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Can Anyone Compare an MTD 535 to an F Bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Geoff St. Germaine, Sep 8, 2004.


  1. Like the title implies, I'm looking at these two basses. I am right now leaning heavily on the F Bass side since I have played many examples and I love the tone. I don't want to shortchange the MTD, so I'm looking for any input. The basses are identical as far as woods go; maple burl over ash bodies, maple necks with maple fretboards. The MTD is 24 frets versus the 22 on the F.

    The F is this one:
    http://www.thegrooveshoppe.com/Basses_In_Stock/BN5-2.html

    And the MTD:
    http://www.thegrooveshoppe.com/Basses_In_Stock/MTD 535.html

    -Geoff
     
  2. BoiNtC

    BoiNtC

    Nov 25, 2002
    NYC, USA
    I've played a friend's F and a MTD, there is no bass that I have played more comfortable than a MTD (which is why I wound up getting one), but the F bass was by no means hard to play; as for sound, depending on the sound you're going for, I'd say its a toss up by which type of sound I like better.
     
  3. Thanks. How would you describe the tone of the MTD? What wood combo was it?

    -Geoff
     
  4. temp5897

    temp5897 Guest

    The MTD's I have played have been much more "modern" and "zingy" sounding to my ears. Not really my cup of tea. I personally prefer the sounds of the F's, which in my experience have been warmer and "fatter."
     
  5. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Sounds close enough, generally speaking. I bought both;)

    Learning to harness the MTD's capabilities has proven invaluable to me. More than any other bass I owned up to that point, it transmitted EVERYTHING I did to the amp... warts and all. This is hardly a bad thing, quite the contrary. I have no doubt I sound a lot better on any other basses I play as a direct result of my time with my 635. Now that I know how to play it I find it can be as warm or zingy as I want... with no tweaks.

    The F Bass BN-5 in my opinion is the epitome of the fabled Jazz bass on steroids. Not in an over the top fashion though, it just does what I'd want an excellent Jazz bass to do, Unlike the MTD I don't think it has a signature tone, just great tone. They're not as full bodied as my F Bass Studio 5 but they easily hold they're own in the mix with a great traditional bass sound. Nice heft while still articulate.

    With these two choices you're doomed to either a great bass or a great bass.
     
  6. pistoleroace

    pistoleroace

    Sep 13, 2002
    WI
    Geoff,
    This is a very interesting question for me too as I have always wanted a MTD 535 and I do have a F Bass BN 5 now so, I will be watching for comparisons too.
     
  7. temp5897

    temp5897 Guest

    I thought this title belonged only to Sadowsky. :bag:

    ;)
     
  8. I know it. I'm just trying to get a general feel over how the MTD might sound. I love the F bass sound, so that is the safe play for me.

    Thanks,
    Geoff
     
  9. Hman

    Hman

    Jan 8, 2002
    San Francisco, CA
  10. Hman

    Hman

    Jan 8, 2002
    San Francisco, CA
    Not accoding to Mr. Brad :bag:
     
  11. Peter Parker

    Peter Parker Banned

    Jun 10, 2001
    I've owned both, though I only owned the MTD for a day.The F has a thick natural sound, not real bright but articulate. It needs no EQ to sound good. The MTD's I've played, all of them had a wenge neck and board except one that had maple and rosewood, they all needed a good bit of EQ to get a tone that I felt would support a band. I found them to be severly lacking in lowend and too much treble with the EQ flat. The maple neck rosewood board did sound a good bit better but still needed a lot of lowend boost. I really wanted to like MTD's but I don't. I don't like the neck shape either. To me the F's playability is far superior. I wouldn't say, however, that the F sounds like a jazz on steriods(which is a stupid thing to say) but it does have similar qualities to a jazz.
     
  12. that fbass just made my jaw drop to the floor :eek:
     
  13. BoiNtC

    BoiNtC

    Nov 25, 2002
    NYC, USA
    The F I played was Ash body (no top), with maple neck/board, it had I guess the best way to describe it is to use everyone's "super jazz bass sound", a bit more zingier than the jazz bass, but I didn't really play with the preamp much.
    The MTD I played (owned by the same owner of the F, he posts as Captain Scarlet here on TB), was tulipwood body with maple neck and rosewood board, he could dial in a pretty vintage kind of tone with it, but he could also get a modern sound. My current MTD that I'm playing is korina body I believe and wenge neck with maple board? It has a much zingier modern sound. Although I can get a semi-vintage tone out of it.

    Again as they say, either way I doubt you can go wrong.
     
  14. mjw

    mjw

    Jun 12, 2001
    Spring, TX USA
    [edit]:

    Geeze did I mis-read this thread. I'd thought you were comparing the 535 to a Fender. - That's the effect that sleep depivation has, I guess. LOL :)
    I never played an F bass, but have played many Fenders. Anyway, I still love the 535.

    [end edit]

    There ya go.... :) That's another reason I wound up with an MTD 535. When I got my 535, it opened up a whole new "sonic world" to me. Not only does it feel right, but the tone is awesome. It has similar qualities that I love about my Carvin LP75P[fretless], although they're obviously two different animals.

    Depending on how any particular MTD is constructed, you may or may not be able to closely reproduce the traditional F-Bass sound, but for me, I remain ecstatic about the range of tones from mine.

    I just love it! :)

    FYI, I agree with everyone else who commented about the MTD being unforgiving. It really forces me to maintain a cleaner, more consistent technique. With this bass, I let the amp do more of the work and am less aggressive on the fingerboard.
     
  15. jeff schmidt

    jeff schmidt no longer red carded, but my butt is still sore.

    Aug 27, 2004
    Novato, CA
    If you like the sound of the F bass - you won't like THAT particular MTD. It is going to be a pretty bright sounding bass.

    I own a 535 w -maple neck/board on Alder with Maple Burl top - it is a very bright bass.

    It slices thru the mix - but in the modern fashion.( i dig that)

    But it's not a "support" type sound. It's a step out and get aggressive type sound.

    I agree with the other poster who said something about the MTD translating your bad habits more clearly.

    This is so true. I got away with bad technique on other instruments - but the MTD won't forgive. You have to clean up your act to get great sound of it. It could take a day- a week - a month -it depends on you I guess.

    MTD is great - but that bass you're looking at is probably very "zippy" in the high end with all that maple.

    Just an FYI.

    Good luck
     
  16. Why not get both?

    Sorry, not very helpful. I don't have playing experience on the MTD and I've only tried one F in my life. I just wanted to say that that F bass in the photo is the most stunning I've ever seen!!!
     
  17. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Are you sure that MTD has a maple neck? It looks kinda like the one I have, which has an ash neck. It's one of the most responsive basses I've ever played. The tonal comparisons that people have been making are pretty much what I've heard too. My MTD has no lack of bottom, but it does have quite a bit of unnecessary high end. IMO, it's really a much better studio bass than live bass, it sits "perfectly" in the mix when it's recorded straight through the board with no EQ. It's amazingly dynamic, much more so than the F bass (of which I currently own three).

    The F bass is a different animal entirely. It has a completely different sound. I like the F bass sound a lot. That particular one in the pic looks real nice, I have one with a birdseye board too, and it sounds awesome. I can dig in to the F bass a lot more, the MTD is very sensitive and wants to be played relatively softly. The F bass seems to have a very nice balance between live sound and studio sound. Live it's great, it has just the right mixture of clear lows and clear mids (without any mud). In the studio I usually run it through the line out of my WW MI-100, that's a magic combination that seems to create just the right sound with those F bass pickups.

    What can I say. They're both great basses. Different, but great. Make sure you get one of each, that way you'll have the best of both worlds. :)
     
  18. It says its maple, and that is what Joel from the Groove Shoppe told me. It is sounding to me like the F is more my cup of tea. Thanks for input everyone!

    -Geoff
     
  19. Thumper

    Thumper Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2000
    Layton, UT
    Mine were both fretless, although I also had a fretted Studio 5. Fbasses aren't my cup of tea. The MTD was everything I ever wanted in a bass except for the shape of the neck, I could never get used to the assymetrical thing. I still thought it was a far better sounding bass than the F's, more lows, more highs, and yes, less forgiving.
     
  20. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I would say that if you like the sound and feel of a late 70's Fender Jazz than the F will knock your socks off. If you like a more modern sound, extended highs, tighter low end and less mids than the MTD is the one for you. For me, the F basses kill me every time. Not sure why I don't own one. Actually, if George offered dual coil pickups that switched to single coils than I'd be sold. The MTD is a little too clean/hyped sounding for me. Although the bass player on the live Eryka Badu album has an UNBELIEVABLE sound with his MTD. His tone is so killin!. Oh yeah, the F bass preamp is the best in the business.