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Fender*Music Man*G&L

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by silversport, Jan 15, 2008.

  1. silversport

    silversport

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    So...Leo Fender starts up Fender...creates magic...decides to retire...comes out of retirement with MusicMan...retires again...then gets back in the game with G&L...have I got that right (oversimplified of course...:p)
    What (if anything) made the Music Man better than a Fender or the G&L "best of the best" of Leo Fender???
    The guy was a genius but I am curious if the subsequent companies truly made better designs/products or if they were variations on the theme...thoughts????...please discuss...:bassist:

    Bill
  2. crkempton

    crkempton

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    hmmmm... interesting thought. I think they are just different designs, which appeal to different people. If i HAD to pick a favorite, mine would probably be Fender. (specifically jazz) fits into my style of music most.
  3. cammage

    cammage

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    The Young Guy
    Yes I do believe the subsequent companies did improve on eachothers designs...

    I know for a fact that some early fenders would have some wierd fretboard probles due to all the tuners being placed on the top of the head...

    When he came out with the MM series, the headstock had changed going more towards a 3 + 1 type.

    As for G&L, I've only had the privalage to play the L2000 Tribute...but from what I can tell it's a solid brand by all means.


    As for speculation I think he came out of retirement because he found ways to improve upon his original designs...
  4. silversport

    silversport

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    thanks for the responses so far...
    cammage...that's my point...Leo came out of retirement...and I'm only speculating here...because he thought he could still make a contribution to the bass and I understand he might have had to dance around patents he sold with the companies (perhaps the reason for the 3 and 1 headstock on MMs) but if he actually made improvements to the "state of the bass" those designs would be improvements (some might argue there was no need for improvement after the P and J basses...:p) and perhaps other outside influences impacted these designs (still need to make the product work for the money when we are not talking about an all out "pure" bass) so...
    Bill
  5. spideyjg

    spideyjg Supporting Member

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    There are a few books written on it but Leo was gravely ill in '65 and sold Fender. He signed a do not compete thing so couldn't compete with "Fender" for 10 years.

    During that time he built CLF Research and was making the MM instruments in partnership with some folks in '76 and that fell apart in '79.
    He dissolved CLF Research and formed G&L with his longtime friend George Fullerton.

    Leo never really retired. He tinkered with stuff until the day he died in '91.

    Lotsa details left out but that is the gist.

    Jim
  6. irvinz

    irvinz

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    has too much gas
    n if i remember right. he died after perfecting the G&L basss =p
    according to the legend ofcourse
  7. Stanley Design

    Stanley Design

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    Leo Fender wasn't a musician by any means, he was an innovator and made a living improving designs in many different fields, not only musically. He started Fender to improve on the designs of the field of musical instruments of the time, and of course he did an amazing job with the creations he made under the Fender name. Indeed he did get very sick and didn't expect to pull through, so he sold the company. He did pull through though, and created MusicMan at that point. With MM he did the same thing he always did. Improve on design flaws using innovation and the best technology available to him. Leo and his partner at MM had different plans, and things didn't work out, so he left and made G&L, and yet again, did what he did best. Improved on design and technology until his death. I have to agree with him when I say that between the Jazz, Stingray and L2000, the L2000 is the top of the crop. You can clearly see it when comparing them IMHO.

    There's a website where you can read the actual story in more detail of each move, as described by George Fullerton of G&L.
  8. MyUsernameHere

    MyUsernameHere ?????????????

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    I think 'ol Leo said that his best designs were the G&L basses.

    Personally, I take this to mean that when he looked at his own products, he thought the Fenders and MMs weren't worth buying and that anyone who did so was a moron with no taste or ability to intelligently judge the tangible aspects of what makes a bass guitar "good."

    Something to think about all you MM and Fender players.:bag:

    Anyway...that's just how I see it. I think I'll go play my Fender P and ponder why I made such a bad choice.;)
  9. Stanley Design

    Stanley Design

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    He said G&L was better because he wasn't looking at it from a players point of view. He was exclusively looking at it from the point of view of "I designed this....but then I fixed some of the problems and made this.....so the second one is better". He was especially focused on developing better quality pickups that sounded better. He especially thought that pre-CBS Fenders were worthless because of those reasons. He just didn't see the magic that older things had.
  10. Figjam

    Figjam Supporting Member

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    Music Man today isnt the same as leo left it. Ernie Ball has made the company better. The quality is higher and there are many new features that make the instruments amazing.If Leo played one today Im sure he would approve.

    G&L's are great but not my cup of tea.

    I love the fender tone, if you find one of good quality, they are great basses.
  11. Stanley Design

    Stanley Design

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    Absolutely agree, when Leo died the Bongo wasn't out yet, and IME it's the best MM out there. Has a cleaner more hi-fi and more powerful preamp than the L2000. I think Leo would like it better.
  12. silversport

    silversport

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    this is exactly what I was looking for...I will also search for those stories...I heard Les Paul talking about the newer Epiphone Les Pauls being made today and he said they sound better than some of his originals...he is very pleased with them as Gibson always sends them to him to try...extrapolating this to Leo Fender...I don't doubt the innovator in him made improvements...we don't all agree that the basses that came since the P and J basses are better...perhaps just different...but that makes this great as we might all be looking for something different...great discussion...please feel free to continue...and thanks!...:bassist:
    Bill
  13. mobax

    mobax

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    It's hard for me to choose between my American Deluxe Jazz and Musicman Sterling HH. I think if I had to pick just one, it would be the jazz bass. However, my drummer is in love with the musicman sound and I can't really argue. So the Sterling HH is what I gig with; the jazz goes along as backup. I have owned a G&L JB-2. It was a nice bass but it came in third to the Fender and Musicman basses I own so it was sold. However, I wouldn't feel bad about playing any of Leo's creations. There is something about a Fender (that includes MM & G&L) that just does it for me. As they say, your mileage may vary.
  14. bassrique

    bassrique

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    That's some strong stuff. Why do you think/feel that way? Tell us more.

    Edit:

    Wait, I didn't see the last part of your post. Were you doing shtick?
  15. MyUsernameHere

    MyUsernameHere ?????????????

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    You got it.;)
  16. silversport

    silversport

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    sarcasm...:D
    Bill
  17. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member

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    Builder: Valenti Basses
    They're all great basses.

    Personally, I think that the Ernie Ball Ray's feel and play better then the Pre EB's. I've owned 2 pre EB's and still have one and it doesn't feel like the newer Rays.

    Fender Basses are GREAT. Lots or really great ones, lots of not so great one.

    G&L basses are awesome. Personally, I think the older ones, when Leo owned it, are much better sounding then the newer ones. I have an 84 L-2000 that SMOKED every other newer L-2000 I've compared it to. To bad the neck is warped and I messed up the preamp when I tried to take it out once but it's still playable and sounds killer passive.

    Here's the family:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
  18. silversport

    silversport

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    very nice...nice to follow the lineage...
    Bill
  19. Bone

    Bone Supporting Member

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    Leo did say he thought G&L was the best instruments he'd ever built. But if you think about it he was building and promoting G&L guitars at the time. I doubt Leo would say, "Yea, these G&Ls are OK but not nearly as good as the stuff I was putting out when I owned Fender". Make sense now?
  20. spideyjg

    spideyjg Supporting Member

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    My Sabre keeps all the EBMM offerings at bay so far.

    I can do that family thing too Nino...
    Too heavy :(
    [​IMG]

    Too heavy...:(
    [​IMG]

    2 years younger than the Sabre and notice the evolution...

    [​IMG]

    People get hung on the Fender name and don't realize the man continued to design stuff long after his namesake company.

    Fender basses 51 up to 1965, Leo in charge. MusicMan 76-79, Leo. G&L 1980-1991 Leo. I asked George Fullerton why the first rendition Stingray was a slab body when in the Fender years they had made the contoured bodies. He said,"It wasn't our company." The MM partners had some say in the product and once that dissolved Leo and George made the G&L's they way they wanted to.

    Arguably Leo probably put out more models in the G&L years than the Fender years.

    Jim

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