G&l L1505

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Peter McFerrin, Aug 13, 2001.

  1. I got to try one of these today. Although I only had it for about ten minutes, I got a really bad vibe from it.

    The neck was comfortable despite the high-gloss finish, but the string spacing didn't feel right--something was out of proportion. I'm used to either narrow neck/narrow spacing or wide neck/wide spacing, but the G&L didn't fall into either category. This made fingerstyle a little bit tricky to get used to, although slapping was a bit easier than on my Dean.

    Sonically, it wasn't bad: I was testing it through a Fender Bassman 200 combo, and in preamp-bypass mode it had a fat but snarly tone that could prove useful for many types of music. Parallel mode sounded a bit more supportive, while series mode could come in handy for those of us cursed with guitarists who think playing clean is for pansies. A great slap tone could be found from both modes. Unfortunately, the preamp sucked. It added a lot of noise and compressed the tone, and the curve of the treble control was utterly unmusical. It had way too much treble boost on hand, and the control was noisy throughout all but the lowest extremities of its range.

    Where the bass really failed, however, is the B string. In a word: unacceptable. No double-beating, but no definition, either. I'm not about to pay >$1000 for a bass with that crappy of a low B. I know that the strings weren't dead, and it had an excellent setup, but I just couldn't get a good sound out of it. I think G&L made a bad move when they made their 5-string necks smaller and started using basswood bodies, because the low midrange that you need for a solid B just wasn't there. It's funny, too, because the MTD Kingston 5 uses a basswood body and has the best B I've ever played, bar none; I think it has to do with the K5's neck being somewhat similar to a Louisville Slugger, while the G&L has a more "modern" (IMO, wussy) profile.

    So, this makes me even more curious to get my hands on a Stingray 5. I thank everyone who has recommended G&L to me, but I think I'll pass. I now know what people mean when they say that G&Ls are love/hate instruments.
  2. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    I have an L-2000 & I used to have an L-2500. I love them both!!!! I only sold the L-2500 because I bought a USA Spector NS-5. The only thing I agree on is the trebble. It get's kinda bright. After adjusting the amplifer & set the pre amp "off/on/on w/trebble boost" to the middle "on" position, I got a great sound. I thought the B was great, & it sounded AWESOME. It's nice to see you put some thought into this post instead of saying, "I played an L-1505 & it sucks". :) Like you said, it's not for everyone. If that were the case, we'd all be playing Precisions Basses. ;)

    P.S. G&L don't use basswood. They use American Tilia (whatever that is:)) w/Ash tops.

    <a href="http://www.theoremnyc.cjb.net"><img width=385 height=70 src="http://albums.photopoint.com/j/View?u=1174383&a=8647027&p=41535909&Sequence=0&res=high"></a>
  3. Tilia is a form of basswood that grows in Canada. They call the wood "tilia" instead of "basswood" because basswood basses have a bad reputation, thanks to Ibanez.

    In any case, did your L2500 have the 4+1 or the 3+2 headstock? The newer ones with smaller necks and basswood bodies have the 3+2.
  4. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    I had the newer one w/the 3+2. It was nice & light. I had a L-5500 that had Ash body & weighed a ton!!!! Sounded great w/the stock EMG's though. The L-2000 is an '84 with, I beleive an Alder body & it sound's better that any other G&L I've ever compared it to.
  5. seamus

    seamus Guest

    Feb 8, 2001
    I've never tried any of the G&L's with only one humbucker. I'm a big fan of the two humbucker models though, they produce some great sounds.

    One thing I totally don't get is the comparison of the neck profiles. MTD = a Louisville slugger? and the G&L = a wussy profile? :confused:

    If anything, I find the reverse to be true here. I own a Kingston 5 and a couple G&L's. While both brands have comfortable necks, the Kingston has a *far more modern* profile. It is relatively thin, has a flat radius, and is asymmetrical. The feeling of a G&L neck in the hand is *far more substantial* as the dimensions and radius are closer to a P-bass in most respects.

    They both play well, I just want to clarify that G&L necks are about the last bass I would characterize as 'wussy'. They are built tough as nails and I would wager they'll hold up better in the long run than the Kingston. I'm not knocking the K5, I like mine a lot, but these two basses are in totally different price ranges for a fair comparison. One bass that I own that has a 'bat' like neck is my NS4CR. That's not a knock, it's *very* playable and sounds killa. It has that very round back on the neck though, batlike.

    Perhaps they use a different neck on the L-1505, but I've yet to see G&L use anything thin and modern. They seem to stick to Precis type necks unless you order a custom. I would be surprised to find anything with a modern neck profile on a G&L. As for the comments on sound, to each his own. I personally find that the dual humbucker configs from G&L produce some of the most appealing and authoritative sounds around. I also would recommend giving them a test run through something other than a Bassman 200 combo, but that's neither here nor there insofar as the point I wanted to make regarding the necks.
  6. seamus:
    Does G&L offer a narrower, thinner neck as an option on their 5-strings? I know that they do on their 4-strings. Also, they completely revised their 5-strings a few years back, and aside from changing the headstock and the body wood, they may well have made the necks thinner. A shame--I like a beefy neck, since I have big palms with respect to the length of my fingers.

    As for the K5, the neck is asymmetrical, but on the thicker side it's practically a Warwick (now that's a manly neck). The G&Ls may have a more P-like back, but I could swear that the neck was little or no thicker than the one on the Peavey G-V I tried after it--and that's a modern, "wussy" neck if I've ever touched one. In any case, you're right about the G&L being a much more solid instrument, but solid build quality doesn't necessarily mean great tone and playability. There are tons of 14-pound '70s Les Pauls kicking around out there, after all, and they have no resale value whatsoever.

    I'm actually somewhat interested in the L-5500 that's currently $850 at Bass Palace. Scranton isn't much of a drive from Ithaca--maybe 90 minutes--so I may head down there to check it out. I might also play some of their (older) L2500s.
  7. seamus

    seamus Guest

    Feb 8, 2001
    They offer a few neck options for the 4's, not sure about the 5's. That's a shame though if they made it thin enough to make the K5 seem formidable.

    Dunno, maybe they revised the neck as well, hope not :( Also, maybe we are comparing overall heft to width here too. The K5 has a flat, broad neck due to the 3/4" bridge spacing, but it seems to have that 'modern' type profile to me. Nice and easy reach around, but with all the room to move.

    Never suggested that. :p I mentioned I liked the sound and that they are built very well, but never attributed the sound to the build. The comments about build were just a durability comparison between the K5 and any average G&L. In all fairness, so long as there's no unwarranted abuse, the K5 would probably hold up fine.

    I guess if all the G&L fivers have the same neck, it's unlikely you'll find one you like. Compare to those older L-2500's and let us know what you find.
  8. Update:

    I went to Bass Palace today and played a couple of green L2500s--one pre-update, one updated.

    The pre-update bass was incredibly heavy, but it had THE NECK, in all its girth, and more importantly, THE B. The updated model had a noticeably thinner neck: not Modulus/Zon-thin, but not BEEFY like the old one. More importantly, the B just wasn't there.

    In any case, I tried the aforementioned L5500 and I think I've found my next bass. It has an awesome B and the big fat neck I love so much, and the electronics are a whole lot simpler. The EMG-DC soapbars give it a refined yet punchy tone with lots of bottom to spare. Matching that bass with an Aguilar DB359 and a pair of GS112s was downright orgasmic.
  9. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    <img src="http://albums.photopoint.com/j/View?u=1174383&a=11627687&p=41238476&Sequence=0&res=high">
    This was my G&L L-5500. It was my main bass for a while & you'll be very happy w/one. :)
    <a href="http://www.theoremnyc.cjb.net"><img width=385 height=70 src="http://albums.photopoint.com/j/View?u=1174383&a=8647027&p=41535909&Sequence=0&res=high"></a>
  10. Nino, did you ever do any recording with your L5500? It sounds like it'd be an awesome studio bass, with the EMG-DCs, as well as a killer stage instrument. The one I'm getting has the alder body so it's not quite so heavy and probably has a more neutral tone than your old one.
  11. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    Actually, I did record w/her. But the project got scrapped because we got rid of the singer. I still have a mixed CD that was taken off the master. I have to look for it & give it a listen. :)
  12. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    Check out a 'Ray 5 before you plunk down for a G&L. If you don't, you'll regret it later.
  13. Oh, I have checked out a Stingray 5. I may well get it instead of the G&L. I actually found the B superior on the old G&L, but's probably a setup question (the Swami likes almost unplayably low action, but the G&L had a medium action which I dug).
  14. dgce


    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA

    I'm so glad I checked out this thread. I've been very curious about the discontinued L-5500. I see these puppies on eBay and elsewhere from time to time. Some of the deals seem pretty sweet. However, I've read very few rewivews on them. Just reading what you've folks have said already has been a great help. But I'd still like to know:


    How's that low B sounding? This bass doesn't the string-thru body option of the newer G&L 5 strings, nor does it come in a 35" scale. Is it floppy? How's the tone?

    String spacing!!! Would you say its on the narrow side? Can you slap in it?

    The neck!!! I read a review that said the neck was like a club. This could have been a player partial to necks of the Ibanez Sound Gear ilk but who knows? How comfy is it?

    EMGs! I read another review that said the tone was a bit sterile do to the EMGs. I dig the Magnetic Feild humbucking pickups on my G&L ASAT bass. However, the preamp has been the route of some buzzing problems I and some other G&L-heads I know have had. EMGs are well known for being dead silent which I welcome. I've replaced stock pickups on two Jazz basses and a P-bass in the past and did like the results. However, I'd certainly would miss the tonal variety of my ASAT. What's yr take on the tone?

    And say, I only see three knobs on the L-5500. Are any of them concentric pots? What do they do? How verisitle is this bass? How is the bridge pickup when soloed?

    Thanx alot for the feedback (if it comes). I just might plunk down some cash and buy this thing; but it will be via the Internet and I can't sit down and tinker with it.


  15. 1. The low B is excellent--it's not as defined as a Zon' or Modulus's, but it's got big booty. It felt reasonably tight to me.

    2. The string spacing is fairly narrow, but I'm coming from a Dean Edge Custom 5 so everything is wider to me. If you have reasonably clean slap technique, you can thump away.

    3. "Baseball bat" or "club" would be excellent descriptions of the neck. This is a dig-in-and-groove kind of bass and probably wouldn't play with the Stanley-wannabe crowd.

    4. The tone is considerably more polite than on the L2500, and it's dead quiet. It has a lot more midrange definition than the L2500, too, and would probably be more useful in a recording environment. The tone is less versatile, though--going from soloed neck to soloed bridge is like going from a Music Man with less treble and more low midrange to a J with more bottom and low midrange.

    5. The control layout is volume, balance, stacked bass/treble.

    If you want it, get it. I may still end up getting the L5500 at Bass Palace, but Bass Palace's paduak Alembic Epic 5 is pulling inexorably on me, and if I trade in my old bass I'll be able to afford it.