Tuesday, December 2, 2014

2014 G&L Tribute M2000 Bass Guitar Review

Hi there!

I have not written very many reviews of G&L basses on this blog because not many of them make their way through my studio, but a nice new G&L Tribute M2000 stopped in a while back, and it was definitely a neat piece of work.

G&L guitars was started by Leo Fender, George Fullerton, and Dale Hyatt after Leo’s relationship went bad with MusicMan back in the late 1970s. Their instruments were derivatives of Fender’s original designs, with enough improvements that Fender said they were the best instruments he ever made. The company soldiered on after Leo passed on in 1991, and today they have a full line of USA-made guitars and basses that are generally very nice. To make things more affordable for us common folks, the company has partnered with Cort guitars to make Tribute versions of their popular models in Indonesia.

The Tribute M2000 is similar to the USA M2000, with the same body and headstock shapes. The body of the bass I tested was made of swamp ash, with a gorgeous (though kind of thick) 3-tone sunburst finish. I understand that basswood is used on the solid color instruments. The body profile is not unusual, and if you play a Precision Bass the M or L series G&L basses will feel very familiar to you. And if you are a diehard G&L fan, the Leo Fender-designed high-mass saddle lock bridge is still used.

The 34-inch scale neck is hard-rock maple with a rosewood board, and I liked its meaty C-profile. It is 1 5/8” wide at the nut, and it has a relatively flat 12-inch radius fretboard. If you like Stingrays then you will love the feel of this neck. The neck is equipped with 22 medium-jumbo nickel frets (supposedly Plek’d), big open-back cloverleaf tuners, and a truss rod adjustment at the headstock. The neck attaches to the body with six meaty bolts, which is infinitely more solid than their innovative tilt neck mechanism (shudder).

Finally we get to the electronics package, which is pretty stout. The Tribute M2000 uses a pair of re-voiced MFD humbuckers (made in Fullerton) with an all-new 18-volt preamp. No crazy switches to figure out, just volume, pan, and 3-band cut/boost EQ knobs with center detents.

The Tribute M2000 is made overseas so it is hundreds of dollars less than the US model, but the quality was still very good. The frets were level and well finished on the edges, and the hardware still seems to be nice stuff. The finish was smooth and free of blemishes, and the neck pocket was even and fairly tight. It was a bit of a beast in the weight department, coming in at almost 11 pounds. Ouch.

The electronics package on these is well thought out, and the pickups and preamp are monstrous. This bass can do popping and slapping with the best of them, but how much of that do you really need? There is no active bypass, so you will have to live with the active tone, which is not a bad thing. It excels in being able to attain a lot of other sounds, from smooth jazzy tones to aggressive rock or metal loudness. The mid control is especially good, which is not the case on many basses!

This G&L felt good too, with a meaty neck that was as smooth as silk on the back. The action was a bit high on this one initially, but a quick trussrod adjustment got things copacetic in a hurry. The intonation was good, and there were no noticeable dead spots or buzzy frets.

I liked it a lot, and if I did not already have some very good basses in the stable, I might’ve had to make a deal so it could stick around.

The G&L Tribute M2000 is a fairly good deal with a list price of $1073 and a street price of $749 (no case included), though I feel the price is a tad high compared to similar instruments coming out of Indonesia. But if you head over to eBay you will find barely used ones trafficking for under $500, which makes buying one of these a pretty darned good deal. Check one out for yourself and see what you think!

Mahalo!

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