Pre-Gibson Tobias Owners - It's Showtime!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Debased, Apr 12, 2007.

  1. Let's see those original Tobias basses built by Mike and his crew. If possible, please include some vital statistics; model, wood combinations, year-of-birth, and any interesting background info.

    I'll start with some new and improved pics of my '87 "Classic:" Goncalo alves top over alder; flamed eastern maple neck with wenge stringers; pau ferro fingerboard; #72X; Jim Williams 18v preamp with sweepable bass and treble frequency centers and a three-way coil-splitting switch (a huge improvement over the stock Bart pre while still maintaining the classic Tobias tone, and as a bonus, it's powerful enough to easily drive a pair of headphones directly from the output jack).

    I was fortunate enough to visit Mike's Cahuenga Blvd. shop several times before and during the build. He even let me root around in his wood storage room to choose the top for my bass. Everything in the shop was covered with a layer of sawdust; even the coffee maker and a bunch of half-full cups. I'll never forget the look and smell of that little wood shop, not to mention all those gorgeous basses in various states of completion hanging on the wall in the front room. What a candy store that place was. :eek:




    ^ No scratches here (or anywhere else - I've been careful and lucky); just a reflection of the grass.



  2. neptoon


    Jul 25, 2000
    Palm Bay, FL
    sweet bejeezus...i've never a seen a tobias with that low of a serial # in such pristine does it play and sound, btw? have you tried it out yet? :D
  3. yeah, this looks pretty much unplayed
  4. Fire-Starter

    Fire-Starter Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2002

    Hey, what are the switchs on there for, are they active/passive, about some clips dude!!!!!:hyper:

    I would even consider trading my Kens Smith BSR6GN for that!
  5. Fealach

    Fealach Guest

    Apr 23, 2003
    Gone to a better place
    Breathtaking. I wish I could take such good pictures, too.

    Here's my crappy pictures:





    I know very little about it. A couple years back I found it in a tiny little store,
    three hours away from home. Played it, loved it, but had no money and too many
    basses already.

    A year later, I was passing through the area and stopped in. There it was, still
    waiting for me, so I had to take it with me. Never could find a serial number in
    the usual places - headstock, fretboard, under bridge, electronics cavity. There's
    what looks a "54" stamped under the truss rod cover. Passive Vol-Vol-Tone,
    I'm not usually much for passive basses but when the tone is perfect you don't
    really need to mess with it. Has the Schaller hardware and unmarked, smooth,
    radiused Barts you see in the older Basics. The strap buttons are the same as
    my bro's 85 Basic, T shaped with the rear button originally located dead center
    on the neck - the previous owner moved it up to its current location for better
    balance, where the later ones had it located.
  6. neptoon


    Jul 25, 2000
    Palm Bay, FL
    that would be a tobias standard, there, bro...i can't remember if it was made overseas and set up in the burbak shop or not, but i believe that was how they were can see a 6 string version in the dream theater vid 'take the time'...myung played one for a couple years between the spector 4 string and his tung basses
  7. ElMon

    ElMon Supporting Member

    May 30, 2004
    Oklahoma City, OK
    I have hate in my heart......So, what time do you go to work during the day? Do you have a big dog that I need to worry about?
  8. vision

    vision It's all about the groove!

    Feb 25, 2005
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Endorsing Artist: MTD Basses, La Bella Strings, and 64 Audio IEMs
    *jaw drops wide open*
  9. Well, its great shape is partially due to the fact that I was playing a lot of jobs in really nice places at the time; mostly upscale bars and clubs with big, roomy stages like the old Ice House. I never took her to any dives, and I'm pretty careful.

    Aside from that, I switched to playing fretless almost exclusively around fifteen years ago, so the Tobias only came out of its case for an occasional tune after that.

    It plays effortlessly, as one would expect from an old Tobias. The custom preamp gives it a little more growl and modern versatility, but it still has all of its original warm, smoky tonal character.

    *snort* You're pretty funny. :spit: :D

    Thanks for the kind words, everyone. Now, where are all those old Tobys?
  10. Fealach

    Fealach Guest

    Apr 23, 2003
    Gone to a better place
    Not that I'm saying you'e wrong, but can you offer proof that this
    particular bass is a Standard? You could very well know more than
    I do about the subject. Standards were made in Japan, and marked
    " Fabricated in Japan to standards set by Tobias Guitars, Assembly
    & Q.A. at Tobias Guitars, Burbank Ca, USA" . Every one I have
    seen had dot markers on the fretboard, except on a fretless..
    They were also active.

    Here's one that is red and seems to have three knobs:


    It is, however, active, with one stacked pot. It also
    has dots.

    Some other information about them from an owner of 2

    "My 1st one was made in 92' and had the late tobias controls
    (Bartolini 18v, 5 knobs (bass, mid, treble, vol, blend) and mid
    freq switch. Also had a push/pull slap contour on the volume


    This bass I have now has an early Bartolini TCT preamp,
    it's a 9 volt with 3 knobs. vol, blend, and a stacked bass/treble pot.
    It also has a mid boost pot, inside the electronics cavity.


    The bridge is a cool bridge that I haven't seen on tobias basses before.
    It's alot like the old wilkinson bridges. It's fully adjustable, forward/backwards,
    up/down as well as left/right. It also locks so that nothing will moves.
    The tuners have a Tobias logo on the back, I've heard that they're
    made by Gotoh, but i dunno if that's true. They work very well, smoothly,
    and stay in tune. The fretboard is rosewood and has mini pearl dot inlays.
    The neck is asymmetrical and very comfortable even at the higher registers.
    Single truss rod and a bone nut. It has dunlop straplocks (came
    standard on the bass) "

    So if you can point out what in the pictures of mine identifies it
    as a Standard, I'd appreciate it.
  11. mattoverb


    Jan 24, 2007
    That is just beautiful congrats on owning such a nice bass!
  12. SWEET MERCY!! That thing is GORGEOUS!!! Looks like my Tobias GAS has flared up again. Thanks.
  13. FPS


    Dec 17, 2006
    Wow that is hands down one of the nicest basses I've ever seen!!!!
  14. Vic

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

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine

    I really shouldn't subscribe to this thread, but I can't help it... :help:
  15. I have a collection of Tobias catalogs dating from 1985 - when they were still offering the "omega" cutaway on the Signatures - to a few years after the Gibson buyout.

    According to a 1991 Burbank era catalog insert, the "new" Standard featured a rosewood fingerboard, an asymmetrical neck-through made from hard rock maple with bubinga stringers, and swamp ash body wings. They had active Bart electronics with a master volume, pan, and a "Dynatone" mid boost/cut tone control. The pickups are soapbar humbuckers with individual series/parallel tap switches.

    They came with black hardware, Tobias tuners, and a quick-release Wilkinson bridge with adjustable intra-string spacing. Colors were natural, clear red or blue, and solid black or white. The MFSR price for a four was $1,849, and a five was $1,949, including HSC.

    The photo shows three knobs and three micro-switches. It also shows a three-piece center lamination with one light colored center stringer - probably maple - and two bubinga stringers. All three are of equal width, unlike early Tobias lamination's where the center piece was only 1/32" wide. No dot position markers are shown, but the basses depicted may have been pre-production versions.

    They were manufactured "overseas" to Tobias' specs with final assembly and setup being completed at the Burbank shop.

    I don't know what to make of Fealach's Tobias. :confused: It doesn't quite look like any Basic, Standard, Killer B, or Model T I'm familiar with.
  16. neptoon


    Jul 25, 2000
    Palm Bay, FL

    i'm assuming yours doesn't say that on the back of the headstock, then...i probably don't know more than you having only owned one mtd and no tobias basses at all...i assumed it was a standard simply because it had a three knob configuration and the only tobias basses i've seen offering that control layout were one-offs and standards...thinking that if it were a fully custom one-off tobias i would've thought that you would've known that bass down to the screws...just an assumption on my part...i'm not trying to hammer your bass, as i've been wanting a 4 string tobias for years...mike was fond of the tobias standard basses, and i played a black 5 string that was way or the other, you've got a fine bass
  17. jackcregg

    jackcregg Guest

    Feb 25, 2007

    I think all members will agree.
    This has to be the nicest, most beautiful bass ever made
  18. Fire-Starter

    Fire-Starter Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2002
    Debased, how about some sound clips of that beast!
  19. looks like the first post just scared everybody off.

    no one else has a tobias that sweet looking
  20. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Inactive

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    Amazing basses, no doubt. Jeff Berlin used to use them back in the 80's! Was black hardware an option back in the day?
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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