mtd kingston 5 or tobias toby pro 5

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Toony, Feb 8, 2002.

  1. Toony


    Jun 15, 2001
    hey, it's been a while. anyhow, i'm looking to invest in a new bass sooner than later and needed a bit of input from you all. okay first off, tobias basses and mtd are made by the same guy, micheal tobias, right? just curious because a guy in the local guitarshop was showing me "micheal tobias" basses yesterday and i assumed mtd, but he said nay. note: i'm not too versed with tobias' design.

    but my question at hand is, how do you compare the mtd kingston 5 against the toby pro-5 which are about the same in price?
  2. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    MTD. Case closed.

  3. uglybassplayer


    Aug 24, 2001
    New Jersey
    Someone posted this same question earlier this week. I'll try to give the short answer (short... Ha, who am I kidding).

    Any Tobias Bass built prior to 1990 was built by Michael Tobias or one of his crew. He sold the "Tobias" name to Gibson in 1990 and his team continued to make the basses up until 1992.

    By '94, Michael had started a new company, "MTD". Gibson continued making the Tobias basses in the U.S. untill the late '90s.

    The "Tobys" (both the Deluxe and Pro) are manufactured in Korea and sold exclusively by (kind of a subsidary of Gibson from what I understand).

    The MTD Kingston and Heir are also manufactured in Korea, BUT at least they are been designed and inspected by Michael (or one of his crew). Personally, based on the recommendations of a number of TBers who have played both, I'd choose a Kingston or Heir over one of the Toby's any day. If you do a search here on "Kingston", "Heir" or "Toby" you should be able to get all the opinions you need.

    BTW, for the complete Tobias history as told by Michael Tobias himself, go here:

    Hope that helps.

    - Frank.
  4. Tobias Basses was bought by Gibson some time ago and from what I understand "pre-Gibson" pieces are very nice and more desirable but YMMV. MTD is Mike Tobias's new company and of the two basses you mention I'd recommend the Kingston without a doubt.
  5. Darrelpr


    Feb 2, 2002
    Texas, USA

    With regards to the Kingston:

    1. 35" scale
    2. Relatively quite MM-style pickup - simple but effective electronics
    3. The models I've played on had surprisingly good fretwork - especially considering the price.
    4. Very lightweight.
    5. Zero fret (although it's debatable as to the advantages a ZF)

    1. Basswood body - very soft wood and easy to dent/chip.
    2. Korean made, mass produced. Granted, this doesn't necessarily mean that the K5 is of low-quality but (at least in my opinion) it is not a true MTD bass. (My instructor is an MTD endorser and gave me the scoop on Mike's involvement with the Kingston line.)
    3. Hardware. Although functional, the tuning keys and bridge aren't going to put Hipshot out of business.

    You'd be hard pressed to find a better 5-string in that price range (around $500 street unless you upgrade to the maple top). You might also want to look at the MJ Heir 5-string. It's basically a K5 with the addition of a j-pickup in the neck position and a maple top.

    Sorry, I'm not familiar with the Pro-5.

  6. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    MTD I've owned both and definetly MTD is the better. Not prettier but better in my opinion!
  7. uglybassplayer


    Aug 24, 2001
    New Jersey
    C'mon Darrelpr, you're not going to put out a teasing statement like that and not let the rest of us in on the gossip, now are you? :(
  8. seamus


    Feb 8, 2001
    I've never tried the Toby Pro, I've never even seen one in person. I have a K5 though, and I can say it's a very attractive bass at that price point.
    No frills, but a solid player and good sounding instrument. No complaints at all, I like the passive sound of this bass. I give MTD credit for making these basses economically available to most people.

    I've made a lot of good comments in the past along with many other TB'ers. If you try a search on 'Kingston' or something along those lines, you should come up with plenty of feedback.
  9. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    Denver, Colorado
    I definitely don't think that having the Zero fret hurts the performance of the bass. You're absolutely right about the hardware not being top notch but I have denfinitely seen worse. Both the MTD Kingston and Heir perform at a much higher level than their cost.
  10. uglybassplayer


    Aug 24, 2001
    New Jersey
    It was a smart thing (IMHO) that Michael did by NOT putting in some cheap lame preamp to sell it as an "active" bass, but keeping it simple.

    One of the biggest complaints you hear about the Toby Pros are with the crappy electronics. It seems most people end up either pulling them out complety and running passive, or replacing it with a better quality preamp, which of course adds a couple hundred more to the final cost.
  11. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    I have a T.P.5 and it's a great workinmans bass that plays and sounds fine. Even better with a bart pre in it.

    The thing about them is this: Wenge Neck through.
    If the sonic properties of wenge and N.T. apeal to you, you have a choice of one for less than a grand+ as far as I know.

    If you are comparing bolt on to bolt on, MTD all the way. I think a K5 or a toby pro with a good pre would satisfy anyone in a blindfold test. Maybe it won't be their favorite bass of all time, but nobody with one ear and half a brain is going to say either one sucked.

    From the sound clips I've heard, the K5 is a slap monster if you're into that....

    Mike T made the right choice to use good passive rather than cheap active. Even some high dollar basses skimp on the electronics and that sux. I would much rather have rockin' electronics than a flawlessly buffed finish that's going to get trashed at the first gig.

    But as I said before, if you want a Neck Thru 5, you're going to get a Toby or a second part time job to pay for the next cheapest.
  12. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    IMO Kingstons are very nice basses. That's the reason I've got mine. The interesting thing is, these things are hand carved. Yes, by Korean workers, but still. As Mike put it, "There's no CNC machine churning out bodies or necks." Perhaps that's what makes 'em feel so solid.
  13. Toony


    Jun 15, 2001
    thanks for all the opinions everyone.
  14. LA


    Oct 17, 2001
    I like my Kingston 5 but I had to install a capacitor on the tone pot in order for it to work correctly. Regarding the hardware: I believe the bridge is a Hipshot "bent tin" model, but I'm not sure about the tuners.
  15. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I bought a Tobias Toby Pro 4 about a year ago, and it quickly became the favorite of my 8 basses. For the price, it has a great sound, great feel and great look - a very well made bass for its price range. Michael Tobias was a consultant for Gibson when they started making these in Korea, and he said that he thinks they are excellent basses for the price (I forget where I read that quote, but I belive it was in Bass Player Mag). He was no longer working for Gibson at the time he said this, so I think that is pretty good praise. The only thing I don't like about them is the lack of volume. It is definately the least powerful of all my basses, passive basses included. But it sounds great, so I don't really care. As far as the active electronics in the Toby, I have found them to be very quiet, so I guess I disagree with bikertrash82.

    I've never played the MTD, so I can't compare them, but I would expect it to be very good too. I don't think you could go wrong with either of them.
  16. Darrelpr


    Feb 2, 2002
    Texas, USA

    Totally agreed. And theoretically , a zero fret would ensure that an open note and fretted note would have similar tonal characteristics. But I've seen arguments pro/con from much more experienced players than myself. (To be honest, I can't really tell the difference if I'm listening to a good player and not watching their fretting technique.)

    I guess the saying, "Your mileage may vary" applies here.


  17. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    Denver, Colorado
    Exactly! BTW, I'm a proud owner of two MTD Beasts. I'm in love with MTD! :) I think the only reason that I would let either of these two go is to get an American made MTD. Sweet basses. They also have the zero fret but I find it hard to tell the difference between them and the basses that I have without the zero fret. All I know is that these Beasts sound good!
  18. DB5


    Jul 3, 2001
    Austin Texas
    The Toby pro is a Good Bass for the money. I have the T.P.5 fretless. I have added a bone nut and a bart preamp and put some T.I jazz flats. I have a total of about $800 dollars in this bass. IMO it can't be beat in this price range. :cool:
  19. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    Insolent Dog! You dare to disagree? ON YOUR KNEES#$%@!!!

    Just kidding, just kidding. Relax. But....that EXACT preamp is available from Stew-Mac (I think) for like twenty bucks. That's CHEAP. If you were to wire those PU's straight to your jack passive, you would immediatly notice two things.
    1. The quietest bass you own would now be the loudest passive bass you own. (those PU's are HOT)
    2. All your notes below the low A would begin to growel like a SOB and sound WAY tighter.

    (A)$20= cheap, (B)sounds better bypassed= POS

    A+B= cheap POS

    Go ahead and try it. I double dog dare you.
  20. superphat


    Sep 30, 2001
    can you be more specific artisan? i have a mtd heir and i'm curious about upgrade possibilities... was it working ~incorrectly~ before the capacitor? thanks.