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Tobias Growler 4: Need specifics

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by rojo412, Oct 22, 2003.

  1. rojo412

    rojo412 Sit down, Danny... Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    I spotted a Tobias Growler 4, used, good shape, decent price. Thought it would be nice to have a 4 as a teaching bass, as well as a 4th backup. I am not too stupid about these basses, I know what plagues them most of the time, but if anyone wants to shed more light on other issues or correct the upcoming analysis, please do.

    The issues I've seen in most of these:
    The electronics are poorly done in stupid ways (bad soldering, shielding issues, etc), the dual truss is a pain in the butt and the tool is a rare find, the bridge is mounted too close to the nut and the saddles go all the way back to the back of the bridge at proper intonation, Barts aren't my fave.

    Well, here's the thing: I know how to fix all these problems myself. If there are more common issues, please enlighten me.

    Here's why I'm considering it:
    It's US made, retailed near $2000 when new. The combo of woods work well for tone and stability. The pickup can be replaced with one of at least 3 different aftermarket MM pickups. The 4 holes and 2 switches in the EQ could be filled with one of MANY different EQ combos. The shape sits well on one's body. It's a looker.

    So... what would you current or previous owners say about what I said? Am I wrong? Missing something? Misguided? Would it be a mistake for me to buy this bass?
  2. LarryJ

    LarryJ banned

    Dec 12, 1999
    Encino, CA (LA)
    If a player picks up an instrument, and it sounds
    GOOD, and FEELS right, then case closed.
    There's too much emphasis placed on status issues like cost, brand name and exotic woods.
    I have a Tobias Renegade, made in Nashville by Gibson. I bought it 'cause when I picked it up, it felt great, and when I became familiar with the Bart pre, I made the mother SING!
    I haven't noticed bad soldering, the bass is very quiet; my tech tweaked the truss rod just right for great action & intonation (& loved the bass);
    The truss rod wrench IS a special tool, and it might be problematic if that bass doesn't come with one.
    I prefer the Bad-Ass bridge on my '69 P-Bass as well as the great G&L & MM bridges on my basses but I haven't had any major problems with the basic Tobias saddle adjustments.
    Others have posted about big issues with their Tobias basses, I can't complain at all.
    Personally, I would leave the pups stock and just play the **%# out of the bass.
    You seem to like how it feels and thats what matters. Good luck; Have Fun.
  3. rojo412

    rojo412 Sit down, Danny... Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Okay, fair enough. Good points. I guess what I forgot to ask was how the basses hold adjustments? You know, like compared to other basses. I have a Status, Steinberger, Warwick now. I have had tons of basses over the years. What ticks me off is when you can lightly blow on the neck and BOOM! It's out of adjustment. Do the Growlers suffer from this?
  4. SMG

    SMG Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    metro Detroit
    I know exactly what you mean by the need for neck adjustment. Here is what I can say about the Gibson Tobias basses. Most are really good. (I have heard that pre-Gibson are all the better, but I don't have first hand experience to compare too.) I two Classic 5's, a Basic 5, a Basic 6, a Killer B 5 and a Growler 4. The neck on one of the two Classics is really touchy, the others are all quite stable.

    It seems that all Gibson era Tobias basses look like speghetti on the insides, especially the upper models (Signature, Classic, Basic and Killer B) from when they changed over the electronics in the mid 90's. That said, I have never experienced any electronic problem with any of mine.

    As said before, if it feels and sounds good, it is generally good.

  5. LarryJ

    LarryJ banned

    Dec 12, 1999
    Encino, CA (LA)
    I had to have an adjustment made on my Renegade when I switched over to the XL gauge strings I like to make this bass a great slapper (RotoSound
    "FunkMasters" 30-50-70-90) This would be expected on just about any instrument I think.
    The great feel of the 3-piece assymetrical neck and the light ergonomic design make the bass a pleasure to play, & when I switch from my ASAT or P-Bass its like a sportscar!
    I think the same holds true for the Killer B's,
    Growlers, etc. I've heard the complaints too, but I have nothing but praise for mine.
    If you go with the Growler, get it tuned up and enjoy!
  6. rojo412

    rojo412 Sit down, Danny... Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    The issues I have experienced were as a GC employee and I'd fix our used ones or play someone's trade in.

    1) We had a G4 with a jack that was a bit loose and the Ground/wire retainer was hitting the shielding and cracking REALLY LOUD in the amps.

    2) Same bass, the saddle of the E had to be pulled back all the way for it to be close to intonation. I'd probably use taper-core strings to fix that now.

    3) A guy brought in a G5 with a neck that looked like a roller coaster. Dual truss won't fix warps.

    4) The truss adjusts I did for various basses didn't seem to work well. One bottomed out and the neck still needed tension.

    Some is partially the owner's fault, but as long as you guys with Growlers say they are good if kept up, I'll take your word. I expected a backlash of post-Gib hate, but it sounds like they were better than some people claim.
    I've always been pretty happy with the ones I've played tonewise. No, they don't sound like Musicmans, but that's good, IMO. And as far as I could tell, if EQ'd right, the bad Bart tones can be overcome by good Bart tones.
  7. LarryJ

    LarryJ banned

    Dec 12, 1999
    Encino, CA (LA)
    I've also read a stream of posts from players unhappy w/ their Gibson-built Tobias'.
    I don't doubt for a minute that their issues were valid. Also posts from players like me who LOVE the instruments. The consensus seemed to be that there were good and bad instruments produced out of Nashville. Fair enough.
    It took me time to dial in the sounds I wanted from the Bart set-up on the Renegade (TC-7 pre,
    jazz & soapbar pups, etc. It was way different than the very powerful 3-band on my Sterling.
    But I got it, and working with eq on my amp(s),
    it can kick some ass! I believe that the "higher"
    series of Gibson-Tobias had an even more sophisticated eq, i.e. 18-volt pre's etc., and I did a gig w/ an excellent player who used a Growler 5 and sounded fantastic. He also told me he dug the heck outta the bass.
    I've owned & played a lot of high-end basses. I wouldn't say the Gibson-Tobias product was equal to the best of the best, but...IMO they can hang!
    Happy playing w/ whatever you choose.
  8. rojo412

    rojo412 Sit down, Danny... Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Well, I'm getting an Ibanez ATK instead. Thanks for the help. If anyone is interested in the Tobias, it's at GC Cleveland (North Olmstead). Tagged at $599.
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