"So much has been written in the other 44 reviews that it is hard for me to find a reason for even writing this review . The best that I can come up with is to mention the mods that I have made to mine and a little bit about how the bass feels/sounds.
The first thing that struck me when I picked up this bass and gave it a twang, was that it had a deeper than expected (acoustic) bass tone. I usually associate '70s JBs with ash/maple and a fairly 'brittle' acoustic tone/feel (albeit very funky ). Although I didn't realise until after I'd bought it, this GL sig bass actually has an alder body. The net result seems to be that it has a 'warmer' feel, so that if you fret the low F and pluck hard with your finger, you really feel the vibrations running deep into the body of the bass. My experience with (much heavier, 1970s) ash bodied Fenders, is that you get more initial attack and a bit of 'clang' when you do this, but the note itself isn't quite as deep and smooth. All fairly subjective stuff, I grant you, but I immediately had a good feeling about how this Japanese bass was going to sound when amplified .
Plugged in, it delivers what I would describe as a 'slightly fleshed out' 1970s (ash/maple) Fender Jazz Bass tone. I had a 1976 Jazz (ash/maple) until recently and after it had had both pickups rewound to give a better signal, the tone from that bass was very much like this Geddy Lee bass, but without quite so much in the mid range band. The Geddy is not 'mid heavy', don't get me wrong - it has a slightly 'scooped' tone and just sounds a bit 'stronger' than my actual '70s Jazz.
Playability is, quite honestly, about as good as it gets. There's nothing to fault on mine . The action is as low as it is possible to set a bunch of bass strings, whilst still allowing them room to vibrate, and every fret plays cleanly at moderate pressure. Digging in hard causes a bit of the 'rattle', which the chief endorser of this particular model seems to revel in . The slim neck is quite deceptive too. To me, it feels wider than a normal J bass neck (it isn't), because the slimmer curve on the back is slightly reminiscent of the Fender P Bass (IMO). Either way, it's easy to adapt to ... and hard to leave behind ! Now, when I play my other two (Tokai) Jazz Basses, the necks feel like baseball bats . Oh well!
Fit and finish on this bass are just as good as anything else (Fender-based design) that I've ever had my hands on. As long as the neck pocket is tight, the frets are well finished, the hardware is screwed on straight and tight and the paintwork is smooth, what else really matters!? This is no Squier! It looks and feels like a top flight instrument to me and I have no qualms about saying that the fit and finish are, for me, just as impressive as on EBMM instruments and the Sadowsky Metro range. Maybe I've been lucky with mine though, as I understand that some early ones had issues with the paint/hardware .
On the subject of hardware, I should stress that (IMHO) there is really nothing at all wrong with any of the hardware on this instrument (at least, so far). Some reviewers here site 'lousy tuners' as an issue with their GLs - not this reviewer! I was expecting the worst, but these Fender-stamped, '70s style machine heads are tight, smooth and look very authentic. My bass is (AFAIK) a very recent one, so I wonder if the supplier has changed for these parts!? I even have a spare set of Hipshot vintage ones that I could have put on, but I won't bother - there's simply no need to!
Same goes for the pickups. Internally, they look exactly like '70s Fender Jazz pickups to me (same colour wire, similar amount of turns) and they make the bass sound (as I said earlier), very close to the original, funky '70s JB. This IS a great bass for slapping . In fact, when plugged into the Sadowsky preamp pedal, I can cop what I would swear to be a tone to rival the MV4 Metro bass that I had a couple of years ago . To MY ears though, this Fender-Sadowsky combination sounds better . If I do ever change the pickups, it'll only be to satisfy my curiosity about how others might sound.
So, pretty exuberant stuff so far .
Still, nothing is perfect and this bass is no exception (for me). For starters, I'm in (I believe) the small minority of people who believe that the Badass II bridge is not actually a way to enhance the tone of your Fender, but rather a way to rob your Fender of it's character ! I've tried them before, on several different Fenders and the result is always thus:
1. Install Badass II.
2. Marvel at how big, square and generally 'bad ass' it looks .
3. Restring bass and notice how a new, piano-like quality has crept into the attack of each note and the responsiveness has increased slightly .
4. Play it for a little longer and wonder where all the smoothness and 'twanginess', which attracted me to the Fender bass in the first place, has gone .
5. Take off Badass II bridge and reinstall original 'bent metal' one.
6. Live happily ever after .
In this case, the bass only came with the Badass II, so there was nothing to 're-install'. I went with my preferred option - the Hipshot 'Vintage' type bridge . It's ugly (I think), but it seems to retain all of the original tone, as well as allowing for quick string changes. It's probably light to, FWIW .
Second task was to strip the bass down and shield all cavities properly, using copper foil. I now do this with every single bass that I own (even those with hum-buckers), as the difference in hum reduction is incredible. Things were made easy for me on this Geddy Lee model, as it already employs star-grounding (all earth wires running to a common earthing point) and the pickups have brass grounding plates, which helps to connect the pickup cavities with the control cavity . My Geddy is now silent when it's supposed to be silent (and a raucous bitch the rest of the time ).
The next mod will be to swap out the w/b/w pickguard for a b/w/b one. Yes, I know that this is an utterly pointless exercise from a players POV, but it will make me love the look of the bass even more - black'n'maple with blocks is my favourite colour-scheme of all time. Period.
That doesn't leave much to fiddle with , apart from the strings. I've already installed a 'Marcus Miller' set of DRs. That worked !
All in all, this is a rare example of a bass which is worthy of all the hype, IMO. It's not priced anywhere near the US '75 Vintage reissue (well, here in Europe at least), but I really struggle to imagine what could possibly be 'better' about the American bass to justify the 100% increase in the price!? Perhaps it's all that extra neck wood that people are paying for !?"