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G&L Tribute Review

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bill h, Sep 14, 2003.

  1. bill h

    bill h

    Aug 31, 2002
    small town MN

    I got a new G&L Tribute L-2500 yesterday.:) :) :) This thing is kick a**, it is natural finish with a swamp ash body (two piece) with a maple neck.
    5 sting, volume, bass and treble controls, pickup selector, phase, and passive/active/treble boost, double active humbuckers, jazz style, string through or end through bridge, non locking tuners, long scale. includes gig bag, alan wrench and a cable.

    everything on here is solid as can be... great fretwork, great bridge, etc. The Bass came set up great nice low action. Intonation was right on. Frets are great, no sharp edges or dead spots on the neck.

    The number of sound I get from this thing are just crazy. from low root note playing to growling rock to mid and high popping jazz. It's got the whole package. I have band rehearsal tonight. Can't wiat to see how it sounds in the mix

    All in All I think this is a Great bass and if you have GAS for one you will not be let down.

    link to G&L Tribute
  2. BassDodger

    BassDodger Guest

    Jul 14, 2002
    I had posted my own review of the Tribute in the G&L bassforums at The Dudepit. What follows is a review written by me, a lover of the G&L basses for the other G&Lers in that forum...


    My Style.

    I play rock. Mostly originals in my present band, but we do covers. My experience has been that of a cover musician for 20 years. I have played through so many cheap basses and setups that I can take a halfway decent rig and make it sound great. I like my present L-2000. It produces the tones and has the feel I want ALL of the time. I’m going over this because what I want from a bass may be VERY different than that of say a Jazz player or country Bassist- but I really think that G&L players are really all the same: they don’t want a one-tone bass and they like versatility. An eye for a great instrument as well. Not to mention that this particular forum is for us, Lovers of great basses…


    Once again, I want to stress that my decision to acquire a Tribute is based on a few factors that DOES NOT necessarily mean I will buy other Korean knock-offs in the future: I am curious (as I’m sure MOST who read this are) and I kind of have a love for the G&L company for caring enough about us bass players to make a great instrument. Before we get to the “meat and Potatoes” of this review, I want you to understand that my decision to purchase this instrument was not only from the financial factor, but that of the curiosity. There is also the “beater bass” concept: I can experiment (with soldering gun and paint schemes) on this bass and not worry about ruining something beautiful. I have a student in mind to GIVE it to when I DO buy a California G&L if I like the 5 string concept.


    Saturday, September 06, 2003

    I got the bass yesterday. Thankfully, I dealt with my local distributor here in Tallahassee and he held it for me until I could get the GAS money for it. He did the same with my Fullerton made fretless- but DAMN: I got the custom G&L before the Tribute! I don’t think that’s HIS problem, though. I highly recommend that every try to go through their LOCAL dealer- they WANT to work with you!

    The BAG

    The Tribute came with a smartly gig-bag. A big embroidered G&L on the final pocket and a GREAT gig-bag all around. LarryNJ- you are correct, sir! If I were to sit down for a few days and design a gig bag- THIS is what I would come up with, sans the “anti-guitar player’s finger lasers” and the soft-shelled molding. The bag can actually take a hit from most small caliber fire as well as that Drummer’s snare stand in the back of a moving truck. The back also supports a hook that you can use to hang the bass conveniently in the drummer’s wife’s wardrobe closet (same place you’ll end up in) when he gets home “early”. The bag is nicely done and better than any other I have seen. Someone went through pains to design it- I suggest everyone get one! Within the bag I discovered 2 Allen wrenches, one for the bridge/pickup adjustments, and one for the truss rod. They even had the foresight to add a cheap 5ft. cord- perfect for practice amps and the dog to chew on. Upon further investigation I found that typical manila envelope. I was half expecting to see a certificate in there saying, “This is NOT a Real G&L Certificate of Authenticity” with a picture of a Korean shop worker smiling while giving me the finger. Alas, there were only 2 documents in there, a TWO-year limited warranty and said warranty registration card. I also must note that this is the SAME bag that my guitar player got with his Korean made PRS- it just had PRS on the embroidered pocket as well.

    The Bass

    I’m still not sure if I got the premium or the standard instrument- there are no distinctions either with the paperwork or on the nomenclature of the bass itself. But the bass is stunning to look at. Rosewood fret board with a clear coat of gloss on what could be arguably Swamp Ash- I’m not really sure. The neck cut simply isn’t there or the Koreans did a FANTASTIC job of it. I tend to believe the former as I think that Leo’s patented neck split may be a bit overkill for resisting warping. Better to have more than less, I always say. There IS a split in the body, though. 2 pieces of wood make up that part but the seem is cleverly hidden and appears durable. It’s really a good-looking instrument with a good heavy feel.

    Tone and Playability

    This is the BEST 5 string I have ever touched! Mind you, I never had the pleasure of playing with a true G&L L-2500, but the 5 stringers I have noodled with in the past no matter who made them or how expensive can’t compare to this thing. Ibanez and Peavey basses are king here in Tallahassee and that $2500 Cirrus hanging on the wall at my dealer’s feels like a wet rag compared to the Tribute. Other 5 stringers have this nasty feeling of a really loose setup on the B string. Not so here- even with my band’s half step tuning! The low string never really “rattled” past the D position- I was amazed. The tone: G&L all the way. With a little personal setup tinkering on the action and the pickup poles, I FINNALLY saw the end of all the things I felt wrong with a 5 string bass. Wonderfully absent are the uneven tones and volumes of the B string and the horrid action and floppiness of that same string.

    Hardware and Electronics

    The tuning keys are more chrome and larger- they also have what I believe to be a screw at the bottom of each pole for easier taking apart, but to me it’s just 5 more things that can go wrong. The bridge seems to have be forged or cast rather than the milled version we get with a Fullerton G&L. Which is better is probably about as debatable as the whole rosewood versus maple argument. The stings are through the body and the bridge is trying it’s best to look like the original, doing very good at it. The frets have a good feel to them and seem to have been trimmed just right as to not feel sharp (like some OTHER basses we all know). Advertisement states that the only thing still American are the pickups. This appears to be true in both tone and construction, but the “U.S. PAT. PED.” Is not written on them (overseas rules or something?). The pole pieces are as adjustable as the ones I have now, though. The electronics are VERY different in look and feel. Opening up the cavity, I saw a veritable rat’s nest- typical of all Foreign made active circuit basses I have seen. The switches are not only different, but they are mounted in the wrong position. I did go in and change the mounting to match the real G&L configuration and found I could only do it on the pickup selector and the active/passive. The series/parallel switch is a monster; too big to be mounted the proper way, as it would take up space required for the treble control. So it now clicks up/down as opposed to left/right. The pots, though not the same as the original G&L pots, are good and even in their adjustment for the tone, never peaking too fast and the middle spots are the middle spots. Oh- and the interior cavity is indeed shielded.


    The construction is pretty good for any bass. The only real difference is that where tolerances of 1/32 are present on a real G&L, you will find those tolerances to be a bit more liberal at 1/16. The neck and body are tightly fitted and the pole pieces on the pickups are dead right to the string paths. The bass is VEY tight, even for a 5 string.


    As little as 8-10 years ago, you could not get a decent new bass for under $1000: that’s just the way it was. If you had the know how to take a $600 instrument and upgrade everything, you might have made a cheap bass into a mediocre one for an extra $200-300. It looks as though times have changed and the world is responding to the American made instrument manufacturing. I note this because that is an interesting ideal. This Tribute bass is a great bass not only for it’s sound and construction, but also for it’s price. I will say that my curiosity has been satisfied and although I HATE to say this- I will NOT be getting another Tribute. It’s not because it’s a bad bass. It’s not because it’s a rip-off of the basses we all here love so much. It’s because I see within the next 9 months a new TRUE L-2500 coming to me- this bass has pretty much sold me on the real thing. In the meantime, I will have this bass. I won’t have to worry much about it when we play those dangerous venues- I can leave my Babies at home. I can do that blend-pot idea on it and not worry about blowing out the electronics. Folks, I went into my dealers shop with $500 and some change and I EXPECTED to walk out with a cheap bass. That didn’t happen. I walked out with a bass I would put up against ANY foreign made bass- a hell of a deal.

    Hope this helps and please feel free to ask anything about it- but don’t flame me! I haven’t “joined the other side” or betrayed anyone- I just quenched my curiosity as I’m sure most of you here were curious as well.


    So, yea. I agree...:bassist:
  3. Czar


    May 6, 2003
    New Jersey
    Tributes have become my new recommendation for "best bang for buck" bass. I liked them so much I bought 2 of them, a SB-2 and L2500.

    These are what I would expect from a premium maker like G&L making an import line. I wish Laklands were at this price point (I think they should be.)
  4. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!

    I've finally gotten the spousal approval to buy a new bass. Picked up my amp last night, YIPPEEE..

    But, I've been waffling between three basses for months now...

    1) Lakland Skyline 55-01
    2) G&L Tribute L-2500
    3) MTD Kingston Heir 5

    The only one of the 3 I've actually managed to play, is the Lakland, & I REALLY dug it. Enough that I thought I had decided,,, but when the cash isn't in your hand,,, its easy. Now that I'm ready to spend, I'm much more concerned about making the right choice.

    Reading this thread, is making me seriously question my previous decision... STOP IT! hehe.
  5. bill h

    bill h

    Aug 31, 2002
    small town MN

    I played at rehearsal last night. The bass has a ton of tonal options that let me just roll off the treble a bit and I just sang in the mix:) It was very nice to have such a great sound with out having to mess with my pre amp (B.B.E. B-Max pre into Avatar 2x10 with a Avatar 1x15)

    Home on lunch will post some pics. tonight.
  6. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    Holy cow, PLEASE tell me they make Tribute lefties! :(
  7. Czar


    May 6, 2003
    New Jersey
    Sorry, I don't think so.
  8. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    But looks like they will at some point in time! Check this out:

  9. Czar


    May 6, 2003
    New Jersey
    The dealer I was at told me that they also have plans to do the entire line in Tributes. I'd buy a ASAT bass...
  10. steve-o

    steve-o Guest

    Apr 17, 2002
    what an asat tribute..thats all i need..in colors?

    what does it matter ill just have it painted seafoam green

  11. I just got a premium L-2500 in amber and a maple fretboard. Well so far it sounds really good, even though I'm playing thru a Behringer bx600 practice amp. Like I said so far it has impressed me a lot. I'll give it the real test when I plug it into my main rig. If it sounds like the way I think it's gonna sound. I'm definatly getting me a USA L-2500 in Blueburst and Ebony fingerboard, or birds eye maple.
  12. Airsick Pilot

    Airsick Pilot Cleopatra

    Jul 29, 2002
    Cockpit(throwing up)
    I'm also curious as to how the Tribute basses fare with the likes of the highly-regarded mid-priced basses like the Skylines and Kingstons. If someone could shed some light on this, it would be very much appreciated.
  13. USA USA USA USA USA USA! I played a Tribute and it felt different from the USA bass right away. Aren't the USA models about $200.-300. more? If so, then based on the one I played I'd step up to the USA model. The Tribute just didn't strike me the way the USA models do.
  14. bill h

    bill h

    Aug 31, 2002
    small town MN

    WOW :meh:

    I think that they are very close!!! I wish it was only $200 or $300. I got my Tribute for close to $600 and a USA one is close to $1200.
  15. yeah I wish it was only 200 or 300 bucks more for a USA one. Well maybe if u get one used. I also think they are very close. Maybe he was refering to the Basswood ones instead of the Ash bodied ones.
  16. I didn't realize there was that much price difference. I live right by Buffalo Bros
    buffalobros.com and I think they have always had great prices on G&L. Anyways I enjoyed the reviews nontheless.
  17. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    Well, I CAN tell you that, there's a use USA G&L SB2 at GC here in CBus. I'd take my 55-01 over that USA G&L, every time... Everytime I pick up my 55-01, I just marvel at it.
  18. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Well you guys got my curiosity up! I ordered a 2500 Tribute bass today. I got the ash w/amber tint. I haven't owned a G & L since the 80's and really like the look of the 2500. It's going to be a backup bass so I had a problem paying the $1000-1300 for a new USA model. The guy at the music store stated that the "lot" of Tribute basses they currently have in stock actually have necks made in USA (early NAMM models that were fabricated prior to everything being in place to fabricate necks in Korea). I'll post a review after it gets here!:bassist:
  19. Cool dude! I got the Amber tint too, but with the maple finger board. And I also got as a backup 5'er. Let us know what you think of it.

    And one more thing. Those humbuckers are really powerfull. I was used to playing with basses with Jazz pickups.
  20. BassDodger

    BassDodger Guest

    Jul 14, 2002
    Yea, they are really powerful considering how close the factory G&L setup specs are...I got a new G&L Fullerton bass and that Tribute around the same time- both setup in the same place. L'il word of caution: Back the MFDs (Magnetic Field Design) P'ups down- they are very sensitive: some G&L lovers prefer to actually remove the springs and reinstall the pups to wider tolerances. Each p'up also has 2 posts to adjust the closeness to each string- use them sparingly!