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Ultimate 4-string session/live bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Mark Gollihur, Aug 9, 2000.

  1. Mark Gollihur

    Mark Gollihur Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 19, 2000
    Mullica Hill, NJ
    Owner/President, Gollihur Music LLC
    Okay, hypothetical question. Say you were getting a custom bass made for you that was of a fairly standard design (J, P body design) with a 4 string neck (J, P, custom profile) and frets. You could put in any type/brand of pickups (J, P, MusicMan, soapbar, stacked J, active, passive, etc.) and put them in any configuration/layout you wanted.

    How would you customize this bass to make it useful to you? For what reasons would you make some of the choices you make? Remember that we're talking about a fairly standard body type and construction (bolt-on neck) but that most of the other factors are totally up to you.

    Obviously, there's no wrong answers, but I'd love to hear your thoughts!

  2. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I already have it and it's not custom.

    81 G&L L2000E.
    Ash body/ Maple neck.
    Active/passive with bass & treble controls for each.

    This bass is the most massive sounding 4 I've ever played. Phat.

    I can't think of a way to improve on it. I'd like a 5 with the same string spacing and sound.
  3. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Brad...I've wanted to ask you this for some time...I'm kind of considering trying out a G&L (4 string only...don't know what to do with the low B). Any thoughts you can pass my way? What to look for? Which models? New vs. used? Etc...
  4. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    RAM, I'm partial to the L2000 type layout: two pickup, passive/active/active with treble boost, series/parallel mode, pickup selector (I prefer these for quick switching vs. a panpot)Bass and treble controls in active or passive mode. Because of this layout they are extremely versatile. Solo the bridge pickup, roll the bass up a little and get great punchy fingerstyle, active or passive. Both pickups on, crank up the bass and treble and get very phat and aggressive slap or leave the treble flat and get very nice traditional fingerstyle. Solo the neck for nice P tone. There are lot's more in there.

    Mine is Ash which is heavier than an Alder Jazz but not uncomfortably so. Mine also has the Maple fretboard. I honestly don't know why these basses never really caught my eye before, probably because it had the Fender connection which I avoided for a long time. I've since gotten over that in a big way once I realized that the sound I really liked was the Fender sound:D

    Here's the cool part IMO: you can pick up an L2000 cheap. Mine was $275 used in a pawn shop (the same place I got the 78 Maple Jazz for $500:)) There are a bunch of good deals on new ones around, Bass Northwest keeps a pretty good stock. You can also get some pretty wierd finishs if you like, like swirls. Used in good shape L2000's should be around $500 or so. ASAT's, which have a Telecaster body and L series electronic sound like L2000s but look different.

    Here's a great G&L site: http://www.guitarsbyleo.com/
    Hope that helps.
  5. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Of the choices, ill go with J body shape (no pickguard!), custom profile neck (basically p spacing with a thicker neck), and EMG soapbars (i have too much bartolini). That answer question, or do ya want more? (I can give it!) :D

    :eek: Buggered!
  6. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Brad, thanks tons!

    I've been kicking the idea around lately, as I'd kind of like a second bass (I don't consider my Peavy playable anymore). As you know, I'm EXTREMELY partial to my Spector, but I already have one. I'm looking for something that's quite the opposite, yet has tons of tones. I thought G&L would be perfect, especially knowing how I feel about the prices of good basses these days (and I know you're as aware of how unhappy as I am!!!)

    G&L doesn't seem to have been bitten by the "high price" bug quite yet, and that's good, considering I can't spend tons of money on a bass right now. If I came across one that excited me for a few hundred bucks, I'd pick it up, but that's the only way I'd do so!

    I'm going to check out that link that you provided me above (which I really appreciate!) I'm also going to go into a local store in suburban Chicago within the next month to try one out. They carry tons of G&L's, so then I can get a better idea. Until then, thanks tons!
  7. DaveB


    Mar 29, 2000
    Toronto Ontario
    Ok..let's see.....A light ash Precision string through body with a black pearl scratchplate.A Jazz neck with a rosewood board.And a Fralin P pickup. And a thumbrest right above the pickup. All this and the hardware made to custom shop specs and tolerences.Oh,yeah...and fitted with Thomastik Jazz Flat strings.
    Why, because this would be the best of the two great basses I have now with the added value of the specs and tolerences.
  8. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Whenever I say nice things about my G&L I have to plug it in, just to check and see if I've lost my mind or something. Nope...it's the real deal. I use nickel strings on mine and one of the things I really like about it is the dynamic range. If you thump the E you'd be hard pressed to discern it from a great, tight, deep kick drum in the mix. No mud.

    I know G&L isn't truly custom so I'll throw this out here: If I were commissioning a new bass it would have the same layout as the G&L but I'd probably use Bartolini or Aero pickups and a Bartolini preamp. Two pickups (mandatory), probably soapbars, maybe J type. No panpot, need a toggle switch selector. Ash body, possibly nice figured top. Maple board (I hear a difference. 3/4" spacing between strings at the bridge.

    Funny thing is, I know where I can have this bass built for under $1500...


    I've played them, they're very nice.
  9. JimS

    JimS Supporting Member

    Sadowsky swamp ash body, maple neck, Sadowsky jazz pickups and of course the on-board preamp. The necks on the basses, as well as everything else about them, are wonderful...IMHO. Basically a superbly hot-rodded vintage Fender jazz w/ great tone wood and nobody does it better than Sadowsky.
  10. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    You know, I've thought about this, and almost tried a project with an Epiphone Newport body. I'd be tempted to have something built (or maybe modify a Warmoth Fender-type project) using 2 pickups; the neck pickup could be either a humbucker, or one of those nice G&L humbucker/split coil combos (yeah, Brad, I know what you mean about that sound), coupled with a Ric bridge pickup. I'm pretty much old school, so it'd be passive, but with the 300K pots. Can't decide on a finish; either battleship gray with black hardware, or a really nice natural finish with some tasteful gold pinstriping.

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