Pros: Looks, quality, sound, versatility, loads options, parts, humbuckering, bridge
Cons: heavyness, faulty factory knobs, jack-of-all-trades focus, neck balance
If youre looking to upgrade in sound quality (from your cheaper debutant bass), now shopping for a relatively affordable performance bass, the Premium 4 and 5 string versions of the Tribute from G&L might just be it.
AN IMPORTANT NOTE TO BUYERS: if you are planning to, or recently purchased one of the brand new/latest G&L guitars/bass guitars, there has been a product recall for factory problems. Chances are you need to have your retailer store ordering and replacing (at their expense of course) the knobs electronics. G&L had many reports of noisy controls when turning volume/treble knobs, those dirty, ropy noises you get on older basses. You should still BUY the bass/guitar, but you should request to have this fixed upfront (at the time Im writing this), since it may take a while to receive the parts. Be advised.
Now, heres a little about me: I am not a real musician, rather a musical delinquent, but I worship music and rocknroll; I like rhythm guitar and the deep sound of bass. I mostly play by ear or read some tabs. I have had at least 3 electric guitars, 2 acoustic, and one bass in my days.
Shop till you drop: how to find your bass
I used to own a beautiful original 4 string B.C. Rich black (from the 90s) until I decide to make a gear change for the better. It was perfect for a while, but now I wanted a more distinct, rich and authentic sound, something both heavy and sensible. The plan: sell or trade, but before, I had to find the one. So I started shopping. To make a story short, Ive heard and read that you should try many basses until you find the one that feels great to your own tastes. For a month, Ive been to a few local music stores; just hanging there, try some basses out (even convinced a guy to buy an ESP bass, which was solid, nice and cheap). With luck, I found a great help in an all-new buying guide magazine: What Guitar?, April 2004, by Future Publishing, UK. This helped me a LOT.
Choose an instrument according to what you plan on doing with it, plus how you physically interact with it, how you feel about it. Do you have large or smaller hands? Are you planning on playing distorted/artificial sounds, deep jazz, funky sounds, classic rock and blues? Try the neck: do you like how it feels or is too smooth/firm? Can you live with a heavy bass or would you rather go for the lighter body? Are you a starter? What is your budget range: 100-300, 300-500, over 500? Remember that price doesnt mean muchit could be cheap and work like a killer, or vice versa.
The Tribute by G&L, a well-kept secret!
W3: http://www.glguitars.com (by Aria)
G&L stands for founder Leo Fender, well-known pioneer for musical instruments, and George Fullerton (more info on the Web site). Its more of a hybrid than a clone, based on the original model, with genuine G&L equipment.
The (5 strings) L-2500 from year 2003-2004 also comes in the L-2000 (4-string version). Parts are mostly from Korean origins with US parts. The colors come in light, maple-like, beige body, also available with a red, blue or black lateral burst (but mine was the all-beige).
The solid and heavy maple neck with rosewood 21-frets fingerboard (also comes as all-maple board/neck) is solidly attached to the body with 6 bolts. The size of fret cells is rather large, as with the width for the hand. The classic open-back tuners are solid.
The body has a classic naked Fender-like shape with active/passive electronics. There are 3 knobs and 3 switches (with 2 or 3 positions each!), offering an expanded variety of soundssomething that you will surely enjoy. The jack hole is located on the side/edge like most guitars. When I plug the jack/cord, I can feel a light click, indicating its well inserted and holding, retaining, thats nice. Good news: you can use surface OR through-body stringing for a deeper, unmistakable sustain. The bridge is a special, reliable, solid design. Strap pins are well-made, large and solid.
The pickups are two huge, sizzling American Humbuckings (genuine G&L 2-D/Magnetic field design). The sound range is vast and versatile, from hollow jazz vibes to roaring rock clear and heavy sound. It actually sounds so nice that I dont need my multi-effects pedal most of the time!!!
Overall, playing-wise, its a tad heavy, and the neck tip leans down (not fully balanced), for long periods. But for what you get, the cons are forgivable. Theres something about this bass that sets it apart, offering great variety and pure fun.
Voted What Guitars Best Buy (April 2004)
Thats RIGHT! In a battle against some titans, it was voted the best for its all-rounder [goodness] and little sacrifice apparent, a great value for your money. The six 5-string bass round up was featuring a Dean Edge (voted Sound Choice), Fernandes Gravity 5 DLX (also Sound Choice), Godin Freeway 5, Aria IGB-68/5, a Yamaha RBX775 and the G&L Tribute L-2500.
More affordable 5-string bass?
Actually, one of my second-best choices was the Cort Curbow 5 string, fret or fretless. This bass (voted one of the Best Buy) is ideal for Jazz players, offering deep and smooth jazzy sound. The body and fret board are made of special alloys, but this products delivers a peculiar flavor and ability. Try it!
Short on money? What could you buy in tight budget
If you are tight on budget, just starting, or any other reason, there are many other interesting buys out there, mostly with 4-strings. You may not get the same sound edge, but you should get exquisite, fine products with the following.
Heres my personal TOP FOR BUDGET SERIES:
1. OLP somewhat familiar with the Tribute-type, this would end-up in my top 5 choice for price value and smoothness of the neck on my fingers: like butter on toasts.
2. Three words for you: CHECK the ESP basses! They are solid and inexpensive! Would also be in my top 5!
3. Fender (Jazz, Precision, Squier, Mustang, etc.) and sub-Fender instruments are considered a norm in the industry. They may look/feel plain, but they carry genuine rich classic sound. You got to try one! See if you like the Jazz or Squier maybe?
4. Ibanez offers inexpensive and light basses great for artificial-driven sounds.
5. Some selections of Yamaha great for artificial-driven sounds.
G&L guitars/basses are a well-kept secret. All and all, my Tribute was more expensive than I first wanted to spend ($1000-$1100 CAD), but its a 5 stringer, and I couldnt settle for other basses. Im getting the knobs replaced as soon as the parts arrive. This is a premium, solid bass with an amazing, versatile sound. Its been over a month now, and I just cant get enough of that smooth rawkin, train-piling sound. If you wanted a G&L guitar and are wondering weither you should buy the Tribute L-2000/L25000, I definitely recommend it. GO OUT and buy it!
I put a LOT of efforts to shop before my purchase and a LOT to WRITE this review. I certainly hope this HELPED you this much. Thanks for reading through and come again.