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G&L L-1500 vs. Music Man Sterling: Which to choose?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by dwc3690, Apr 12, 2009.

  1. G&L L-1500

    80 vote(s)
  2. Music Man Sterling

    57 vote(s)
  1. I am thinking about buying one of these two basses. I am having trouble leaning one way because i like certain elements of both. Opinions and reviews would be great.

    Dan C.
  2. eastcoasteddie


    Mar 24, 2006
    the Sterling is a slim-bodied, slim-necked, light & fast playing bass.

    I've never played a 1500, but I do have a 2500. The 2500 is a hulking mass of a tree trunk (which I like). It will really depend on what type of bass you like...sort of like comparing a P to a J bass, 2 different animals.

    Soundwise, I think the 1500 may give you a lot more bottom than the Sterling.

    I personally would go for the 1500 (or a 1505 to be exact)
  3. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    You simply MUST try both with your own hands before making that sort of decision. Doesn't even matter what it looks like "on paper", feel can not be misunderestimated.
    Matt R and lfmn16 like this.
  4. spideyjg


    Mar 19, 2006
    San Diego
    G&L's are naturally aggressive basses and the 1500 is the most aggressive of the lot.

    Sterlings are aggressive also but can tame down farther.

  5. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    You definitely need to try these, because they are somewhat unique beasts, especially the L-1500. I have one, and it's a great bass in many respects, but it's not exactly plug-and-play for a wide range of material. When it works, it's just incredible, but sometimes it sounds out of place. IMO, YMMV, etc.

    The Sterling HS, while not as aggressive, is still pretty hot, and the neck pickup makes it much more versatile IMO. That pickup sounds amazingly close to a P-bass considering how different the bass is overall.
  6. I have heard the Sterling, and I like the tones it gives off. I have played L-2000's and have never found the sound I like. However, I feel I need to play a Sterling now. Does anyone know much about the EQ on the Sterlings? Any idea of the frequency centers or how much boost and/or cut...

    Dan C.
    Brad C likes this.
  7. Z-Bass


    Apr 22, 2004
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I can't remember the exact numbers but I believe there's a FAQ section on the Ernie Ball website and this was covered. I thought it was some like this:

    Bass 40Hz
    Mid 800Hz
    Treble 6Hz (?)

    The website should still have the exact details.

    Regarding your post, would you look for a G&L with the jazz type neck (#8) I believe? Also what wood for the body (Ash or Alder)? I believe these are options for G&L basses. I would also consider trying to find a Humbucker/Single model of the Sterling. I liked these the best, although the single humbucker model does just fine. I felt the added single coil added just the right amount to an already great bass.
  8. yamaha


    Apr 7, 2006
    Love the L1500, but only on some songs, and only in a mix. On its own, the L1500 is NOT a sweet bass. And you can not make it sound vintage. But on many aggressive rock songs, it is an amazing bass.

    The MM is more tamed (but still aggressive), more versatile, but doesn't get that amazing cut in the mix the L1500 has.

    You must try both, and if you can, with other musicians too.
  9. The two basses are more comparable than L-1500 vs Stingray because the Sterling has a narrower neck and a coil splitter. The L-1500 also has a coil splitter, can be ordered with a narrower (No 8 or No 6) neck, and also has a Leo-Fender-designed preamp.

    The L-1500 alone gives the option of turning off the preamp. This is handy because, with the preamp on, the L-1500 puts out an incredibly hot signal and the two-band EQ becomes much more pronounced in its effect.

    The Sterling comes standard with a 3-band EQ with center detents allowing you to cut or boost each of the 3 bands. With the coil splitter and a pickup designed by the very same Leo Fender, this bass provides wide tonal versatility.

    The L-1500 has even greater tonal variety with the active/passive switch plus coil splitter. In passive and with the pickup in series (humbucking) mode, plus a little high-end rolled off, you can get a warm, fat, vintage tone. Make it even softer by plucking the strings up by the neck.

    In active and parallel with the both EQ all the way up, you can get a really strong, big, well-defined tone capable of cutting through anything.

    I've played a Sterling and owned a L-1500 both enough to say that, for me, the L-1500 is not only the Desert Island bass but also the if-I-only-had-one bass.

    My L-1500 has a beautiful ash body that sounds perfect without amp after 13 years of play.
    kkaarrll likes this.
  10. Tunaman


    Dec 26, 2004
    I've always been intrigued by G&L, Have a Sterling H & HH & love em. The E string is weak though on both but that ends up being better in the mix...
    I HATE boomy basses on stage due to those good ole soundguys running you through the 18" subs.
  11. spufman


    Feb 7, 2005
    Central CT
    The Sterling is my favorite feeling bass to play - all the contours, dimensions and balance are just right for me. The necks are sublime. Mine are all H configuration and I can get a good variety of tones between the EQ and the series-single-parallel switch. I haven't tried an L1500, but I do have 1st generation and 2nd generation SB-2s. They are also great basses, in fact my only ones that tempt me from the Sterlings. The materials, construction and tone are all top notch, great necks and bridges. Overall, they are not as comfortable for me as is the Sterling design. If I'm playing one bass all night, my first choice is my rosewood Sterling.
  12. tubster


    Feb 5, 2003
    Southwest Spain
    Other posters "aggressive" and "can't be tamed" are perfect descriptions of the L-1500. I bought one in the days when USA G&Ls were super bargains, fooled into thinking it might be a nice orange one P/U L-2000. It wasn't. Guys in the band had their heads torn off! Guy that bought it from me came shopping for my Stingray. He was a heavy metal/rock player and left with the L-1500.

    Sterling is much more domesticated and for my tastes can be rather 'polite'. Too vanilla for me and joined the checkout line pretty quick.
  13. JohnnyB53


    Nov 1, 2009
    What he said! I agree with pretty much everything here except I think the one toggle switches between series and parallel humbucking modes and is not a coil splitter but it does sound similar.

    In spite of all the talk about the L-1500 being "untamable," you can get a very mellow, vintage tone as GlennRH mentioned: 1) Put it in passive mode (i.e., bypass the preamp), 2) Set the pickup to Series (the bassier, woofier setting), 3) pluck closer to the fingerboard, and 4) Optional: you are always free to roll off the treble some. And if that doesn't tame it enough, put on flatwounds or tapewounds.

    Here's my newly acquired L-1505. Once I played it, I just HAD to have it for the incredible range of sounds this 1-pickup bass has, not to mention the balance and playability.

  14. lug


    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    The L1500 actually comes standard with the #8 neck, not the big-hunk-of-wood standard on the L2000. :D
  15. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Yep, the G&L site confirms that, but when I bought mine in 2006, the standard neck was the "big-hunk-of-wood" L-2000 neck. I had to go special order for the #8.

    Edit: Forgot to mention how HOT JohnnyB53's L-1505 is. I wish I'd gone with the 1505 instead of the 1500. Maybe I'll grab a used one someday. According to some, the 1505 is a little mellower than the 1500. Maybe the extra neck mass adds some booty.
  16. Aspidites


    Oct 20, 2009
    Berkeley CA
    My 1505 is extremely aggressive, kinda like a Bar Neck Scrub Python for the herpers out there, I recently let a buddy borrow it for a couple days and he loved it so much I'm lucky I got it back.

    IMO it is much better for me than any Stingray or Sterling I have ever played but it is definitely not for everybody .
  17. vates


    Nov 15, 2007
    Kyiv, Ukraine

    is this a special order?
  18. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    The matching painted headstock and lack of fretboard dots are non-standard features you can get by special order. The painted headstock is an upcharge; I'm not sure about the lack of dots but suspect it would not be an upcharge. Some G&L dealers get instruments with features like this, so you'll sometimes find them without a special order. One of my local dealers recently had an L-2000 and L-2500 with matching headstocks and no face dots, and has a JB with matching headstock.
  19. [​IMG]When I ordered my 1997 L-1500, the model came standard with the neck 1 3/4" wide at the nut and the flatter (12") radius. I ordered mine with the No. 6 neck: 1 1/2" at the nut and the more curved (7.5") radius.

    People who find this model "very agggressive" cause me to shake my head in disbelief. Yes, it is *possible* to get the L-1500 very aggressive. The MFD pickup is hot.

    *If* you put the preamp on and leave both tone puts at 10 and send a volume-10 signal to your amp AND if your amp is set for a mellower bass, THEN the L-1500 could be very aggressive.

    It's more varsatile than most give credit for. I play reggae and have no trouble getting a warm, fat vintage tone. For starters, turn the premp off - somehting you cannot do on a Sterling.

    Attached Files:

  20. jpn


    Dec 30, 2010
    I'm glad to know that someone else is using one of these basses for Reggae. It's just a matter of adjusting the eq on both bass and amp. I have a 1505 on order soon that I plan to use for Reggae.

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