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the rise and fall of the (Epiphone) Toby Club

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bass V, Jul 20, 2017.

  1. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    it's probably a short debate whether there's even a need for a 'starter package' level club, and with a threatening membership of '1'... passing out numbers will thankfully not be an issue, but in any case I'm stoked to be that first or only one. after 6 hrs of total ear ringing FUN on my lil black Standard IV beauty it would be a shame to not show respect for this shocking winner, an instant keeper for near pocket change (I was happy to pay the high end @ $180 w/ soft case, local availability in a scarce marketplace = big +). on it's own considerable merits, which absolutely puts the GUITAR into bass guitar, this is a real Rock'n'Roll machine with plenty of tight high end punch and a nice range of bottom that can find tons of vintage and modern zones within it's broad scope. the Rice Krispies crowd (Slap, Snappin, and Pop) should be championing Tobies, it's sweet to scorching highs can be extreme in a good way and yet with lows to spare even with the 2 tones zeroed, but dial up increased amounts of the (passive!) bass boost and WOW. these may be cheap electronics but are designed to make the most of all aspects while the alder body / maple neck combine into giving this little demon it's own bullish space no matter what price. name your favorite bass sound and it can at worst be nicely approximated, this thing has it's own sound but can find nearly everything else within it's broad spectrum, offering quite a delicious tonal pallet. all the knobs are very responsive and provide diverse mixes of surprising aural splendor, it truly is impressive at any stage on the dials, impose a really good amp or studio into the mix and I can only imagine the range of quality sounds to be had as I'm restrained in the apt. to my guitar rigs which I won't abuse with bass. this bass' output is even too much for my 15'' guitar combo except in lowest gear, so there goes the last excuse for not getting a bitchin (almost apt. friendly) bass amp. YAY! but the former owner had a few small but good bass amps and I was immediately and increasingly pleased with everything I quickly ran thru in the test drive. Sold on it in short order, blown away actually, after 5 min of examination I think he and his friend were suddenly bummed they were committed to selling it. once I got it home and dropped the action to soft butter there's been no looking back as it's SO easy to execute on that it invites you to play above your general abilities and do so for hours, everything is crisp and you can simply dance on this really nice dark slab fretboard. chording is pure bliss at all settings, it excels here, but I've yet to get ringing harmonics at subtler volumes / settings, on higher they're hard to suppress at times without good muting. whoever has dissed these over the years must have incredible standards, but I think mine are reasonably high and already am convinced this latest score will provide years of satisfied exploration. these certainly look to be perfect modding platforms, maybe others share my interests in upgrading their Tobies or have tips to impart. I can envision a beefy bridge, maybe Subways, or even a tremolo beyond the basics of CTS pots, or if in fact the stock humbucking PUs can be substantially improved. with little effort these could be yet more spectacular, and I doubt I'd be happier with a Cort Curbow, but I'll find out(!) and the only bummer of this is it sets back the Curbow dream and directly risks a G&L L2K Trib I'm drool over. this was too good to let get away, if you feel the same then join the Toby Club today!
    not a word would be worth posting without pics of my new CL prize (untrue in this case!)
    from the ad;


    the clincher - no headstock damage or wear!

    'free' gig bag (which I needed) and a ride back home. the best deal of my day, so far.
    plus a shameless promo for my friends at Island Guitars and their new showroom location

    ALOHA Toby lovers!
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2017
  2. Mark76


    Dec 1, 2015
    People. Please don't post after ingesting amphetamines

    Also. Full stops are good; as are paragraphs. Use them :p

    Apart from that, glad you like your bass. Even if it is exhausting to read about.
    bholder, Dbassmon and bobyoung53 like this.
  3. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I figured this would be an exclusive club, you see ...how could a 99 cent bass be priceless?
    wellllll lemme tell ya, after further review and a good nite's sleep I'll just use this opportunity to proclaim the guitar I own to be far more than just a poor man's Alembic, I honestly feel it's the best instrument on the planet and won't even be changing the strings. unless I had another of equal quality in hand I wouldn't take 10K for it, sometimes you just get lucky in life and after seeing so many on EBAY going for chump change you can bet I'll be getting lucky with a few more.
  4. plav1959


    May 7, 2016
    Orlando, FL
    Let's eat grandma!

    Let's eat, grandma!

    bholder, Woofer and Basstards like this.
  5. Old Blastard

    Old Blastard

    Aug 18, 2013
    Glad you're digging it!
    Bass V likes this.
  6. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    thanx, OB, I'm past the honeymoon stage and now am totally married with children over this amazing bass, it just keeps giving up the goods. I've had to do a search for blisters! and then there's this... Epiphone Bass Guitars
  7. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I'm assuming my S-IV is from the current era stock and despite a possible dispute between the former collaborators, Mike Tobias can be very proud of any connection with these Epi Tobys. the single coils and knobs on mine don't suffer from any extraordinary noise mentioned by Toby opinionators but PU / wiring upgrades on a second purchase will happen;

    ''It says humbucking pickups, they're not. Singly they sound like bacon sizzling. Not acceptable sound wise, but it plays GREAT.''

    ''some of you were looking for a fix to the noise issue. This is caused by the awful active electronics. You can improve that cool cheap bass a LOT just by rewiring the stock pickups passive - it will not only reduce the noise drastically but also improve the tone.
    - Cut everything that's attached to the "preamp" pot. You should be left with 2 gray sleeves (1 from the blend knob & 1 to the output jack) each containing a white and a bare wire.
    - Solder the white wires together
    - Solder the bare wires together
    - Wrap exposed connections in tape so no short circuits can happen when moving around''

    ''I've tested this tonight, not soldering yet, just remove battery and wired jack shield to ground and output from volume pot to jack tip. I don't think tone is better, it's more balanced and consistent but too dark, I miss the highs and the mids but I like the more natural lows this way.
    The active sound divides the sound into mid/highs and lows and amplifies everything but the amount of lows are added by you with the knob, I think it boosts some lower frequencies and in general is not a linear boost, some curve is used to clarify the sound. The result is a very hot output, with lots of highs and mids (tone control hardly lowers the highs but in the minimum which also cut the mids) and some very low frequencies unabled to be managed by many small/mid sized combos. Even with some mid size full stacks limiter is working more than usual, so a compressor for low frequencies is almost a need and and EQ to tame the highs is recommended.
    You cannot lower the volume, why? because volume control is at the input of the circuit, it's just the volume of the pickups themselves, and as the circuit has a floor noise you're not going to lower it, because there's no control of circuit output. This design is done in many active designs but mostly on those that have an active/passive option, for simplicity and also for a matter of impedance loading of pickups running in passive mode. For this bass is not necessary and it should be better to have the volume pot at the end of the chain.
    Any explanation of why is this done this way? why not blend feeding active circuit and a level control on it? why not even an active blend and an active tone control? I suppose it's all a matter of costs.

  8. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    reviewer comments;

    ''Since its a Tobias, I wanted to put a Bartolini preamp in it. I did and it sounds amazing. The pickups are a good match for the Bart preamp. It cuts through and sounds full and punchy. Lots of lows.''


    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017
  9. Hevy T

    Hevy T Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2011
    Lethbridge, AB Canada
    So did u just keep the original pickups in it?
  10. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I quoted another owner in that context but, yes, I'll mess with the next one I buy but not this one, who knows if they're consistent or not yet...? the wiring could be the only issue on some, but there's so much personality to be found from guitar settings to amp voicings that I'm happy just discovering them still. hands down these are the ultimate mod rods.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017
  11. rufus.K


    Oct 18, 2015
    I believe you
  12. jhm2112


    Apr 27, 2013
    Los Angeles
    I don't even know if you'll see this, but I have the white standard iv. I like the bass a lot because it's lighter than my other basses. I was wondering if you had sharp fret ends on yours like I have on mine.
  13. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    sorry to miss your post til now but, no, not a single one, in fact the neck and frets are some of the main selling points on these penny-pinchers. bummer you had that issue, I'd say it's not the norm for the Std. IV. did you get them fixed or move on? but, yes, the small size and light weight are big pluses. I'd like a white one!
    just checked in after half a year away from my Toby having bought a handful of nice tone-y players since my last mention to say how incredible it still is, even compared to far more respected and costlier basses which I've been enjoying a lot, it simply clicks all the boxes and feels like home. instead of the Toby Epi shoulda named these the Rodney.
  14. jhm2112


    Apr 27, 2013
    Los Angeles
    As in “Dangerfield”? I haven’t done anything with the fret ends so far. I was thinking of getting that taken care of and swapping the pickups for some quarter pounders. There’s a guy on youtube who did that and the Toby sounds pretty good. I’ve already replaced the nut with a bone nut since the plastic one broke. I also have some costlier basses and it’s been a while since I picked up the Toby.
  15. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    yes, RD, he and Toby get no respect.
    I never thot of replacing the PUs as I like'm a lot, but I'll look for that video re the 1/4 pounders, you never know!
    if this one had frethooks I'd be ignoring it as well til they got fixed asap, but they're perfect and getting back on it has been an eye opening reminder on how it has it's own cool sounds yet can replicate other classics really well, plus it's just so comfortable and fits my brain. it'll always have a favorite place in the lineup with qualities that sets it apart from everything else in the quiver and can pretty much do everything I'd ever want.
    congrats on scoring more that you like!
  16. jhm2112


    Apr 27, 2013
    Los Angeles
    It’s been awhile, but I was checking Toby standard iv’s on Ebay and there’s some ridiculous sellers there. One guy is selling a Toby for $1500. (Laughing emojis won’t go on my posts anymore)

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