Questions for G&L aficionados

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by winston, Jan 22, 2001.

  1. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    I discovered a couple of really nice used G&L's at a local music store. They looked to be early 80's; the SB-1 had the black pickguard and bridge, and Leo Fender's name on the headstock. It was $559 without case-maybe a little steep, but it was truly the best P-style bass I've ever played: warm and fat like an old Fender, but clear and even with lots of sustain. The L-2000E also had the black bridge and the early 80's style knobs, switches and control plate; it was $749 without case. It sounded a bit warmer but muddier than the newer L-2000's I've played. These prices are a bit higher than what the Blue Book says, especially considering that there are paint chips and dings aplenty on both basses.

    I have a few questions:
    1)What's a reasonable price for a well-played but fully functional SB-1 or L-2000 from the early 80's?
    2)Are the old ones better than the new G&L's?
    3)I know that there's also the LB-100, which is set up like the SB-1 but looks more Fenderish; and the SB-2, which has a narrower neck, an added single coil at the bridge and no tone control. Anybody have any experience with these?

    I've already searched the Harmony Central and UMass review sites for G&L info and I've seen other posts (mostly about the L-2000/2500) but I just wanted some feedback from real live TalkBass members. Thanks!
  2. Well "governor" I must say that I am not well versed on the SB-1, but I play an L-2500 and that is the 5-string version of the L-2000, they really don't lose much value..... I see the newer L-2000's for around $700, (used of course) these instruments unlike many evolved to be better... I am not a fan of the earlier G&L's but I am a fanatic for the newer ones.......If you are seriously thinking of buying the L-2000, buy a newer one.... I know this is a good place for one........
  3. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    I'm the proud owner of one of the early L-1000 basses. I love G&L - to me it's pure Leo, improved over Fender, and more affordable (well, used anyway). In general, here's what I can tell you. G&L are hand-crafted, and not cut on CNC machines. The newer ones don't have the creative input, or the actual hands-on construction of Leo himself, but the necks are supposed to be stronger than the originals, due to split cut bonding of the neck halves. New and old all sound good to me. The true vintage models would be the ones with the smooth headstock, before the "nipple" appeared. The L-2000 is probably one of the most versatile basses ever constructed - passive/active switch, split coil/humbucker select on EACH pickup, and great tone. I've played the SB-2, which sounded much better than a newer Fender equivalent. They don't seem to have high resale value (couldn't begin to tell you why), but that means you should be able to pick up a superior bass for a reasonable price. I would expect a nice L-2000 to go anywhere from $600-900. You need to stop by and see what they have to say. You can also check out the marketplace. There's also a shop called Buffalo Brothers that's supposed to be a big G&L dealer.
  4. It's certainly true that most folks around hear who play G&L's seem to have only the L-2000 or similar basses. I also have an SB-2 and I swear by it. A few others here have them too.

    Are the old ones better? Not that I've noticed. Sure Leo's not around any more, but I must say the current powers that be at G&L seem to be doing a great job in maintaining Leo's high standards as well as his need to constantly make improvements to classic designs. I feel the new ones are getting better all the time since they are willing to make slight improvements.

    Leo designed the SB-1 (and SB-2) to be improvements on his classic designs. The bridge, neck and pickups are the main improvements over the old '57 P bass design. In particular, the pickups are quite different - they have a much higher output while maintaining the classic punch and growl of the P pickup.

    The SB-2 has both a P and a J style pickup, but with both pickups on, it sounds very much like a Jazz bass , more so than the average P/J wired bass. I would recommend the SB-2 over the SB-1 since you always have the option of using only 1 pickup if that's all you want at the time.

    The LB-100 was pretty much an attempt by G&L to placate the die hard "Fender" players who wanted a P bass pickup just like the old pre CBS Fenders. The LB-100 pickup is designed to sound like a vintage Fender. The neck and bridge are still the newer design though.

    Anyway, for what's it's worth, I prefer my SB-2 to ANY Fender I've ever played regardless of year. After getting my SB-2, I eventually sold all my vintage Fenders.

    The L-2000 is an incredibly versatile, more modern bass with many great tones. The passive G&L's are fantastic passive, more classic Fender designs.
  5. MrGump


    Apr 20, 2000
    I currently own a first day of production L-1000 prototype,and a first month Mahogany/maple L-1000.Ive had many L-2000s,the first L2500 custom.And MANY collectible G+ls.Commeratives,broadcasters,signatures,etc.I feel the early units AND the recent ones are the ones to get,with a quality decline,in the mid nineties,kind of like a smiley face if you charted it.There was a bad production crew around 94 or 5,and then they brought back some of the "originals"Whenever I had an SB-2 I always found myself playing on the P pick up only.So who needs the other!Unless its the waay early version with two Jazz type p/u's.
  6. td1368


    Jan 9, 2001
    Can anyone comment on the paint finish quality on older G&L's. I've been looking for a older used L-2000 or L-1000 love the playability and tones but I've noticed that some of the finishes are not so great. There are lots of cracking /chipped paint or refinished bodies, etc. Is that part of the reason older G&l's are a good value?

    I know you're supposed to play a bass not just look at it.
    Any Thoughts?
  7. MrGump


    Apr 20, 2000
    In the very early days there were alot of basses and guitars with experimental finishes.They would test them to see how they sold and wore.Also Mr.Fender would put these experimental colors on units that had other prototypical features"killing two birds with one stone"and making them easy to recognize.For example I have a first day L-1000 prototype.It varies from the regular production units because it has an on/off switch,a super hot pick up,and is painted a color called candy red.
    There also were four other of these prototypes,they are all painted these candy colors.
    The candy finishes are awful! They look like someone sprayed them with a spray can!They aren't smooth to the touch.They feel like they need to be clearcoated or sanded.and they have some "pieces" in them.
    These candy colors were used on instruments they made over the years,but only a handful at a time.
    It would be very easy to confuse one of these finishes for a bad re-fin!
    Also It is easy to imagine someone having one,and not realizing what it is,refinishing it.
    G+L basses also have very long lasting frets.By not showing wear they tend to disguise exactly how much playingtime a bass has on it.But the bodies show wear normally.
    Ive also found that G+L owners (especially L-1000s and 2000's)tend to make these basses the workhorse of theyre collection.Due to versatility and playability they could reasonably cover many tones with the one bass.Therefore leaving the others home and safe.

    [Edited by MrGump on 01-23-2001 at 11:27 AM]
  8. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    I have a B00- L2000E and it sounds great. One of my best sounding basses, for what it is. It appears to be all original and the finish is checked. Bought it two years ago for $275.

    I had an SB-1 that was an excellent P style four string. I eventually sold it because I didn't use it very much. Bought it for $250 last year.

    I guess it all depends on where you are and how often you look. I frequently see early 80's L2000's for around $500.

    Are the old ones better than the new ones?...I don't know. I haven't played a new one that truly sounds like my old one but I also haven't set up a new one for me.
  9. td1368


    Jan 9, 2001
    Curious, The L-1000 I saw had a finish similar to your description. The color was somewhere between the fullerton red and candy apple red on the G&L web site. However, the paint had a flat/matte finish and was chipping, almost flaking off. Did it sound sweet though.

    Is there anyway of knowing if there are factory modifications to the bass that are not spec?

    I'd assume it be best to leave alone the finish in any case?


    [Edited by td1368 on 01-23-2001 at 11:59 AM]
  10. craigb

    craigb Supporting Member

    My used SB-1, roughly a '93, was $350 on ebay. I was a little surprised to get it for that price but from what I've seen ~400-450 seems to be the "going ebay rate" for an SB-1. My L-2000 was under $800 new so I'd personally never pay more than about $500-600 for a used one - I'm not into the vintage thing. I wish I could find deals like Brad's.

    I can't speak as to whether older is better or not. I personally like the idea of the bi-cut neck (can't say whether it really makes a difference) and was looking for a "newer" one with the bi-cut neck.

    My main bass is a 2000 L-2000. The '00 model has a satin/oil-like neck finish that I love. The '93 SB-1 has a thicker, more noticeable finish that I don't like as much. The '00 has a 6-bolt neck, the '93 has the 3-bolt tiltable neck.

    Sound-wise the SB-1 has a little something the L-2000 doesn't. I can best describe it as a little "clarity" and "sweetness in the upper register". But the L-2000 does so much more (various flavors of snarl, growl and thump) and feels better to me so it's my #1.
  11. I'd have to say, most of the older G&L's I've seen have finishes that I would describe more as "dull" or "plain" perhaps. Very few seem to jump out at you.

    My three G&L's are '95 or later and the finishes are superb. My SB-2 has a really nice 3 colour sunburst over a very nice piece of swamp ash (1 piece body). My L-2000 is a perfect clear finish over another beautiful ash body. my L-2500 is a nice 2 colour sunburst.

    They make a huge range of finishes now, and some are pretty weird, but they do have all the traditional colours anyone could want. I'd certainly say that the newer G&L's have much better finishes overall than the early ones.
  12. craigb

    craigb Supporting Member

    FYI since my last post I've cruised by Daddy's ( ) and they now have a couple of G&L's for about $300. They don't list year but I'll bet you could find out with a phone call.
  13. MrGump


    Apr 20, 2000
    Td1368,Im sure everyone will agree with me when I say LEAVE IT ALONE!Even if its ugly.If you value originality.
    Sounds like a candy color to me.Mine are not peeling or flaking as it is virtually unused,the past 7 or so years.
    How was this bass equipped?Chrome or black bridge and control plate?3 bolt? What kind of pole pieces?Serial #?skunk stripe or bi-cut?etc. etc.
    In my collecting prime I used to be able to call the factory and get info right from the log book that would list body wood,color ship date etc.I also had a "mole" who would give me the scoop on oddball stuff.
    The serial number is the key.
  14. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    Thanks for all the replies, folks--I've got a much better sense of what a reasonable price would be. I had a '92 G&L Legacy guitar with a flawless Candy Apple Red finish that held up very well. It was a great instrument but I needed money for bass stuff so I sold it. I'd tend to agree with MrGump's assertion that you see a lot of well-worn G&L's because people who own them like to play them a lot.
  15. craigb

    craigb Supporting Member

    Since this thread started up I've reevaluated my equipment needs and have put my SB-1 up on ebay ( ). You could have for less than the one you were looking at locally. For a Talkbasser I'd be willing to work out a non-ebay deal (at my reserve) if no bids have been made at that point in time.

    It's a nice bass, but my L-2000 is my primary instrument and I "need" other equipment more than this bass.
  16. Beautiful carpet under your SB-1, Craig :D!

    No kidding: belair green is the most beautiful solid color from G&L.
  17. craigb

    craigb Supporting Member

    Although I'd love to be able to take credit for the fine carpet ;) in the pictures? I'm reusing the ones taken by the person who I bought it from - those pictures are nicer than the ones I get from my first-generation digital camera.

    I like Belair Green on the more "traditional" looking instruments like the SB/LB and ASAT basses. I don't think it would look right (to me) on one of the L-series. My L2000 is "black sparkle" which looks like a charcoal metallic (and is now being discontinued by G&L according to news from NAMM). Have you seen the new baby blue/daphne blue they are introducing? Very nice if you like the more pastel-looking hues.

    My color preferences in basses keeps shifting - nowdays it's something that shows some of the wood grain and is a warm yet "neutral" color - tobacco sunburst, honey translucent, blonde, etc.
  18. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    after seeing and trying the G&L basses i hope to become a G&L user as soon as possible. i think the bass could be the best for my needs is the asat. have you seen interesting asat for sale on the web? what is a good price for this bass?
  19. rooster


    Jun 10, 2000
    upstate new york
    barroso i just sold my ASAT bass on e-bay two weeks ago and i fetched $631.00 and $20.00 shipping.what a great bass it was honeyburst.i also have a stingray annivesary bass and preffered to play the why sell it ???only to order a custom ASAT bass from buffalo bros.when i get it i will post pic' will never regret buying a G&L bass.

    remember as always rock till ya drop.
  20. craigb

    craigb Supporting Member


    Since you are in Italy I don't know if you will be interested in the various person-to-person used market (ebay, bassgear, harmony central classifieds, etc.). For new instruments (where I got mine),, (I think that's right) and all are G&L dealers and at least some should be able to ship internationally. Some of those retailers and have used stock as well.

    My online research indicates that a new ASAT should run under $800 USD (plus shipping/VAT/duties etc. of course). That's for standard finishes, no extra cost options.