MTD Tobias Beast 5-string Reviews
$500 from Jammin Jersey [online].
I hugely enjoy my Beast 4-string, so I've
been looking for a Beast 5. Actually, if
I'd seen the 5 "in person" I might have
changed my mind because it's not so light
and sleek like the 4 string. But I'm
happy that "buying blind" put this in my
hands. It's light-to-medium weight and
in all other ways very satisfying.
The maple fretboard give me more tonal
options with heavy flatwounds, keeps them
from sounding dead, especially the low-B
and especially since I like the Rotosound
black nylon covered flats. And it does
this with a simple passive 3-knob set up,
which I also like [simple-to-use controls,
no battery to die].
I can get really deep tones but with life
definition to them, and the upper end is not twangy, but it sings. The 35" scale
must be helping with the B-string. BTW it
was delivered with roundwounds and if you
want to hear RWs really strut their stuff,
this is your ax. I play RWs on SOME axen,
but this one -- NEVER, way too hot.
As mentioned, it's of reasonable weight and size for a 5 string [lighter than a Fender
4 string, etc]. It's also a wide-5, with
19mm spacing at the bridge, and a fairly
Looks cool too with headstock matching the
body [mines metalic medium red].
I don't care for the 4+1 peg-head layout.
It make for a long bass, and is counter-
intuitive when tuning. Has 2 gain knobs
but I prefer 1 gain plus a PU blend knob.
With the naked pole PUs, I tend to get the
strings stuck on the magnets when muting
with my right hand. I only experience
this on 5 string basses, never on a 4.
There are no dots on the front of the fret
board. This is OK with a dark wood like
rosewood but with maple, I got 25 frets
crossed by ten long parallel lines when
the spotlights throw the string shadows
sharply on the maple board. That's 200
little blonde rectangles and no visual
points of reference. Maybe it's just me,
but why DO maple Fender boards have those
huge black rectangular markers?
Guess you could lump all my dislikes as
just personal quirks. It's a great ax
in tone, action, weight, and balance.
Body of mystery wood, not too heavy, with
typical shape, sort of a sleek version of
a P-bass body. 4 bolt neck joint is very
user friendly, not blocky at all.
Neck appears to be one piece plus the fret
board, all maple, with the Tobias profile,
assymetical, thinner on the treble side.
4+1 peg-head, black nut, seems like very
ordinary plastic, plus a zero fret. 35"
24 fret scale. String runs are straight
crossing nut to pegs. Head is tilted back
and painted to match body.
Truss rod is easily accessed under large
cover plate at neck joint. I've used it,
work well. Bridge and tuners are HipShot
Ultralite. Standard [not extra long] set
of Rotosound flat fits, but barely [had to
push back a 1/16" of silk on just 2 of the
5 strings]. Strap buttons are conical,
not [my preferred] mushroom shape, but are
rather large, so the strap is secure.
Battery access is "on your other bass".
This one is passive, 2 ten-slug Bartolini
jazz PUs with exposed poles. Slugs are
set in depths that match the neck radius.
The tone control is very effective, as is
juggling neck to bridge gain balance, and
noise when they are set to very different
gains is minimal, almost totally absent if
using the lower half of the tone knob's
range. I haven't openned the control pit,
but my Beast 4-string is well shielded.
It's a "get the job done" ax with no major
warts, serious tone, and few "features".
3 yrs ago, looking for a 35" scale wide-5,
I landed an Ibanez custom shop BTB905 [the
ovangkol Japanese-made premium job]. I do
love playing it, but if I had found this
Beast instead, I'd be $500 richer and at
least as happy about it. The beast is
lighter, has simpler controls, an equally
huge voice [though less tonal adjustment
at the knobs], and doesn't eat pairs of 9v
batteries. OTOH, the flatter neck of the
BTB is friendlier, as are the markings on
its fret board. BTW, I have the same type
of strings on both the Beast and the BTB.
I'm rating it a 4 because it's basically
a user-friendly utilty 5-string with very
good tone. I'm very fond of it because
wide 5's are rare and I'm a klutz, but not
everyone needs 19mm spacing on their 5 [I
can play ANY 4, it's just with 5 that I'm
too klutzy for narrow spacing]. YMMV.
rated this unit