Fortress review by Warwick RockBass

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 7
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.6 (16 votes)
Warwick RockBass: Fortress

Sound — 8
I play a vast array of styles, from blues to grunge, alternative rock and hip-hop, via just about everything else imaginable. I must say that this bass has never failed to achieve a sound suitable for anything I've tried. While it hasn't excelled at any one, it's done a fine job and I haven't been disappointed. I rarely use effects - a Boss Bass Chorus and an EQ stomp box. It sounds fine through these. With a little tweaking, you can get a very smooth, deep tone perfect for reggae, a punchy P-style reminiscent of Motown, a driving hard rock and a bright Jaco-esque jazz fusion tone. Using both pickups together gives you a powerful, distinctive tone with huge presence ideal for those times when you need to make yourself known. In this position, the bass also produces a wonderfully bright and rich slap tone. The Active EQ, though I rarely use it to majorly shape my sound - I do that through the amp - helps when you need a little more thump, or punch. Though you shouldn't really do it, whacking both knobs up to ten can give you a little overdrive too. I usually play through a Laney R5 combo, some kind of Ashdown electric blue and a 300w Trace Elliot, depending on who I am playing with. I find the Laney is rather boomy with this bass, but through all the others it sounds terrific. while it loses some of the Warwick characteristic tone (it is made of Alder and not any of Warwicks usual exotic woods), it does have a nice character to it. I get no buzz or interference through the pickups, even the Jazz on it's own. I have had feedback once, when playing through a guitar distortion pedal. I have thus far found no dead spots on the neck, and every note sustains wonderfully.

Overall Impression — 8
This is a fine match to my style, as eclectic as it is. I've been playing for a couple of years, and previously owned a Yamaha RBX270 and a Squier Precision 5 string. This bass runs rings around both, though the pricetag is hefty (something Soundcontrol are known for, however. I have seen the bass proced fairly elsewhere), I am not regretting buying this bass. If it was stolen, I'd likely save my money and buy a proper Warwick, but for someone without that kind of money, this is a great buy. I compared it with my other options at the time - Fender P's and J's, and it sounded much nicer in every way. And I think it's looks kill. Even if I do get the phallus joke thrown at me occasionally.

Reliability & Durability — 9
I have gigged on numerous occasions with this guitar, and it has served me fine. The only time it has let me down is due to my own oversight - not bringing a 9v battery for the active EQ. It died on me right before a gig and I had to borrow a friends bass. However, safe in the knowledge that I have fresh juice in my EQ, I would happily gig with just this bass. It covers all my needs and is unlikely to get damaged easily. It's taken a fair few knocks since I've had it and still sounds as nice as it did when I first purchasd it.

Action, Fit & Finish — 7
When I first acquired the bass, it was set quite nicely - action not too low, or too high. The J pickup was slightly too low but nothing major. However, after a few weeks of playing, I began to get a slight buzing between the 5th and 12th frets on my E and A strings. I returned it to the place of purchase, and got a free setup on it, which only served to make the situation worse. I do not blame the manufacturers for this fault, as I was told that the shop had done a setup on it when it was delivered there. Just beware UK buyers - Soundcontrols staff are not very knowledgeable on the art of caring for guitars! I have solved the problem myself now, and have no problem with the neck.

Features — 8
Unsure of the year it was made, obviously recent as the RockBasses haven't been around all that long. 34" scale bolt-on maple neck, rosewood fingerboard with 24 frets. It also has a very handy feature - an adjustable nut. Quite a slim nick, very smooth and comfortable to play. Alder body, natural coated finish. It's long upper horn gives it brilliant balance on a strap, and it sits nicely when playing seated. Not too heavy, but you know it's there in long gigs, I'd advise using a nice comfortable strap. It has a standard Warwick bridge (and a solid piece of work it is too), closed-back tuners. I got it with a free gig bag and allen keys to adjust it. Passive MEC pickups (middle P-style split coil, bridge J-style), active electronics, I believe. Two band EQ, master voume and pickup selector.

1 comment sorted by best / new / date

    Awesome review...and yes, the only guitar where you'll get more penis jokes is the ICEMAN Sceries....omg...Nothing is as close as that....