Warwick 2004-LE FNA JazzMan 4 Reviews 5

Every year Warwick has a special run, the annual 'LE' bass, in enuf quantity that you can find one used, later, with patience. I got this one 6 yrs later ! I play in a 'diva duo' [with vox/KB] and in a 4pc string band, in both bands the tunes are 'too old to be 'Oldies'' ... classics maybe. Anyway, an FNA JazzMan is a Corvette with 'MM-J' PU config and a hardwood top over a swamp ash body. The 2004 LE has different PU's and top wood than the standard FNA JazzMan. Also, the FB is ebony instead of wenge.

This one turned up used at the local GC for under $1500, and as Wick's LE models go, pricewise, thaz a good find. But I won't buy a 'Ltd Edition' from ANY maker just for its cosmetic differences. I had a standard FNA JazzMan a year before this one, and they are night-and-day different in sound. The effect of koa on swamp ash reminds me of mahogany. Rich, bright, and smooth.

Unlike the hard-driving sound of the std model JazzMan [think 'EBMM Sterling with turbocharger'], this has a 'vocal' sound, meaning 'it sings' ... altho it sings in a basso masculine voice. Weight and balance are easy going, it can take a 'tweaker's setup' in any season of the year, it's got versatile controls, and it looks classy, having just an understated hint of the 'booteak bass' look.

There's really nothing NOT to like. If I could perform magic and make it a true featherweight without losing the tone, that would be an improvement [but thaz true of any bass]. Also, a 35' scale would be cool cuz I downtune, but this 34' gets down to DGCF no problem]. There's nothing else I'd change, and these are just dreams, not complaints.

Pretty schnazzy build ! 3-piece ovangcal neck with ebony FB [with cool inlays] bolted, with plenty of screws, to a swamp ash body with a thick koa top. Neck profile is a handful, cuz it's a Warwick. Active PUs are fed to a 3-band active EQ ... so there's no failsafe, even though you can bypass the EQ those active PUs still need power. The PUs differ from the regular passive JazzMan MM-J config. These are the active 'Twin-J + J' which is a whole different sound.

The main difference from a standard FNA JazzMan is that the sound is brighter but less harsh. And it looks a bit fancier. The koa top is not 'AAAAAAAA' grade with wild grain. It's mainly the orange color, plus oval inlays in the black ebony FB, that give it a special look. Any Wick Ltd Ed ax is not truly 100% limited, cuz you can duplicate them thru the custom shop. And since an FNA is derived from the bolt-on Corvette, even the custom shop route is not too ridiculous in price, especially if you skip the FB inlays and gold hardware. I really dig this ax, have no complaints, it has no real flaws, and it has rather special feel and sound [plus versatile controls] so I'm rating it a '5'. I have rated enjoyable basses at only a '3' due to shortcomings that were not serious 'deal breakers' ... so I don't easily rate something a '5'. I've had it for about 10 months, and it's *still* a '5'. That means this is a REAL '5' !!

Golem rated this unit 5 on 2010-07-23.

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