G&L L5500 - what do we know about it?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BullHorn, Mar 22, 2014.

  1. BullHorn


    Nov 23, 2006
    I was searching to sell/trade my Musicman Stingray and ended up swapping it for a late 90's (or early 2000's?) G&L L5500. This one is #1052 apparently and with the infamous EMG pickups.
    Previous owner modded it to run on 18V.


    What do we know about this bass? I was surprised about how little Google could provide me about this bass.
  2. bassie12


    Aug 23, 2008
    Looks cool. Bet it sounds great in a non G&L way.
  3. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    I owned a Green one for a while about 10 years ago or so. Great bass but it was super heavy. I owned a second one a while back and it was also heavy. The green one was my main bass for a few years.

    Came stock with the EMG DC's and a BTS preamp. Not sure what's infamous about them. :)

  4. Templar

    Templar Supporting Member

    I know a little bit about them, had a couple for a while. Mine had EMG 40's and a BTC tone circuit, at the stock 9v. The 18v setup on yours is a mod, supposedly for more dynamic headroom.

    The L-5500 is the only G&L bass designed entirely out of house (I forget the designer's name). Ergo the EMG array. It also has a unique body shape. Even tho it looks like the others, it's actually shaped more sleekly.

    The L-5500's also have their own unique serial numbering system, and a six-bolt chrome neck plate with micro-tilt. IICR, they only made about 400 units. They came in a variety of finishes, including Swirls. The earliest ones have the pickups located farther apart than yours.

    One of mine was 1 7/8" wide at the nut. The other one was fully 2" wide at the nut. I loved the huge organ-like sound of the EMG's, but hated the heavy weight. Both were well over 10 lbs.

  5. bdgotoh

    bdgotoh Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2002
    Pacific NW
    I'll just add a bit to Jack's great description.

    Some early L-5500s had different pickup placement. Most have the closer spacing as above, but I've seen a handful over the years that look like this:

    Glazenn likes this.
  6. Jimtoonz


    Aug 26, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    The L-5500 was designed by Paul Gagon and Steve Grom. Gagon was an employee of BBE sound when they acquired G&L, so the L-5500 is an in-house design, albeit by what was recently added talent at the time. Gagon is the person responsible for the recent development of the M-series electronics.

    As I understand it, the 5500 was intended to give G&L a 5-string offering to span the gap between the L-5000(unpopular due to the very narrow string spacing - essentially 5 strings crammed into a 4-string bass), and the release of the L-2500. This information should probably be taken with a "grain of salt", as it is sometimes difficult to believe that G&L had any master marketing strategy in place, as some things in their lineup seem to originate without a clear "reason to be".

    I've never had the opportunity to play one of these, but hope to do so at some point. Most every description I've heard or read says the sound is clean and massive and the build quality excellent. The word heavy is often used in describing these. The L-5500 can definitely be called the "Un-G&L G&L".