If nothing else, I am a man prone to obsession once something sparks my fire. Unfortunately (or is that fortunately?), I tend to have many obsessions. I have cab obsessions, amp obsessions, bolt-on bass obsessions, and neck-through bass obsessions, to name a few. But, very near the top of my list has been my longtime love affair with the basses made by Michael Tobias. It was only long after the dreaded "G-word" came into play that I was able to even consider buying one of his basses, but the thought that I might be able to find one of Mike's early basses was never far from the surface. So, in typical Tom Bowlus form, once I found myself a nice pre-Gibson era Tobias, I quickly had to jump on two more! I keep telling myself that it beats a drug addiction... Right??? At any rate, I am lucky enough to now own three of Mike's early basses. The red one is a Basic 5 (#766), and this was my first score. It has birdseye maple wings, and a pao ferro fingerboard. Mike tells me that this is the unofficial "Jimmy Haslip model." The next one I picked up is the Classic 5 (#602; in the middle). It was actually made for one of Michael's employees, Richard Oblinger ("Obe"). It has a highly figured koa body, purpleheart top, and some serious flaming in the maple in the neck. My latest acquisition is the bubinga winged Basic 5 (#1353). This was made in Burbank by Mike and his crew, and Mike claims that this is one of his favorite wood combination for these basses. Here are some shots: Here is a closeup of the inlay at the 12th fret on Obe's Classic 5: And a better look at the killer koa body: I have nothing but respect and admiration for Michael Tobias and his work. Truly, I consider it an honor to own even one of these "mythical pieces of wood." Given that these are somewhat hard to come by nowadays, I just wanted to share the images of these beautiful instruments with my TalkBass brothers and sisters! Of course, Michael's contemporary work is pretty darn nice, too... Take care, Tom.