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Tobias C5 vs MTD vs Tobias Classic

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Fire-Starter, Oct 26, 2005.


  1. Fire-Starter

    Fire-Starter Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2002
    MINNESOTA
    Does anyone know if there is any difference IN SOUNDS between the older pre-Gibson Tobias C-5 with just the three knobs(SEE THE LINK) The pre-Gibson CLassic with 5 knobs and 1 toggle switch, and the new MTD -5. I was informed that I could get the sounds of the pre-Gibson Tobias basses with the new MTD ones??? please post if you have any of these basses, so I can make the right choice in the near future.

    Thanks much!

    link to early model C-5
    http://cgi.ebay.com/VINTAGE-RARE-Pr...tcZphotoQQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
     
  2. Figjam

    Figjam

    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    the pre gibson tobias's are nice, but the mtds are nice as welll.

    The mtds sound incredible.
     
  3. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Different animals entirely. I have a 78 Walnut 4, an 84 Alder/Padauk 5 and a 92 Ash/ Burled maple MTD 635... all very different. One thing they do have in common... excellent basses.
     
  4. Ian Perge

    Ian Perge Supporting Member

    May 11, 2001
    Evansville, Indiana
    I wouls imagine that the construction methodology (neck-through on OG Tobias' vs. bolt-on MTDs) would be the biggest single factor on tone.
     
  5. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    i want an old tobias...
     
  6. Fire-Starter

    Fire-Starter Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2002
    MINNESOTA
    DZ, may I ask why? :cool:
     
  7. N*Joy

    N*Joy

    Nov 30, 2002
    Birmingham, UK
    The impression I get with Tobias basses (and my limited experience) is that the common links such as Bartolini electronics makes them sound similar, however all the rest of the variation is totally dependant upon the wood. Just the impression I am left with, I've not tried one that was 'agressive' sounding enough for me yet.
     
  8. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    +1 I really love them both, but they are very different sounding basses. My guess is that the 3-stacked knob pre-Gibsons probably sound fairly similar to the 5-knob pre-Gibson Tobiases.

    Tom.
     
  9. lsu921

    lsu921

    Jun 6, 2003
    Addis, La
    +1. I've owned both and they are very different. All of Mike T's basses are revealing, so different wood combos will sound totally different too.
     
  10. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    My experience has been the opposite. IME Bartolinis don't make basses sound similar. For example I have an Elrick, an Ambush and a Brubaker with the same electronics package and they sound nothing alike. IMO Bartolinis let the sound of the instrument through.
     
  11. Niskamies

    Niskamies

    Jan 13, 2004
    Btw, that Tobias on the 'bay is not a Classic, it's a Basic 5.
     
  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    This is exactly why I rant about people wanting to swap out pickups. For some reason, many people have the impression that pickups are the biggest factor in the sound of a bass, but because so many pickups sound completely different on different basses, I think they're a minor factor at best.

    As for the comparison between pre-Gibson Tobias basses and MTD's, Michael himself told me a long time ago that he built his basses to correct what he considered deficiencies in traditional designs up to that point, and to bridge the gap between cheap basses and ultra-expensive basses like Alembics. At that time, a Fender P went for $400 and an Alembic Series I went for $3000, and he was pricing his at something like $1600. And selling the crap out of them, too. I know 4 or 5 guys who still have their Orlando Tobias basses and love them dearly.

    But now I think he has come around to appreciate some of those old-school "deficiencies" and tries to incorporate them in a package that appeals to fans of old Tobiases as well as Fender freaks. That's where I think the differences between the two lie. I don't know if you'd get identical sounds out of both, but I imagine they're in the ballpark since the big difference is bolt-on vs. neck-thru-body. To me, the MTD is a little more punchy and has a little less sustain, which makes it fine by me as I'm not a big sustain fan.
     
  13. Fire-Starter

    Fire-Starter Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2002
    MINNESOTA

    How can you tell? and Thanks for the info :cool:
     
  14. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Hmmm... maybe it's the chambering, but my MTD 535 has near endless sustain (and my pre-Gibson Tobiases have a lot of punch). But we all play differently (and hear things differently), so individual experiences may vary.

    Tom.
     
  15. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    The bridges are different. Here is my Basic 5:

    [​IMG]

    And here is my Classic 5:

    [​IMG]

    Sorry for the small photos, but I hope you can see the difference. According to Mike, the bridge in the Classic was a big step up in his cost (though I don't know about the performance benefits).

    Tom.
     
  16. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member


    I've asked Mike this, as I bought a Classic, which the shop thought was a basic..;)

    So - also, the Basic has solid body wings, whereas the Classic has a laminated top; the Classic has a matched wooden truss rod cover and cavity control cover, where the Basic just has plastic/metal covers.
     
  17. Fire-Starter

    Fire-Starter Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2002
    MINNESOTA

    Hey thanks, and YOU SIR. YOU HAVE A PRIVATE MAIL MESSAGE FROM ME. :D :cool:
     
  18. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    i like the sound and have always wanted one...
     
  19. Lo end PUNCH

    Lo end PUNCH

    Jan 28, 2005
    Racine,Wi
    To me the MTD's just plain sound better all around. One reason is I think that Mikes journey in bass building has brought him to a place where he understands the tonal functions of wood better that a lot of people.
     
  20. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings

    He understood them pretty well back in the 70's;)

    I've had my first Tobias longer than any other bass.

    Walnut/ Purpleheart 78:
    http://www.talkbass.com/photopost/showphoto.php?photo=996&size=big&password=0&sort=1&cat=500

    Padauk/Alder/Maple 84 Hybrid:
    http://www.talkbass.com/photopost/showphoto.php?photo=995&size=big&password=0&sort=1&cat=500

    Ash/Burled Maple/Wenge 92 MTD 635:
    http://www.talkbass.com/photopost/showphoto.php?photo=1712&password=0&sort=1&cat=500&page=1