Product Profile: The CRB

Another classic from Michael Tobias!

The CRB is another masterpiece from the mind of Michael Tobias. His design goal when creating the CRB was to offer a modern version of the vintage basses that helped create some of the great rock songs from the past. While he wanted to have the tone and "mojo" of these iconic basses, he wanted to have the reliability and performance that his modern basses are known for having. He succeeded on all counts.


The thing that caught my attention when I first saw the CRB 5-string bass is the very unique body shape. Michael opted to create a completely new body aesthetic for the CRB. There is some nice, subtle carving that makes the basswood body very comfortable to play. I also like the pickguard shape and placement. My review bass had the trans black high polish finish, which was flawlessly executed. The CRB is also available in a tobacco sunburst high polish finish. The new black headstock is elegant and now features Michael Tobias' name, which is about time!

All in all, the CRB is a great looking bass that has its own identity.


I should start this portion of my review by saying that I have been a long-time (27 years, to be exact) fan of active pickups and preamps. With that said, the CRB's single passive p-style pickup knocked my socks off. Michael obviously went to great pains to place the pickup in the sweet spot necessary to get both weight and definition. The output of the CRB is high and the tone is punchy as all get out. The control scheme is simple and easy to understand. The knob closest to the pickguard is the volume and the other knob is a passive tone control. I rapidly turned the knobs and did not hear any hint of noise or dirt. This is definitely a bass that players will not have any trouble learning to use. Just plug and play!

The MTD Kingston CRB 5-string


As I have come to expect from a bass with Michael Tobias' name on it, the construction is flawless on the CRB. When I assess the construction quality of a review bass I remove the hardware, pickups, and look inside any cavities, so I can see if the manufacturer tried to hide any flaws or cut any corners. The CRB is one of the cleanest, best assembled basses that I have ever reviewed. The frets were dressed perfectly and the neck joint was tighter than a club owner after a gig when you are trying to get paid.


Judging the performance of any gear that I am reviewing is, by far, my favorite part. The main reason is because I can take off my engineer's hat and just be a bass player. I plugged the CRB into an Aguilar half-stack and set the amp's controls to the middle positions. As mentioned above, the output of the CRB is surprisingly high for a passive bass. The tone is beefy and bright. When playing some of my favorite classic rock bass lines with a pick I actually turned the tone control down a little to take some of the bright edge off of the sound. The natural brightness of the CRB was a Godsend when playing with my fingers because it allowed the low B and E-string notes to have definition when the band was pumpin'.

The CRB has Mr. Tobias' signature assymetrical neck, which makes this one of the most comfortable 5-string basses to play for extended periods of time. The review bass had a maple fingerboard, which definitely helped to create the bright and clear tone. You can also get the CRB with a rosewood fingerboard if you want that warmer tone.


This is a serious instrument for players that want a vintage experience, but with all the benefits that come with a Michael Tobias bass. After several decades of reviews, the CRB is the first passive bass that I have liked so much that I bought the review piece. That is the best recommendation I can make.

Recommendation: I bought one for myself. 'Nuff said.



Previous Profiles:
The Heir

The Saratoga