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MTD Saratoga vs. Gibson Thunderbird...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mauirob, Dec 21, 2005.


  1. mauirob

    mauirob

    Dec 21, 2005
    VA
    Anyone out ther w/any thoughts on the MTD basses? I've ordered a Gibson Thunderbird (hope to see it in March of '06), but I'm wondering if, for about the same money, the MTD Saratoga might be a better buy.--They're both in the $1,500 to $1,700 range. Thanks for helping a newbie out.

    FYI, I currently have a Schecter Diamond Series 5 playing thru an Ampeg SVT-4 Pro w/an Epifani UL-410 cab.
     
  2. Figjam

    Figjam

    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    MTD saratoga way better. Wayyy better. Mtds are great.
     
  3. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz

    Mar 27, 2002
    Ohio

    I disagree completely. MTD's are great. T birds are great. They are VERY different basses. If it makes any difference, the Saratoga IS NOT one of the handmade by Mike Tobias basses. It is a Korean import.
     
  4. mauirob

    mauirob

    Dec 21, 2005
    VA
    Actually, that does make a bit of a difference. I wasn't sure if the Saratoga was handmade by Tobias or not. I do realize they're both quite different. Probably still leaning towards the T bird, if for no other reason than it's retro-cool looks.
    Thanks.
     
  5. Figjam

    Figjam

    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Well i guess it depends if you like Gibson basses. I do not.

    quality wise, i put the MTD imports on the same level as laklands imports, ie: very high.
     
  6. Poon

    Poon

    May 20, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    I think for the $1500-$1700 Retail price range, there are a lot of options better than both the MTD Saratoga and Gibson Thunderbird. Like someone said before, you're comparing apples and oranges... but even with that said there are a lot of great options out there.

    I've owned 2 Saratoga 5's and I've played the thunderbird before. For me, I'd be more inclined to stick with the saratogas. They sound great, are really well constructed (i believe they are made in the same plant in korea as the skylines). I personally liked the ones with the Wenge Boards better.

    Let us know what you decide or if you want options for other basses.
     
  7. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    The MTD Saratoga's body and neck are made in Korea to very exacting standards. All the Hardware are Hipshot and the electronics are Bartolini, not "designed" by Bartolini - the real deal. The Saratoga is a great bass, I regret having sold mine.

    1500-1700 is the list price for a Saratoga, I believe can be had for a bit less than that.

    I would also venture to guess that the 2 basses will sound very differently. The MTD will be more hi-fi, modern sounding while the Gibson will be more old school, warm and tubby

    Mike
     
  8. Figjam

    Figjam

    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Id get a musicman if i were you :) But i recomend that to everyone. MTD are my favorite imports though.
     
  9. Fig, did you have a bad experience with Gibson basses or something? You seem to always hate on them without giving a real reason, which Gibby bass have you tried, and obviously, disliked?

    Also, the Saratoga and Thunderbird are VERY different basses. I've never played the Saratoga but have spent time with the Kingston and I suspect the neck profiles are the same. The Thunderbirds neck is "fat" compared to the MTD's. I prefer the sound of my Thunderbird (an early reissue version, 1991, I was told by the previous owner).

    Indeed it is more old-school sounding, but I can tell you, its the loudest passive bass I've ever heard. It can be very bassy and can have its more than fair share of treble (just roll off the neck pup).
     
  10. If you're thinking about going with a Gibson Thunderbird, just make sure that you know what to expect from it. It's not the most tonally diverse bass in the world, and the neck dive gives it a real different feel. I had been GASing for one for a long time, and I got one about a month ago. I already traded it for a Stingray because it just doesn't cut the mustard for what I need, as cool a bass as I think it is. They are awesome basses, you just have to make sure that it's for you. imo of course.
     
  11. +100

    The neck dive is easily fixable with a wide strap which doesnt slide on your shoulder. I am able to find a good amount of tones from my bird, but I've been think about getting a Bart pre amp for it to see if it will do it any better, I can only assume it will really unleash those humbuckers powers.
     
  12. like everyone else said, the two basses are very different. THe t-bird is an excellent bass for massive low-end, while the MTD is more of a hi-fi bass, and can be the bass of choice for some great bass soloists (aka Dimin) because of its clarity...personally i like the MTD better, as i like the more hifi sound :)
     
  13. Personally, I think the MTD is infinitely classier than the thunderbird. The tbird is so clunky, and the Saratoga is slick and well made, for sure.
     
  14. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    those basses are so different from each other I am not sure I can come up with anything more different..
    depends on the tone you are looking for, if it were me , i'd say MTD. But there is definitely a T bird kinda player out there for whom i would guess nothing would be better than the Gibson. What kind of tone are you into? whose tone do you like?
    if you are a funk player, MTD over the Gibson, no doubt. If you are a rocker, the T bird may be more your thing. Not as bright, modern, maybe bit less versatile.
     
  15. Sorry to be off subject, but one of the best sounds that I ever heard came from a Gibson bass, a Ripper, in the form of early Faith No More.. the album was called "We Care A Lot"...the closest thing to a Rickenbacker... ever.
     
  16. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz

    Mar 27, 2002
    Ohio

    No argument there. I had a Kingston....actually two, the cheapest Korean MTD's out there, and the quality was great.
     
  17. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    +1 I love my MTD's, and I love my Thunderbird. I've never played a Saratoga, though.

    Tom.
     
  18. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    :confused: I strongly disagree (with the part about the T-Bird; I agree that MTD's are classy).
     
  19. radi8

    radi8

    Feb 10, 2004
    Chicago
    BassCentral has 2 Saratoga's for around $1100.00
     
  20. :meh: I personally have not played a t-bird that's been comfortable to play.