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What am I looking at here?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Tat2dHeart, Dec 22, 2012.

  1. Tat2dHeart

    Tat2dHeart Only two strings away from an attitude problem.

    Came back home to podunk nowhere and ran across this in a local music shop. She plays pretty sweet, but I can't find any good identifying marks. Any ideas who might be the builder?





    The shop owner said she's a Michael Tobias, but she doesn't feel or play like any Tobias I've played so far. The tag says "Michael Kelly" but a google search of him suggests acoustic basses, not electric. She's kind of got a Peavey look going on in the body style, but the inlay doesn't look like anything I've ever seen on a Peavey.

    Any ideas, anyone?
  2. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Phillipsburg, NJ
    They are sold on Ebay Often dirt cheap but High shipping. Hand made overseas. I think there are several similar sellers but I have been following this one for years. I'm pretty sure it is his work. You could send him the picture and ask him to be sure. Well worth a look IMO.
  3. bass10bfb

    bass10bfb Prophet Low End Provider Gold Supporting Member

    May 5, 2011
    Newport, TN.
  4. I thought I saw a seller on ebay, selling from Vietnam with about three or four different bases inlaid like this. this was three or four months ago. I cant remember exactly but it sure looks familiar. I did a quick search and don't see any listed right now. It sure looks sweet!
  5. Just a guess, but maybe they're Antonio Tsai basses.
  6. PlussBassist


    Nov 14, 2011
    I saw an almost similar bass on a Norwegian trading site (almost like a Norwegian eBay): http://www.finn.no/finn/torget/tilsalgs/annonse?finnkode=38545033&kwUnica=ebs

    You probably won't understand much of the description, but it translates to something like:

    "Nice 5er from Antonio Tsai. One of the best basses I've ever played in this price range. Soft touch and good definition all the way down to the bottom. Active electronics and handbuilt pickups." Price: 3500,- NOK (about 600 USD)
  7. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Phillipsburg, NJ
    Hey maybe it's antonio Tsai? Lol
  8. Tat2dHeart

    Tat2dHeart Only two strings away from an attitude problem.

    Interesting - I'm checking out the links on all these now. She's pretty to look at and plays pretty nice - but before I consider making a move, I would prefer to know what it is and what its worth if you know what I mean.
  9. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV
    Interesting piece. Sure doesn't look like Mike Tobias's work, though. You got to play it? How's the neck and fretwork?

    Any markings on the heel plate, or back of the headstock?
  10. Clef_de_fa


    Dec 25, 2011
    Looks like a Peavy body with a refinished Yamaha neck and a lot of aftermarket inlay
  11. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Phillipsburg, NJ
    The components always seemed very generic to me. As I stated above I have been following him for years but never got to try one. They definitely have the looks but how do they sound? How was the weight/Balance?
  12. Dredmahawkus


    Nov 4, 2012
    how can they possibly make that stuff and sell it for $100?
  13. Tat2dHeart

    Tat2dHeart Only two strings away from an attitude problem.

    It's nothing like any Tobias I've ever played, so I'm pretty sure it's not any of his work. I did get to play it. The neck is straight and comfy. Frets were in good shape - not PLEK level, but pretty consistent for height up and down and across the neck. No lifting along the edges, either.

    The back of the headstock had no markings at all and the plates were clean. I asked if the shop owner would open her up and look for other identifying marks, but he declined (5 minutes to quitting time and other customers in the shop - he was the only one working).

    I played this one for about 20 minutes - really liked the way it felt. Balance was good and no neck dive. Not overly heavy - comparable to my Lakland 44-02.

    I liked the feel and the sound. I did find it curious that the hardware is sort of mismatched - gold tuners, but chromed bridge and knobs. ~shrugs~ Never can tell with people, right?

    I just want to be sure that if I go back in and make the guy an offer, it's a fair offer. I'm sort of...um...frugal. Yeah - let's go with that - and I love the sport of haggling. :D
  14. Clef_de_fa


    Dec 25, 2011
    It is what I thought, I'm really sure about it.

    Attached Files:

  15. dickfitts


    Jan 18, 2012
    From some guy in Vietnam, for sure. Not sure of name, but they've been selling on ebay for between $400-$750. Best of haggling luck! Let us know more!
  16. cdef


    Jul 18, 2003
    It all seems to be a kind of Vietnamese cottage industry. Apprentices get to work on Chinese-made bodies and necks through lots of middlemen, until the completed instrument ends up on eBay under the name of "master craftsman" Antoniotsai. There have been many complaints about insufficiently cured wood splitting, much filler in the inlays, and so on.
  17. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass **** Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    The fact that the headstock inlay is under the truss rod cover is telling, and the heal/neck pocket work isn't all that great looking from the pictures. I would steer clear, I'm not saying it's junk, it just looks like a cheap overseas built bass with cool inlay work.
  18. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    + whatever. Not a Tobias.
  19. Tat2dHeart

    Tat2dHeart Only two strings away from an attitude problem.

    Thanks, peeps. The consensus seems to be Antonio Tsai. Now it's up to me to decide what (if anything) I decided to do about her. I'll let you know when I do. :D
  20. aproud1

    aproud1 Don't surround yourself with yourself. Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2007
    Cincy, OH
    Just skip it and save your money for a Clement... :bag: