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Tobias or Carvin

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BassGitter Man, Jul 1, 2005.

  1. Ive been interested in getting a 6 string bass... want to do alot of experimenting with it, and I believe Id enjoy 2 additional strings to work/play with.
    So far Ive been looking at Carvin, custom made to my choise. But now Im looking Tobias basic basses, they have seemed to catch my eye.
    Now could anyone tell me the important differences between the two, pros and cons and that sort of thing. Im looking for something that can be used to play anything but mostly rock and funk.

    I know price is a difference...but in the end Im willing to pay for a quality instrument. But anywho thats the two basses that I have narrowed it down to, and wanting to know everyones opinion on the two and which one they would perfer abd why.

    Thanks everyone
  2. vision

    vision It's all about the groove!

    Feb 25, 2005
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Endorsing Artist: MTD Basses, La Bella Strings, and 64 Audio IEMs
    what era tobias basic? there are the pre-gibsons, the nashville made gibsons, and now the new arkansas made gibsons.

    the new models are dramatically overpriced, i think you could get a michael tobias built mtd 635 cheaper than the new gibson tobias basses.
  3. the tobias that i was looking at was Tobias Basic and I believe its an arkansas made gibson.
  4. NCorder

    NCorder Smoke-free since 4/3/05

    Dec 26, 2002
    Dayton, OH
    IME, I'd steer far away from the Arkansas made Tobias basses. However, their Korean made Toby-Pro series are an excellent value.
    Personally, I have yet to be 'wowed' by a Carvin, though I can't think of a single negative issue of the small handfull I've played.
  5. It's been 5 months since I've visited - INCREDIBLY busy with school stuff, and I see your post!!

    I just came back from Nashville and the Gibson factory. I play a 6 string (playing for almost 30 years), and ALMOST bought a 6 string basic Tobias there - list for $3100 - but since it was the end of the month and they wanted to make a deal, I could get it for $2100. I needed a day to think about it, and went on ebay, and TONS of sites for reaction, pricing, etc. Everyone I talked with said the same thing - DON'T. And I believe them. Everything was right with this bass...except for the buzz at the 13th fret - sign of some kind of improper adjustment.

    On the way home, I stopped at a Guitar Center that just opened, and they had a 5 string Spector LX - wow...nice - great tonal range, and play easier than the Tobias. It's the Czech-made model, but a 6 string w/case would cost me right around 2K.

    My wonderment is do I go with the Spector (since I've wanted one since the 70's when I first started playing bass), or do I go all out and order a custom Overwater from Scotland (all I can say is wow.....it's the nicest thing I've EVER played) for about double that, plus international shipping. For my 30th anniversary of playing, I think it's time to get something decent, rather than value-oriented pieces of functional instrumentation that have at least one flaw. I'll pay $300 for something like that...but not $1900.

    For me, Carvins are nice, but there's something that doesn't speak to me when playing one like the Tobias did - If it didn't have the flaw, I probably would have bought it.

    That's my two cents - but if anyone has any Overwater vs. Spector advice, I'd like that too!!

  6. If you're just looking for "exploration," the Toby Pro might be an option - you can pick up a used one for between 500 - 700. If ends up being too many strings, you'll get your money back (and might even make a profit if you'd really like to upgrade).

  7. W.Nelson


    Jun 17, 2005
    i would lean more towards the carvin....I played several Tobias's and never found one that met my high standards..Im just not real impressed with the range on them...Alot of the new one's seem to have problems with electronics going out,at least so I've been told,....However I do find to Carvin's to have a great range of sound,..Good low's...better high's
    But i just recently discover Spector....Now that a great bass...probably the most comforatble bass I've ever played..It really mets all my aspects..light wieght,great range,good price.
    good looks,...This bass has more curves than my girlfriend....
    anyway, good luck with your decision.....always go with what YOU think feels right......
  8. dcr

    dcr Supporting Member

    A bassist that I've recently become acquainted with used to work at the Arkansas Gibson plant. When I went to his house to look at an Epifani 410, he had all sorts of neck pieces and cutoffs laying around.

    Just imagine a pile of 9-piece laminated wooden doorstops....

    But I digress. He gave me the whole story of the Arkansas Gibsons. Little to no QC, sub-standard workmanship for the price, costs driven by Gibson greed. His advice -- DON'T! And he knows his basses. I saw 3-4 Acacias, a Modulus, and a Lakland Skyline.

    However, I had a 3-digit SN pre-Gibson Tobias that I absolutley loved. IF I wasn't such an idiot, I'd still have it.

    If you're stuck on a Tobias, get a pre-Gib or Nashville-era. Steer far, far away from the new ones.

    I did own a Carvin years ago. Got it as a high-school graduation present (1983). Very nice bass, well put together, EXCELLENT customer service from Carvin. In my effort to experiment and learn, I broke the truss rod nut off [set neck LB20]. Carvin took the electronics out and put them on a new body for the price of labor. A tad heavy, but at the time they looked a lot like a Grabber, only thicker and that was a lot of maple. Only reason I got rid of it was for a honkin' deal on a minty 1969 P-Bass. Still have the 'P.

    Can't comment on new Carvins, though. But my experience was certainly a great one.

    Between the two, I'd pick Carvin. But the Toby Pro idea mentioned earlier certainly has merit. Might be the option that I'd take were it me.

  9. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    I've played a few Carvins and always been impressed by their workmanship, and unimpressed by their sound. I'm not sure if it's pickups or wood choices. The Arkansas Tobiases certainly don't have a good rep, for the areas previously mentioned. Our own G just got a beautiful 6 string Carvin that is passive, I'm anxious to hear that one! My suggestion would be to look for Yamaha TRB or Carvin used, Both are good values new but both seem to have mediocre resale. I have seen Carvin neck-through 6's for as low as $450. You may have to search the web, but if you buy from a shop most have try out periods on used stuff.
  10. Pickebass

    Pickebass Supporting Member

    Jul 12, 2004
    San Antonio, TX
    I've played the new ones and I have an old Tobias. There is definitely a quality difference. If you are looking for a reasonably priced "experiment" I would try the Tune basses at Sam Ash. For the money, it's a great deal
  11. Blues Cat

    Blues Cat Payson Fanned Bass Strings Owner Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 28, 2005
    Katy, Tx
    Payson Fanned Bass Strings Owner
    I ordered a Carvin LB75P & loved it. Had to order an LB75PF Claro walnut as well. The customer service is EXCELLENT. If you don't like it, just return w/in 10 days. I had a Carvin bass cooking in the kitchen twice last year. I would like to get an LB75 w/ J99s. Then, I'll be thru purchasing. (yea right)
  12. i Got a Carvin LB76F last year and i love it, if you can find a used one go for it, these things have very little resale value, and don't buy one unless you plan on keeping it forever for that same reason, and dont buy one at Guitar Center they will rip you off(If they have one)