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Tobias Killer B 4 questions

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by rojo412, Jan 8, 2004.


  1. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    I am looking at a Tobias USA Killer B 4 string. I was all ready to snag it, but the issues it has have made me decide to ask those more in the know. So here are the questions/issues/comments:

    1) The pickups seem to be wired wrong. In the middle position of the pan pot, there is practically no volume. I looked inside and of course it's a mess of wire. Has anyone ever experienced this with these basses/barts? Are there factory wiring diagrams for this bass or similar? Is this going to be an easy fix?
    For the most part, I'm pretty good with electronics, but the use of the "black box" style preamps, not to mention 2 in 1 bass, have me a bit confused.

    2) What does a 4 string like this usually sell for? It's red, it has a bit of a chip on the stringer portion of the headstock (on the back, in the "circle"), it has some poorly touched up scratches on the lower waist portion (can't see from far), but other than that, it looks nice. No case, no neck tool.

    I appreciate any and all help, advice, info.
     
  2. todd 4ta

    todd 4ta

    Apr 3, 2003
    Indiana
    I believe there were two basic versions of the Killer B. I think you can tell them apart by the headstock. On some, the headstock is all black, and on the others the headstock is more wood with a darker center stripe. My theory is that the newer models had the wood headstock, and also had the dual trussrod and on the preamp, the switch was a mids selector. I could be wrong, but that's what it looked like to me. I think on the older versions, the preamp switch was active/passive or something besides mids.

    The preamp is a pretty standard Bartolini NTMB so you could use their wiring diagram off the website as a good starting point. I bought someone's spare Killer B preamp onetime and was able to almost completely install it with the standard Bartolini diagram (there was one extra black box in the Tobias version).

    My Killer B 5 was around $800 a couple of years ago (it had the wood stripe headstock, dual trussrod, and mids switch). BNW has a Killer B five for around $1200 (not sure if that's used or new).

    I just looked and Gibson has completely updated the Tobias part of their website, including info on the Killer B.

    Here it is: Tobias (GIBSON)

    I thought that I recently saw something about them restarting the Tobias line, but I haven't really looked into it. The Growler model has slightly updated control layout, so there must be something going on. Contrary to my theory above, this new version of the Killer B has an all black headstock.
     
  3. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    I saw the new website, it was interesting, but not too informative.
    The headstock has the stripes, not solid. I can't really remember which one came first.
    When I looked at the pan pot, it looked like the pickups weren't even connected to it. Looked like the pre was the only thing on it.

    Any more info?
     
  4. todd 4ta

    todd 4ta

    Apr 3, 2003
    Indiana
    Bartolini has two wiring schematics available on their website for the NTMB family: NTMB-918 and NS2TMB-18. The only difference is the NS2 has an additional dual buffer module.

    Here is the link to the page with the acrobat files (bottom of the page for NTMB): Bart Schematics

    You may be able to contact Gibson/Tobias to see if they have any of the wiring diagrams for the older versions. With the new line coming out, they may have dusted off the old files.

    I believe the preamp in the Killer B was the same as in the Classic, Basic and other neck through model. (It looks like they locked that website down, maybe they didn't realize some of us still had their old bookmarks saved. Maybe wasn't ready for general consumption yet.)

    Does this one have dual trussrods? Is the small switch 2 or 3 positions?

    Trivia: I'm pretty sure the 'B' in 'Killer B' refers to it being a bolt-on, not having a 'Killer B-string'. Of course, the 'killer b-string' wouldn't apply to the 4-string version, right.
     
  5. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    I didn't check the truss. It does have a 3 way. The Killer B does stand for bolt on.

    I'll be honest, the reason I was considering this bass was the price tag and resale ability. It's at GC, so of course, it's priced wrong in the consumer's favor. I would have snagged it if it had a case, the adjustment tool, and working electronics... but it didn't. I don't play a 4, so I'd never really use it. I am a fan of repairing stuff, so I want it as a project, but I don't think I'd make enough to make me happy, so it's still in limbo.
     
  6. most killer B's only come with the 2 way little switch (mid control). The three way is the 'better' electronics though both my killer B's have the 2 way switch and I am perfectly happy with each. I have played both. THese are great basses...I am a big fan. All the killer B's have dual rods as far as I know. I don't know if they imported any killer B's, if so, they may have single, but I don't know as I have only dealt with the USA models. If you get it, take some time to enjoy it some as you'll probably find out for yourself that these are great axes...