Dead strings suck... unless you have em on a G&L?!?!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Reedt2000, Nov 23, 2020.

  1. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    Ok, back story: I hate dead strings, always have. I know some players love em, Jameson never changed his, and that's cool, just never been my style. I like a zingy, punchy string. I can, with technique, or tone adjustments, get a warm and round tone if I want, or I can strike down at the string for a pick effect, slap and get as much clank as I want, play staccato and funky... fresh strings give me the most flexibility.

    Enter my G&L Tribute L2500.

    Purchased as a relatively inexpensive (paid $500 used), but still great sounding bass to take to outdoor gigs and anywhere I'd be worried about the safety of my pricier basses. When I got it (2+ years ago) I threw on a set of GHS basics, thinking lower priced bass, lower priced strings. I still have that set on it... and it still sounds killer. I gotta think its those pickups. They are so punchy I can still do all of the technique adjusting I like to and the bass reacts the way I want it to, and sounds great (on what I would consider pretty ancient strings!)

    I run the L2500 with both pickups on and in series mode, with the preamp on (but not in treble boost mode). Occasionally I'll drop down to bridge pickup only for some extra spank and a hint of that Stingray vibe.

    Don't misunderstand, I'm not complaining, I'm just surprised. Anyone else experience this? With G&L? With other basses/pickups?

    Discuss :smug:
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2020
    Ellery, Tbone76, ahadl2500 and 6 others like this.
  2. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    The Big Singles in my SR1800E make any strings sound fabulous for a very very long time:
    I just took off a set of coated stainless that had been on there almost two years!
    The only reason I removed them was to make a comparison with new EXL165 on two basses.

    Playing exclusively with a pick helps as well, IME.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2020
    eadg98005, Ellery, GlennRH and 6 others like this.
  3. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
  4. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    Saw a friend's band a while back and their bassists had one of those. I was really impressed by the deep rich low end, and the way it cut the mix too. At one point I'll have to end up with a set of big singles in something... :D
    retroXvertigo likes this.
  5. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    They are their own animal. Ive had a lot of different basses, and I spent a lot of time working in a retail music shop (in my life before health insurance :smug:) so I've test driven even more. I can't say any of them had the unique qualities of the L2500. It strikes me as a tone in between stingray and jazz bass. I really like it. My other basses currently are a MM/J Warwick, a project bass with 2 old school bart Js and a bart pre, and a 98 Ken Smith. The tribute holds its own against any of them :cool:
    Ggaa, One Way and Spidey2112 like this.
  6. ZedLepp


    May 12, 2013
    On a Variax, guitar or bass, it doesn't matter if you have new or dead strings. It's pretty much going to sound the same. I notice that it's just a little, and I do mean almost insignificant, brighter but that fades quickly.
    smarthound likes this.
  7. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    not on all G&L mind you, just the ones with MFD pickups
    GlennRH, klyph and JIO like this.
  8. luciens


    Feb 9, 2020
    I always preferred the-deader-the-better strings on my original L2000 and I'm muchly happier now that the rounds on my new L2000 are finally dying.
    OTOH, I'm much happier that they're all dead now on my Fenders too, but...

    The MFD is such a wide-range pickup that it can be really shimmery and shiney with new strings on it. And new rounds especially don't have a lot of "thump" anyway, just more of a "claaang". But an MFD equipped bass is really going to hurt the ears with brand new rounds. So it's not wierd for it to sound better and better as the strings die their slow death....

  9. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I get really long string life on my fretless - not banging the strings into the frets seems to make them last quite long - a couple of years is typical; I end up changing strings at that point mostly because I feel guilty for leaving them on there so long.

    The fretted basses I get the best string life on are those with a decent amount of treble baked into the pickups and circuitry - if new strings are a bit bright for my taste, that usually means I'll get quite a bit of life out of them before I need to change them. If I put on a new set of strings, and like how they sound right away, that's usually a clue that they won't last too long on there. I've done a lot of tweaking of my instruments and string choices to get to the point where I know what combo of strings will sound good broken in on that instrument.

    I don't think there's any "magic" in G&L; I just think you've found a bass where you like the sound with broken in rounds. Nothing wrong with that - indeed, that's a very good thing.
    JRA likes this.
  10. JIO

    JIO Be seeing you. Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    The Mission SF/CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    My L-2000 MFD powered Tele has had the same GHS Progressives for years - I'd have to put new ones on to notice a difference but it always sounds good! Just played it (with pick) for a refreshened, and with the treble and bass full up and the 3way switch on active boost - it sounds rich/defined and punchy, but w/o "clank". Clank is good in certain situations but I have a couple of Fender/Kubicki-9v pre basses that give me monstrous clank if needed. :bassist:
    Reedt2000 likes this.
  11. Dr. Keebs

    Dr. Keebs Bassmaster General

    Jan 9, 2016
    I really loved my L-2500 Tribute with dead strings. Deep, dark, and delicious. Tracked some punchy country on it with deader than dead strings, as well as dubby indie stuff. With lively new strings it was a spanky, sparkly killer, but dead strings were sooo vibin.
    dcbluesbass, Reedt2000 and JIO like this.
  12. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    once again, i think it depends on how "dead" is defined: i've had roto 66s last 18months - 2years before i considered them "dead." i've played them for a few months and considered them "dead." some cats feel like those strings are gone after a few weeks/days/hours. IME: the string is dead if it won't sustain or hold tuning (like it did last week/month). if one string gives me trouble or doubts i change them all and call myself "prudent." :laugh:

    but to your point: yes i think certain ax/pickup/string combinations seem to make great sounds significantly longer than other axes/pickups/strings. also, i'm playing fretless (and as micguy intimated) i believe i can get away with some string wear (maybe not dead, but getting there!) on those axes longer than some of the comparable fretted pieces. finally: i have no trouble accepting that your G&L model (with those great pickups) would help you get the most out of any string compared to other makes/models...i just don't have a G&L anymore --- only great memories!

    i voted "i believe it!" glad you're happy about your ax! :thumbsup:
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2020
  13. Epitaph04

    Epitaph04 Always overcompensating Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2010
    After years of being stubborn and insisting the new string sound is the string sound to have, I finally realized that I vastly prefer my EBMM basses (particularly the Bongos) with dead strings. Most other basses IME seem to benefit more from newer strings, but I finally conceded in the fight for buying more new strings.
  14. wizard65


    Sep 1, 2014
    Quick hijack, I’m looking at an SR 1800E at the moment, how are you liking yours?
  15. nilorius

    nilorius Inactive

    Oct 27, 2016
    Riga - Latvia
    I don't play string combination much longer than 1 year. Sometimes, if it had a lot of hard rehearsals and gigs - half year. Extreme exception - recording.
  16. InhumanResource

    InhumanResource Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2012
    Bucks County, PA
    I like dead rounds on my active jazz (marcus Miller with East UK) preamp.

    Have not killed the strings on my L2500 yet (i got a used one for $500 too!!) but I have a feeling they will be just fine.
    Reedt2000 likes this.
  17. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, aelurophile Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    I spent the majority of my active playing career compensating for dull sounding pickups with stainless rounds, eq, amplification and speaker placement.

    Then I got an L-2500 tribute and find myself needing to back off on the sizzle. I thought I'd be living in active+treble boost mode, but I mostly just play it passive, and I'll definitely skip the stainless strings next time around.

    Leo's last word on bass guitar is pretty definitive, if you ask me.
    M.R. Ogle and Reedt2000 like this.
  18. retroXvertigo

    retroXvertigo Tone is stored in the balls. Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2017
    Reedt2000 likes this.
  19. ahadl2500

    ahadl2500 Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2003
    Greenwood, IN
    I kept dead rounds for my L2500 for years. I hated it when I needed to change strings, because I knew I would not love the tone until they got some age on them. Then I discovered TI Jazz Flats. Now I keep TI Jazz flats on all of my MFD equipped G&Ls. I keep Jazz rounds on the G&L JB5.
    Reedt2000 likes this.
  20. I can’t remember when I changed the strings on my ASAT. I looove it :)
    GlennRH, JIO, Timmah and 2 others like this.

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