=The Warwick Fortress Club=

RIP

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Hey - please sign me up!

I've been prowling for ages for a Warwick Fortress. I love the build, sound and general vibe of Warwick but often struggled with the ergonomics. I've already got a Standard Bubinga Corvette and a gorgeous 89 Thumb Neck Through, but I seldom take these out when I'm fronting a band as the short top horn moves the neck to the left and throws me out position wise when I'm singing.

Anyroadup, a couple of weeks ago this beauty appeared on Basschat for a fair price and I snapped her up. She's a Fortress One, Two piece maple body, three piece Wenge neck (not as slim as my Corvette or Thumb but comfy nonetheless) and Wenge fretboard. MEC PJ pups and two band EQ.

Had a bit of a fright when setting her up as the D string wouldn't intonate and buzzed like mad resulting in a huge action - turned out to be a duff string. Also had an intermittent electrical fault which turned out to be the push/pull on the volume pot that was solved with a bit of switch cleaner. Eventually set up with a 2mm action at the 12th fret (a smidge over on the E string) and feeling good.

It's a bright sounding bass and i was worried it would sound bass light when gigged. I needn't have worried - played a pub gig last night - GK MB500, Barefaced BB2 and Zoom B1xon and wow. The long top horn makes it ergonomically perfect - sits just right. The tone with Warwick Red Labels was deep, tight and authoritative. Plenty of snap, body and growl as you'd expect from the wenge neck. More than enough depth in the bottom end and a 'Jazz on Steroids' tone from the bridge pickup. Wow am I one happy bunny, I think I've found 'the one'!

P1080439 by Colin Kempster, on Flickr

P1080441 by Colin Kempster, on Flickr

P1080438 by Colin Kempster, on Flickr
Beautiful!.....love that color
 
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One piece for bolt-on is not always a given. For example, here's a close-up of my '94 Corvette Proline:

25u4211.jpg
My bolt-on Thumb has a three piece body. In fact, I would think most bodies would likely be two piece with a one piece top if it is a bit more custom.
 
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There is a black fret less on TB
The seller is offering 4-5 Warwicks.
 
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Toepfer

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Yesterday my new Fortress One arrived.
It's a fretless with fretlines, a three piece maple body - with the neck I'n not shure whether it's two pieces or one - I don't see any changes in the grain, but who knows. The bass was built in 95.

I have to make some changes, but it's a great bass - with the fretlines even I hit the note I want - the action is awsome.
The bass came with crome hardware - I think I'll switch it to black ( I just don't like crome hardware on basses)
The bass came tuned E - C (no flats) which I strangely like (but have already ordered flats with a low B string)
The old owner had the electronics changed to a passive setup, but also sent the original active electronics. I guess I will change it back to the original one.

I just took a picture with my phone, better ones will follow (when there is daylight and you can actually see the grain). I already switched the bridge and the knobs to black.
Fortress_pl.jpg
 

Florin

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Beautiful instrument!
 

jester

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Yesterday my new Fortress One arrived.
It's a fretless with fretlines, a three piece maple body - with the neck I'n not shure whether it's two pieces or one - I don't see any changes in the grain, but who knows. The bass was built in 95.

I have to make some changes, but it's a great bass - with the fretlines even I hit the note I want - the action is awsome.
The bass came with crome hardware - I think I'll switch it to black ( I just don't like crome hardware on basses)
The bass came tuned E - C (no flats) which I strangely like (but have already ordered flats with a low B string)
The old owner had the electronics changed to a passive setup, but also sent the original active electronics. I guess I will change it back to the original one.

I just took a picture with my phone, better ones will follow (when there is daylight and you can actually see the grain). I already switched the bridge and the knobs to black.
View attachment 19295

Cool bass. Is it your first Fortress? How do you find its balance compared to other Warwicks?
 

Toepfer

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Yes, this is my first Fortress. I only had different Streamers and Thumbs.
Balance is very nice. But never had a balance problem with my Streamers. Thumb is adifferent matter.
The main difference for me is the neck profile and the fretboard radius.
The fretboard feels almost flat. I have to get used to that.
The neck feels wider and flatter compared to the Streamers. But in a nice way. Almost like the korean p-nut I had but in Wenge.
I only played a cheepo Harley Benton fretless before and the Fortress is a hole different animal. Feel and soundwise.
I like it a lot.
 

Toepfer

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Sorry, it took a while - here is a better picture.
The neck is a two piece wenge neck - in daylight you can see it a lot better.
Fortress_one.jpg


But I also have a question regarding the electronics. Does someone have a wiring diagram for a 2 band mec electronics from the mid 90s?
The one on the Warwick page has different wire colors on some wires and if you wire the output jack the way the diagram shows, there is no sound at all. The intersting thing is, in every diagram I saw, there are two wires (black and grey) from the balance to the volume pots. Mine has only one green one.
 
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verb

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I have an earlier schematic, it has the single wire from the balance pot to the volume pot, but it doesn't state the colour.
It is not a great pic, but hopefully it will help.

IMG_1711.JPG
 

Toepfer

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Thanks a lot - that looks almost perfect. Mine has the electronics on the pots, but the colors look good.
 

verb

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It occurred to me that you would normally have an earth wire as well as the signal wire. I dug out the electrics from my 97 Fortress one and that has the black and grey wires. Could you post a pic of your electrics?
 

Toepfer

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Will do tomorrow - still no sound.
 

Toepfer

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Here is what I got so far
fortres_elec.jpg
 

verb

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It isn't easy to see exactly what is connected to what, I have taken these shots of my F1 electrics which might be helpful.

IMG_1756.JPG
IMG_1755.JPG
IMG_1754.JPG


If you want any more photos, PM me what areas you want and I will email them to you.
 

verb

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Do you get sound with the EQ section bypassed?
 

Toepfer

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Thanks again.
No sound- not even passive.
On your pictures there are two cables (black/grey) between balance and volume. Where I only have a green one (plus ground).
I'm thinking about swapping volume and balance with other warwick pods I have without the circut boards and see, where it goes from there.
I don't get it. Thats the first time I can't get a Guitar or Bass electronics to work.
I could also try the Glockenklang set I have laying around. But the pots are so small for the holes.
 
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