Michael Tobias Design
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INSTRUMENTS

"The most important thing I learned is that no matter what the instrument is, it is first and foremost acoustic. If an instrument sounds weak acoustically, adding pick-ups will just amplify its shortcomings. Throughout my career, I have tried to apply this principal to everything I build. By experimenting with different types and combinations of wood, I seek to get the best possible tone from an instrument." - M.Tobias
 

Handmade Instrument Specifications

Models

  • 4-String              (MTD435)
  • 5-String              (MTD535)
  • 6-String              (MTD635)
  • 7-String              (MTD735-24)

Features

  • 35” scale bolt-on necks with 21 fret (plus 0 fret) standard on the 4, 5 and 6 string models, (24 frets optional).
  • 24 frets are standard on MTD735-24.
  • Standard necks are maple with a rosewood fingerboard.
  • Ash necks are available at no extra charge.

Body Choices

  • Medium-Weight Ash
  • Domestic Tulipwood (Eastern Yellow Poplar)
  • Alder
  • Makore

*Necks and bodies are available in a variety of combinations and we custom build-to-order for each Bass Player’s preferences.

Popular Combinations

  •   Domestic tulip wood (aka poplar) with exotic top, maple neck, rosewood board
  •   Poplar body with exotic top, wenge neck & board
  •   Ash body with exotic top, maple neck & rosewood board
  •   Ash body, with exotic top, wenge neck & board
  •   Ash body with exotic top, maple neck maple board
  •   Ash body with exotic top, ash neck, maple board.
  •   Alder body with exotic top, maple neck ebony board
  •   Makore body with exotic top, maple neck maple board
  •   Makore body with exotic top, wenge neck and board

Finishes

The MTD Standard Finish is a catalyzed acrylic urethane satin that looks and feels a lot like oil but is many times harder without building great thickness. This allows the bass to breathe, sounding more wooden. 

Other finishes are available upon request.

MTD Handmade American bodies and necks are ergonomically carved to allow comfortable access to the extended scale bass. In general, ash (medium weight) has more growl and is more aggressive, poplar bodies have more punch, makore has similar properties to mahogany, however it has more sparkle and presence. 

Alder makes a very warm, big sounding, punchy bass, slightly compressed. Adding a top helps to focus the low end. A hard top tends to create a quicker response with more bite and definition while a soft top will tend to round out the voice.

A wenge neck and board add compression and focus to the speaking voice of the bass. A maple neck and rosewood board is more open and slightly warmer than a maple neck and maple board. Ebony on maple is very quick in its response with lots of snap. 

We have been using ash as a neck material and found it to be very similar to wenge in its focus but more “open”. We think it works best with a maple board.

Electronics

The pickups and active electronics are a proprietary design for MTD made by Bartolini Inc. which consist of a master volume and pan pot, treble, mid, bass cut and boost, with center click (from neck to bridge). 

The three position switch selects the mid range cut and boost point. Down is lower mids, center is middle and up is upper mids. When the mid pot is at center click, the switch has minimal effect. 

The EQ has 2 batteries and is a +/- 9 volt system.

Equalization

MTD Basses can be made to sound very "traditional" by cutting the mids all the way at 1000 (switch in top position), and boosting the bass and treble to 10 with the blend pot at center. This offers a great slap tone. 

Boosting the mids at 250 ( switch in lower position), with bass at 10 and treble at 9-10 with the blend pot on the bridge pick up gives the early Bartolini TCT tone. This offers a very percussive finger tone. 

*These are just suggestions. The tone will vary depending on the rig and technique used.

Hardware

Bridges and tuners are custom manufactured for MTD American Basses by Hipshot. All MTD Handmade Basses use the revolutionary Buzz Feiten Tuning System which enhances tuning dramatically, allowing the player greater freedom of expression.

Available Options

Optional fingerboards (with additional charge):

  • Honduran rosewood
  • Florida Rosewood
  • Maple (regular or roasted)
  • Bird’s Eye Maple (regular or roasted)
  • Bubinga
  • Ebony
  • Rose of the Mountain
  • Pistachio (limited availability)
  • Epoxy Fingerboard (lined or unlined fretless)

Bodies

  • Black Limba, Korina, Walnut, Honduran rosewood
  • Swamp Ash (roasted or regular)
  • Roasted Alder
  • Black Limba
  • Korina
  • Walnut
  • Honduran Rosewood
  • Mahogany
  • Rose of the Mountain
  • Avodire
  • Chambers (semi-hollow)
  • Other choice exotic woods

Finish

  • Sunbursts, Rubbed Oil Stain, See-through’s 
  • Fades: red, coral blue, amber, tobacco, cherry

Other Options

  • Lined Fretless
  • Matching Peghead Veneer (matches face of instrument)
  • Matching Trussrod Cover (matches face of instrument)
  • Matching Trussrod Cover (matches fingerboard)
  • Piezo Bridge System (Ghost Piezo system in Hipshot bridge with
  • matching Bartolini preamp)

Artist Edition Models

  • Andrew Gouche AG4, AG5 & AG6
  • Norm Stockton Saratoga
  • Byron Miller PB4 & PB5

  • Lynn Keller 4 & 5

  • Bubby Lewis Super 5 & 6 

  • Justin Raines Saratoga

For pricing and options for each model, please refer to the price list.