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Questions About New Toby Basses (plus other questions)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by MooCowMan, Apr 15, 2014.

  1. Ohai TalkBass. Haven't posted on here in ages.

    Anywho.. I have a question about the Toby Deluxe IV and a few other things.

    I'm currently in the market for a new bass but unfortunately, I'm stuck on a very low budget so this has lead me to look at some cheaper basses one of which being the Toby Deluxe IV for $250. I was able to play it recently (among a few others, none of which I liked as much as the Toby) and I enjoyed the experience quite a bit. It was light and it had a pretty decent sound for such a cheap bass. After this I decided to do some research on it and see what other people had to say about it because I was personally quite impressed with the sound that came out of it.

    After reading up on it on various sites including reading posts about it on here, I've noticed a lot of mixed opinions on it. I see people say it's a good bass for its money then I see other people saying it's disappointing. While the people saying positive things were usually pretty detailed about what they liked, there didn't seem to be a lot of details on the negatives. One common thing I've seen is a quite a few people saying it's disappointing compared to the old Tobias basses although that seems understandable considering the price difference. I haven't personally seen or played or even heard about the Tobias basses prior to this one so I really wouldn't be able to compare them myself.

    Anyway.. I suppose what I'm getting at is that I was wondering if it would be possible for some of you who have had experience with the Toby Deluxe IV to express your opinions on what's good and bad about the bass. If you don't like it, what other basses in that price range ($200-$250) are good choices that I should look at?

    I suppose for that last question a bit of information would be needed. I'm really just looking for something cheap, versatile and, obviously, something that sounds decent (I.e sounds better than my current bass which is a cheapo Jay Turser so that's not hard to do). I like most and try to play all different genres of music. I don't want to limit myself to certain styles which I've had to with my current bass. I know this is probably asking a bit much for my price range but I'm basically looking for the best that fits my criteria in that price range. I'm fully aware that at my price range, it's not going to be the most amazing thing and will likely fall short in some areas. I guess one other quality I wouldn't mind having is being a good base that can be built upon (so basically not bad for modifying). That's definitely not an important aspect, though, since it's not going to be the last bass I ever purchase. I just wouldn't mind to be able to improve it here and there when I have the money (of course, a new amp will come before any modifications).

    That's about it, I guess. If you need anymore information to better suggest a bass just say so. I've likely missed something that I meant to say just because I'm kind of scatter brained.

    Thanks to anyone who helps in advance. It's much appreciated! :)
  2. BIGEJ2

    BIGEJ2 Supporting Member

    Jul 29, 2009
    Happy Valley, PA
    Ask 10 people on this forum what they like and you'll get 25 different answers.

    Who cares about what we think? If you like something and it works for you, go for it. I got to noodle on a Toby at my local guitar center and I didn't think it was a bad bass at all but it wasn't something that I was personally interested in.

    Your best bet is to play every bass you possibly can. Eventually you'll start to find certain things you do and don't like, and what feels most comfortable to you.
  3. Well, I do.. That's why I'm asking. :p

    I'm just trying to find out some more information on it. Like I mentioned previously, I haven't seen people go that far in-depth when it comes to its negative aspects other than a few people saying that it's a bit disappointing compared to the old Tobias basses.

    I also don't get a chance to stop by a music store to sit down and test basses out that often and when I do, I don't have very long so chances are I'll miss some things about the bass. When I got to play the Toby Deluxe IV, I was only able to play it for a good 10 minutes total at most. The first impression was definitely nice but there's only so much I can learn in that short amount of time.

    It would also be nice to know of some alternatives that may be similar in tone and feel for a similar price but slightly better quality when it comes to its build or electronics. This way when I do get a chance to visit a music shop again (which I most definitely will before the purchase) I can spend my time a bit more wisely. I really wish I could just sit down and play through as many of the basses in my price range as I could.

    So yeah, just trying to do some digging to make sure it's the right purchase. Having a very tight budget kind of pushes me to find out every thing I can about something. Positives and negatives.
  4. BIGEJ2

    BIGEJ2 Supporting Member

    Jul 29, 2009
    Happy Valley, PA
    Sorry for being brash last night. I didn't mean to come off that way but after re-reading my original response, it sure sounds like I was and I apologize for that.

    The new Toby models have absolutely nothing in common with the originals and the original founder, Michael Tobias has no affiliation with the new models outside of the use of his name. Think of Twinkies as an analogy. Everyone who knows and loved Twinkies would be disappointed if another company decided to start making them again and used the same name, logos, etc. but now made them out of chocolate cake without a creamy center. The new ones would have so little in common with the original that anyone who loved the originals would probably not spend a cent or even consider trying a new one. That’s where all of the disappointment comes from.

    You actually have a lot of good options for basses in your price range. The problem is finding one that has the tone and options you are looking for. If you like jazz style pickups, Squier is tough to beat, especially their Vintage Modified series. Epiphone basses are not bad nor are Dean although they do not get a lot of love around here. Epiphones and Deans however have completely different pickup configurations and sound completely different than a jazz bass. Ibanez also makes a very good bass in your price range and they have several models to choose from, each with different pickup configurations, electronics, etc. My personal issue with Ibanez is that I find the SR necks to be a little too skinny for my fat hands. The necks on the ATK models are completely different.

    If you are willing to go used, your options are almost endless.

    So yeah man, with so many options you are really going to have a hard time finding something without playing them. Otherwise, it's a shot in the dark. The best thing to do is try out as many as you can and do it over a period of a month or so. Take a small notebook with you and keep a log of the model you try, general impressions and specifics on what you like and didn’t like. Try to narrow it down until you get 2 or 3 models that you can really spend some time with.

    One last thing. A lot of what are referred to as “budget basses” are actually really good quality. For instance, between an Ibanez, Squier and Epiphone, you probably won’t find that one is built materially better than another and the overall quality of any of them would be adequate to gig with and should give you years of service.

    Hope this helps!
    Apolicious likes this.
  5. I've only played one new model Toby. Found it to be well made, played OK, sounded OK. Wound up picking up this:
    Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar Special. $199. Best of both sounds; has one P-bass pup and one Jazz.
    Also active bass boost! I can get lots of sounds out of it. Fit and finish is A-1. Has a fast, modern slim neck.
    Light, resonant, good sustain. Doesn't feel like a $200 bass. Try to find one and try it out!
    Good luck in your quest!
  6. Locky66

    Locky66 Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2014
    West Michigan
    I have been going through the same thing. I loved how that Toby played and sounded. Personally I preferred the Toby over the Squires. I have been gigging the past 8 years with my LTD B234 and have no complaints at all. I would buy another LTD in a heartbeat. I did just order the SX Ursa2 medium scale from Rondo music http://www.rondomusic.com/ursa2ltmn3ts.html to try out. It arrives on Wednesday. I wanted a maple neck and medium scale and for that price I have to give it a try.
  7. thorper


    Jul 11, 2011
    I have a Squier Jaguar and an Epi Toby Standard. After playing the Squier for a year or so I became frustrated with its ergonomics. I found that the Toby was just generally more comfortable. It's lighter, the body is smaller and doesn't get in the way of my right arm as much, and I like the flatter neck more.

    With that being said, if I did it again I would've thought harder about an Ibanez...
  8. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    I had a Toby Deluxe IV, I loved the fact that the neck was comfortable, the bass was light, but I sold it a few months later. What I didn't like about it was the pickups and the overall sound of the bass. Even though the Deluxe is active (there is a battery inside that compartment), it was for a bass boost feature and not an EQ . The pickups weren't all too good to begin with (noisy) and top that off by the lack of tonal range and that was enough of negative for me to trade it. Could I have replaced the pickups and the electronics? Yes, but being a budget bass I found it easier to just trade it for a better sounding bass. The body is indeed very nice, I can't fault anything about it, but most other people I know who had the Toby Deluxe IV did not like the bass for the exact reason as mine. So when people compare the old Tobias basses to the current Epiphone ones, the electronics, pickups used today are very inferior to the old ones. If you have the patience and willing to invest more in upgrading it, then you'll have a very nice bass. That will increase the overall cost of the bass - and I didn't want to spend anymore on it. Being that I bought the bass for $150 (used), I sold it for $170 - I actually made a profit.

    I also had the Squier VM Jag Special which I also wasn't too happy with for pretty much the same reasons so I sold both.
    Better basses around that price range - now realize this is subjective:
    Sterling Sub Ray
    Yamaha TRBX304
    a used MIM Fender Jazz or P Bass (I bought a P-bass in excellent condition with Seymour Duncan pickups and Badass II bridge for $350)

    That being said, if you do like it, you can buy a used one for much less. I've seen some go for $99. At that price, you can upgrade it and still stay within your budget.
    currently there isn't one for that price at GC, but there are quite a few used for under $150. Factor in shipping/tax and it comes to about $180 shipped to your door.
  9. No worries!

    I was actually able to stop at a music shop yesterday and play around a bit. Out of the basses I had the chance to play, one that really caught my eye (ears?) was a used Ibanez SR885 for $280 not including tax (around $300 with tax). The only issue I had with it was the action was a bit too low which caused a bit of fret buzz but that can be adjusted. Everything else felt really nice and comfortable.

    Would anyone say that is a good price for the SR885?
  10. JackoBass


    May 13, 2010
    They look a little goofy but the Ibanez ATK2xx/3xx are so good in that $250 range. They feel good, sound good, and just great bang for the buck.
  11. I ended up with the SR885 which I'm definitely happy with minus a slight problem with the action being way too low towards the head causing some really bad fret buzz when playing on the first few frets. Other than that, I love it. :)
  12. Evangion


    Jun 22, 2005
    Picked up the Toby Deluxe IV yesterday. A little turn of the truss rod, tweaking of the action and fixing the TERRIBLE (I say terrible cause everything was a 1/2 step flat) intonation. Strung her with La Bella RX 40-100 strings. Took about an hour and I'm in love. Only complain? The terrible hissing from the bass.


    Replaced the strap buttons with over-sized Gotoh ones. Swapped it out for a pair of Bartolini 9CBJD L1/S1 pickups and now it sings, has more bass and zero hiss.

    Gonna bring her out tonight for my gig. That said, I'm gonna have my Sadowsky as a spare in the car, haha. Next upgrade? Change the nut, Hipshot Xtender and a Gotoh bridge.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2014
    D0rk1n likes this.
  13. Apolicious


    Jan 16, 2014
    Sorry to highjack this thread, but does the Toby have the asymmetrical neck profile? For me, that was always the big selling point of the Tobias-family instruments.
  14. Evangion


    Jun 22, 2005
    Yes, it does. Tapers off after the 12th fret.
  15. Apolicious


    Jan 16, 2014
    That would be a compound-radius instrument. The traditional Tobias neck is thicker on the bass side and thinner on the treble. But this holds true from the first fret to the last. It feels absolutely fantastic. I almost bought an early growler for the neck alone. Unfortunately, it sounded terrible :\
    Just not a fan of MM-style instruments, I suppose.