G&L's are nice, but they fart!!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by asherd, Mar 5, 2001.

  1. asherd


    Jan 7, 2001
    In the "Used G&L" thread I talked about how the pickups/preamp on my L2000 fretless would "fart" if I played aggresively in certain settings. Recently I tried out some newer G&Ls, 2 L2000's and 2 L1505's, and they all had the same problem. It's not the batteries and it's not the amp. I've eliminated those possibilities. It seems that G&l's pickups are too powerful for the active circuits that they are using, thus they overload when too strong a signal is being sent to them. In my bass, I greatly reduced the problem by having another 9 volt battery added (the preamp eats batteries like candy as well if you haven't noticed). Anyone who reads this and hasn't experienced this problem, try either of the following: 1) select the neck pickup, phase switch and active circuit on, and the bass knob up pretty high - 2) select the bridge pickup, bass up pretty high, active mode on, but phase switch in single coil mode or whatever it is (towards the bridge), with the treble all the way down. Play hard on the E string especially, and make sure the gain on your amp is set low enough so that you get only enough signal to hear the bass. How does it sound?
  2. Okay. I must admit I had never noticed this myself, but since a few people have commented on it, I thought I'd check it out.

    Following your instructions, I did actually manage to reproduce the result on my L-2000 and my L-2500 for the first time. I must say, I did have to pluck the strings REALLY hard to get that result - a lot harder than I ever think I would play.

    I guess you're right. I do play what I consider to be pretty hard (and I normally play classical double bass, so I'm no stranger to playing quite hard), but I must say, I don't think I ever play hard enough on electric to cause that particular distortion. So I guess it doesn't bother me at all, since I've never had that sound occur during normal play.

    I think for the average player, it shouldn't be a problem, but for you guys who really feel you need to pluck THAT hard, maybe they aren't the right basses for you.

    I still love my G&L's. :)
  3. actually I noticed that too on an L2500 I played the other day. I put it down to the bass overloading the input on the amp i was plugged into... I turned the bass down a bit and it went away. Maybe that's what it is. They have pretty friggin' hot output!
  4. Dude, what a story, don't you have a dog to blame?:D I have to check out my L-2500......Never noticed before, but I will keep an ear open.....
  5. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    this is caused by a lack of headroom in the on-board preamp.. you could probably solve this easily if you just ran the preamp at 18v instead of 9v

    (in other words, slap another 9v battery in that puppy - clip the red wire coming from the existing battery, attach it to the black wire of another 9v battery cap, and take the new battery cap lead (red) and attach it to the other end of the original lead line you clipped.)

    head room for days.
  6. Yep, I added a battery to my EMG P and it sounded better although I don't play all that hard. Someone else said the same thing, too. I think it's worth it. Batteries are cheap. I noticed Aguilar makes some good-sounding headroom claims for their OBP-1, and yep, they run it at 18v. Wonder how much of that is the preamp and how much is the 2 batteries? If it's mainly the 2 batteries, other preamp makers would be wise to follow suit and spec their preamps at 18v, too.
  7. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    I had the same problem on my L-2000. I lowered the pickups alittle & the farting stopped. Now if I could only make my self stop farting!!! LOL
  8. neptune


    Feb 2, 2001
    I found the same problem while troubleshooting a new pre/poweramp. My Stingray 5 (9 volt) is overloading my outboard preamp. I'm an old time "Fender bender" and used to running the passive basses with at least 1 pickup at full volume. I've found that I have to run the Stingray at about 3/4 volume or gain to alleviate the problem. As far as I'm concerned, the bass itself is where "the rubber hits the road", and it still doesn't feel natural with the instrument output decreased....I'll get used to it with time.
  9. Could part of the problem be magnetic pull on the strings? Just wondering.
  10. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    This may not apply here, but my understanding is that Leo designed the G&L pickups to be overdriven when you run them full up. Mine's a passive bass, but I had to rethink how I played my bass when I first got it. You don't want to run the volume full out; I keep mine back about 3/4. I found that keeping the knobs pulled back a little has made a big difference
  11. seamus


    Feb 8, 2001
    I have a couple L-2000's and I was unable to make them 'fart'.

    I would think someone would have to beat on them excessively to produce this effect.
  12. neptune


    Feb 2, 2001
    I noticed it when I played a tight, aggressive fingerstyle pluck close to the bridge, immediately followed by another right hand finger deadening the string (ala Rocco Prestia 16th notes style). The distortion in this situation doesn't require any slapping or "beating" on the string.
  13. MohawkHarry


    May 21, 2000
    Now I know whats wrong with my Warwick fna! It does the same thing under hard over the top finger picking. An odd thing is my warwick sounded great at first, but now it distorts when I turn up the valume on the bass all the way. Is my on-board preamp burning up?
  14. neptune


    Feb 2, 2001
    Maybe 1) Your battery's not up to snuff, or
    2) You've tweaked your amp settings over time to be more conducive to causing on board pre distortion now. I recently went through a major learning curve when I purchased my first separate preamp/poweramp setup, somewhat in conjunction with my first active bass. Between the bass' onboard preamp, the outboard preamp, and the poweramp I have 4 volume/gain knobs to deal with. More than I'm used to. I found through experimentation that the incorrect combination of settings between these 4 gain controls knobs could screw up my whole sound with with incessant, frappy distortion. Still working on the right tone, but the distortion is under control. Folks on this forum were mighty helpful also.
  15. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Are you sure you're not just overdriving your amp? You're not playing into a Pig Nose are you? Some amps can be farted by just about any bass. Also, you're playing hard with the bass EQ turned way up. This will gobble headroom more than anything else. I vote for overdriven amp.
  16. asherd


    Jan 7, 2001
    I know it's not the amp, and I've gotten this effect with a brand new battery (and I also lowered my pickups). My amp has a light that flashes when clipping occurs in the amp's preamp, but I set the gain on the amp as low as I possibly can just to hear sound from my bass, and use the master volume to bring it up. I still get the farting even under these circumstances. But I know for sure that I'm not overdriving anything in my amp, and I can get the exact same sound in any other amp (like when I try other L2000's out in stores). Anyway, the noise definately results from a particular style of playing. Some people play aggresively (and musically) without actually plucking the string really hard with the meat of the finger. Slapping or playing with a pick isn't as conducive to this distortion. I tend do dig into the string as heavily as possible using all of the meat on my fingers. That's just how I find that I personally get the most sound out of a bass. So people with that particular style may have problems with L2000's while other players with equally aggresive styles may never have such a problem. My conclusion (I sound like I'm writing a paper don't I?) is that L2000's are some of the hugest sounding instruments out there, but may cause some problems for players into heavy, thick fingered techniques (at least with the controls set high on the preamp). Even the size of your fingers might have some effect.
  17. Funkster


    Apr 6, 2000
    Wormtown, MA
    I owned one for a month couldn't get used to all the switches and knobs and that farting annoyed the hell out of me. She's gone to a better place on a UPS ride to VA. Not that I didn't like it!
    It was a real nice bass but player wise I just didn't dig it. The same thing happened to me when I bought my Rev Rumble Fish Sounded killer in the store take it home in my band situation and it was a klunker.
  18. I think it's important here to point out that this is a phenomenon that seems only to occur to a very small percentage of players. I was able to reproduce the effect, but only when I played to the point that I thought I was using excessive force - so much force that I was in fact 'bending' the pitch sharp - which is certainly something in itself that I would avoid. In the 3 years I've been playing G&L L series basses (almost exclusively), I've never had this distortion occur under my normal playing conditions, and I feel I do play quite agressively at times.

    I'm sure there are lots of basses out there that will produce less than pretty results when played that agressively.

    As an intersting aside, last night I took a borrowed '75 Jazz bass (quite a nice one, at that) to a rehearsal with a rock band I play with regularly. After 3 years of hearing me play my G&L's, the guys politely requested at the end of the night that I not bring the Jazz bass in the future! I had to agree - it just didn't have it compared to my 3 G&L's who all have very full and solid tone in comparison. In case you're wondering, we tend to play just straight ahead classic rock - nothing out of the ordinary.
  19. seamus


    Feb 8, 2001
    I'm with Rob, this whole 'fart' thing regarding the G&L's sounds wacky to me. Don't mean to write a rebuttal necessarily, but I thought the bass was taking some undue criticisms for something I've yet to experience under normal playing circumstances.

    I have been playing mine more and more lately and they really sound great. I've yet to experience this noise that's been described.

    My advice to anyone wanting to check them out would be to do just that. They are certainly worth a look for the price, especially used. Mine are both year '00 L-2000's, so I can't speak for the older models. I know that the ones I have now will always have a home with me though.

    I'm not saying they are my #1 bass in the world, but they are pretty versatile and can even fill a niche with a sound that's all their own. If I had to mark anything against them, I'd say I have other basses I find far more playable, almost effortless. These still play as you would expect though.

    If I had to sum my L-2000's up in one sentence:

    No nonsense, tough as nails bass with tone ranging from classic J-growl to full tilt thunder. :)
  20. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    My old L2000E has a hot output. I play with a light touch and even when I dig in, no farting. Excellent bass.

    The switches are easy unless you don't have a layout. Pickup selector, series/parallel and 3 position active (treble boost)/active/passive switch. Extremely versatile.