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new to me G&L Climax bass - first impressions and questions

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by craigb, May 2, 2001.

  1. craigb

    craigb G&L churnmeister Supporting Member

    Hi everyone,

    I posted basically the same message on the GBL board - here are some G&L-specific definitions for TBL denizens. The Climax is the original version of the L1500 - it has a single humbucking G&L pickup in the "Stingray sweetspot". The #5 G&L neck is their standard on most basses and is 1 3/4" at the nut, the #6 is "jazz-equivalent" and is 1 1/2" at the nut. G&L tuners have chrome ears and tapered aluminum shafts (nice tuners). The Climax (and L2000) work in both active and passive mode (switchable) with bass/treble cut-only controls that work in both modes. G&L basses are NOT shielded at all.

    I recently did some bass churning and ended up with a Climax to go with my L2000. It was represented to me as NOS and might be that. I received it last night. I had to change the battery, crank the truss rod to straighten the neck, tighten all the knobs and will change strings tonight. The body and neck are in great condition (no chips, nicks, significant scratches, etc.), the chrome parts of the tuners are "cloudy" (oxidized?)

    First impressions: The #6 neck is NICE! I played my L2000 (w/#5 neck) to A-B the necks and it felt like a 2x4 in comparison (and previously I'd been really happy with the #5 neck). As long as I keep from really choking the neck the #6 is definitely going to be more comfortable.

    The body "appears" smaller but putting them side by side they look to have the same dimensions. The Climax has more "squared off" edges and seems to have either more severe contouring or is thinner to begin with. The semi-circular route on the back at the neck looks interesting but since I don't play up there it doesn't much matter to me now.

    Sound: The Climax gets the "Stingray-like" sound that I could never really get out of my L-2000. The one drawback is that when I turn the active circuit on it buzzes like a chainsaw. Passive is OK but active is unusable (at least in my house). I turned off everything in the room (computer, fan, lights) and it still buzzed. My L2000 was perfectly quiet in the same environment. When I did deal with the buzz to try active mode, well let's just say it can bite yer head off with that snarl.

    The knobs were loose so I took them all off and checked the pots (firmly attached, the twisting was just the knobs). I did notice that one of the pots (bass control) was a different type than the others. The volume and treble had long silver shafts but the bass had a much shorter gold/brass shaft with more "give". I had to put the knob closer to the body than I would have to make sure the set screw grabbed the pot shaft.

    So the questions:

    - any recommendations on how to polish up the chrome parts of the tuners? I may or may not worry about that but the rest of it looks basically new.

    - the buzz. I had read about people having serious buzz problems in active mode but my L2000 has no problems. Will doing a full shielding allow me to use active mode? I'll take it to practice this week to try it in a different environment but that will be as noisy or more than home.

    - anybody ever had G&L replace a neck on an instrument? I'll have to give it some time but I may be interested in getting a #6 neck on my L2000. Or is it a better choice to sell the old and buy a new one? (again a future possibility, I may just keep my L2000 as it is)
  2. seamus


    Feb 8, 2001
    -No recommendations on the tuners, maybe someone else could help there. I've never had to restore any.

    -Regarding the buzz, my L-2000 is quiet too. If the Climax is buzzing, I'm sure some shielding couldn't hurt. I wonder if something is not grounded properly, a wire loose somewhere maybe?

    -I have a #6 on one of my L-2000's. I have large hands so I am accustomed to the necks on both of my G&L's(the other has a standard neck). They are both comfortable to play, but I prefer the #6. Don't know if that helps or how much they ask for a new one at G&L.
  3. Hi Craig,
    nice to hear you feel fine with #6 neck.

    About the buzz, try some little tweaking and if it doesn't work, sure a pro will fix it.
    And about changing the neck probably it's better trading your #5 L-2000 for a #6 one.
  4. Just a question seamus,

    I read in your gear setup you own a GL Jazz.
    Can you tell me more about that bass?
  5. seamus


    Feb 8, 2001
    Oh, sorry about that. The GL Jazz is a Geddy Lee Jazz bass by Fender rather than a G&L.

    G&L does however have that JB-2 now. Man, I sure would love to try one of those out, I bet it sounds nice.

    I haven't seen them anywhere yet. It's almost like you would have to order one just to check it out. :(
  6. air_leech


    Sep 1, 2000
    cool Craig, my previous bass was a Climax with a Rosewood board and SB finish.

    mine had a slight buzz when active, seems like someone didn't cover the control cavity with conductive paint though it has some black splatters over there and aluminum foil at the bottom where the controls sat.

    anyway I sold it since the neck was too thin and narrow for me and my hands ached every time I played for more than 15 minutes and also I missed a neck pickup, only had punchy sounds and no mellow ones...maybe a nice P in the neck positon would make this bass a tone monster.
  7. craigb

    craigb G&L churnmeister Supporting Member

    Seamus - I looked around casually when I had the cavity open to change the battery. Everything looked to be hooked up (no obvious loose wires). I'm going to see how it does in other environments (and on other days). A shielding kit from Carvin may be in its future.

    Pantografo64 - Yeah, the #6 neck seems very nice. It's still satin which is a very good thing from my point of view (my older SB-1 which is now gone had a thicker finish which I didn't like as much). In some ways it seems almost "toy-like" compared to my L-2000 because of the smaller neck and the "optical illusion" of a smaller body. Whether I'd really want a #6 on my L-2000 (or an L2K with a #6) has to wait until I've had a bunch more time to get used to the #6 (but GAS never goes away).

    Air_leech - Time will tell on the neck for me. I've not liked necks that are "too small" for me in the past. We'll see how I like it after a multi-hour rehearsal. In the past if a neck was too small my hands would get cramped after a time. I think I've gotten to a more "relaxed" playing style - so as long as I'm not gripping the neck too tightly the smaller neck will be more comfortable (and faster) in the long run. The lack of mellow tones is why I don't have a Stingray any more. My L2000 gives nice neck pup tones and this Climax gives something I don't get out of the L2K so they are nicely complementary. Then again only time will tell if it stays or eventually moves on.

    The GL Jazz thing always makes me look twice, too. But I check out the FDP too so I finally got used to it.
  8. The two prototypes seen at NAMM has been sold in a couple of days at BassNW (I have to say I thought about buying one of them).
    But I feel it will be hard to find a JB-2 in every GC.
  9. Bernie


    Dec 12, 1999
    Congrats on yer new bass!!!Id take it to a GOOD tech and have him shield the cav and shorten/clean up the wiring.This is THE area where G&L comes up short.BP Mags review of their L-2000 brought this up as well.Ive read posts at the G&L DP from folks that had these fixes done and they said it improved their bass big time.Good luck!
  10. craigb

    craigb G&L churnmeister Supporting Member

    I think I've seen a lot of those same posts (on noise and shielding). I may do the shielding myself (using a Carvin kit). I want to assemble my own bass eventually and am trying to do as much work as I'm comfortable with on my own basses (I do my own setups - that's about all I've had to do so far).

    I changed the strings last night and found out to my chagrin that it apparently doesn't have the tapered shaft tuners (so I didn't have as many wraps as I probably should have - my worst string job in a long time). They are stamped with "Schaller" and are nice tuners, just not the tapered shaft ones that send the string to the bottom of the tuner in a single wrap. Oh well, live and learn.
  11. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000

    Is there a difference between the Climax and the old L-1000 models? I've never played a Climax, but they're both single pickup models.

    Will C.:cool:
  12. craigb

    craigb G&L churnmeister Supporting Member

    The pickup position is different - the L-1000 has it in the "P-sweetspot" while the L-1500/Climax has it in the "Stingray-sweetspot". Also I think the L-1000 was passive only while the L-1500/Climax has active and passive modes.

    The L-2000 has the neck pickup in the same position as the L-1000. The L-2000 bridge pickup is more towards the bridge than the L-1500/Climax.

    Oh yeah, and the L-1000 neck is 1 3/4" at the nut (G&L #5 neck) while the Climax neck is 1 1/2" at the nut (G&L #6 neck).
  13. air_leech


    Sep 1, 2000
    the Climax is like the L-1500 but with a smaller P-bass like body with squared off edges and it has a cut in the heel at the back.
    its the same electronic package as the L-1500.
    also the Climax comes standard with a Jazz neck where the L-1500 has more of a P neck I think.
  14. craigb

    craigb G&L churnmeister Supporting Member

    Well I took the Climax to practice yesterday. There the bass was quiet (initially) and I was using primarily active mode. It was a aggressive and biting and nasty and all those good Stingray-vibe things.

    After a while my left hand was starting to ache, though (right where my thumb attaches to my palm). I think the #6 neck (1 1/2" nut) may be a little too small for my palm width while the #5 (1 3/4" width) is a little too wide for my finger length. There's a reason that I loved my Stingray when I had it - I think those neck dimensions may be exactly what fits my hand the best.

    The sound of the Climax was very "tight" and had better cut than my L-2000 neck pickup. And if I wanted to slap (not that I can particularly well) this pickup placement is awesome for that.

    Unfortunately about the time my hand started aching the bass electronics started acting up. The bass adjust knob was having a strange effect on the sound - it was acting almost like a switch in controlling the output - cut the bass too much and the total output would drop way down. And there were bursts of "noise" that would come and go - it would sound distorted and the sound would be breaking up. And then it would clear up. It was bad enough that I finished practice with the drummer's Squier P.

    I need to try and figure out what's up with the electronics. The fact that the flakiness last night was happening in both active and passive mode would imply to me that the problem is not with the preamp but rather something in the passive electronics. I printed out the schematic from G&L and will start trying to figure it out. I may just yank them and rewire it as passive only. I need some more long practice sessions too to see if the neck is "too small" for me.
  15. air_leech


    Sep 1, 2000
    I will suggest you to change the pots.
    G&L pots are too loose anyway (for me at least) and if you have probs with the electronics but you are sure you want to keep the guitar than put a new preamp inside.
  16. craigb

    craigb G&L churnmeister Supporting Member

    Yes - I'm definitely thinking a new preamp will be in order if I can't get the existing one to work right. I do want to keep the bass, the only factor that would make me end up passing it on is if I can't adjust to the neck over time.

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