G&L compared to Musicman Basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by 2meterbassman, Nov 2, 2012.


  1. 2meterbassman

    2meterbassman

    Joined:
    May 18, 2012
    Location:
    Münster, Germany
    Hi there,

    I'm a big fan of Musicman Stingrays Classic and the modern style basses with nice woods - and some of the G&L basses remind me to Musicman basses.
    Of course, because the sources of both is Leo Fender.

    I know the qualitiy standard of Musicman basses - but I never had the chance to play a G&L.
    Sometimes I hear that G&L basses and guitars are minor quality, something like Far East stuff and so on.

    So the question:
    your thoughts about the quality of G&Ls compared to Musicman?
    And: I'm talking about actual basses, not the quality of yesterday.

    Thx a lot, greetz
  2. Randall

    Randall

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    Location:
    Canada.
    I would say they are on par quality wise. Both at or near the top of the "factory" type basses.
  3. CnB77

    CnB77

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
    Location:
    NJ
    Quality wise they are very similar. I wouldn't be worried about any huge problems with either, regardless of country of origin (can't speak to the new Musicman SUB basses though)

    I will say that I just didn't find the G&Ls I've played to be my cup of tea. I don't know what it is, but it might have been their pickups. I like underwound pickups, but the electronics in a G&L are hotter than most others. Probably more to it than that, but it's something to consider.

    (on that note, I'm not huge into MMs, but I'd take one before a G&L most likely)
  4. vgbob

    vgbob

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    I have a USA SB-2 and it is equal to (or better than) any other bass I am familiar with (in the price range).
    I will say I agree with Cnb77 the P pickup is pretty hot. You
    will have to turn it down to keep from overdriving some amps.
    On that model I'm not excited about the 'tone' arrangement which consists of a J pickup and volume. It is OK, but I will
    probably add a tone pot at some point.
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  6. dougjwray

    dougjwray

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2005
    In my experience, both are very, very well made. Both have a high output. Even in passive mode, G&Ls are hot! But to me, Music Man basses sound more "aggressive." G&Ls have something about them which makes them sound kind of "compressed", or too smooth, if that makes any sense. Just for comparison, passive Fenders aren't as loud, but they have a less complex, purer sound which gives them a clearer "voice." (Again, all in my opinion.) My Music Man Stingray 5-string doesn't have that organic passive Fender tone, but its preamp is fantastically versatile and useful.
    Hope this all helps. And, again, both G&L and Music Man instruments are exceptionally well made and consistent, so that shouldn't be a worry.
  7. Flabass

    Flabass Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2008
    Location:
    St. Petersburg
    I currently own 4 USA G&L basses. I love all of them. My current go to is an SB-2. I have even had a tour of the factory in Fullerton, CA.

    I have played a couple of MM's but never owned one. I just feel the G&L fits my sound and feel better.

    Can't speak for the Tribute line though. I believe they are currently made in Indonesia. For a couple of hundred $ more, you can get a used USA G&L.
  8. fisticuffs

    fisticuffs

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    Location:
    Madison, WI
    Disclosures:
    Product Specialist for Musical Instruments, Full Compass Systems
    Flabass, is that an Emerald Blue Metallic SB2 in your avatar? I've got a hollowbody ASAT in that color. Best bass I've ever owned. I keep buying other backups but they rarely get used. Can't go wrong with a G&L or MM.
  9. Handyman

    Handyman

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Ha! Well, if under-wound pickups are your thing, its hard to imagine that G&L pickups would do it for you. Those MFD pickups are about the hottest passive pickups you'll ever see.

    Very, very different sound than what you'd get from a Stingray or Sabre ,despite the visual similarities.

    As far as build quality, the other posts are right on. The US made MM and G&L basses have very similar build qualities.
  10. Chef

    Chef Moderator Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2004
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    1
    Location:
    Columbia MO
    Disclosures:
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    ^^^^Yup.
    I was a G&L player for many years.
    Then, I started moving more towards a single coil J bass thing.
    Currently, I don't own any, and probably won't any time soon.
    The G&L thing, on a whole, more thicker, woolier, and more lo-fi than the J bass thing I'm currently into

    On the other hand, the MM thing, on the whole, can be more about "deep bass, sizzling treble," which isn't my thing either. I've had 5 or 6 over the years, and never bonded with one.
    Great basses though.
  11. DrumsAndBass

    DrumsAndBass

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Both share equal quality. I chose G&L because I knew that I'd be able to modify its tone for me as a passive bass. The Music Man pickups for me would not work well in passive mode. I made significant changes to my G&L L-1505. I paid a tech to remove all -and I mean all- of the stock G&L electronics. I sold the complete set. He installed new pots, switches, output jack (metal football shaped type) and all wiring. No new holes were drilled. I had him install a Stellartone TonsStyler pot. My bass has no battery. The G&L MFD pickups are so very good that they sound astounding with this simple wiring system. No regrets. This is my primary bass.
  12. Emibass

    Emibass

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    Sep 12, 2009
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    Handyman, I think you got it wrong. He said he liked under-wound pickups.

    About the G&L. IMHO the pickups are very very good but the pre-amp didn´t do it for me so I changed to a Glockenklang 2 band preamp. Now I can go from more traditional tone to very hi-fi. I have the Tribute version and it feels very solid and resonant. After the preamp change I don´t think there´s tone I coudn´t copy.
  13. smcd

    smcd Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2009
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    As others have pointed out, Musicman and G&L are of similar build quality - which is excellent. I've owned 10 each of both brands over the years, and thought every one was superb. MM and G&L basses are as good as you'll get at their price point, and are better built and finished than any Fender in the same price range.
  14. packhowitzer

    packhowitzer 155mm of pure destruction Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2011
    Location:
    Atlanta
    I don't disagree with this, but i will say that the only G&L I've ever owned (albeit an L-2000), was really quiet. It was an 83 tha t i bought used in 06. A great bass, but not enough output. I very much wanted to keep it- but it was far quieter than the 98 stingray that i had been playing. The next year EB came out with the Stingray HH, so i sold the G&L and bought an HH. I had no regrets. But i recognize that my experience is not the norm. ymmv
  15. lowfreqgeek

    lowfreqgeek

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    Mar 15, 2010
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    Albuquerque, NM
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    Endorsing Artist: Regenerate Guitar Works
    Here we go again... who asked about Fender?

    I've owned multiples of each brand and currently own one each G&L, MM, and Fender. All three are equally on par with each other in every way - and on par with my hand-made Rick Turner Electroline.

    OP - You really can't go wrong with either choice. It's down to what features you want and tonal preference you have.
  16. spufman

    spufman Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2005
    Location:
    Central CT
    I do now and have owned and loved numerous EBMM and Leo-era G&L basses. Overall I give the nod on purely design, materials and build quality to EBMM, especially for their necks. But the G&Ls are excellent, too. Tone-wise, they are certainly different beasts. I think my single favorite tone is out of my old JJ SB-2, raw rock-n-roll. Built like a tank too, if a bit clunky.
  17. smcd

    smcd Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2009
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Fender is the benchmark to which all basses are compared. Especially US-manufactured basses in the $1,500 range made by companies started by Leo Fender.


    But hey, next time I bring up Fender, I'll check with you first to see if it's ok. :D
  18. bassgod0dmw

    bassgod0dmw Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2007
    Location:
    White Plains
    News to me as well, coming from a Fender guy.

    As for G&L vs MM, they are both stellar production basses. When comparing US models, I'd give the nod to G&L. Better fit and finish, although MM is no slouch.
  19. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2008
    Location:
    Just south of Atlanta!
    I disagree that they're similar. EBMM basses feel a lot nicer to me than G&L basses. The few GLs I've played were comparable to some of the better MIM Fenders I've played. Not bad basses, but they weren't amazing. I think Lakland Skylines are more similar in quality to EBMM basses.
  20. StuartV

    StuartV Out of GAS!! Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2006
    Location:
    Bristow, VA
    I have an SR5 H, an L-2500, and an SB-2. I'd rank them all equal on quality.

    I think the G&Ls both have a more "aggressive" sound (for lack of a better word) than the SR5. I usually play my L-2500 in passive mode yet it and the SB-2 are both as "hot" as any other bass I have owned.

    Regarding the SB-2's lack of a Tone control: I also thought that was a problem, so I bought all the parts so that I can add a Tone control. But, before I did the upgrade, I took it to a jam and played it like it is. And, in the mix, I found that it sounded just perfect like it is. So I have never bothered doing the Tone mod to it. The next thing I want to try with it is some flatwound strings, just to tame some of the high end noise that I can hear when playing alone. I use flats on my Fender P, my fretless J, and I just put some on my L-2500 and I really like them on all those basses.
  21. kellyrojo

    kellyrojo

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    Location:
    South Carolina
    Its best if you can try both to really decide. They are both great instruments and really built well. Someone comparing USA G&L to MIM Fender is pretty laughable. 99% of the time your MM and GNL will be flawless in fit and finish so it comes down to sound and feel-- l2000 and MM feel and sound different so that is what its all about. I love MMs but own a l2000 and it is amazing and versatile. Good luck

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