Tribute L-2000 - setup & sound niggles.

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Tribute L-2000 - setup & sound niggles.

Postby keithrobbo » Wed Jan 27, 2010 4:26 pm

Hi, I'm new to this forum, having just recently purchased a Tribute L-2000, with Amber stain Swamp Ash body and rosewood fingerboard - a nice looking bass, with some great sounds.

As it was from the music store, the stock strings were a bit dead sounding and the action was higher than my taste (and I do play reasonably hard). So I took it to a guitar tech guy at local music store (who usually does a good job of a setup) to re-string with Rotosound SwingBass 66 (my preferred strings) and get the action better, intonate etc and get it playing optimally. When I got it back, the action was so low it was buzzing all the time, there was zero relief in the neck, the intonation was out on most strings and pickup volume balance wasn't even across strings.

I'm no stranger to setting up basses as I usually do them myself (just that on this occasion I was busy), so to cut a long story short I just decided to sort myself. I've now got the action where I want it to be but to be honest am struggling a bit with the pickup balance. I'm confused by the official G&L manual as that seems to suggest settings for pickup height where the treble strings are much hotter than the bass strings??

I did try and alter the pole piece heights on the bridge pickup for the g-string and a) found it very, very difficult to turn the pole on inner coil, nearly almost stripping the hex shape in the process (I understand they have some wax in them?). Now this could be coincidence but now the g-string sounds different to the other strings in that particularly when it is 'popped' it doesn't quite give the snappy, crisp, glassy sound that say the D and A do (with both pickups on, parallel, treble boost). It seems to have a slightly honky or nasaly overtone (best way I can describe). However when listening acoustically, this string still sounds as bright as the rest? Have I a) stressed this string whilst bending out of the way (at tuned tension) to access poles with allen key or b) does it sound like a pickup height issue i.e. the neck and bridge pups are not balanced correctly to give crisp snap in both-pickups-on mode (it may be favouring the bridge pup)?

Secondly I now seem to find the overall sound of the bass to now have more boomy bass and less treble, to when I first started tinkering with it. Now this could just be my hearing, having got used to the bass, but does this sound like I haven't got the pickup heights set quite right. I thought these basses had a reputation for being quite bright, even in passive mode. It sounds like my Fender Precision with everything open has more bite to be honest, when I do a straight sound comparison with my amp (G&L in passive mode).

The controls on the bass do seem to be operating ok, however. I just feel that something isn't quite right with the sound compared to when I first started playing this bass. Perhaps I'm going mad, or deaf (or both)!

Anyone got any ideas?
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Re: Tribute L-2000 - setup & sound niggles.

Postby Ken Baker » Wed Jan 27, 2010 6:28 pm

keithrobbo wrote:Hi, I'm new to this forum, having just recently purchased a Tribute L-2000, with Amber stain Swamp Ash body and rosewood fingerboard - a nice looking bass, with some great sounds.


Welcome! Hope you enjoy your stay and return often.

I'm no stranger to setting up basses as I usually do them myself (just that on this occasion I was busy), so to cut a long story short I just decided to sort myself. I've now got the action where I want it to be but to be honest am struggling a bit with the pickup balance. I'm confused by the official G&L manual as that seems to suggest settings for pickup height where the treble strings are much hotter than the bass strings??


It is normal, not just on G&L but most basses, to set the pickup height closer on the treble side than the bass side. In the case of G&L, it's pretty much a necessity because of the great bottom end. How much different will depend on the player and the sound they're after, so I'd say keep a screwdriver handy and play with it until you find what you're after. Having said all that, most players keep their pickups (particularly the neck pickup) notably lower than they would many other basses. The G&L MFD pickups are HOT, and lowering them helps in getting things set up well.

I did try and alter the pole piece heights on the bridge pickup for the g-string and a) found it very, very difficult to turn the pole on inner coil, nearly almost stripping the hex shape in the process (I understand they have some wax in them?).


Yes, they're waxed. I usually recommend that on new basses it's good to drive the pole pieces in about a half turn to break the wax loose, then adjust as needed.

Now this could be coincidence but now the g-string sounds different to the other strings in that particularly when it is 'popped' it doesn't quite give the snappy, crisp, glassy sound that say the D and A do (with both pickups on, parallel, treble boost). It seems to have a slightly honky or nasaly overtone (best way I can describe). However when listening acoustically, this string still sounds as bright as the rest? Have I a) stressed this string whilst bending out of the way (at tuned tension) to access poles with allen key or b) does it sound like a pickup height issue i.e. the neck and bridge pups are not balanced correctly to give crisp snap in both-pickups-on mode (it may be favouring the bridge pup)?


I think that I'd set the pickups pretty much as recommended by the factory, or a little lower. Re-adjust the pole pieces flush with the pickups. Then....

Secondly I now seem to find the overall sound of the bass to now have more boomy bass and less treble, to when I first started tinkering with it. Now this could just be my hearing, having got used to the bass, but does this sound like I haven't got the pickup heights set quite right. I thought these basses had a reputation for being quite bright, even in passive mode. It sounds like my Fender Precision with everything open has more bite to be honest, when I do a straight sound comparison with my amp (G&L in passive mode).


...turn it down. Don't run the volume control on the bass any higher than about 75% (true for ANY active bass, and G&Ls even in passive mode). Set the bass & treble, which are cut only, to about 80%. Select both pickups and set the coil tap to parallel. Now see how it sounds. Fine tune your pickup height from here and finish off using the pole pieces as an ultra-fine tuning tool for individual strings. Switching to series mode will tend to accentuate the bottom a bit and make it louder and more aggressive.

The controls on the bass do seem to be operating ok, however. I just feel that something isn't quite right with the sound compared to when I first started playing this bass. Perhaps I'm going mad, or deaf (or both)!


Remember that the controls are passive and cut only. Don't expect boost on the treble & bass controls because it just isn't going to happen. Remember to keep the volume control backed off (tones too, if possible) and you should start discovering even more of that G&L goodness.

Ken...
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Re: Tribute L-2000 - setup & sound niggles.

Postby keithrobbo » Thu Jan 28, 2010 1:36 am

Hi Ken

Thanks for the advice. I'll do as you say i.e. going back to basics and tweaking from there as necessary. I must say that I've always ran all my basses into amps or desks at full volume, to get the maximum signal to noise ratio - that way you don't need to add a great deal of gain on amp pre-amp section.

Is there a reason for backing off the volume - does it improve the tone? I know that on passive basses, reducing the volume takes away some of the tone and appreciate that active basses offer a low impedance signal which should stay clearer at all levels. But in passive mode is the G&L not sending a Hi Z signal?

Do you think the tone difference in my g string is down to pickup height settings, or something physical with the string?

I do really like the Tribute L-2000 and all my band mates think it is the punchiest bass of mine with the most low end they have heard. Quite a contrast to my MIA Fender Jazz. The series mode is a monster, but I really like it - reminds me very much of Flea's Wal tone on Blood Sugar Sex Magic album.

I'll just take time to adjust it gradually as I get used to it. Cheers.
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Re: Tribute L-2000 - setup & sound niggles.

Postby Ken Baker » Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:13 am

keithrobbo wrote:Hi Ken

Thanks for the advice. I'll do as you say i.e. going back to basics and tweaking from there as necessary. I must say that I've always ran all my basses into amps or desks at full volume, to get the maximum signal to noise ratio - that way you don't need to add a great deal of gain on amp pre-amp section.


The "classic" way is to do as you've always done - run full volume - and that generally works well with nearly any passive bass. Certainly, your Fender Jazz goes into this category. Active basses are different critters. Because they have that preamp, their signal to noise ratio is quite high and there usually isn't a tone benefit to be gained. Another reason for preamps is that they give the ability to run long cables without signal degradation.

What you've got with the G&L is a bass that is incredibly hot when passive; so much so that they can easily overdrive most preamp sections if cranked up. You'll note as you get used to the beast that there is little difference in gain between active and passive because the preamp doesn't need to add a bunch of gain. It's primary job is to alter the output impedance.

Is there a reason for backing off the volume - does it improve the tone? I know that on passive basses, reducing the volume takes away some of the tone and appreciate that active basses offer a low impedance signal which should stay clearer at all levels. But in passive mode is the G&L not sending a Hi Z signal?


The reason is control. As people learn about these instruments there is one nearly universal complaint, "This thing is WAY too sensitive!" Once they back off the volume the bass becomes less sensitive and more responsive to right hand technique. As to tone; yes there will be a slight voice difference. But rather than this really loud low frequency generator, it takes on its native voice. YMMV, or course, but I'd strongly encourage you to try it backed off and see where it leads.

Do you think the tone difference in my g string is down to pickup height settings, or something physical with the string?


Could be either. If you have the original D'Addarios try putting them back on.

I'll just take time to adjust it gradually as I get used to it. Cheers.


I think you'll be happy. Just remember that this bass is the latest in Leo Fender's evolutionary journey. It'll take a little "getting used to" for you to get the most from it.

Ken...
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Re: Tribute L-2000 - setup & sound niggles.

Postby keithrobbo » Thu Jan 28, 2010 2:12 pm

I think you'll be happy. Just remember that this bass is the latest in Leo Fender's evolutionary journey. It'll take a little "getting used to" for you to get the most from it.


Thanks Ken. I've taken on board all your comments and will approach the G&L with a 'fresh mind'. I'm tinkering with the pickup heights and stuff this evening.

Cheers

Keith
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Re: Tribute L-2000 - setup & sound niggles.

Postby keithrobbo » Sun Jan 31, 2010 4:15 pm

I think you'll be happy. Just remember that this bass is the latest in Leo Fender's evolutionary journey. It'll take a little "getting used to" for you to get the most from it.


Thanks for all the good advice Ken. I've effectively setup my Tribute L-2000 from scratch again. This included 'reinforcing the witness points' for my strings as recommended by your generic post on intonation and this has helped tremendously. Every string is now intonated! I've even done the same thing on my Fender Precision and that's worked a treat too. I re-set pickups to factory heights and leveled all poles, then worked from there and I've now got clear and even output from all strings and the funny overtone on G string has also gone??!!

I've done all of this via my digital recording system through pro-quality headphones, so am yet to test the bass properly through my rig in the 'band' context, but will do this on Tues evening and take a screwdriver and allen key along (just in case!).

The only thing I will say is that I can't get quite as low an action on the G&L as on my Fender P, without it buzzing out on higher frets (relief is set to about 0.018" - so OK). I have my P bass action at 3/32" 4th string, 2mm 1st string, the G&L is 4/32" 4th string, 3/32" 1st string - not a massive difference I know, but I can feel it. The nut is a bone nut on my Fender and better cut than the nut on the G&L Tribute which I think is plastic? Anyway, only a small niggle as the bass sounds great!

Thanks again

Keith
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Re: Tribute L-2000 - setup & sound niggles.

Postby Ken Baker » Sun Jan 31, 2010 5:48 pm

keithrobbo wrote:Thanks for all the good advice Ken. I've effectively setup my Tribute L-2000 from scratch again. This included 'reinforcing the witness points' for my strings as recommended by your generic post on intonation and this has helped tremendously. Every string is now intonated! I've even done the same thing on my Fender Precision and that's worked a treat too. I re-set pickups to factory heights and leveled all poles, then worked from there and I've now got clear and even output from all strings and the funny overtone on G string has also gone??!!


Thanks for the feedback! I do like it when a plan comes together. Sounds like you took a nice patient approach and it reaped some good benefits.

The only thing I will say is that I can't get quite as low an action on the G&L as on my Fender P, without it buzzing out on higher frets (relief is set to about 0.018" - so OK). I have my P bass action at 3/32" 4th string, 2mm 1st string, the G&L is 4/32" 4th string, 3/32" 1st string - not a massive difference I know, but I can feel it. The nut is a bone nut on my Fender and better cut than the nut on the G&L Tribute which I think is plastic? Anyway, only a small niggle as the bass sounds great!


This could be a matter of some careful and judicious nut filing. I had to file the nut on my US L-2500 and it made all the difference in the world.

I'm very glad to hear that the G&L is setting up nicely. Please keep us posted on how it works out in context with your band.

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Re: Tribute L-2000 - setup & sound niggles.

Postby keithrobbo » Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:52 am

I'm very glad to hear that the G&L is setting up nicely. Please keep us posted on how it works out in context with your band.


Thanks Ken.

Played with the band last night and the G&L sounds great. Overall, the series mode (in any pickup combination) best suits my band, as competing with two guitarists going through Marshall stacks, I need some strong mids to punch through with and the L-2000 does this well. I still think I need to angle the pickups a bit more towards the treble strings as the E and A do seem to be still more powerful, even with bass EQ rolled down somewhat. But there again, my rig does tend to accentutate the lower notes more I've noticed (same with my Precision and Jazz), so EQ (room contour) adjustment on my amp may also be needed.

I realise I've not posted a piccie of my Trbute L-2000 yet. I will eventually get round to this!

Cheers

Keith
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Re: Tribute L-2000 - setup & sound niggles.

Postby Ken Baker » Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:51 am

keithrobbo wrote:Played with the band last night and the G&L sounds great. Overall, the series mode (in any pickup combination) best suits my band, as competing with two guitarists going through Marshall stacks, I need some strong mids to punch through with and the L-2000 does this well. I still think I need to angle the pickups a bit more towards the treble strings as the E and A do seem to be still more powerful, even with bass EQ rolled down somewhat. But there again, my rig does tend to accentutate the lower notes more I've noticed (same with my Precision and Jazz), so EQ (room contour) adjustment on my amp may also be needed.


The G&L L series has a reputation for prodigious amounts of bottom end, so having the treble side of the pickups a bit higher than the bass side is a common method used to compensate.

I realise I've not posted a piccie of my Trbute L-2000 yet. I will eventually get round to this!


I was kind of wondering about that. So far, we've been working on an imaginary bass. This is, of course, because it doesn't really exist until you post pics. No pics, no bass; them's the rules. :mrgreen:

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Re: Tribute L-2000 - setup & sound niggles.

Postby EJROCKER » Sun Feb 07, 2010 9:18 am

This is great! Got a new 2000 Tribute and all my questions were answered here.
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