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Attention G&L Sponsor: 5-String Body Wood

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bgavin, Nov 11, 2004.

  1. Open letter to G&L:

    Please offer 5-string basses with an option to order alder or ash, instead of that crappy basswood/tilia.

    I own a custom L1500 as a special order, and it is divine. I'd love to have a 5-banger, but REFUSE to accept one built from basswood/tilia.
  2. The only one that has basswood is the standard tribute L2500. Otherwise they use swamp ash.

    Check their web site.
    andruca likes this.
  3. superfly


    Aug 4, 2004
    G&L basswood? I don't think so. I own 2, they are superb instruments. Maybe the Tribute line is basswood? They too are superb for the $.


    Jun 1, 2003
    Orlando, FL
    nothing is wrong with basswood, just look at bongos

    and wether you like their looks or not you can't deny they are quality instruments with serious versatility.
  5. lbanks


    Jul 17, 2003
    Ennui, IN USA
    Nothing wrong with Tributes; slammin' axes!
  6. Scottie Johnson

    Scottie Johnson

    Sep 8, 2004
    On G&L's site, for the L-1505 and L-2500 body woods it says:

    "Swamp Ash top on American Tilia back"

    Now, is Tilia another way of saying basswood?
  7. Tilia is a variety of basswood. The L-2500s have a swamp ash top and a tilia body... there's nothing wrong with it. Basswood has a great, focused midrange. I assure you that basswood or not, the L-2500 sounds MASSIVE, and it's no reason to dissuade you from getting one.
  8. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Unfortunately, you've got a very prejudiced attitude. Basswood is as not highly looked upon for two main reasons: it's relatively inexpensive, and it's a bit soft. This lower price has caused it to be used on many inexpensive instruments, which has given it a bad reputation.

    It is a good sounding wood, and should not be looked down upon because it doesn't cost as much as others. I applaud G&L for using the wood that is best, instead of the wood that everyone expects.

    It also used in Bongos, and in MTD Kingstons and Heirs. Michael Tobias does not use woods that do not sound good and perform well.

    Don't forget that the reason, along with tone, that Leo Fender used swamp ash and alder was that they were cheap and available.

    Enough snobbery.

    Same holds for agathis.
  9. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    BTW G&L L1505s and 2500s were originally either alder or swamp ash, like the L1500s and L2000s. It was switched a few years back, to give better balance and weight on the five stringers, while maintaining or improving tone.
  10. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    Trust Uncle Leo! Fenders, Rays, G&L's...his instrruments revolutionized bass playing. They are featured on more recordings and used by more bass players than any other basses. I am gassin for a G&L!!!
  11. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    Great post!

    Don't assume that because it's basswood that it sounds worse than Ash or Alder. When EB was designing the Bongo, they made protos out of a bunch of different woods--including Ash and Alder. When the pros (ie Tony Levin, Phil Chen, Dave LaRue) tried them out, they all preferred the basswood Bongos for both weight and tone.

    I've got two basswood Bongos and I assure you they sound great, and I've not had any problems with the wood being too "soft."
  12. mgmadian


    Feb 4, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Body wood choices would be nice IMO, but not absolutely required my G&L L2500 sounded great. I highly recommend modding it with an all-pots bypass capability, where flicking a switch or pulling up the Vol knob etc. will bypass the Vol + Tone pots and route the pickup signal straight to the output jack (still goes thru the switches). Really opens up the sound of the bass, esp in series mode.

    I only sold mine as I prefer wider string spacing.. now THAT would be cool for G&L to offer IMO!
  13. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    What is the spacing on an L2500 anyway?
  14. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    BTW - I believe that Fender's switch from alder to swamp ash, and back to alder again, was based on changing market prices and availability. Not on any kind of fanatical search for God's ultimate tonewood.
  15. bazzanderson


    Oct 7, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Same spacing as a Music Man 5 string (I believe)...that's right around 17mm.

  16. I'm not arguing the tone, as that is entirely subjective.
    I'm not arguing to do away with basswood/tilia, but to offer an option for alder or ash.

    The wood products rating bureau does not hold has high an opinion of basswood/tillia as those here. It is rated:

    Janka dry hardness is only 410 (very soft)
    Screw holding abitility is rated Poor
    Glue ability is moderate
    Green mineral streaks, not for clear finishes

    Laminating an ash top on basswood gets around the poor screw holding ability and the finish issue.

    G&L offers a lot of options for their basses. I'd like to see them offer alder or ash alternatives to the standard basswood. They used to offer these, but changed to basswood for weight savings.

    Since each bass is fabricated from a blank body slab, I don't see it being an issue to build alder or ash if the customer requests it.
  17. craigb

    craigb G&L churnmeister Supporting Member

    Have you checked with G&L or your G&L dealer to see if they would build one that way for you? I'm curious as there have been some "non-standard" things around (Brad's SB-2 with the apparently factory installed switch, finishes over the "wrong" woods, the occasional ASAT 5-string bass) so I guess it's possible they would be willing to use solid ash/alder instead of the capped tilia for the body.
  18. Scottie Johnson

    Scottie Johnson

    Sep 8, 2004
    For the right price, you could get G&L to do just about anything you want. Within certain boundries, of course.
  19. JimHouchin


    Mar 19, 2016
    Resurrected! I just picked up a late 1990's early 2000's L-1505. I'm not sure what the body is, but it has to be the topped tilia version. I say this because it weights 8 lbs 9 oz on my digital kitchen scale (+/- .5 oz) And it sounds like a bass to me! That said, it's a joy to play and it's only 4 oz heavier then my Empress L-2500. (That's right.... G&L has Empress. In this post people wanted some options and low and behold by this post (2017) they do have some different 5 stringers and wood / neck options. Hell they've got blocks now!) Moral, I think the weight saving is worth the small amount of "wood density." If you don't believe me strap on an 11 lbs bass for 2 hours and tell me you don't want to run screaming to the light one!
  20. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Slightly off topic, but how do you like that empress L-2500? If I start playing out more, I might order one. I have an empress Comanche guitar, which is great.

    Back on topic, G&L recently introduced basswood as an option on USA basses, and seems to be producing lots of them. Last I knew, empress wasn't an official factory option, but it's been available for a few years. So they now have alder, ash, basswood, and empress -- which is a nice range.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017