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Fortress Flashback through the years

Discussion in 'Bass Guitars' started by rockfish, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. rockfish

    rockfish

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    I'm the proud owner of two Fortress Flashbacks, one with the standard Warwick bridge and another with the 2Tek bridge.

    Does anyone know anything about the manufacturing history? there are some significant differences between these two basses (which are both awesome, by the way). These differences lead me to suspect that they are from two different runs of the Flashback.

    Both are 4-stringers. Besides the obvious different bridge, they differ in the following ways:

    Figuring of the ash grain is different. The 2Tek model resembles 5-string Flashbacks I have seen, and might be from that run?
    2Tek model has peculiar flat-finish machine heads, standard bridge model has chrome
    input jack on 2Tek model recessed further - not 100% sure it's original though
    Neck of 2Tek model seems to be about 0.5cm deeper than the very shallow neck on my "earlier"(?) edition.
    The neck on the standard bridge model also has an overhang after the 24th fret, and the fingerboard appears to be crosscut or something, resulting in a decorative, banded pattern. It's a bit lighter wenge too.

    Anyone else familiar enough with these models to help? I know, pictures would help. I'll add some soon.
     

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  2. rusty

    rusty Fatburger bassist

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    we need pics!!
     
  3. Florin

    Florin Warwick Forum Administrator Staff Member

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    and serial number.
    The one with standard bridge seems to be later made, as a CUstom Shop
     
  4. rockfish

    rockfish

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    pics will hopefully be ready tomorrow. here are the serial numbers:

    2Tek: G-031547-96
    standard: M-034319-96

    thanks in advance, Florin!
     
  5. rockfish

    rockfish

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    I added a picture of the two to the main post. Here are some shots of the differing tuners. More detail shots tomorrow if anyone is interested.
     

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  6. jester

    jester ocdemon Moderator

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    It looks like Hipshot Ultralite tuners on the second bass. Because of the different bridge and otherwise pretty much similar construction,
    I wanted to ask, do they have a different feel on the right hand? Also can you discern a non insignificant difference in tone?

     
  7. rockfish

    rockfish

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    yeah, the tuners are warwick branded. I've seen these on 5-string flashbacks before, but not 4s. Though I haven't seen THAT many Flashbacks... there's only a relative handful of em out there, right?

    They definitely play different and sound different. And thy both feel and sound great! The 2-piece bridge is FAR lighter, and the ash body makes it the lightest warwick i've ever held by far! The bridge has a lot of snap and the tone is somewhat brighter than the 2Tek version, which is deeper with fat low mids and certainly has enhanced sustain. It is also a HEAVY mutha but I will say that that makes it balance even more perfectly...
     
  8. jester

    jester ocdemon Moderator

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    Strange... one would think the monorail bridge pieces weigh less than the two piece Warwick bridge. Unless there's more metal
    under them or they are made from lead or something. But you didn't comment on right hand feel... ;) I guess there's too little
    difference if any, or your touch is too aggressive to notice it. I was looking mostly for differences in perceived tension/stiffness.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 8, 2009
  9. rockfish

    rockfish

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    The 2tek is a massive through body bridge that weighs several pounds on its own! I dont think they can be purchased anymore. They are renowned for providing incredible sustain and cancelling dead spots in the neck, and they eliminate sympathetic vibrations between the strings. It is truly an impressive bridge!

    it's hard to compare right hand feel directly since I have the 2-pice bridge model strung with TI flats and the 2TEK with DR nickel Lo-riders. But the 2Tek allows a little give without sacrificing snap. It's ahrd to describe but it is very distinctive. And the string isolation helps emphasize the fundamental, which changes the percieved respose a lot, if that makes any sense.

    It is awesome
     
  10. jester

    jester ocdemon Moderator

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    I hear ya on the dead spot elimination. It seems lots of weight near the points of string suspension (bridge and nut), works wonders for that.

     
  11. warwickhunt

    warwickhunt

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    I had a 4 string Flashback with the 2-Tek and it had the same open geared ultr-lite tuners and platinum (matt) finish to the hardware and knobs. Not sure I rercall anything different special about the output recess, I recall it being the same as my NT basses at the time.
     
  12. rockfish

    rockfish

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    florin, are flashbacks with a 2-piece bridge really so rare that mine has to be a custom shop bass? I've seen others, usually with a very similar grain pattern too... then again, I'm pretty sure I've seen the same grain on 2Tek models too. Did those serial numbers turn anything up?
     
  13. warwickhunt

    warwickhunt

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    The grain pattern looks like 'normal' Ash to me... why the references to the grain pattern?
     
  14. rockfish

    rockfish

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    only because I've seem these two distinct grain patterns in other flashbacks, and I figure it might help indicate which "run" the two were made in

    looking around, i find VERY few pictures of flashbacks with 2-piece bridges... so perhaps mine was a custom shop job after all! Again, its neck is narrower than other fortress necks I've played - super shallow! I like it

    edit: aha, I see now that it must be the "extra slim neck" - making it clear that it is indeed a custom shop bass. The seller I got it from didn't seem to known its history, though he had had it for years. Wow. It's a great bass!

    Any more info come out of those serial numbers, Florin?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 8, 2009
  15. Florin

    Florin Warwick Forum Administrator Staff Member

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    the first Series of the Flashback we built with the 2Tek Bridge.. after this the supplier went out of business and we where building the Bass with the regular Warwick Bridge...

    Totally I think we made

    - 50 to 60 pcs. with the 2Tek Bridge and 150 Basses with with the Warwick 2 pcs. Bridge

    So it is pretty rare :)

    after this we stopped the model and today we offer it only as a custom shop instrumen.

     
  16. rockfish

    rockfish

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    wow, that is even fewer than I had thought were produced! I had heard there were more like 700-800 flashbacks


    well both mine are incredible basses. the passive pickups with simple blend function sound incredible. huge range of tonal possibilities.
     
  17. morbidbass696

    morbidbass696

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    They're a beautiful sight, what do they sound like? I've never heard a Fortress before. I want to find one without the pickguard one day.
     
  18. Florin

    Florin Warwick Forum Administrator Staff Member

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    They have some vintage vibe, but still a tight Warwick :)
     
  19. rockfish

    rockfish

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    Neck pickup (single coil) has a very warm, deep sound with healthy mids. Bridge humbucker has more scoop (useful because the Flashback is so mid-rich) and bite - more of a modern, Warwick sound.

    The Flashbacks are very versatile and I recommend them to players who appreciate the feel of a Warwick but prefer passive electronics!
     
  20. Stainless

    Stainless

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    Location:
    former birthplace of Warwick: Franconia, Germany
    If anyone is interested I am selling my Fortress Flashback 4 String in violin yellow, I still have another one in redburst :)
    Thanks for the info, didn't knew that they are that rare :)
     
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