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Fender vs. G&L

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by az_bassist, Mar 29, 2015.

  1. az_bassist


    Feb 2, 2014
    Chandler, AZ
    Ok guys and gals, I want to start this thread off by saying that I'm not looking to create a heated debate or anything like that. I'm not saying that Fender is better than G&L or the other way around. I'm simply looking for comparisons.

    Anyways, I'm a Fender loyalist and I only own Precision Basses. I love the feel, tones, playability, and looks of the P-Basses. I'm looking to find out what people think of G&L basses. Obviously they are Leo Fender creations as well.
  2. mel0dic.bassist


    Jul 9, 2014


    On a serious note, I've only ever owned a Tribute L2K, and not sure if I just happened to get a really good one, or if their QC is just that good. I've owned a few Fenders/Squiers, and while I love me a good Fender, G&L just feels like what they should have been.

    Mostly because I like that the bodies are slightly smaller, MFD pickups, and I thoroughly enjoy the 1.75" nut width on my G&L. Just wish it was a slab body, but I can let that slide given the other great features it has.

    Commonly referred to as the "Swiss Army knife" of basses.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2015
    basslifter and audreycashin like this.
  3. joel406


    Dec 27, 2013
    The JB-2 tribute was the only one that felt good to me. But I ended up with the Fender. Very happy with the Fender but I do like the L-2000. Just can't find one that likes me.
  4. snyderz


    Aug 20, 2000
    AZ mountains
    +1 on the MFDs. I've had several L2Ks but prefer the SB-2. Lots of Fenders have come and gone, but the SB-2 has remained.
    audreycashin likes this.
  5. az_bassist


    Feb 2, 2014
    Chandler, AZ
    I'm seriously considering the LB-100. Does anybody have any experience with these?
    toberoo and n1as like this.
  6. LUCE


    Jan 9, 2015
    Denver, CO
    It's a P ... And awesome. Great build quality, nice, firmly anchored necks, in house wound pup sounds great. I have 2 P's ('75 & '06). I play my LB more. You can get a semi-custom build for the price of a P. Resale probably not as good as the Fender - but that only matters when you want to get rid of it. Or if you want to buy used
  7. Dash Lashes

    Dash Lashes Banned

    Feb 20, 2015
    ^ i came here to say that too :dead:
  8. az_bassist


    Feb 2, 2014
    Chandler, AZ
    Does it have good "vintage" P Bass tone? And does it feel and play nice?
  9. Kmrumedy


    May 12, 2004
    Montreal, Canada
    You could also have just started off by typing Fender vs G&L in the search button.

    There are 55 threads comparing the two companies and almost every conceivable model against each other.
  10. Absolutely.

    Last edited: Mar 29, 2015
    audreycashin likes this.
  11. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    the 83 L2000 and the 2011 sb-2 are the only basses that have stuck around, fenders are fun, but i haven't gotten the playability and clarity out of the fenders without having to get new bridges, new pickups, and sometimes major eq fussing, then again, i haven't had any of the costlier high end american fenders either like the custom shops or the american vintage 63 p
  12. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    I an 83' L2K I bought brand new with HSC, still my number one player after all these years. Built like a tank and heavy for all that, but never had one iota of trouble with it, and still one of the most versatile basses I've ever played. I can get just about any sound I want out of it by EQ fiddling, active/passive, or pickup switching. I think I got the best version of the instrument, mine has the old pre-lawsuit headstock, neck tilt, etc. Fenders are nice, but Leo made the L2K specifically to fix what he saw as faults in the standard Jazz and P bass, and he suceeded.
    twinjet, basslifter and eadg98005 like this.
  13. Antisyzygy


    Dec 8, 2014
    Fenders to me sound more "classic" or "vintage". The classic basses they manufacture (leave out some of the series like modern player) each emphasizes a different portion of the frequency range a bass can achieve and their output isn't too hot. It gives them their distinctive sound. For example with the P bass you get an emphasis on the lows and low mids and with the Jazz basses you scoop the mids a bit which is what gives us their characteristic sounds respectively. Of course you can change up your sound by tweaking the pickup volumes on a Jazz bass but I digress.

    The G&L basses however sound loud and expansive, they're less distinctive and more wide-open to my ear. The MFD pickups seem to pick up and emphasize more frequencies, with a thunderous output. You can dial the pickups to growl, thump or punch/honk if you use other features like what exists on the G&L L or M series basses.

    The MFD pickup's sound is like a block of raw marble that can be carved into to shape many different sounds. The Fender pickup's sounds are more like carving a shape out of a piece of wood, you want to go with the grain and coloration of the wood as part of your art.

    As far as fit, finish, and hardware I'd say the G&Ls are pretty comparable to Fender. Perhaps the neck construction and the way they are bolted on is better on the G&Ls but it's arguable because Fender has improved their part designs over the years as well. The hardware on the G&Ls is about the same as Fender quality for comparable instrument price brackets. I have no idea if the G&L saddle lock feature in their bridges makes any difference, I can't tell.

    EDIT : Note, I am mostly talking about the L and M series G&Ls, not the P or J copies.

    For a comparison of extra features (things series/parallel switching, active electronics) the instruments can be very different between Fender and G&L. I don't think it's really fair to compare them considering everyone wants a different set of features. Some people prefer minimalist instruments because it helps them have a better experience playing for one reason or another. I can relate, the Telecaster is my favorite guitar design.

    I own a G&L L2000 and it's one of the most versatile basses I've ever played. But, I still own two Jazz basses as well as two P basses and I use them as needed mostly so I don't have to hassle with dialing in the sound on my L2000. Sometimes it's nice to just pick up a bass and be ready to go. Fenders are good at that.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2015
    Spirit of Ox and GMC like this.
  14. diamondsplit


    Jan 13, 2012
    I had a G&L 2000 American and i really did not like it. The new Fenders are great and Music Man I think are the best of the bunch
  15. n1as


    Mar 29, 2013
    I own one of each
    Photo comparison of LB100 and P bass. | TalkBass.com

    I find that their tone is about the same (Ed's video supports this) but the playability of the G&L is way ahead of the Fender. The G&L uses lighter tuners and a heavier body/bridge which means there is no neck dive with the G&L. My Fender had noticeably neck dive. I didn't appreciate how bad it was in that regard until I got the G&L.

    I've since ordered a 2nd G&L LB100 to replace the Fender.
  16. I can't add much except that as a devotee of Fender four-string basses for a very long time, I've never played a Fender five-string that comes close to being as satisfying as my G&L USA L2500. Not even close.
  17. VerryBerry

    VerryBerry Supporting Member

    Mar 4, 2012
    Alberta, Canada
    I have a Honeyburst LB-100 on order for which I traded one of my American Standards for. I tried the LB-100 locally and found it to be very well balanced and comfortable. Oh - and you get 21 frets vs 20 on the Fender, if that matters to you.
    It seems to be voiced similar to vintage Fender based on my short try-out at the store. I have another Fender Am Std with EMG Geezers in it that I'm keeping.
    Until it comes in, I can't comment much further on preferences, although the one in the store was impressive enough to make me want to own one.
    Doubt very much that you would regret an LB-100. It's very much a P-bass with just a little more refinement.
  18. az_bassist


    Feb 2, 2014
    Chandler, AZ
    You're a very helpful person. Thanks...
    Doctor J likes this.
  19. CyberSnyder

    CyberSnyder Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    I Endorse Alien Audio Basses
    Fender is the safe bet, but there are some really nice G&L basses. I like my L2500 a lot, but I find that I play around with the controls too much looking for just the right sound. I probably prefer the simplicity of a Fender P or J most of the time. I guess that if I wanted active, I'd go with G&L, passive - Fender.
  20. hsech

    hsech Work hard. My Social Security needs a raise.

    Jun 27, 2012
    Central Iowa
    I've had several G&L guitars and basses over the years. I always gravitate back to Fender. Nothing wrong with G&L, I just much prefer Fender.

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