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G&L Basses - Why no love?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BassVibes, Apr 21, 2017.

  1. I recently purchased a G & L ASAT Semi Hollowbody and have spent a lot of time finding out about them. What I have found is that of all of Leo's creations have been a massive success, but with the exception of the G & L brand. No matter what model you take they seem to lack appeal to both well known artists and pros alike. They look pretty cool (mine being no exception), the build quality is amazing, the sound though lacks a perceived signature and I think this is where the problem lies. Is it because no artist has taken a G&L and recorded with it that has caused the perceived lack of sound signature or is it that the sound is so characterless that it fails to attract - who knows?? They have been around a few decades now so the situation is unlikely to change. Personally speaking, I have had Fenders, Rics, Yamahas which I can identify a sound mainly because I can relate it to songs I know, but with G&L and am left confused as to whether is has a signature sound at all.
    Rumble Thunder and armybass like this.
  2. Well known bass players have played G&L basses and recorded with them: The Meters, Gang Of Four, Skunk Anansie etc.
    They are exceptional built instruments, esp. the finish. I had a L2000 and a Lynx for nearly two decades. The Lynx is a real interesting instrument, kind of a Jazz Bass with much stronger pickups. But lacks a bit of character in sound and design.

    Other downsides: the ugly headstock. And for me the electronics of the L2000 in combination with the überstrong magnets of the pickups are simply too much. And the sound has a midrange quality to it that can get on your nerves. It's always there. My L2000 was heavier than my '78 Fender Jazz.
    There must be something with the chronology: for me the Musicman Stingray looks like a refined and thought through version of the G&Ls.

    Never tried their P and J basses, I guess they are exceptional. But I have so many Fenders I love...
  3. SpazzTheBassist


    Jun 20, 2006
    very popular with country session artists like Dave Pomeroy, who at least have one G&L in their studio arsenals......I agree with the mystery of not being more popular, but they are popular enough.....as a G&L owner myself, my theory is that there is usually charm in imperfections - G&L L2000 family of instruments (which include ASATS) maybe a little 'too perfect' as far as bolt-on basses are concerned
  4. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    I don't know what you're talking about - G&L is a popular and well-reputed brand. There's plenty of love for them, on TB and among bassists generally. I think maybe what you're reacting to is the "classic" factor. In any given field, there are early entries that define the field and become the "classics" all subsequent entries are judged by, the way that "all of philosophy is footnotes to Plato." You could write a better play than Shakespeare but it wouldn't matter because Shakespeare is already established as the benchmark "classic" of English literature.

    In the case of bass guitar, the defining moment, when the instrument enshrined itself in the music community's consciousness, was the rock and roll revival of the 60s (British invasion etc.), when the top-of-the-line brands were Fender and Rickenbacker. No matter how good other brands are, you'll never shed the sense that those are the "classic" brands that convey a certain legitimacy. A G&L LB-100 or a Lakland 44-64 arguably out-Fender the Fender P bass, and I see musicians at all levels playing them all the time. But it remains the case that Fender got there first and, insofar as someone has any expectations at all of what brand name to see on a headstock, they expect to see Fender there.
  5. rujulian

    rujulian Guest

    Apr 24, 2014
    Aaron Beam of Red Fang always rocks a G&L SB-1..
  6. Glazenn


    May 16, 2011
    Sorry to contradict, but the G&L Club thread in the Talkbass forums is in the top 20... That says all.
    I try not to compare to Fender as G&L's US production is almost by hand and on demand, and is a very very small fraction of Fender's or other mass production companies. The stock at their Fullerton av. facility is a few dozen basses only (listing here : ttps://www.bassesbyleo.com/inventory/4_19_2017_basses.html).
    And the list of numerous artists using G&L instruments is here : G&L Artists
    Hence, I don't know what your post (one of many with the same song) is about, ultimately...
    A very happy G&L (+ Fender + Sire) bass player.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
  7. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    They seem pretty popular to me. My local music store sells them as fast as they can get them in.
    joebar likes this.
  8. zortation


    Dec 26, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    They need to tweak their body shapes or something. Actually, one thing that made them stand out in the past was that funky control plate.
  9. joel406


    Dec 27, 2013
    Never found one that had a neck that worked. Had a local shop that sold them. They even had one that was made beck in the day that Leo was still there.

    Terrible necks. Stupid and bad sounding electronics. Heavy.

    Not pretty. I saw a G&L jazz bass that was urine color. And it was heavy and had a terrible neck and tried to fool ya with a jazz look.

    I really don't get it either. Aerosmiths Tom Hamilton plays them a lot.

    Personally I'm currently down to one bass. A 2013 American Standard. I'm on my 3rd year with this beauty and no other bass has come close in either sound or feel or pure physical beauty.
  10. danosix


    May 30, 2012
    Lots of love for them from people who know them. They're just a minority brand with little fanfare, so the general populace - even among bass players - don't know them.
    They are also plagued by the "Leo" Curse. They are designed by and look like basses by LEO FENDER. So a lot of people who don't care for traditional Fenders won't look at them. They are also quite different in tone and conception from traditional Fenders or even the Musicman Models Leo made before them, so people LOOKING for a traditional Fender are often put off because "it doesn't sound like a PBass (or Jazz or Stingray).
    They are however, probably the best MADE basses with his actual name on them (the Musicman stuff is very good, but in my experience is they have a bit of the crudeness of vintage Fenders) and they are awesome players with great sound.
    Enjoy it let the other musicians yo play with and for be amazed at your awesome sound and ask you about your unusual bass and you can tell them all about it and be proud you have not followed the crowd.
  11. lug


    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    Personally, my G&L number 8 neck is the best neck I've ever grasped. :D
    TomB, Frank77, Gizmot and 9 others like this.
  12. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    I don't worry about "popularity."
    It's not a popularity contest, and I am frankly sorta happy that they fly a bit under the radar, as it keeps used prices artificially low. But anyone who's ever fired up a set of G&L MFD humbuckers will tell you, those are some powerful pickups, even in passive mode.
    If I could get an endorsement deal from ANY non-boutique manufacturer, I would choose G&L.
    GlennRH, xrockstrongox, TomB and 13 others like this.
  13. MoeTown1986

    MoeTown1986 Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2010
    SoMD (Mechanicsville)
    I have nothing against G&L. There just doesn't seem to be too many of them out in the wild. I've never seen a G&L bass in person. I do own a G&L ASAT Bluesboy guitar which is basically a Fender Tele and I enjoy playing it more than my Fender Tele. I think G&L makes good stuff.
    joebar likes this.
  14. bass40hz

    bass40hz Cigar smoker, scotch drinker, American Patriot Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Sussex County, NJ
    no endorsements but would love a few ;-)
    See my profile pic...custom order L2K...love it.
    Some complain about the mid-range forward tone, I love it, especially when soloing the bridge pup...the bass lies in the mids IMO.
    Some complain about the electronics and the combo with the huge magnets are too much...well G&Ls with the 2 HBs and L2K electronics are designed to play at about 70% onboard volume with the reaming 30% in reserve for a solo or when you need a boost. Knowledge is power ;-)
    joebar, Lvjoebass, twinjet and 3 others like this.
  15. lug


    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    With a lot of my basses I work to get the output to where I need it. With the G&L, I work to tame it to the output I need. :D
    Reverend179, 68Goldfish, TomB and 6 others like this.
  16. johnson79


    Jan 8, 2010
    Lancaster, PA
    I loved my G&L. Wish I still had it. Beautiful transparent blue ASAT with maple board.
    Glazenn likes this.
  17. loved my ASAT hollow body (no F hole), but hated the neck dive
    I looked into buying a L-2000 Tribute, but they weigh about 9-1/2 lbs.
    Lvjoebass and jumbodbassman like this.
  18. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Fort Worth, Texas
    I've owned 2, both SB-2s. My current SB-2T (T = tone control) is top of the mark. Best neck I've ever played, weighs under 8 lbs. Excellent build quality. I own Several Fender Ps and a J. I like them a lot, but none are as good for me as the G&L.
    I hope they don't get more popular. I don't want them to reduce build quality to meet production demands. I'd rather they continue to build a quality bass.
    Lvjoebass, Dougie44, Glazenn and 5 others like this.
  19. sheltjo6

    sheltjo6 Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2012
    Concur #8 neck is great.
    TomB, Glazenn and foolforthecity like this.
  20. sikamikanico


    Mar 17, 2004
    I was never a fan of the L-series, but I don't like wide buckers in general (MM including). I want to try some SB basses, but I guess any P with DiMarzios will be in the ballpark. In terms of build quality and all, I haven't played enough to really comment. They seemed ok, so I'm gonna blame the sound for any (real or not) unpopularity.