to the top of the list.


DiPinto Philadelphian

DiPinto Philadelphian

Year: 2009

Made In: Korea

Specs: Spruce top with maple back and sides, maple neck, rosewood fretboard

Electronics: DiPinto floating humbucker

Controls: Volume, Tone

I took this in on a trade. It was a very, very different guitar for me but I liked that so gave it a go. Obviously, it was very easy on the eye but it was a genuinely good guitar in its own right with a very comfortable and playable neck. It’s built to fit a certain budget in a genre of guitar building which features exotic works of art at the higher end but, for what it is, I found little to complain about other than I discovered I’m really an electric player to my core and, as a result, I eased it on out the door.

B.C. Rich Stealth

B.C. Rich Stealth

Year: 2009

Made In: Korea

Specs: Alder body, mahogany neck-through, ebony fretboard

Electronics: DiMarzio X2N humbucking pickup, passive circuit

Controls: Volume

At first glance this looks like the most awkward guitar imaginable to play. This is the Chuck Schuldiner Tribute Stealth model, picked up in a trade. I was unsure, initially, of going through with the deal but I’m a huge fan of Chuck’s music and the single humbucker, single volume setup is something I really like, so I gave it a crack.

It’s certainly different to play. It hangs differently on a strap to a V, despite sharing some design similarities. The neck is further over towards your fretting hand. It gifts the upper reaches of the neck, just presents it delightfully to your fretting hand, and invites you to get stuck in. The through-neck design gracefully forms itself into the body and upper fret access, as a result, is smooth and unimpeded. The extended upper horn works really well to rest your forearm on and, amazingly, it’s a very comfortable guitar to play.

DiMarzio’s X2N pickup has a reputation as a face-melter but, while it most definitely is a high-output monster, it cleans up nicely when you roll back the volume. There are enough mids in there to mean you can do more than just the heaviest of Metal and the top end is clear and smooth without any harshness. It’s a very usable pickup in a very playable guitar. The shape, clearly, isn’t for everybody but, as no-nonsense rock guitars go, this can hold its own with anything.

From the basic bridge to the barest of controls, there is no fluff on this guitar. There’s nothing to do other than play which isn’t a bad thing at all.

Fender Stratocaster American Standard

Fender Stratocaster American Standard

Year: 2009

Made In: USA

Specs: Alder body, maple neck & fretboard

Electronics: Bacchus SCC-1 single-coil x 3

Controls: Volume, tone x 2, five-way switch

Keeping the run of Fenders going, this is a recent addition I picked up in a trade. I had initially thought it might be useful as trade bait but I’m starting to warm to it.

It came with Lace Sensors – Blue, Gold, Light Blue which I was interested to try out. Each on their own was rather nice, but they didn’t work as a set. The Blue in the bridge was particularly thin sounding in relation to the other pickups. The Light Blue in the neck was very nice, it must be said. I think a better matched set might have stayed in but I had a set of Bacchus SCC-1 sitting around which came out of the G-Player, so they went in after not too long. They really work well in this guitar. It’s absolutely classic Strat tone now in every position.

The neck on this is quite a bit bigger than I remember either of the American Series necks from my old Strat. Perhaps it’s something which came in when they started calling them American Standards, I don’t know. I don’t mind a big neck, so I’m getting along quite well with it. I’m not sure I approve of going back to the bent steel saddles though, it seems something of a backwards step to me. Overall, this is a nicely put together guitar which is getting played more than I thought it would, so it’ll stick around for the time being.

Warwick Streamer LX

Warwick Streamer LX

Year: 2004/2009

Made In: Germany

Specs: Maple body, three-piece ovangkol neck, ebony fingerboard

Electronics: MEC P & J pickups, MEC 2-band preamp

Controls: Volume with push/pull for active and passive circuit, Pickup blend, Bass cut and boost, Treble cut and boost

A tale of two Warwicks. The Streamer is, in my mind, one of the great basses. It’s a wonderfully balanced and comfortable design with a lovely, aggressive tone which cuts through the thickest mix. I’m very much a fan.

This fretless is a mix of two basses. Originally, the body was a black and with a fretted neck, made in 2004. It was my first Warwick. It had seen a fair bit of action and needed a bit of TLC but it converted me to its wondrous German ways.

A few years later, I picked up the Streamer Stage 1 covered elsewhere and the two were tonally different, but close enough still to cover a lot of the same ground. A few years later again, I was fortunate enough to pick up a fretless Streamer Jazzman LX made in 2009.

There were some problems with the finish on the black body, so I decided to have it refinished in white and, when it returned, struck upon the idea of swapping the necks. It worked well, I preferred the sound of the P&J with the fretless neck and the Jazzman offered a range of new fretted Warwick tones I hadn’t had before. I think I’ll leave them like this for the foreseeable future.

The neck was originally unlined, but had been lined by the time I got it. This sometimes comes in handy when the standard of my fretless chops have slipped, even if it does feel a little like cheating. I think the classic Warwick growl works really well in the fretless context, even moreso than the classic Jazz tone we all know and love.