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Chris Squire Custom extended 4 Tobias

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by dje31, Dec 10, 2008.

  1. Greetings, all. Are any of you familiar with Chris Squire's custom Tobias? I think it's a 28 or 29 fret 4-string, with the extended range on the low side.

    I seem to recall him saying in an interview he was never terribly comfortable with the neck width of a 5, but wanted the lower range.

    I think it was tuned a half or full step above B-E-A-D, but can't remember. Strange that it wouldn't have been B-E-A-D, which is what I'd do, were I to do it...if a 5, maybe add a high G?

    Has anyone built (or had built) something like this? I was thinking something with a custom capo, made for bass strings/tension...perhaps even an extended range on the high side as well.

    If I ever hit the Lotto, I'm calling up Mr. Tobias to have him build something kooky like this for me...just cuz.

    Don't know how useful it would be, or what string availability would be like (cello strings?). Seems like a nifty experiment (if $ were no object).

    Curious to hear your thoughts.

  2. Gubna


    Oct 21, 2006
    San Francisco
    anyone have a pic of this bass?
  3. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Banned

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    I didn't even know Chris Squire have played a Tobias. But then I'm not a fan of his by any stretch!
  4. The Hammer

    The Hammer

    Jul 13, 2004
    I saw that bass on Chris Squire's bass playing instructional video. If you truly are interested in something like this here is the website for you

  5. If I recall correctly Chris talked about this bass in an interview in Guitar World magazine in the late '80s/ early '90s. (I think Big Generator had finally been released and his Tobias could be seen in a music video on a song from that album) He and Tevor Rabin were on the cover; Chris with his Tobias and Trevor with his white Electra. I seem to remember him saying he tuned the bass AEAD. I have that magazine in a box somewhere.
  6. lowendblues

    lowendblues Supporting Member

    Oct 8, 2004
  7. Yup, I have the instructional video, but alas, it's on VHS, and don't have a functional VCR any longer...durn technology!

    And yeah, that's it on the Ampeg website, though you can't see the length of the neck.

    I'm pretty sure he broke it out during the 35th Anniversary concert DVD, though I can't recall which song.

    I think this would be kind of a cool project, esp. with the bass-specific capo...kind of like a dumbed-down version of the Steinberger TransTrem bridge.

    What would B-string tension be like on a 40" scale neck?
  8. BassikLee

    BassikLee Commercial User

    Feb 13, 2004
    Deltona, FL
    Owner: Brevard Sound Systems
    The whole point of that bass, if I recall, was to use a regular .105 E string as the B/A string, and simply have the thing be LONGER to make it happen.
  9. I still have trouble playing "Sound Chaser". :rolleyes: :D
  10. woodyng


    Dec 19, 2007
    Oregon coast
    chris actually has 2 tobias basses,a "standard" red one with his name inscribed on the fretboard,and the specially made extended range bass,which i think has something like 4 or 5 extra frets,and may be tuned differently. i have seen him use the extended range bass on "turn of the century",and "shock to the system".
  11. woodyng


    Dec 19, 2007
    Oregon coast
    plus i think overwater made an extended range 4 string some years ago......
  12. Hoover

    Hoover Banned

    Nov 2, 2007
    New York City
    Yeah, I'd swear I saw a pic of his gear from the Big Generator tour and it included a more-or-less stock Tobias 5-string. Red sounds right.
  13. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head Commercial User

    Jul 30, 2002
    Owner; Knuckle Guitar Works & Circle K Strings
    Depends on the gauge - an upright B string is generally a .135. IME, at 40" a good gauge for a B is .125 as it puts it slightly looser than a .100 tuned to E on a 34" scale bass.

    If looser is better for you you could go as light as a .115 and still be happy I bet.
  14. Besides the red Tobias,he also had a green stained 5 string too,if Im not mistaken.
  15. xato


    Apr 19, 2012
    I was working as head of production during the time this bass was built,and in fact I re-designed the patterns to accommodate the extra long neck and hand cut & slotted the fingerboard at home because we didnt have the way to do it at the shop. It was 4 extra frets based on the 34 " scale,but if you measured it out,it came very close to 40". I did everything from picking the lumber through about a 75% finished bass,from me it went to final shaping & sanding ,finish & assembly/set-up. I did get to play it before it left and I could just make the last fret with my arm fully extended. If you looked at the bass from behind and plucked the low A,you could see it vibrate past the edge of the fingerboard. I nick-named the bass "Big Bird" and all the guys that worked in the shop called it that after awhile Unfortunately I did not shoot a photo of that or any other thing in the shop because I was so damn busy all the time! You'll find my name ,Gil Chavez, in the "Tobias Story" on the web. Cheers!
    hrodbert696 likes this.
  16. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    hey gil, thanks for contributing that story, that was very cool :).
  17. Mousekillaz


    Nov 25, 2009
    Anacortes Wa.
    Great story Gil ... Thanks !
    I've been a Chris Squire fan since I saw their (Yes) 1976 tour in Seattle.
  18. jim777

    jim777 Tarantula Lobbyist

    Aug 7, 2006
    South Jersey
    Thanks Gil :)
  19. Much obliged, Gil, for your insight...never thought there'd be a response to this zombie thread, let alone from someone who worked on it!

    Too bad there aren't more pics of this beast. It seems like you'd have a better chance of spotting sasquatch than the extended Toby. I'm pretty sure it was on that 35th Anniv DVD, but so brief, and never a full shot, that I recall.

    I still stand by my original assertion that when I hit the Lotto / PowerBall / Mega Millions, I'm calling up MTD and get something like it made. I'm big enough with monkey arms where I think I could pull it off.
  20. Zombie Thread Alert: But since someone else brought up something similar, I figured it was apropos to resurrect this here one:

    From the Super Long Scale Thread: Chris Squire's Tobias four string, which I believe was either 40" or 41" scale, with four extra frets on the low end.

    Squire never felt comfortable playing a 5-string, so Mike Tobias accommodated him with an extended range 4.

    It was tuned C-F-Bb-Eb but there was talk about making rev 2, adding another fret, tuned B-E-A-D. If I ever hit the Lotto or PowerBall, I'm calling MTD to make me one of dem dere tings, with a super capo.

    See for yourself:

    Note: Link should go to 15:11, but the pic shown is his 8-string Ranney, for unknown reasons.

    For Squire / Yes fans, it's pretty cool. Had it on VHS. Sad to watch it now, in light of his far-too-early departure from this mortal coil.

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