1985 Jd Thumb Revisions And Comparisons

Hoggles

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In this thread I'm going to compare the available pictures and general info, of all the known '85 JD Thumbs. Of course there are many more still around...but these are the only examples I could find with pictures.

Hans-Peter was kind enough to read over the thread and said things looked accurate...but he did note that John Davis was there as a promoter and endorser and did not have a hand in design. HP said the design is completely his own. John Davis was a player/singer based in Nuremberg. HP got in contact with him through a music store called "der Musikladen Nurnberg". He hired him to do shows, promotions and to use the "signature" JD Thumb for all the events. I'm still uncertain as to the exact arrangement between HP & JD... but whatever it was, it must have been a big honor for JD to have his initials on nearly every Thumb that left Pretzfeld for 2 years. Also it was news to me, until Flo pointed out that JD is actually one of the original voices of Milli Vanilli. Crazy! I had forgotten they were also out of Germany.

Keep in mind, this info is only as accurate as the pics I've found, info I've read and staring at every square millimeter of my JD (F 125)...like a mental patient. There are some gaps in the info...and no doubt, the cutoff/start of each revision, is a little bit different....with the end of the first revision being a little easier to pin down. Unfortunately HP doesn't remember all the details from the 80's...so it's up to us to get the history books filled. Kinda funny... HP said "it was a wired time in the 80's"... maybe he meant "weird" :p....but I immediately thought of the Aviator glasses he always wore and flashes of Scarface & Miami Vice raced through my mind :D

_______________________________________________________

There were 3 distinct versions of the JD Thumb in 1985.

Version 1: #001 - 129
Rev 2: #130 - 255
Rev 3: #256 - 283

Version 1: The original.

The upper horn: The first two versions of JD's had the legendary ultra shorthorn. The top of the horn in the first version, only reached to the 19th fret....with the base/saddle of that horn starting at the 23rd fret. The lower horn on these first ones, only reached to fret position 23.5, with the base/saddle starting at about 25.5. One thing to note about these first JD's...is the depth at which the fretboard extends into the body. It's more inline with modern Thumbs, where that top horn saddle starts at about the 23rd fret.

The bridge: The Schaller bridge on the first JD's is more in the middle (toward the neck), than JD's to come. With the bottom edge of the bridge being parallel with the bottom edge of the last control knob.

Electronics: EMG J's were the standard, default pups....with an option for the Seymour Duncan pups w/selector switches. Early Vlad Hansel BEC preamps should have been used for both pup configs.

Woods: Standard was Bubinga body, with Wenge & Bubinga neck. There was a custom option for a Bubinga fretboad. Could have been a few with other body woods. Unconfirmed.

Frets: Nickel silver

Nut: JAN1

Tuners: Schaller. The original ad for the JD states the tuners are slanted, but that original pic shows the tuners are still straight. This is confirmed by JD #3 having straight tuners as well. Sometime between #3 and Pino's old #42, the tuners were finally slanted.

Serial #: The serial number on these JD's is located on the back of the headstock, just below the scallop and just above where the volute would eventually go.

Revision 2:

This is where HP, with input from Jack Bruce (after receiving at least 2 fretless Rev 1 prototypes), makes a few minor changes to help improve balance. We know F 129 is a Rev 1...and G 135 is a Rev 2. So somewhere between those two, is when this change happened.

The upper horn: In the 2nd edition of the JD, the upper horn stays the same, in terms of length. It's still the shorthorn. What changes is the depth at which the fretboard extends into the body. It sinks roughly 1.5 frets lower, than the original design. That makes the top horn reach to about the 18th fret, with the bottom horn reaching to about fret 22. And the saddle/base of each of those horns moving up the same distance. In other words...the body shape I believe is identical to Rev 1, with just the position of the neck depth being changed.

The bridge: The Schaller bridge gets moved in this version. Again, to help improve balance a bit more. It drops roughly 2cm toward the bottom. Making the bottom edge of the bridge, no longer parallel with the last control knob. Some of these Rev 2 Thumbs seem to have a extra shim or two under the bridge (or a thicker shim), to compensate for it being so close to the rounded bottom edge on the body.

Electronics: The pup choices are the same as Rev 1. EMG is standard, with Seymour Duncan's being a custom option.

Woods: Standard was Bubinga body, with Wenge & Bubinga neck. There was a custom option for a Bubinga fretboad. Could have been a few with other body woods. Unconfirmed.

Frets: Nickel silver

Nut: JAN1

Tuners: Schaller

Serial #: The serial number on these are moved to the "classic" vintage position we're all used to. On the top edge of the headstock.

Revision 3:

Here is where the Thumb starts to look a bit more like it's modern siblings. With a big change being made to help with balance. Now there's a huge gap in info here, from Sept - Nov. The last known Rev 2 is I 195. The first known Rev 3 is John Entwistle's L 269 fretless, which sold at Sotheby's (for a amazingly cheap price) in 2003 (who owns that? Show yourself! Schlo!). So that gap is one I'd love to get filled in a little better. When exactly was that first Rev 3.

The upper horn: Say goodbye to the shorthorn. By November of '85 (probably a bit sooner), HP and crew started making the JD with what I call...the medium horn. With the top horn reaching up to about the 17th fret and the bottom horn reaching to about the 21st fret. The upper horns base/saddle starts at about the 19th fret and the lower horns base/saddle starts at about the 24th fret. It gives it a very noticeable longer top horn....with that horn also increasing a little bit in thickness/circumference, from the shorthorn's incredibly small circumference.

The bridge: The Schaller bridge stays in the same position as Rev 2.

Electronics: Same EMG default, with a Seymour Duncan custom option.

Woods: Standard was Bubinga body, with Wenge & Bubinga neck. There was a custom option for a Bubinga fretboad. Could have been a few with other body woods. Unconfirmed.

Frets: I believe somewhere around Nov-Dec, HP switches to bronze frets for the JD.

Nut: JAN1

Tuners: Schaller

Serial #: The serial number is in the same classic position at the top edge of the headstock.



Of course this info is all based on pictures that I could find on da webz...and also looking at my #125. Needless to say, there are some big gaps in exact dates/serial #'s in relation to when these changes occurred. I would LOVE to see people with '85 JD's come and share more pics and get this info a little more precise and fill in those gaps. And please correct any misinformation I may have given.

Here is a quick side by side of the all the '85 pics I could find. The angles are a bit different...but you'll get a good sense of the different revisions. I wanted to bring as much info into one thread as I could. I know I would have loved to see something like this, when I was buying mine just a few days ago. Hopefully this will help clarify some things on the first year of the godfather of Thumbs :)

Cheers!

Shorthorns 1-4.jpg


Shorthorns 5-8.jpg


JD Tom Thump.jpg


Medium Horn JD Thumb 1985.jpg


L 283 85 JD Thumb 1.jpg


Some other known shorthorns. I think the one John Davis is playing in the famous pic, is a Rev 2.

WarwickJohnDavis02.jpg


I think this is the 2nd Rev 1 prototype made for JB. No metal plate at base of fretboard, like #099, which according to that bass museum description, was the first proto for JB. Bubinga fb.

Jack Bruce Playing his Proto #2 1985 JD Thumb.jpg


Alphonso Johnson playing a Rev 1 fretless, with one of the first ebony boards on a Thumb. Earliest known ebony fretboard on a Thumb is JD #3, fretless. We know Alphonso is not playing that one, because #3 has straight tuners.

Screenshot_2016-12-25-00-10-55.png


And of course the official announcement in April of '85.

warwick_jd_thumb_text_155.jpg


English translation:
It´s got a special design, that Jonny Davis helped develop, based on a through-neck that´s not visible at the front. The reason for this is the special manufacturing process. The body is built from a solid piece of bubinga, the seven pice neck made of wenge with bubinga stringers is integrated in the body.

A special feature are the slant mounted Schaller tuners, the bridge is Schaller as well, all hardware is black chrome. Both single-coil pickups are EMGs, the bridge pickup is mounted at an angle, so the d- and especially the g-string sound warmer.

Electronics are active with a volume control, a balance pot with center detent and as an innovation a stacked pot for bass and treble with center detent. The height adjustable Webster saddle is new as well. The neck with bubinga fingerboard has 26 frets.

Price is 2860,- DM, a version with wenge fretboard and gold hardware is available at the same price.

Gold and Black hardware options.
warwick_jd_thumb_pic_167.jpg



Known '85 causalities list:

In a tragic turn of events...#47 apparently had it's head torn off or something similar.
No pics available. RIP 47.
warwick Thumb No 47 from 1985 with neckbrake on ebay



 
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Love this piece of History Hogg.

Well written and will do the best I can to provide and add where possible. I'm living in England now but will be back soon in the Netherlands, hopefully I can still find some better pictures of my G 143 (as you also shown above).

Good stuff and all the best!
Chris
 

Hoggles

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Chris!

Great to see you on here. Thanks a bunch for checking it out, so glad you liked it!

I know 143 lives in and around the garden, but if you happen to catch her again... definitely feel free to take some more detailed pics :) She was the first Shorthorn I ever remember seeing, and the inspiration to want one myself. In fact your entire collection is something for any Wick lover to aspire to. Just marvelous.

Cheers!
 
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Here's a better picture:

800.jpg


Here is G143 together with his first friends in my house. The collection has expanded a bit currently:

1k0.jpg
 

Hoggles

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Vintage heaven. Just lovely!

Yeeeessss.... love the more detailed pic of 143. What a beauty :)

Many of the shorthorns came from what looks like the same bunch of Bubinga. Most all have that vertical flame type grain. Pretty sweet.
 
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I would like to take the opportunity with a "surrealistic" detail of my loved L283/85 JD Thumb, still in heavy use. More pictures to follow ;-)

IMG_0775.JPG
 
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Hoggles

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Ohhhhhhh Yeeeeeeees!!

More more more

Time to update the Rev numbers :)

And I like that the JD is the only one in Bold, in your sig :D
 
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Hoggles

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Wow what a beauty! Made in November. Thanks for sharing those. I enjoyed :)

And the original owner. Very special.

I'm curious as to the circumstances around the purchase. Did you buy it in December of '85, or sometime in '86? Do you remember how much you paid?
 
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Hey Hoggles,
thanks for your honest reply!

I can hardly remember the date & amount of this purchase - must be sometime in '86. I stepped into our local Music Store (Pfettscher Offenburg, D) and saw this Beauty hanging at the Wall, played a few Notes and it actually was Love at first Sight! As it wasn't cheap (I can't remember the exact price something around 1000-2000 DM?) and I wasn't wealthy these Days, the only Solution was to trade my Mid-70's P-Bass to fulfill my strong Urge of MUST-HAVE-THIS-BASS. The Trade was perfect the same Day because I never-ever could leave this Baby alone in the Store. It came perfectly fitted in a really huge & heavy Flight Case which must be still somewhere over here (meanwhile she's housed in a Tweed Case for traveling). I remember sitting at home later only looking at my new JD Thumb, simply enjoying her Beauty :)

The only thing I repented was the Loss of my old Precision Bass - from this Day on, I never sold a Bass anymore. I found a '61 P-Bass a few Years later, built 5/61 which is exactly my Age (but that's another Story)

I play this Instrument for 30 Years now and it's still my Favorite. IN the 90's I worked at a Music Store (Rock Shop Karlsuhe) as an Technician, therefore a lot of Thumbs and other Warwicks went through my hands over the Years, but I never played a Bass like this later on. It's true Love of Life, it's this which is my Instrument!

Just found an old pic - presuming you don't LOL too much, here's Moses on Thumb in 1988 :D
1988 hifi mama.jpg
 

Hoggles

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Haha wow, that's a great story, Moses! And great pic! No denying that purple jacket is from the 80's :D Classic :)

I fully understand the love at first sight. For the first hour or so...I just stared at my little lady in awe. In fact, I'm staring at her right now in awe :D

I'm the 2nd owner of mine...and it came with the original orange flight case, with custom foam cutout. The case still has the name of first owner on it, under some tape. "Fleming". Which, correct me if I'm wrong, is a very German name?

Fun stuff :)
 
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Great article Hoggles, it must have taken a lot of work to gain all this information, well written too. Thanks.
 
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Excellent article! Really enjoyed reading that. I once owned a JD, should have pictures of it somewhere...


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Hoggles

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Excellent article! Really enjoyed reading that. I once owned a JD, should have pictures of it somewhere...

Great article Hoggles, it must have taken a lot of work to gain all this information, well written too. Thanks.

Dave and Woolf... Thanks a bunch for kind words! I really appreciate it! So glad you enjoyed it :)Definitely fun to research and write. A labor of love.

It's obviously very specific to just 1985. I went a bit crazy with excitement, when I purchased Thumb #125. Didn't want there to be any doubt about different versions etc (in my mind at least).

One day, I'd love to see a similar thread for '86,'87 and beyond.... Up until we get to the final modern version. And a similar thread would be really cool for the Nobby and Streamer. My streamer knowledge is almost there...but I wouldn't feel worthy of doing the same kind of thread, until I get my hands on one of the first versions :)

Thanks again gents!!

Cheers
 
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Hoggles

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Just noticed the earliest known JD that I've ever seen out in the wild. Looks like #63 was for sale in the Netherlands just last month.

Kinda cool that it has the full "1985" stamped in. I've never seen that before. So somewhere between E 063 (May) and F 099 (June), they shortened the year to just "85".

$_84.JPG

$_844.JPG

$_843.JPG

$_842.JPG

$_841.JPG


Looks to be consistent with the "known" Version 1 of the JD.
 
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Florin

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Kinda cool that it has the full "1985" stamped in. I've never seen that before. So somewhere between E 063 (May) and F 099 (June), they shortened the year to just "85".

I asked Hans Peter once about serials number inconsistencies at the time, some are even missing, and he told me: "I am happy I am still alive from the '80's" :)
 

Hoggles

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It's early JD season apparently. #42 just sold in England a week ago. Pino Palladino owned it.

What a beauty...

rbcmzvurvkuepp1utkfg.jpg

tuh6sjxzx2hxbjsrshp5.jpg

jcbwa0mnk34ergmkznem.jpg


I missed this one from a forum post in 2014. Sold out of Norway. Not sure if it's an original paint job. Extra knob. Not sure what number it is. Looks like it does have the full "1985", but the top is hard to make out. It kind of looks like #42, but that's Pino's old one above. Maybe, possibly #32, or #12? Anyone have a guess? Or actually own it? Show yourself! ;):p Pre #99 for sure.

04_588047347.jpg

04_-345379342.jpg
 
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Just noticed the earliest known JD that I've ever seen out in the wild. Looks like #63 was for sale in the Netherlands just last month.

Kinda cool that it has the full "1985" stamped in. I've never seen that before. So somewhere between E 063 (May) and F 099 (June), they shortened the year to just "85".

View attachment 17186
View attachment 17189
View attachment 17190
View attachment 17187
View attachment 17188

Looks to be consistent with the "known" Version 1 of the JD.
Just noticed the earliest known JD that I've ever seen out in the wild. Looks like #63 was for sale in the Netherlands just last month.

Kinda cool that it has the full "1985" stamped in. I've never seen that before. So somewhere between E 063 (May) and F 099 (June), they shortened the year to just "85".

View attachment 17186
View attachment 17189
View attachment 17190
View attachment 17187
View attachment 17188

Looks to be consistent with the "known" Version 1 of the JD.

That's correct. The E063 1985 was for sale in The Netherlands. Until I bought it :)))
I'm the proud - third - owner. The bass itself is in excellent condition.
Only the pickups have been replaced - somewhere in time - for MEC's.
Whenever you're in the neighborhood, come on over, you're welcome to try and play.
I won't sell it though :-D
 

Hoggles

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Hey, Ronald! Great to see you found us! Welcome to the forum and congrats on #63! What a beauty :)

When I make it across the pond next, I'll take ya up on your offer ;)
 
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You're welcome! just an idea; how about a Facebook page for the thumb 1985? With 2000000 members on Facebook it must be possible to get more info on our favorite bass guitar, don't you think?
 
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