Wednesday, October 16, 2013

G&L L-2000 Tribute

G&L L-2000 Tribute

The G&L Tribute bass range, which are made in Indonesia, has been something of a success over the past few years.
This particular L-2000 is seriously good-looking and features a carved flame maple top along with an extensive array of controls, perhaps too many for some players.

Considering this is meant to be part of the more budget-friendly Tribute line, either someone hasn’t read the script or G&L are pushing the envelope as to what is possible at this price.
Build Quality
The carved top gives the body a camber and, although the two-piece body is quite thick and bulky, the body depth changes around the shape:

it’s at its thickest around the tailpiece. Although there is no contouring around the upper body where the player’s arm passes over it, and the edging tends to be quite sharp where the carved top veneer meets the core swamp ash timber, there is some contouring on the back to make the bass more comfortable to wear and play. The gloss coat has been applied to the whole body and neck and really shows off the timbers, adding a gold hue to the L-2000’s colouring: the natural timber of the swamp ash body core is impressive enough, but the figuring of the flame maple top is simply stunning.
Both cutaways are reasonable, with the lower cutaway offering unhindered access to the upper frets of the 21-fret one-piece maple neck and rosewood fingerboard. The gloss coated neck has a medium C-shaped profile, but it doesn’t feel too chunky, so getting around the fingerboard isn’t a problem. In fact, the neck combines comfort and playability in equal measure. The fingerboard has a slight camber and this, combined with a 43mm nut width and 19mm string spacing at the bridge, make for a neck that ticks all the boxes. The headstock, in the standard G&L shape, sports a four in-a-row tuner arrangement and there isn’t much of a balance issue between the body and the headstock. Placed on a strap, the bass assumes a comfortable playing angle. There is a small gap between the six-bolt neck joint, but it’s not a major issue as the joint looks and feels tight.

Chrome hardware has been used throughout, neck bolts aside, which are black. The tuners are securely attached and operate very smoothly. White side markers have also been included, as you would expect. The bridge is a standard nickel-plated G&L saddle-locking affair that allows for action and intonation adjustments to be made. Two G&L Magnetic Field Design humbuckers are paired with an active/passive  circuit with controls for volume, bass and treble alongside switch controls for pickup selection, series/parallel operation and active/passive circuitry. A sneaky peek inside the control cavity shows it to be well shielded, but very messy, with a mass of cabling crammed into a small space.
Playability And Sounds
The L-2000 has a naturally bright tone: it sounds powerful and lively, and resonates well through the body. Wearing the bass, you realise how curvy and rounded this beauty actually is: that sharp body edge isn’t too difficult to get used to after all. It feels like a familiar bass, even if you have never owned one before. Leo certainly knew what worked and what didn’t when it came to bass design. Plugging in, there is a real assortment of tonal options on offer. Initially it may be a bit confusing, so time spent getting used to each control and how it works in relation to the others will be well spent. The main three controls are volume, treble and bass, but the switches are where the fun begins.
The first is a three-way toggle switch for selecting each pickup individually or both pickups combined; the second switch is a series/ parallel selector, where the series option adds a bass boost while the parallel option provides a bass cut; and the third switch is a three-way circuit toggle where position one is on with a high frequency boost, position two is active and position three is passive.

How does all this translate in operation? Well, despite the lack of any midrange EQ, the bass doesn’t lack any punch or growl, and its fundamental delivery is ‘in your face’ from the start. The passive tones are warm and, despite the bass and treble controls being ‘cut only’, they help to give the passive tone a good degree of colour. However, it’s the active tones that really dictate what this bass is all about. With the active circuit on, both pickups selected and the bass set to series mode, the bass has a rock-solid tone that has plenty of bottom end, but there’s enough high-mid and top end clarity to cut through most band mixes. If you find there is too much focus on the bottom end or simply find it overwhelming, you can either roll off some of the low EQ using the bass control or switch over to parallel mode. Switching between the pickups is also an option, but this is where you’ll soon learn whether this method of pickup selection is for you or whether you prefer a pickup pan/balance control. Some players find this set-up too limiting, but with this bass, it means that you have three permutations to pick from rather than a rolling pan across the pickups.
Selecting the active circuit with treble boost pushes the bass fi rmly into slap territory: there’s no doubt that if slapping is your thing, this bass will put a smile on your face, particularly if you keep the bass in series mode. The G&L L-2000 is capable of an almighty thump along with  a piercing top end delivery, but there is a smoothness that seems to be a permanent characteristic. That said, no matter what style of music you play, this bass will accommodate your playing requirements: with its adjustable pickup pole-pieces, it can be customised to the player’s specifications.
There is very little to dislike about this bass. It really is a fine instrument to play, especially at this price. We defy anyone to dislike the visuals, and the fact that it comes with a classy sound is just another ace up its sleeve. In fact, it would be a test of its calibre to compare it alongside the US-made model and see just how close they really are in terms of performance and level of finishing. Find one, and prepare to be impressed
Technical Specification
PRICE | £755
COLOUR | Natural blonde
BODY | Swamp ash with carved flame maple top
NECK | Hard rock maple
FINGERBOARD | Two G&L Magnetic Field Design humbuckers
CONTROLS | Volume, treble, bass, threeway pickup selector, series (bass boost)/ parallel (bass cut) toggle switch, active circuit (on with treble boost/on/off) toggle switch
TUNERS | Standard open back ‘elephant ear’ style
BRIDGE | Saddle lock, two-way adjustable
MADE IN | Indonesia
NUT WIDTH | 43mm
NECK JOIN | Bolt-on, six screw attachment
SCALE LENGTH | 34” (864mm)
FRETS | 21
WEIGHT | 34”
What we think
PLUS | A great playing bass with looks to die for and a fine tonal palette to choose from
MINUS | Cut and boost EQ controls would be useful, as would some mid-EQ, but players may find this set- up works fine for them
OVERALL | Good value for money, can’t imagine many players being disappointed with this instrument. A big thumbs up
VALUE | 9/10