Disregarding Price: Essex vs. Toby

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by EricTheEZ1, Dec 9, 2004.

  1. EricTheEZ1


    Nov 23, 2004
    Clawson, MI
    I hope that'll draw some people. More specifically, Essex vs. Tobias "Toby" Deluxe .

    I'm having some trouble deciding. I like the vintage look of the Essex 5, but it's so cheap! It also only has 3 knobs and I'd like to have at least 4 knobs. The Tobias Toby Deluxe is the cheapest of the Toby line, but it's got 4 knobs, 24 frets (+++), an awesome look from tip to toe, and that nice looking Satin Natural paint job.

    Disregarding the price, what would be the better buy, do you think? I'll probably replace the pickups either way.
  2. DaBassman


    Mar 25, 2002
    Oneonta, NY
    I have a Toby, I bought it new for $269 about 5 years ago. It is a very good bass for the price. IMO, the basses out of Korea, like Toby, are still better than Chinese, i.e. Essex, basses. But, the Chinese are starting to catch up.
    I had a Rondo, Essex, guitar in the past and it was very nice. Nice people to deal with too. :)
  3. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Why do you want 4 knobs so much? If the preamp on the Toby isn't great, then the amount of knobs won't help. The Essex is all passive, so more knobs wouldn't really help-there's Vol, Vol, Blend on it-that's all you really can get on a passive bass.

    The Fodera AJ Presentation model has no knobs at all....
  4. EricTheEZ1


    Nov 23, 2004
    Clawson, MI
    Because I'll be putting in better, most likely Active, pickups. I want to have either Vol, Vol, Bass, Treb or Vol, Blend, Bass, Treb. I can never seem to get great tones from passive basses. I've been active since the beginning.

    But these are all good questions. Any other help is appreciated.

  5. Minger


    Mar 15, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    Well, I don't know much about going from passive to active...but you probably could just change the pickups...
  6. I havn't heard the toby. Awesome looks. I like the black one, however. But what is turning me off is the all maple body. I think alder is a much better tonewood for the body.

    As for the essex knobs and control plate, who cares. You can buy active preamps with all that crap built in, including knobs, into a dedicated control plate. The knobs on the essex in the pics are cheezey anyway, and can be replaced with good ones for minimal costs.

    I would go for the essex. If you never had a passive bass, give it a shot before putting in active. If it aint sounding good passive, then what are your expectations with a battery-powered preamp?

    G.I.B.O.= Garbage In, Garbage Out.
  7. I don't believe that one can make a blanket statement that Alder is a better tonewood than maple for a body. It really depends on the bass and the design and the sound that one is looking for.

    I do agree with you about the knob thing though. Who cares if it has three or four. I have 3 basses. One has 3 knobs, one has 2 knobs, and one has 1 knob. Which one do I like best? They're all different...I like them ALL. And it has absolutely nothing to do with knobs.
  8. Well I did not mean to suggest that all maple wood is bad. Every piece of wood is different I suppose, even if it the same kind.

    I should qualify that I meant maple is generally perceived as a dense, heavy wood that is very bright when used in the body.

    I had a peavey TL5 once, which was all maple, and too bright for my taste. The Knuckle bass is maple, but I am sure its 39" scale length and first octave tuning balances any brightness. The sound clips sound good, anyway. I know that pedulla inteprets a jazz bass with a maple bod, but I am not sure why. I know that all description of wood tonal properties are in line with my "blanket statement." And I know that maple is used heavily as a neckwood and as a top(e.g., figured, flamed or quilted) but seldom as a bodywood.

    Other than that, you're right.

    Here is Warmoth's blanket statement(emphasis added):
    (Acer saccharum-Hard Maple)
    (Acer macrophyllum-Pacific Maple):
    We offer two types of Maple: Eastern Hard Maple (hard rock maple) and Western Soft Maple (big leaf maple). Hard Maple is a very hard, heavy and dense wood. This is the same wood that we use on our necks. The grain is closed and very easy to finish. The tone is very bright with long sustain and a lot of bite. This wood cannot be dyed. It looks great with clear or transparent color finishes. Western Maple grows all around us here in Washington state. It is usually much lighter weight than Hard Maple but it features the same white color. It has bright tone with good bite and attack, but is not brittle like the harder woods can be. Our flame ( fiddleback) and quilted bodies are Western Maple. This type of maple works great with dye finishes.
  9. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    If that's the case, then the Essex isn't really a choice for you, as it has the standard passive Jazz-style mini control cavity under the knobs with no control cavity in the back, so you wouldn't be able to make it active without a lot of routing.
  10. EricTheEZ1


    Nov 23, 2004
    Clawson, MI
    ooh...Then I guess you've made my decision. I'm big on tweaking my sound straight from the bass. My current bass can go from the harshest slap tone to a smooth booming low end with just a quick turn of a knob or 2. I love having that ability. I just hope I can get a good price on that Toby. They seem to be raising the price little by little for, apparently, no reason.

    Thanks for everyone's help.

  11. NCorder

    NCorder Smoke-free since 4/3/05

    Dec 26, 2002
    Dayton, OH
    +1 for the Toby. :D