TB48 review by Tokai

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 7
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 10 (1 vote)
Tokai: TB48

Price paid: € 260

Purchased from: Used

Sound — 8
I mostly play our band's own stuff and my own music. We play blues, rock and funk influenced instrumental music, that kind of groovy jamming stuff, and my own stuff is usually 80s style hard rock. I pretty much only use this bass to play with my band and to record my own music. I focus more on guitar playing when I play alone. I don't even have my own bass amp, though I'm thinking of buying one. At home I play the bass unplugged or through my guitar effect processor (DigiTech RP355) when I record. When I play with my band, I use the Peavey TNT130 amp at our band practice place. The bass can do a variety of sounds. The neck pickup sounds Precision-ish. Not exactly like a Precision but something a bit similar. I use the neck pickup position the most. When I play with pick, I might use both pickups, sometimes I just use the neck pickup. Both pickups give kind of tighter sound than neck pickup alone. The bridge pickup sounds more trebly than the neck pickup, I would describe the sound as punchy and mid range oriented. It lacks the "depth" of the neck pickup (not necessarily a bad thing) and sounds kind of "jazzy" and the most thin of the pickup positions. It's sometimes useful for finger playing but I don't like using pick with it. It's definitely the position that I use the least. The sound of this bass can get a bit muddy if bass frequencies are boosted too much. I had to cut the bass on the Peavey amp a lot more than when I used my friend's Precision. You just have to tweak the EQ depending on the bass you use but that's pretty obvious. I think the bass has more "character" than our schools Ibanez basses and that's what I like. It's not as recognizable sound as Precision or Jazz but still it doesn't sound boring like the "generic bass sound" that our school's basses have. They might have more tone shaping features and active electronics and stuff but they just aren't for me. I like passive electronics and sounds that have character.

Overall Impression — 9
Before I bought this bass, I used my friend's Squier Vintage Modified Precision Bass for a year. I thought that it's about time to buy my own bass. Originally I was looking for a used Fender Precision but I couldn't find a reasonably priced one and then I saw this great deal that I couldn't pass. It only cost almost half the price of a new one. I went to a music store and tried similar model and I liked it. It didn't sound like Precision but I liked the sound and how it felt in my hands, better than the Precision that I thought felt great in my hands. I have been able to play the bass for many years but I really started playing it more seriously when I joined the band. Before that I had always used our school's gear (I had some school band projects). I have also been playing the electric guitar for three and a half years and other gear that I have are DigiTech RP355 multi-FX, Laney VC30 guitar amp and Charvel So Cal guitar. I didn't really compare this bass to anything in the music store I tried it but I remembered how my friend's and school's basses felt and sounded and I was impressed. It felt great and even though it didn't have the Precision Bass sound, it still sounded great. There's really nothing I hate about it, other than the neck heaviness. But it doesn't even bother me any more, I have got used to it. So other than that, there's nothing that I would change in the bass. I like its looks, sound and feel. If it were stolen or lost, I think I would buy something else for a change, maybe a Precision or a Jazz Bass. But if I couldn't find anything reasonably priced, I would buy it again. I would recommend you to check this bass out if you are looking for a decent bass in this price range (400-500 euros), no matter what genre you play. IMO the body style doesn't even scream "metal" but some people think it only does metal. They are wrong, I don't even play metal with it. I think it's a classic body style that fits every genre, just like Precision or Jazz does.

Reliability & Durability — 9
I don't see why this bass couldn't stand live playing. It seems pretty solid. I have played it live once and will play it in the future. That's what I bought this bass for, to play with my band. I think I would still bring a backup bass to a gig. You'll never know what could happen. Strings do break and it's not the fault of the bass. Though I don't own any other basses but I think I could borrow my friend's bass for a backup. I have changed the original strap buttons to strap locks to be sure that it won't drop when I'm playing it.

Action, Fit & Finish — 7
I can't comment on the factory setup because I bought it used but I assume that the previous owner didn't make any changes to the setup. It had a bit fret buzz and I needed to adjust the truss rod a little to get rid of the low fret buzz. It also had some high fret buzz that I got rid by adjusting the action a bit higher. But otherwise there were no flaws, though the factory strings were crap. They sounded dull and my D string snapped and I didn't even play it hard. It sounds much better with new strings.

Features — 8
I bought this bass second hand but it wasn't really used that much, it was almost new. The bass was made in China, I don't know the year. It's a Thunderbird style bass. It has alder body, 34 inch scale length, maple set neck with rosewood fretboard, 20 frets, two passive humbucker pickups, two volume controls and one tone control. The bridge doesn't look similar to Gibson/Epiphone Thunderbird bridge, but that might be a good thing because I have heard that people don't like Gibson Thunderbird bridges. I like the way it looks, mine is black which I prefer to sunburst (which is the other available finish). Feature-wise it has all that I need. The only thing I would consider as a downside is the neck heaviness. You'll get used to it though. Also the neck is pretty big, fat and wide compared to other basses I have tried. It might feel a bit different to play. I don't consider it as a good or bad thing. I find it easy to play, though slapping on this bass seems harder. I think the neck feels better than my friend's Squier VM Precision and the Ibanezes (SR300 and GSR200) we have at our school.

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