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MTD vs. F bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BrandonS, Apr 30, 2001.

  1. BrandonS


    Nov 15, 2000

    I am fixing to buy either an MTD 535 or F bass 5-string. I've never played the MTD. The F bass has a wonderfully articulate woody tone to it. How does the MTD compare in your opinions.


    Do you guys at Bass Central have an F's available

    Thanks, again
  2. Dirty Road Cola

    Dirty Road Cola Guest

    Sep 8, 2000
    Gainesville, FL
    We do have a used F Bass 4 string...amber/sunburst color. I'm not a fan of F basses; didn't care for the neck but I liked the sound. I like the MTD's if I were to be playing jazz or fusion..but as I lack the skill and talent to do such a thing (not to mention the money) I wouldn't buy one ;)

    But in this standoff, I would say the MTD's win because thats my personal favorite between the two. I'm gonna keep pushing the Wals, though, so if you get a chance to try a Wal, do so :) all of the mentioned basses here are wonderful; its just really a question of what you want.
  3. mark


    Apr 7, 2000
    Both of those instruments are absolutely beautiful. This really is a case where you are just going to have to sit down with both of them and decide. When you get up into this price range they're all amazing instruments.
  4. ka-tet


    May 2, 2000
    Definitely you need to play both... but since I have I'll give my opinion. I own a few F's. I've got the bread to get whatever I want(thankfully). I went to Bass Central last week to specifically check out an MTD. I was wanting something that sounded different from my F's and from what I've read of the MTD's I figured that was the place to start. I didn't like any of the ones I played. Understand I was only thinking of getting one for the purpose of having another sound available not as a replacement for my main bass. I like a thick round sound that fills a lot of space. The F's do that extremely well. The MTD was very thin sounding and though it would definitely cut through the mix I don't believe it would have the type of full support the F's do. Since I was looking for something different this bass was a consideration but in the end I couldn't stand the tone even if I just use it every once in awhile. I think for a bass that will cover all styles the F is the better choice. If you want something that works well with a couple the MTD will be fine. I've found that a big fat bass sound works for everything and a thin cutting tone works for some jazz and fusion, especially if there is a keyboard player in the band that helps to fill out the sound. For blues and rock, thin doesn't work. But again, big and fat always works. Go with the F. I'm also a dealer for F. If you need one I have a couple at the store. I have a natural oil finish BN5 that is exceptional. If you're interested let me know and I'll give you a price. By the way I can get MTD as well so I have no reason to push the F's any harder. I just honestly believe they are better.
  5. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia In Memoriam

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    ahhh.. and then on the other hand.....
    honestly ka-tet, I don't think I've ever heard anyone say MTD's sound thin. But you know what you heard....so i'll respect that and offer this:
    Although i find the f bass beautiful and I've heard nothing but great things about them, i brought a 5 string home with me once, i really wanted to like this bass, it was beautiful, the ceruse finish and all that. I couldn't get a sound out of it... now I know it must in there somewhere, i keep hearing about it, but i couldn't find it. I 've played bass for over 20 years and tried /owned a LOT of different basses. I set my MTD 535 flat, and the sound is there, if i need variations, they are all there, bottom for days... and that's just me... that's what i hear.. oh, and the soundmen.. they must hear it too because they have asked me to play the MTD over other very respected names... but the bottom line is,..... ahem.. ;) :
    make sure you play them both... make up your own mind...it's the only way.. -- Adrian
  6. LeonD

    LeonD Supporting Member

    You have to try both! I did and came away with an F Bass. While the MTD was a wonderful instrument, it just didn't have all the sounds the F Bass had.

    I've tried a number of MTDs over the years and never found one that I cared for. This last time out, I tried a used one and thought it sounded really good. My assumption is that MTD get better with age (as most quality instrument do) more than most. Any MTD owners care to comment?

    But still, even though this was a wonderful MTD, I didn't feel it had the versatility or playing comfort of the F Bass.

    You really need to try both.

  7. ka-tet


    May 2, 2000
    I could dial in a sound from the MTD with a lot of bottom but that's not the kind of lows I want. I want natural lows, a roundness, that is present in a bass with it's EQ set flat. I think natural lows sound better than manufactured ones via EQ. The MTD could get deep but couldn't get round. That to me sounds thin. I don't think you can truly judge a basses tone by sitting in a store or your room. You have to play in a group setting and if you have the chance, record it. The F Basses definitely shine in a band context.
  8. I am with you ka-tet. One fine day, I had the opportunity to play an F-bass fretless 6-string and an MTD 435 back-to-back. The Fbass just absolutely blew my socks off and fried my wig. I almost wept. The MTD actually kind of bored me. Although possibly at that point, after the F-bass satori, Marcus Miller walking in and offering to give me his blonde bass would not have raised my interest much.
    I look for that natural roundness as well. The acoustic tone of an instrument, even an inherently electric instrument, to me defines its character.
  9. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia In Memoriam

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    Ok, then fellas, Go with the F bass. It is a wonderful bass. I personally have chosen to stay with MTD. I am happy with this sound. but sound is so personal. there are so many great basses out there. Roscoe, Fodera, Lakland.... and so many more-but for me, Mike Tobias is the man--- i was a pre gibson tobias fan for years and years, to be honest when i first saw the MTD's, i wasn't too intrigued-- 'till i played one-- i went from an MTD 635 ( my old boss hated 6 strings) to lakland ( a great bass) to modulus, i tried sadowsky, Rosoce--- you name it-- im back to the mtd's-- but i sure wish i would've been able to get that sound from the f bass. maybe too many electronics options for me-- but i will say this- the bottom on my mtd is NOT form the electronics-- it from the BASS!!!! i think even George Furlanetto (?) would agree-- Mike Tobias is a master of finding the right tone woods-- but what the heck? get the F bass if that's what you dig--- AS LONG AS YOU"RE PLAYING BASS, that's what counts--peace. adrian
  10. LeonD

    LeonD Supporting Member

    This is a good way to put what I heard. All the high end basses I tried had a very electronic sound. It was like I was hearing the pickups and preamp. The F Bass sounded like I was hearing the actual instrument. The pickups and preamp were just there to get the sound to the amp and not color it.

    I think this is something you need to hear. Words just don't do it justice.

  11. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I've tried lots of both and all basses of each marque do not float my boat but...

    the ones that did (MTD 535 with Wenge neck and board and an Ash/Maple neck F BN5) were killers. The rest were nice but each person, I think, knows when you cross the line from "Nice" to "DAMN!!":D

    You have to play both and see if they push your button. There's no substitute.

    BTW most high end basses I don't like can get deep but not round. Great description.
  12. gfab333


    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I own an MTD 535 and I'm very happy with it. I tried one F-Bass 5 string, and I noted that it had a great tone, albeit different than the MTD. I did not care for the parametric tone controls, just my personal taste. I like to dial in tone sttings on-the-fly while I'm playing sometimes, and that could be difficult with the parametrics.

    As far as that post(s) that said MTDs have lousy tone and no bottom. I have this to say...I've heard many MTDs, and although they all have that hi-fi hi-mids and treble tones, the "core" tone varies from bass to bass depending on the wood used in the body and neck. I've heard a compressed middy toned MTD; a smily faced EQ ballsey-bottomed MTD; and a balanced-toned with good bottom, mids and treble MTD. It all depends on the wood (maple, wenge, walnut, ash, korina, tulip wood, etc.). I understand that Michael Tobias hand picks the wood for each bass. So, it all depends on what bass that person heard or played.

    In the end, as is posted all over this forum, selecting your ideal bass should be based on your personal preference and taste. You can formulate what you like and dislike by actually playing the different basses if possible. It's best to hear them for yourself. I bought my MTD and Lakland on the internet; in this instance, you just have to take a gamble and return the bass if you don't like it.

    If you want to hear an excellent example of F-Bass tone, check out alaincaron.com. His bass solos are fantastic.
  13. ka-tet


    May 2, 2000
    Hey gfab, no one said MTD's were lousy. I don't think Mike is capable of making a lousy bass. I've played several of his with different wood combinatiions and just couldn't anything out of them that I liked. I could see where his basses would be perfect for someone because they do have a very unique tone. What do you mean by parametric tone controls on the F? The preamp works like a bassic 3 band eq but boost only. There's nothing parametric about it. I think, but I could be wrong, but each knob has a slightly wider bandwidth coverage than standard eq's. I think this allows for a more even taper and with the overlapping allows for a more consistent output. In my experience it's just as easy to use as any other preamp because it is operated just like any other but sounds better.
  14. gfab333


    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Point taken Ka-tet.

    The F-Bass that I tried had a parametric control. I don't remember if it was just the midrange, or for all three bands. I understood that it was standard on all fretted basses.

    I just checked out the F-bass web site and there's nothing about a parametric. Maybe someone installed a custom onboard EQ on the bass that i tried. I'll have to ask, next time I see the guy.

    The old saying about "different strokes..." sure does apply to basses. Tastes and preferences also change over time. When I was 17, I thought that the Fender P-bass with a maple neck was the ultimate bass. Today, over two decades later, I have a totally different preference in tone, feel, etc.
  15. ka-tet


    May 2, 2000
    Exactly! I used to love Ken Smith basses, I had several of them. I fell out of love with them over the last three years. Same bass, same sound, same playability...different me. The styles of music I play has changed as has the the tone demand. The music I play now, three piece rock band, calls for me to have a thick, round sound to fill out the space. I think the MTD would have been great for me three years ago when I was playing a lot of jazz and r&b but now... I'm not saying someone that plays rock in a 3 piece band couldn't use an MTD, it might be perfect for someone, but I can't use it because it doesn't produce the tone I feel is appropriate for my music.
  16. LeonD

    LeonD Supporting Member

    On the third page of the photo section, on the F Bass web page, they have a diagram of a five knob control set up. I believe this is what they used prior to the three band, boost only eq.

    Along with the diagram is the following text:

    "F" BASS PRE-AMP: This wide spectrum infinitely variable EQ System was developed by Garry Poplawski of PE-EQ Research, Hamilton. It is simple to use; clockwise rotation of the pots approaches bass tones, and counter-clockwise the treble tones. The "EQ-Blend" pot, mixes the "Low" and "High" EQ pots. When the "EQ Switch" is disengaged, only the "Master Volume" and "Pickup Blend" are functioning.
    One exceptional feature of this system is that as the frequencies are varied, the overall level remains constant.
    So go ahead and explore the range of possibilities at your fingertips.


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