BGRA: MTD Kingston Heir 5 String

Manufacturer MTD Model Kingston Heir 5 String
Reviewer Scott Richards
Experience 25 Item owned Less than 1 month
Review Date 2003-01-10 Price paid $400 used
Bass type5 string fretted
Neck joinBolt-On
Neck constructionHard rock maple, 1piece
FingerboardMaple, 24 frets, 35" scale, Feiten tuning system
BodyBasswood with figured maple top
FinishTobacco sunburst with white pearloid pickguard
PickupsCustom MTD MM style humbucker in bridge position and single coil jazz p/u in neck position.
HardwareBlack Hipshot tuners, and vintage style bridge
ElectronicsPassive volume/volume/tone
The Heir is built in Korea to Mike Tobias' specs and is the sister to the Kingston with the single MM pickup. While I haven't had this bass long enough to have run it through every possible pace, I can say that the Heir is one of the best values on the market. Exremely comfortable to play and sonically superior to just about anything in it's price range. It's not as visually striking as a multi thousand dollar exotic wood bass, though for under 5 bills it's way better than most similarly priced basses IMO, but the tone and playability more than make up for visual deficiencies. The figured maple top is very sweet and the tobacco sunburst finish against the maple board is classic. I can do without the pickguard, mainly due to it's odd shape, but that's purely subjective. It does present a bit of a setup inconvenience in that the pickguard must be removed to access the truss rod. Looks nicer without it but removing it leaves an unsightly veiw of the truss slot and the oversized neck pickup cutout. If you're not needing to adjust the truss rod regularly, the pickguard shouldn't be an issue. The neck is one of the most confortable to play I have ever owned and the bass balances very nicely when strapped on. I've always liked Mike Tobias' body shapes and this bass is no exception. The hardware is good for the price range although I intend to upgrade the bridge to a quick release type as they are much more convenient when changing strings. Tonally, this bass is killer. Very punchy and warm. It is a bit on the dark side without an onboard preamp but some high end can be dialed in at the amp or a preamp can be added with the ample room in the control cavity (I have an Aguilar OBP-3 on the way) The MM humbucker allows for a great stingray type tone that's not as harsh in the upper mids as a typical SR. The pickup is a tad closer to the bridge than on a SR so soloing this pickup yeilds a more growly sound great for fusion or cutting through a band mix. The slap tone is perfect. Dailing in the neck pickup fattens the tone up significantly and gives the bass it's own unique voice. The single coil does add some noise in noisy environments but no more than any other single coil. Basically, I love the sound of this bass and plan to use it for most of my all nighter gigs due to the comfort/playability factor. Even after adding a preamp and bridge upgrade, the Heir is a great value (around $750 total invested used - probably closer to $900 if new). It suprises me that more stores aren't carrying these. Customer serice at MTD is superb. Mike was very responsive to all my inquiries and backs up his product with pride. You can't go wrong with an MTD.
construction (90%)
playability (98%)
appearance (90%)
sound (98%)
value (100%)
service (100%)
overall (95%)
The BGRA is generously underwritten by David King of Bass Guitar Systems.
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