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Help! My L2K is too mean.

Discussion in 'G&L Bass Forum' started by paulraphael, May 3, 2006.


  1. paulraphael

    paulraphael

    Apr 13, 2006
    Brooklyn
    If you heard me play, you'd stop reading what I write.
    I've had this bass for 6 years ... alder body, rosewood board, #6 (jazz) neck.

    It has a lot of great qualities .... punchy, powerful, articulate sound, big booty, great neck, all the other g&l goodness.

    But there's one aspect of the sound that drives me crazy. There's a kind of growl, especially along the first several frets of the A string, that is just too aggressive and (to my ears) not very musical sounding. It sounds almost like a disonant, metalic rattle ... has a kind of cold, snarling quality. Would be great if I was playing thrashier music, but I'm more interested in a warm midrange. I'd rather have growl that sounds like wood than like wire.

    I've tried a dozen different kinds of strings. Most roundwounds emphasized the sound too much. But I really don't want a tradional thuddy flatwound sound. GHS brite flats have been a pretty good compromise. At least after they age a bit. I'm considering trying the Thom jazz flats, too .. not sure how they'll be.

    unfortunately, a lot of the string/eq options that minimize the sound also scoop out the mids ... which I definitely don't want.

    I've considered if this could be the pickups messing with the strings, so i lowered them a lot. Mellowed things a bit but not tons.

    also, this is the second neck i've had on the bass (there was an unrelated problem with the original one) so it's probably not neck related.

    Any thoughts on what it could be? I'm open to the possibility that I'm just nuts ... other people have complimented the sound of this bass. but it often clashes with what i want to hear, and it does it in that range on the A string and E string where basses usually sound their best.

    Thanks for any input!
     
  2. To me, that sounds like just a tad of fretbuzz, if you don't like it, you need to loosen the trussrod a bit. That'll raise the action a bit and give the string more free space to vibrate. The other option is to pluck more lightly, but I know that that's easier said than done.
     
  3. paulraphael

    paulraphael

    Apr 13, 2006
    Brooklyn
    If you heard me play, you'd stop reading what I write.
    Yeah, I thought of that, but that's not it. My action is actually quite high. and it's not ACTUALLY a rattle, like metal clattering against metal. that wasn't an accurate description on my part.

    I don't know if you can imagine the kind of disonant throb you hear if you bluck on a tight steel cable (like a guy wire or something like that) ... it's more that kind of sound. and it's in the background ... underneath the musical vibrations, but also clashing with them slightly.
     
  4. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Still rockin'

    Nov 22, 2004
    Deep E Texas
    I just bought a Tribute L2000, and the original roundwound strings produced exactly that kind of buzz or rattle on the lowest 3 frets. A good setup will probably cure it. For my part, I installed a set of GHS Brite Flats, reintonated the bridge, and it's fine, now.
     
  5. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    A great setup can help if string rattle caused by marginal setup is the issue.
    Right hand style (if you play right handed) can cause, and fix some of this thru angle of attack on the string.
    Sounds like a set of fat sounding flatwounds might help you.
    I've tried:
    LaBella, Lakland, and Fender. The LaBellas retain a surprising amount of bright for flatwounds, the fenders are sort of middle of the road, the lakland are kinda dark. I like all three really...
     
  6. Here's a checklist to run thru. Maybe find the culprit, or at least rule some things out.

    Bridge....
    All saddle height adjusting screws are making solid contact at the base of bridge, and are not rattling.
    Saddle lock screw not loose.

    Nut...
    Strings are sitting snug in their slots.

    Tuners...
    Strings are not cross-wrapped around post.
    Bottom wrap is low on the post for the sharpest break angle to the nut.
    The tuners themselves are not rattling.

    Truss rod....
    Rare, but can sometimes buzz at certain freqs.

    Pickup mounting springs....
    Look for some rubber damping material down inside the springs. You need this. Without it, the springs will vibrate and pass along a "metallic" noise to the pups.

    This is a big problem on a lot of G&L's, cos for years after Leo passed the dampers were left out at the factory.

    Easy fix....stuff some soft foam rubber in the springs.
     
  7. DavePlaysBass

    DavePlaysBass

    Mar 31, 2004
    CO
    Drop your neck pickup. I have mine down as far as it can go with the springs in. I have lowered the bridge pup to match the neck pup volume wise.

    I have heard of guys taking out the springs and pushing the neck pup all the way down. You will not lose much by lowering the MFDs. And IME you gain some fidelity.

    The G&L factory specs place the MFDs way too high according to just about everyone who has experimented.

    Dave
     
  8. paulraphael

    paulraphael

    Apr 13, 2006
    Brooklyn
    If you heard me play, you'd stop reading what I write.
    cool, thanks for the replies.

    i just got a pro setup (my first ever ... just to see what it would be like). the sound is still there, but not as pronounced as i remember it being with new strings.

    the tech echoed what you guys are saying about pickup height. i had lowered them a lot already, and he thought they were still too high. i might try lowering the neck pu all the way, like you suggested. right now it's quite a bit farther from the strings than the bridge pu, which gives a balance that i like.

    if i take the pickups off to see if there's damping foam, is there anything i need to be especially careful about? i've never taken one off before.

    Ipedelux, it's funny that you mention brite flats; that's what i use.

    if it doesn't go away, i'll try recording a sample, and maybe some of you tone gurus will get a better idea (or maybe you'll tell me i'm hallucinating).

    thanks for all the great input.
     
  9. spideyjg

    spideyjg

    Mar 19, 2006
    San Diego
    Me likey close and mean..........

    Jim
    Group036.

    Saddles006.
     
  10. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    "me likey close and mean."

    Me too, but to each his own.
    What pups are those in the second pic?
     
  11. paulraphael

    paulraphael

    Apr 13, 2006
    Brooklyn
    If you heard me play, you'd stop reading what I write.
    This might be it! There's no foam in there.

    Any other advice on how to do this? Do you take the strings off to get the pickup covers out of the way?

    Thanks again,

    P
     
  12. spideyjg

    spideyjg

    Mar 19, 2006
    San Diego
    That is my El Toro.

    A very midrangy beast.

    Jim
    ElToro002.
     
  13. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Stacked J pups? Kinda like Nordstrand Big Singles?
    I bet that's a beefy mean mofo too!
     
  14. spideyjg

    spideyjg

    Mar 19, 2006
    San Diego
    Nope, mini MFD humbuckers. The ET has the widest swing from passive to active. I usually run it active.

    Unlike the L2K the series parallel puts all 4 coils in series and defeats pickup selection.

    Matt and I are big ET fans. :hyper: It is a 'hog body but my lightest bass at just a hair over 9 lbs.

    Jim
     
  15. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    I think that makes it like one of the positions on the (single coil J) Reverend 5L and the (stacked J equipped) Reverend BH5.

    Which is a big fat honkin' booty machine:)
     
  16. Pull the strings off.
    Remove all the pup mounting screws.
    Lift the entire pup out of its rout (just be careful not to tug on the wires too hard).
    Cut up some little foams, stuff 'em into all the springs. Done.

    You can do a "flick test" before and after the stuffing ritual....

    Plug into your amp, volume up. Mute the strings with left hand. "Flick" the pups with your fingernail. Once stuffed, you should hear only a thud sound, and no pinging noises.
     
  17. paulraphael

    paulraphael

    Apr 13, 2006
    Brooklyn
    If you heard me play, you'd stop reading what I write.
    Thanks Templar.

    I did it ... it seems to have helped.

    I'm noticing with the pickups farther from the string the sound of the bass seems smoother but also less focussed. (less of a tight thump in the bass). Is this to be expected?

    Thanks again,
    P
     
  18. Herman

    Herman

    Dec 25, 2005
    Lynchburg, VA
    I think I have a similar problem with my L2000. You said that adding the foam rubber to the pup springs helped - did it not fix it completely? Is it enough of an improvement that I should check and add foam rubber if it's not in there already?
     
  19. Herman

    Herman

    Dec 25, 2005
    Lynchburg, VA
    Well, I went ahead and checked out the damping under my pups on my L2K - there was a small piece of black foam between the two springs under each pup. I had some similar material (3/8" thick, black, dense foam rubber) on hand so I cut some pieces to fit around each spring and along the sides - basically filled the cavity with this foam (glued down with super glue gel) except for over the 3 screw holes. Then I cut some small pieces and stuffed them into each of the springs, put it back together, strings back on and shazam! - no more metallic-robotic-clangy-high frequency overtone. Did the "flick" test before and after - pinging before, thud after.

    This overtone/harshness with my sound has been driving me crazy since I've had this bass and now it's gone - thanks, Templar! I'd recommend this for any L2K owner who may be frustrated by a harsh, non-musical, metallic, pingy, overtone in their sound. It's very easy and takes only about 1/2 hour to do.
     
  20. zen_1000

    zen_1000

    Jun 18, 2006
    Singapore
    Hi guys,

    I checked with my repair guy and he said that the problem I had which sounds like your problem is a frequency problem. And to test it he tried out 10 different basses from Fenders to Godknowswhat-basses and they all had a kinda of intonation problem on especially on the 10th fret E string. Like a certain overtone of flatness. Any ideas on what to do??
     

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