Are G&L's better than Fenders?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by gsummer, Mar 1, 2001.

  1. gsummer


    Feb 11, 2001
    I am buying a new bass and I like the Fender style. I currently play a Fender, and of course all my bass heroes play Fenders. Does anyone have any opinions on how G&L's compare to Fenders? I want to buy a passive model so maybe a JB-2, SB-2, or something of that nature. If you think G&L's beat Fenders could you tell how and why? Thanks.

  2. Harpo


    Feb 1, 2001
    Kings Park NY
    I have had a few Fenders Jazz Bass And P Bass
    and a few G&L 85 El Toro Frettless and 99 L-2000
    and I must say the G&L blow the Fenders out of the water in bulid quality , tone and playibilty
    not to say I dislike Fenders I don't . My sugestion
    is to play both and decided with you like better
    Not what you hero's play. Which ever you pick they
    are both fine insturments and they where both
    designed by one of my hero's Leo Fender
  3. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    The short answer from me would be - YES. G&L was started by Leo Fender as he moved ahead with his ideas. The Fenders that have become the standard that we hold all other instruments to had flaws, and Leo was constantly trying to improve them. Having owned both, I'd definitely go with my G&L. That being said, remember that Leo died some years ago, and G&L exists now independent of his vision. The one big thing about G&L is that they are still handcrafted, which production line Fenders are not. I have yet to pick up a G&L that I haven't liked. I think the pickups are better, and the bridge is a vast improvement over Fender. Don't get me wrong - I love Fender basses, but I think Leo's last company was a better idea.
  4. craigb

    craigb Supporting Member

    Definitely Yes . . . and No

    Meaning it depends on what you mean by "better". I've owned one bass from each of Leo Fender's company. In order they were 1 '99 EB Musicman Stingray, 1 '98 (NOS) Fender Am Deluxe P, 1 '00 G&L L-2000. I found them all comparable in build quality, fit-and-finish and feel. The Stingray and L2000 fit my personal feel likes better than the Am Deluxe P (wider neck, oil-finished) but the fretwork and rolled edges on the Am Deluxe P felt nicer than the other two.

    Sound-wise I obviously like the L-2000 best (since that's what I ended up with). And that's what really counts in the end - I found all three to be nice enough to play that I wouldn't be unhappy with any of them (physical feel-wise). I also had (will ship off tomorrow) and older SB-1 which would have come in 4th on the sound competition. But sound is a very personal thing - you need to decide which you like best as far as sound goes. I still miss the Stingray for it's one awesome sound (but it wasn't enough for me - I wanted more versatility).

    Value-wise I think G&Ls are the best "bang-for-the-buck" (lowest prices new and used) but don't retain as much value. Fenders are the standard and retain their value better.

    Here's how I'd rank the 4 basses ('00 L2000, '99 Stingray, '98 Fender Am P, '92 SB-1) I've had:

    Sound: L2000, Deluxe P, Stingray, SB-1 (high points for versatility - the Stingray sound is great, it just has limited sonic versatility)
    Feel: Stingray, L2000, Deluxe P, SB-1
    Looks (how shallow): Stingray, Deluxe P (abalone dots!), SB-1, L2000 (I like pickguards and control plates)

    My SB-1 was older and probably had a maple body. It has a very "clean", "sweet" tone - not quite the traditional P-grunt. The Deluxe P never gave me the traditional P-grunt I wanted either (probably because of the active electronics). With 20/20 hindsight I wish I had kept the Stingray (my first good bass) and added a P-pickup like I was thinking about. Then I could have added an L-2000 to the stable later. Maybe someday.

    I hope my ramblings helped some - but remember they are based on owning 3/4 individual basses. All the manufacturers will have good ones and bad ones. Sorry about dragging the Stingray into my rambling but I like all of Leo's creations (hmmm, I must need to get a Jazz soon, never had one of those).
  5. DaveB


    Mar 29, 2000
    Toronto Ontario
    I think G&L has a lot more consistency in the manufacture and thus the end product of their basses. But when you have a good G&L in your hand and then a good Fender well the comparison comes down to YOUR preferences. Which one has the better tone, the better action etc,etc.
    If you're buying completely blind (although why would you do that ?) the G&L would carry a higher probability of better quality.Having said that I have played lots of G&L's and loved them but I own two Fenders.
  6. TonyS


    Dec 13, 1999
    It would not be fair to compare "G & L's", to "Fender" in a general way due the fact that Fender has so many price points. A more balanced comparison would be G&L V. S. Fender American Deluxe.

    Choosing between these models would allow you to pick the instrument that sounds the best to you and still be reasonably confident of the fit and finish.

    Good Hunting
  7. I have only ever played one G&L in my life and it didn't hold a candle to my current Precision bass. However, I have played Fenders which don't hold a candle to that G&L either.

    I would be suspicious of generalisations.
  8. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    gsummer want's a passive bass. I've never played the JB-2 & can't wait to!!!

    JB-2=Amer std Jazz
    SB-2=Amer hot rod P
    LB-1=Amer Std P

    I've played MANY MANY basses & have tried all on that comparison except the forementioned JB-2. Fender's are great, but I don't like 'em. G&L happens to be my favorite (non custom built) bass company. They play great, feel great, sound INCREDIBLE, all of them. from passive to active models!!! But it's been said b4 & will be said again, play them & compare your self. My treasure might be your trash. ;)
  9. EString


    Nov 20, 2000
    Los Altos, CA
    Between a Stingray, L-2000, and a P-bass, which bass has the highest output? I want a helluva loud bass.
  10. seamus


    Feb 8, 2001
    I'm new to my L-2000's, but they seem to have very good output.

    For what it's worth, I think you can get more useful tones out of the G&L than either of the others.
  11. rooster


    Jun 10, 2000
    upstate new york
    i to have owned all three fender precision,G&L asat,and stingray anniversary,IMHO the G&l blows both of the others away tone wise in the versatility department.but sound is very,very,opinionated,i still own the stingray and the G&L and wish i still had the p bass.but if i had to pick one and only one its the G&L !!!!! :D :D :D

    and remember as always rock till ya drop !!!!!
  12. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    EString, thats what an amp is for. ;)
  13. thumper

    thumper Guest

    In one word, as far as I am concerned, YEP.
    I got my first bass, a pbass, in the middle 60's. I've played them ever since. In fact, when I played for a living, I used pbasses and telecaster basses. They just have the sound for me.
    I just got rid of my last actual Fender Precision Bass. I swapped it for some PA speakers.
    That 1997 American Standard Precision Bass was never exactly what I wanted in a pbass. I rewired it twice trying to get it sound better. I eventually used it as my outdoor bass when I played a festival or some outdoor show where the weather wasn't exactly the best.
    I now have 2 LB100's and a SB1. To me, they sound and play great. The LB100's have the alnico magnets and sound warmer and mellower or smoother. The SB1 has the magnetic field pickups and wound more aggressive. They are made better, feel better, and play better that that last Fender.
    The G & L's are semi-handmade in Fullerton, CA. The Fenders are assempled in Corona, CA of parts from who knows where (Mexico, Japan, Korea, Taiwin, etc.).
    If you get a Custom Shop Fender and spend about 3 grand, then you will have a real, genuine, sho'nuff Fender. A buddy of mine has one and it truly is GREAT, but the average Fenders aren't.
    G & L's definitely have them beat.
    If you are looking for one bass that can kind of do everything well and give you a variety of sounds, then the L2000 is what you are looking for. You can use the neck pickup in the passive mode and dial some of the treble off and get a good pbass sound. Use both pickups passively and dial the treble back in and you will get a fairly good jbass sound. And if you want a Stringray sound, then use the bridge pickup with the active switch with the treble boost on and then thump away. You can use both pickups with the active switch on and get a variety of everybody else's basses sounds.
    Leo did a great job with all his basses, it's just that his last company, to me, is making the best bass right now. Now if we could just get G & L to put that chick in the bathing suit to sit on top of a L2000 and put in on a good tshirt and one of those stickers, then I'd be a happy camper.
  14. I own a P-Bass and have owned an L2500. I have also tried out a few Stingrays at music stores. In my experience, the basses are listed in order of highest output.


    Of course a P-Bass is normally passive where the L2000 and Stingray both have an onboard preamp which is going to give them a higher output.

    Another item to consider is that a bass with higher output is going to need an amp that can handle it. If you play a high output type bass through a weak amp, it's going to sound like mud.
  15. Bernie


    Dec 12, 1999
    Ive played a few of each and owned both.I can see no consistent difference in build quality.Sound/playability is a personal choice.Good luck!
  16. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    I own both and have played tons of both. They're different, that's all. I haven't seen a difference in build quality between an L2000 and a Jazz Deluxe. Compare apples to apples.