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Pre-Gibson Tobias Owners Club!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by WordToHerb, May 18, 2009.

  1. LowB-90


    Jul 2, 2014
    This is the luthier am looking to get the work done.

    Yay or nay??? Estimate is about $700
  2. Holy carp, Ed used to be a neighbour of mine here in Ottawa back in the 80s. Only thing I can tell you is he defretted a bass neck for me. I think he was building mostly furniture back then.
    LowB-90 likes this.
  3. evilgus

    evilgus Supporting Member

    Feb 27, 2006
    Sydney, Australia
    I’d only consider doing it if you really don’t expect to sell it, at least any time soon. Any major change will make it harder to sell, as people mainly want original, if possible. Has your luthier seen the bass and said there’s no problems with fretting it?


  4. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    My ~15 year search for a wenge-necked Signature continues.

    I found one at a local pawn shop this week. Signature 6, wenge-neck, walnut body, lacewood top. I hate lacewood, but everything else was perfect. Put money down because the shop didn't take cards and it was after banks were closed.

    ...came back the next evening with a cashier's check and the bass' owner had returned and changed his mind.

  5. Modifying any valuable collectible reduces its value, barring such modifications as may be necessary for restoration.

    It's unlikely there will be many more pre-Gibson Tobias basses produced. When used ones pop up for sale they are almost always fretted. Perhaps there is someone who would be willing to trade a fretted for your fretless. Perhaps it may be cheaper, considering the cost of conversion, to outright sell your fretless and purchase a fretted, being relatively easy to find. Have you seen a previous fretless/fretted conversion this luthier has performed?

    In the end it's your bass and if you are confident in the luthier's ability, have the money to spend, don't mind lowering the bass's value, and it doesn't make you feel a little sick inside to even be contemplating doing such a monstrous thing to a rare and wondrous treasure, have at it.
  6. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    These are sought after, but not really in "valuable collectible" status.

    I think it's safe to say "there will definitely not be more made."

    Laying it on a little thick, don't you think? If it has lines, it has places where frets go. Would you not refret a fretted bass because it was a "rare and wondrous treasure"? Do we even know it if it was originally fretless or if it was converted to fretless at some point?
    evilgus and LowB-90 like this.
  7. Depends on your finances I guess. ~$2K+ item may be cheap to you, valuable to others. Collectible? Have read that some people have searched as long as 15 years for one. Not likely to get cheaper as time goes on, unless more are made.

    Unless time travelers intervene.

    OK, made some assumptions there. OP wording suggests original fretless, else why concern over value? Lined fretless not common 80s-91. Even the more recent Gibsons were unlined:


    Refretting is repair and restoration. Most people do this when needed if they can afford it, even to their rare and wondrous treasures, if they are to be kept playable.
  8. I’m going to revise my original answer: there are plenty of bassists looking for pre-Gibson fretless from factory, why not just sell it as a fretless? Why do you want to add frets?
  9. LowB-90


    Jul 2, 2014

    We all know pre Gibson tobias are hard to find. If I sell it I don’t know when I’ll be able get another one. And as far as trading it for another Tobias pre, chances are very slim and maybe unlikely.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2018
  10. mustangcruise

    mustangcruise Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2014
    A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to find a Pre Gibson Tobias and it's a classic model. According to Mr. Tobias it's was built sometime in early '91. Now I understand why these are sought after. It feels so comfortable to play and the tone is great. It's interesting to have a separate volume pot for each pickup. Is that set up common with the pre gibsons? IMG_0626.JPG IMG_0627.JPG
    skb5string and Marc DLarosa like this.
  11. scubaduba

    scubaduba Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2003
    Nice! Looks like a bubinga top, wenge tone layer and alder body. Pau Ferro fingerboard. Congrats!

    Yes, several of Mike's basses were wired vol/vol.
    s_wood likes this.
  12. s_wood

    s_wood Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2003
    Delaware (USA)
    I have owned, at one time or another, 6 pre-Gibson Tobias basses. Half of them had the 2 volume/no pan setup.

    Your bass is beautiful!
  13. Volume/Blend was the default configuration, but Volume/Volume was available at no additional charge.
  14. Marc DLarosa

    Marc DLarosa Supporting Member

    May 29, 2017
    I'm still selling this... # 275. 1984. 97th one ever made...
    skb5string likes this.
  15. bassdudepat

    bassdudepat Bringer of the Brown Note Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2009
    Austin, Texas
    Been trying to find info on a serial number for a basic 5 I have a chance to grab. I remember a serial number database somewhere but can’t find it for the life of me. Any one able to help? SN# 11815
  16. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Big Dogs Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    All I can say is that's squarely in Gibson territory.
    Buszkock and bassdudepat like this.
  17. bassdudepat

    bassdudepat Bringer of the Brown Note Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2009
    Austin, Texas
    That’s what I figured. Trying find a date range and price range
  18. LowB-90


    Jul 2, 2014
    Where can I get a key to adjust the truss rod on my pre Gibson Tobias?
  19. mustangcruise

    mustangcruise Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2014
    Regarding the 11xxx seriaI number, I use to have a Signature 5 with a serial number 114xx and Gibson told me it was built in 2006. Hope that helps....
    bassdudepat likes this.
  20. bassdudepat

    bassdudepat Bringer of the Brown Note Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2009
    Austin, Texas
    It’s 1/4 inch. You can find online, maybe your local music shop. I got this at an auto parts store and it works fine.

    Attached Files:

    LowB-90 likes this.

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