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Tobias "Toby" basses, any good?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bass Kahuna, Dec 5, 2002.


  1. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    Hey Gang,

    I am looking to get another 5 and maybe another 6 string, and I have found a place on the internet that sells the Tobias "Toby" basses and has the Pro-6B custom 6'ers with bubinga body sides, etc. for a little over $700, and the Toby Pro-6 with flamed maple body wings and tobacco sunburst for a little over $600.

    They are both neck through basses, using wenge and maple 5 piece laminated necks.

    I have never seen or played a "Toby", so my question is are these some type of cheap-o import knock-off (like an epiphone les paul)? Has anyone played one? How is the quality of the materials and the sound?

    Any input on these would be greatly appeciated. If they're poorly made, and low quality, then the price ain't worth it, but I figure I need to find out at this point!

    Thanks,
     
  2. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    Melnibone
    They are made in Korea, and only available at MusicYo (that I am aware of). I guess you could consider them like an "Epiphone". I'm sure they don't compare to a "real" tobias. BP magazine gave them a good ITPR review. I think they are pretty good, especially for what they cost. I haven't seen a nicer looking, better made, neck-thru for that price. It's sounds pretty good, but put a better preamp in it and it would be a killer bass.
     
  3. punkfunkfreak

    punkfunkfreak

    Dec 16, 2001
    ^AGREED^

    try a search and youll find alot of peoples reviews of these instruments. I have a pro...and all i may ever want to do to it is put in a better pre. Great instruments. Of course they arent the real thing. But thats not the issue. Its how good they are for the price...and IMHO they could easily stand up to a "real" MTD kingston (which is in the same price range)
     
  4. Steve

    Steve

    Aug 10, 2001
    I have a pro-5 and it's a great ITPR bass.
    I changed the pre to a Bart HR5.4 and it became a great bass at any price.

    I liked it so much I ended up buying a "real" Tobias.

    And yea, ther ain't no comparison between the two but one was a $500 buy-in and the other was $1,800.
     
  5. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    Thanks,

    FYI.... I run all my basses "stereo", that is I split the output for each pickup to a seperate output jack and run them through seperate rigs each geared to the sound of the pickup, therefore the pre-amp is a non-issue as I would end up yanking it out anyway (had to do the same thing to my Carvin LB76, my `71 p-bass, etc.).

    I figured that they wouldn't compare to a real (ie: pre-Gibson Tobias), but for the price?!

    Thanks again!
     
  6. punkfunkfreak

    punkfunkfreak

    Dec 16, 2001
    You cant "yank out" the toby pre. Its integrated...(lowers production costs)..you'd need to rewire some new pots up.
     
  7. I have the ultra-cheap 'Toby Deluxe'

    Yes, it is cheaply made, but it sounds big fat funky good. Lots of bass players ask me about it at the gigs... "That thing sounds damn good, what is it?"

    If it ever got stolen or damaged, no harm done....
    Quick, cheap and easy to replace.

    The Pro series, I've heard on TB and BP mag., are quite good, and definitely a notch above mine.

    But I'm sure they'll never compare in quality and workmanship to a real Tobias or MTD. Got chedda?

    B
     
  8. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    Hey PFF...

    That's what I would be doing, and what I have done to my Carvin and other basses. I end up removing everything except the pickups and starting over from scratch with all of the electronics, which just means new pots and adding a second output jack.

    I'm mostly concerned with the overall quality of the woods, finish, and how it was put together. Anything else I can either fix or whatever myself.

    I just saw a barely used one on eBay for around $400.

    Thanks!
     
  9. punkfunkfreak

    punkfunkfreak

    Dec 16, 2001
    Aha, ok....cool.
    Well, remember the B models have a "profiled neck"....assymetricaly profiled. Ive never played a bass with this feature so i wouldnt know how it would feel. Could be a Plus or a Negative. Especially on re-sale.

    The construction is flawless ITPR. A great example of a neck thru IMHO. Very nicely done.

    As i said, i havent tried the B (bubinga) models so i wouldnt know about their build quality.
    The string spacing is a bit small, some people cant deal...i could..
     
  10. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    The original Tobias had an asymmetrical neck profile as well. If the B series has the exact same profile, they should be very comfortable.
     
  11. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    Well, it's a small world. One of the guys here at my day job just bought one of the bubinga 5 strings Toby Pro's from MusicYo within the last week. He says the low end is really incredible, agrees that the preamp, tuners, and bridge are not the best and will be replacing them, as I would, and that it had never had a really good setup put on it.

    Anyway, once he gets it setup with his choice of strings (Ken Smith rock masters, same as me!) he is going to let me play it through my rig and check it out.

    I'm really hoping I like it, `cause if I do I could buy both a 5'er and a 6'er for what I was planning on possibly spending for another Carvin LB76..... actually wouldn't buy both at once, (BTW.. I am planning on taking a router to my LB76 to put in pickups that will support the width of the 6 strings better, I am considering either the Bartolini M5's or the EMG HZ-45's, so the idea of getting a bass that I wouldn't have to do this to right out of the box is also making me lean more towards one of these Toby's over another Carvin, along with the bubinga body and wenge neck woods...)

    Kindest Regards,
     
  12. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    Melnibone
    I wouldn't automatically assume the bridge and/or tuners need replacing. I haven't had a problem with either. They may not be the "best"; however, they are not crappy either. They do their jobs as well as any other bridge and tuners I've had.
    It's sounds to me like the Toby might be perfect for your purposes. I would be interested in knowing how it turns out.
     
  13. punkfunkfreak

    punkfunkfreak

    Dec 16, 2001
    you mean the pre gibsons? jeez, is it subtle? i played a classic once and I didnt even notice....
     
  14. punkfunkfreak

    punkfunkfreak

    Dec 16, 2001
    Agreed. I might replace the bridge one day...but its perfectly good at the moment. The tuners are the gotoh type i think....whats wrong with these? theyre stable and do their job...
     
  15. DaBassman

    DaBassman

    Mar 25, 2002
    Oneonta, NY
    I bought a Toby Deluxe 4 (lefty) 2 years ago. It's really a very nice bass. (I think they're getting $100 more for them now!)
    I also just got a lefty MTD Kingston from MF on sale for only $299 last week. It's great!
    I was going to sell my Toby when I got the Kingston, but having 2nd thoughts because I like it so much....
    But, I'd check out those MTDs on sale before you get the Toby!
     
  16. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    Hey Gang,

    I checked out the Toby Pro-5B with asym neck that the guy I work with bought, and here is my unsolicited, unpaid for review of the instrument. He bought the one with the bubinga body wings and wenge/maple neck.

    Construction: Pros: Very good overall. Excellent fit and woodworking. All joints very smooth, no rough spots, etc. Cons: There was a slight crack in the end of one of the wenge sections of the neck laminate at the body end. The crack was in the wenge itself and not the joint between the wenge and the maple. Definitetely need to keep an eye on that crack. (Personally, I would send it back now....)

    Finish: a few rough spots here. Overall the oil finish was very "thin" and dry. Could definitely use a few more applications of tung oil, especially on the end grain areas. The endgrain areas on the headstock were VERY dry and also still a little rough. Final sanding and polishing needed there and again, several more applications of tung oil needed. Lastly, the sides of the neck above the body were extremely dry and not finished. Probably due to machine buffing which cannot reach these joints.

    Sound: Very strong and dark low end. This bass had a ton of deep, smooth low end! Wow! The combination of the bubinga wings and the wenge in the neck really put out the smooth, growly, low register. I had to really play with the eq settings on my rig to get the highs to jump out.

    Overall it was a nice bass, "ITPR", but not sure that it was enough to sway me away from another Carvin. hhhmmmm.......

    Thanks everyone, for your input on these basses.