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Tobias is a cool guy

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Dano59, Mar 14, 2009.

  1. Dano59

    Dano59 Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2009
    Charleston Illinois
    I am in the process of getting a MTD KZ5 in tobacco burst and I have been reading all the posts about changing the pickups and pre-amps and how the stock setup is week.
    Well everything is relative and I would bet that my new bass will blow away my ESP B-205.
    But anyway, I thought I would call MTD and see what I could find out and so I dial up MTD not thinking it was after 6:30pm east coast time and a guy answers with a non buisness "Hello".
    Realising it was more than likely after hours or I dialed wrong I asked if it was MTD and he said "yes what can I do for you". I asked if he was with customer service and he sai "well this is Mike Tobias What can I do for you?"
    I explaned my concerns and asked his recomendations.
    He took all the time I needed to answer my questions and concerns and said that he thought I should play it as is for a month or so before making any changes and that there are a lot of players including some touring pros that play the same bass as it comes and would not change a thing but after I play it if I want to make any changes to call him back and he would be happy to walk me through the changes needed to get the sound I want.
    He talked to me like a buddy just trying to help me get the most out a relativly low cost bass I already purchaced.
    That's customer relations done right for the right reasons.
    A cool dude in my book.
  2. blmeier7


    May 7, 2006
    Amarillo, TX

    Mike is a nice guy. I had a MTD 535 years ago that had an issue with the neck and Mike personally helped get it resolved.
  3. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    That is very cool to hear. In my limited dealings with Mr. Tobias' customer service (I own a 635, but purchased it used), he has been nothing short of stellar. I'm proud to own one of his basses.
  4. That's awesome to hear. It feels so good when customer service is above and beyond. I had a recent experience with a parts supplier and their customer service was top notch. It's so nice when you feel like a valued customer, not just some joe schmo.
  5. p0werslav3


    Feb 21, 2009
    Phoenix, AZ
    Great to hear good customer service stories.

    I'm more than willing to pay a bit more for something if I receive quality customer service :D
  6. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    That cat is BEYOND cool. In fact, he is the nicest, most helpful individual with whom I have dealt in the industry.

    Oh, and he makes a HELL of a bass.
  7. GregC

    GregC Johnny and Joe Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2007
    I've never dealt with Mr. Tobias, but I always hear great stories like this about him. I like that he collaborated with Lakland on their hollowbody--you rarely see "rivals" joining forces like that for a production bass. His picture is still on the page.
  8. KenToby


    Aug 15, 2002
    I have the same bass you are talking about - Z5 in Tobacco burst. Mine has a Maple fingerboard and I'll tell you what, talk about a workingman's version of the American MTD!!! I have a US 535-24 and this import, I seriously thought about selling the US MTD based on tone and quality. The tone is DEFINATLY that modern MTD voice and the feel is great as well. The asymetry shape of the neck is a bit more pronounced on the import but to me this is a moot issue. I really like how the dark edges of the burst hide the fact that the top is so thin; it gives the illusion that the burl goes all the way through. The hardware is great; the quick change bridge is thick so there is no flex and the sealed tuner are by Gotoh. Oh, and that zero fret is sthe exact same system that is used on his $3000 basses. Seriously, the only reason I may want to keep my American made 535-24 is simply because that it is made by Mike Tobias, If I close my eyes and let tone and feel dictate my decision, I would sell it tomorrow!!!
    Get the Z5, it a wonderful instrument!!!!
  9. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Many years ago - probably around 1996, I called Tobias inquiring whether he still offered a double gig bag that Bass Player Magazine had reviewed many years earlier. I had never seen its equal.

    When I called, he answered the phone personally and seemed suprised that I remembered the item. He said he only had one left, his own personal one that he used on some weekend jams, and apologized that they weren't being made anymore. He offered to sell it to me anyway at a good price, and I accepted.

    It arrived with a handwritten note from Mike himself saying that he hoped I enjoyed it, and he included a set of strings that he suggested I try.

    You've gotta love people who are not only great at what they do, but are just simply great people.

    Oh, and twelve, thirteen years later, I'm still gigging with the same bag.
  10. Blues Bass 2

    Blues Bass 2 Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2001
    Davenport Iowa
    I had the same experience. I bought a used Z5 and the B and G string were a little weak so I E-mailed MTD on a Friday night expecting to get a reply on Monday. I got a reply that night from Michael Tobias himself and he arranged for me to get the right pickups for my bass shipped to me and even offered to put them in and setup my bass if I wanted to send it to him. The bass already played unbelievably good so I just had him ship the pickups and I sent him mine. Very,very good customer service.
  11. Shy Guy

    Shy Guy

    Sep 23, 2008
    Templeton, MA
    Oh, thank god, I thought you were going to type, "Tobias is a cool guy, eh kills aliens and doesnt afraid of anything"
  12. excane

    excane Banned

    Aug 23, 2005
    New York, NY
    Mike is awesome. Always answered my emails promptly and phone calls were a pleasure....always made sure to answer my questions as clearly and concisely as possible.
  13. MrWalker


    Apr 3, 2002
    I have the same experience with Mr. Tobias. I own one of his very early Grendel basses, from the time before the MTD logo was put on them, the "Grendel, by MTD" version. It's a great 5-string, and I was considering getting a KZ6, to have "the same" in a 6-string bass. So i shot MTD an e-mail and asked a few questions about them. I was expecting getting a reply from a sales representative or something, but I had a full and long answer from Mike himself back in my inbox within an hour or two (and mind you, this was also after business hours in US, and i didn't expect an answer till the next few days!).

    I had the same experience with Tom Clement, Bill Conklin and Andy Rothstein (just the other day) and a few others (including the late Greg Curbow, who took his time to answer, but came back with a long and good answer once he got around to it). There are a few builders out there that are really great persons! And I'm sure there are others, too. We can always hope that the bad service guys are few and far between. :)
  14. PocketGroove82


    Oct 18, 2006
    I love the way we are amazed to hear a human voice that speaks english on the other side of the telephone when we call a company these days. Nothing against MT...just a poor social commentary on our expectations.

    Thankfully, many great bass builders are small time jobs.
  15. ezstep


    Nov 25, 2004
    north Louisiana
    I am currently reading "The World is Flat" so I can agree with PocketGroove.

    I got into NAMM once in Nashville and met Mr. T. I told him that I was about to fly outside the continental US and didn't want to carry my Alembic because of airline "handling." He showed me the new line of Kingston, available in lefty, and told me to wait a few months as the "active" Kingstons/Heirs were coming out. I purchased the first one in the state, emailed the company a couple of times about concerns, and Tobias himself answered both times. I have a photo of the two of us on my wall at work. Only a couple of students have "got it." Very cool, very genuine guy.
  16. GregC

    GregC Johnny and Joe Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2007
    No one said that.:confused: I see a bunch of folks impressed that they got an answer afterhours when they called (or emailed). Honestly, I don't think that happened in the old days that much, either--businesses often kept shorter hours than they do now.

    Anyway, let's just agree that Tobias is very cool.:)
  17. Pickebass

    Pickebass Supporting Member

    Jul 12, 2004
    San Antonio, TX
    Pocketgroove makes a great point. We have all become jaded by lack of personal service. There are many small companies that do not take the time to answer your calls. When they do they act as if you are bothering them.

    I called Mike recently myself looking for a pickguard for a MTD heir and he looked and said he would get back to me... and he did!! Also asked him a few questions about an old Tobias standard I have and he was more than happy to take time out of his day and give me a real answer.

    I have called a manufacturer that many here have spent money with in regards to an older instrument, and my questions were basically blown off to try and sell me a new one.

    It may seem overblown, but how often do you really get good customer service?? Much less with the guy who's name is on the door??
  18. Virgil Walker

    Virgil Walker

    Nov 22, 2004
    Dresher, Pa
    I purchased an MTD 535 from Austin Bass Traders. After I had it for a few months, I had two dead spots on the neck. I called Mike Tobias, and after several discussions, he asked me to ship it to him; instead, I drove it to him. He stopped what he was doing, and tried to correct the problem with some adjustments, but nothing worked. He said, I will buid you a new bass. I said no thank you, he said then let me build you a new neck, which he did. When I picked up my bass, I took out my check book to pay him, and he said, your money is no good here. If my basses stop you from being able to express yourself, that's my fault, and I will not take a dime from you. I have since purchased another bass from him. He is an outstanding luthier, and a tremendous human being. His customer service is second to none.
  19. Sean Baumann

    Sean Baumann Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Livin' in the USA
    I had a very similar experience with Mike Tobias. Mike is awesome to deal with and stands behind his product. When I had a "perceived" issue with my MTD 535, I sent it to Mike to check it out. He basically told me that I've either got an inhuman ear or are extremely picky, but he wanted to make sure I was satisfied. I was absolutely floored when he offered to build me whatever I wanted as a replacement. Talk about going the extra mile.

    I'll keep my MTD until the day I die.

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