Signature 5-String Bass Review

manufacturer: Tobias date: 03/21/2008 category: Bass Guitars
Tobias: Signature 5-String Bass
The Signature is for players who demand uncompromised quality in tone, playability, and appearance. From its bookmatched quilted maple, wenge, and walnut body wings to its 9-piece Asym thru-body neck, the Tobias Signature bass is a stunning work of art that will inspire you to achieve your best.
 Sound: 8
 Overall Impression: 9
 Reliability & Durability: 9
 Action, Fit & Finish: 10
 Features: 9
 Overall rating:
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review (1) 25 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9
Signature 5-String Bass Reviewed by: UG Team, on march 21, 2008
2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Features: The Tobias Signature is a beautiful instrument, effortlessly blending together modern style and sound with classic feel and playability. This bass is packed with features; from the styling to electronics this bass doesn't disappoint. Tobias is known for its fine craftsmanship, and you notice it on this bass as soon as it comes out of the case. The body is made of quilted maple, wenge, and walnut body wings. These woods are beautifully blended for just enough contrast, and just the right weight. In fact the body is offset and perfectly balanced, making this a bass that you can have on your shoulder for hours and not have any fatigue. The 9 piece thru-neck is the signature Tobias asymmetrical design. This makes the neck fit better to the human hand. While not immediately noticeable, the asymmetry really does help, especially while trying to play chords, or whenever one is playing in the upper register. The fingerboard is constructed of beautiful Pau Ferro. This wood is a member of and is almost identical to rosewood. The only difference is that the grain in the Pau Ferro is more pronounced. The Pau Ferro contrasts beautifully with the maple top, making for a bass that you really can't keep your eyes off. As beautiful as this bass is it is far surpassed by far superior electronics, courtesy of Bartolini. This bass is outfitted with two Soapbar style Bartolini's, wired into an 18v active system. This means that there is one battery powering each pickup. This results in a much punchier, thick tone. These pickups are controls by a Volume, Pan, Bass, Mid, Treble and Mid Switch. The volume control is a push-pull pot. When pulled it gives a low bass boost, an upper mid cut, and an upper treble boost. This feature makes for a very nice slap sound. While the treble control was a little too harsh for my liking (adjusting in the 4KHZ range), it was more than compensated for by the mid and bass controls. The control that one has over the mid-range on this bass is astonishing. It features a three way mid control Switch which selects the frequency that is to be tuned. You can choose from 250Hz, 500Hz or 1Khz. As if all this isn't enough, this bass comes with beautiful gold matte Grover Tuners, StrapLocks, and a Hard-shell case! // 9

Sound: The sonic possibilities of this bass are practically endless. While it is obviously optimized for a punchier, thumping sound, it can hold it's own in many environments. The control of the bass range is decent. The frequency boosted is such that it just gives it a little more boom; it's not over the top. The control of the mid range allows for a deep, muddy, booming tone, a crisp punchy, growling tone, or a high end lead style playing tone. However the high control seems to be the weak link of this instrument. It seems to add a lot of hiss to the instrument. The frequency that it boosts isn't really crucial. I would have liked to see something a little mellower. The weakest link in this bass is the front pickup. Most of the low end thump seems to come from the rear. The front pickup seems to just put out high end. Not even punchy, high mids. It is very reminiscent of the treble control being turned all the way up. That being said; this bass is definitely one of the most sonically versatile instruments on the market today. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: One really couldn't ask for more of a beautiful finish on this instrument. The inlays were perfectly done, and the body is light, balanced, perfectly rounded and sanded to perfection. The 9 piece neck is perfectly contoured. The action is low and buttery, just the way I like it. Every bass is custom fit at the factory. This bass really could play itself. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This bass is solid as a rock. This is greatly helped by the neck-thru construction. The 20:1 tuner ratio allows for awesome Precision tuning that never drifts. The strap buttons don't have any play. Of course you want to protect your investment (i.e. not dropping it) so Tobias includes complimentary strap locks. // 9

Overall Impression: It is truly amazing to me that they can produce basses like this one on a mass level. It really feels as if it has been custom made. This is by far one of the most beautiful, user friendly basses I have played. This added with the asymmetrical neck, the balanced body, and an overall weight of just 8 pounds. This bass practically plays itself! You really couldn't ask for more. Overall; a plethora of features and beautiful styling makes for infinite sonic possibilities. // 9

- Nicholas Cole-Klaes (c) 2008

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