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Gibson Tobias takeover

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Matteran, Mar 1, 2005.

  1. Matteran

    Matteran Banned

    Jan 1, 2005
    Santa Rosa, CA
    I own a tobias, and i think it's awesome. I know that Gibson took over tobias, is there like a serial number that was the first gibson one?

    Was there a period of time when gibson didn't totally suck at making tobiases? Like, maybe Mike Tobias was supervising still, or something?

    My headstock doesn't have the T logo, but it does have the omega style headstock. I think the neck was a replacement though, I'm unsure, i bought it off ebay about a year ago for 400 dollars. The sound quality of this thing through my girlfriends Mesa 400+ is unbelievable.

    anyway, my serial number is: 6450

    I remember on eBay seeing a real nice "custom" growler, that had a serial number just a few digits below mine, so I assumed maybe mine isn't so bad.

    The mind blower, is i walked into my music store, and there was a tobias for 300 dollars. I pick it up, and instantly from the feel and weight, i realize it's total crap... oh yeah, it's made in korea too. I hate was gibson has done to the tobias name.
  2. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Yours is way post-Gibson. There is a nice little story on Mike Tobias's MTD website explaining everything.

    What is troubling to me is that you casually mention that your girlfriend has a 400+ . . . . (listen man, keep that girl!).
  3. Matteran

    Matteran Banned

    Jan 1, 2005
    Santa Rosa, CA
    seriously... i love it.

    Hmm... well, are there different levels of gibson quality? Like i've noticed the newer ones really seem to be lacking, whereas mine is really nice.
  4. jaxlaw


    Oct 5, 2002
    Winter Garden
    I have a Tobias Growler in my arsenal serial # 7506, so its a Gibson eara tobias. I have watched with amusement the many posts slamming Gibson era Tobias basses. The one I own is marvelous - it plays well and records better - the only problem is that with the lousy reputation that these basses have the re-sale value is squat.

    I believe that each bass is differrent, I have never played two instruments that sound exactly alike, even from the same manufacturer. I trust that threre are some realy lousy Gibson Tobias basses out there - and I would caution anyone who had an intrest in these basses - just the same I would not automatically write them off. The old beat up Tobias that I have is superior in tone and feel to my Lakland or my MIA Fender in my opinioin and since they are mine that is all that matters. ;)
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    2,044 is the magic number!!

    So that was the last one built by Michael Tobias's crew !

    I think the thing is that you know with a "hand-built" bass, that quality is going to be flawless - whereas with factory basses - you might get a good one , but there is no real guarantee...:meh:

    But with somebody like Mike Tobias putting his name to each bass, you do have that "personal guarantee". :)

    PS I have #1274 :)
  6. I own this one (s/n 2044); a stunningly beautiful Signature 5.

    I also owned a Gibson-era Classic 4 that was a wonderful instrument in it's own right. Some of the Gibson era ones seemed fine, but I gather that it was a hit-or-miss proposition. From what I have read on here the currently made models are to be avoided. Rumour has it that Gibson plans to address the issues... :rolleyes:
  7. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    I've seen and played "post Mike" Gibson Growlers and loved them. Hope to find one someday. Still kickin' myself for passin' up an awesome deal on a cherry burst 5 for 600 bux a while back.

    HOWEVER, there was a period, and as I understand it, Gibson is still trying to dig out of, where the quality took a HUGE dive, while at the same time, prices continued to go way up.

    Last I heard, Gibson is going thru a shakedown at least in the Tobias area, and things were supposed to get lots better. Dunno if the price/value ratio will ever be good again, but that's the latest I have.
  8. jeff schmidt

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

    Aug 27, 2004
    Novato, CA
    *****spider senses tingling******

    do I sense another Gibson/Tobias thread is about to vanish in the night with no trace whatsoever?

  9. Rapscallion2112


    Apr 21, 2004
    exactly...i've played some GREAT post gibson tobias' and i've also played some crap with strings.....

    i dont believe that a company should be downtalked when they're mass producing insturments....

    believe in the insturment...

    that and i wish they made a six string version of the growler
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    But what it does means is that you must try before you buy - and of course it will have a negative impact on re-sale value, if quality control is doubful!
  11. Matteran

    Matteran Banned

    Jan 1, 2005
    Santa Rosa, CA
    any bands that have a bassist that plays tobias? From what i can tell tobias is pretty rare, i don't know anybody that knows what they are. So i tell people i have a tobias, and they're like, wonderful, i have an ibanez, so shut up.
  12. JazzBassvb


    Aug 5, 2003
    I know of at least 1 local bassist who play Tobias, maybe two.

    Both actually play or played for the same band, Dotsero.

    Mike Friedman plays one that appeared to be a Tobias that was built before the Gibson era, but I don't know for sure. It's a 5 string. He no longer plays with Dotsero.

    Pics are below:
    Pic 1
    Pic 2

    The other player is Vernon Barbary. He sits in with Dotsero now and then. I think he plays with Nelson Rangell regularly, however. When chatting with him during intermission at one gig, he specifically mentioned that it was before Gibson bought Tobias out. He was pretty happy he got it when he did. :D

    Pics are below.
    Pic 1
    Pic 2
  13. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    If he's really that clueless, does it matter what he thinks? Really.

    Tobias is one of the original super high end basses like Alembic. Also, I play in a cover band here in central IL, classic and modern rock, everything from Green Day to Pat Benetar, Heart, etc., and I play my MTD in the bars on a regular basis (tho not always... I enjoy variety), so yeah, regular bass players like me do gig with them. That name is lesser known in the bars, but most bass players I talk to recognize Tobias when I tell them what it stands for. Some even recognize MTD right off. That's when I get the "look". :)

    Don't get me wrong, however, I'm definitely not saying they're as well known as Fender or even Ibanez. That's mainly because those vendors cater to a lower end, which there's a LOT more of out there... I'm just saying that they're not so rare nobody knows the name in most cases.
  14. Ah Dotsero... huge fan. :cool:

    Have 2 of their cd's.... how'd they sound live?
  15. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    Shouldn't be. That last one got closed for good reason. It got way off topic and abusive due to the inappropriateness of a few TB'ers that simply lost their sensibility... especially one in particular.

    Thing is, the whole Gibson/Tobias debacle is kinda' big deal because the stuff Mike does is just supernatural, and it's a shame to see someone take something he did and let it go to heck due to typical corporate bean counting decisions, mismanagement, and a general disregard for true quality... especially at a company definitely capable of great things.
  16. BlackBassPlayer


    Jan 4, 2005
    Robert Trujillo (Metallica) plays a Tobias. ;) And he use to play for Ozzy. And I heard Tobias was a pretty good brand and im thinking of buying one when I turn 18. Which would you guys recommend for like a heavy metal band?
  17. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    On Wednesday A guy who I beleive calls himself "K" brought one into Low Down Sound. It was either a classic or signiture neck thru 5 (post Gibson). He walked in to a Bass players of Motown convention, some of the best bass players of the city and me. There was Mike Harrington (Earl Klugh, Joe Sample), Will Pope (Word of Faith),G, Mike Bass (some unnamed canadain rock star) and Eric Wilheim (the german jaco), and I'm sure I probably left out someone. We were all blown away by this bass. It was deffinently as hot as anything on the wall (Fodera, F Bass, Zon, Warwick, Ken Smith and Sadowsky) well built and pretty. Had that major Tobias Slap Gospel thing down." We all pretty much agreed that due to the poor resale of post Gibson Tobias basses it was worth about 400 but any one of us would have given him 500." "He Declined" He walked in looking to trade or sell, and when he walked out he was convinced by all of us DON'T SELL. Moral of this story, there are some Great Post Gibson Tobias Basses out there and with there rep, if you like there string spacing (I Don't) and see one used check it out. You may get a great bass that you want see in every GC Flea wanna be's arsenal.
  18. JazzBassvb


    Aug 5, 2003
    Pretty tight, man! Pretty tight!

    Real nice guys too. The bass player they had with them the last time I saw them (2 or 3 weeks ago) was chatting with someone else when I was just passing by and mentioned how I loved his basses (Ken Smith 5 and 6 stringers) and that I really liked how he rode the B string.

    He said "I live on the B string" :D :D

    Nice guy and all. First name was Marvin and he played a couple of solos. Good stuff.

    I still like Vernon as he really, really took the time to chat. I'll always remember that about him.

    The two core brothers are still pumping it out. Very good musicians. I ran into the guitarist walking across the room and he thanked me for coming that night and hoped I would enjoy the show. :D

    If you ever get a chance to see them, go. I really doubt you'd be disappointed.

    What's interesting is that Mike Friedman also played a Steinberger and he was the first I heard play one, then J Tacuma. I only noticed the Tobias a little after I saw them live for the first time. He then switched excusively to his Tobias.

    He would do a solo spot with tapping and stuff (great tapper!) and would use the Steinberger for that, but made the switch to the Tobias.

    In Edit

    You know, I remember Vernon had a problem with his Tobias. It must have been the bass because he used the same rack for his 5 string Fender and I wish I would have asked him about it. He fiddled with it for a couple of minutes, but was not happy with it and he changed back over to his Fender. :confused: :rollno:

    Sorry for the long post.
  19. realdeal

    realdeal Banned

    Dec 10, 2004
    When I read this thread I was happy that it wasn't more of the same Gibson-bashing. Maybe they deserve some scorn, but SOME of it is unwarranted- (please note I said some!)

    Anything MTD USA or pre-Gibson is flawless, perfect, beautiful, the pinnacle. Done. The Gibson production didn't
    have that standard---

    But the Nashville shop making Tobias built some great instruments- I own one, a Renegade 4, which is an incredibly well-built, great sounding and playing bass guitar.
    The fact that they were inconsistent has been noted-
    Who knows what the percentage was? I have seen and played a fair amount of Nashville Killer B's and Growlers that were made every bit as tight as mine, so.....

    Resale doesn't concern me, I'm not interested in trading or selling that particular bass.

    I haven't played or even seen the new offerings, just heard the usual bad rap with a few supporters. No comment, I'm not in the market for one anyway.

    It's not my concern to judge or forgive Gibson- When I played my Nashville/Gibson Tobias, the only criteria I brought to the table was its build, feel, and sound, and it's passed with flying colors. It's one of three I use on the job.
    I also am not too concerned personally who plays one or what band they are in.
    BTW, a USA MTD is in my future----- ;)
  20. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    Yeah, great post, and I was trying to be careful in mine not to start one up, either. Main thing is, yeah, two points to note...

    1.) If yer concerned about resale, the current rep is going to hurt you big time unless you're buying used, so if you bought before the rep happened, you have a right to be upset if yer planning on selling, but don't go overboard. Otherwise, just remember this, as said MANY times by MANY folks...

    2.) With VERY FEW EXCEPTIONS, ALWAYS TRY BEFORE BUYING... especially on more costly stuff where you're risking more of yer hard-earned bux.

    sweeeeet... Welcome bretheren-to-be! PM me with details! :)