Warwick Artist Series Jack Bruce Survivor… In an effort to make their artist signature instruments more available to the general public, Warwick unveiled at NAMM ‘12 the Artist Series of basses, simplified versions of their signature instruments made in their Korean facility. At price points that easily compete with the likes of the Lakland Skyline, Stingray and more, I jumped at the chance to get the signature bass of one of my influences; Jack Bruce. What I got was an instrument that blended the best qualities of the past with modern technology for a truly special bass.
The first thing that impressed me out of the box was the build quality. Part of the line of instruments (the Artist Series and Pro Series) that are from their Korean plant, the Survivor is extremely well built, with great attention to detail. While this may initially sway some people to write these off as sub-par Warwicks, I would encourage you to take a look. Nearly all of the hardware and electronics are the same as their German counterparts and as said prior, the QC on this instrument is excellent.
Spec-wise, the Artist Series version is very similar to the German made one; mahogany body and mahogany thru-neck construction, passive MEC vintage single-coil pickups and active 2-band preamp. The only differences between the two (that I could find) is that the AS does not have the JAN III brass nut and the red side LEDs, both of which are okay with me (and honestly, the brass nut is an easy replacement).
Once this bass was plugged in, I was sold. The combination of pickups and preamp really bridge the gap between that vintage vibe and modern tonal convenience. While it’s not hugely diverse in terms of sounds you can get, the tones that this bass does have are extremely well suited to rock, funk, jazz, blues… pretty much everything in Bruce’s wheel house.
The Artist Series Jack Bruce Survivor from Warwick is a fantastic bass to capture all of the vintage sounds you’re looking for, while still retaining the character and nuance that Warwick is known for. Combine that with superb build quality, detail and a price that won’t break the bank, and you have a phenomenal instrument capable of holding down the low end for decades and decades to come.