Help with new-to-me Tribute L-2000--no high end?

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Help with new-to-me Tribute L-2000--no high end?

Postby SB-1_Kenobi » Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:53 pm

Hi all,

I'm brand new to the forum so please be gentle!

I've been wanting an L-2000 for quite a while and recently found a used Tribute on eBay at a great price due to some cosmetic damage. I bought it, it arrived safely. Love the way it looks and feels, but plugging it in...it's not so good. It just sounds really, really muddy no matter the settings. Now, it came with flats on it, but I don't think that's it. I love flats and this is way muddier than my P-bass or even my Allen Woody with flats and foam under the strings.

To start with, I set the pickups back to factory spec (they had been cranked down really low, so I raised them). Then I replaced the 9V. Still muddy. To me it sounds like the tone is rolled off on a Jazz or Precision, so I made this recording to test my theory.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ottms9bxq5bnn ... t.mp3?dl=0

The settings are:
-both pickups
-series mode
-passive
-volume: max

I recorded with both tones maxed, then the treble rolled off entirely, then the bass rolled off entirely. (I tell which setting I'm using when in the sound clip.) Does this sound right to other L-2000 users? I'm thinking rolling off the treble should have more of an effect. Rolling the bass off obviously has quite an effect!

I should note that while I chose these settings for the test, the lack of high end is present (to my ear) no matter the pickup selection or active, passive, active+high boost selection.

I appreciate your time and any help you can offer!
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Re: Help with new-to-me Tribute L-2000--no high end?

Postby Ken Baker » Mon Apr 08, 2019 3:14 pm

Standard disclaimer:

    I don't have your bass on my bench, so you'll get the best Internet WAG money can buy, commensurate with our price of admission.

SB-1_Kenobi wrote:I've been wanting an L-2000 for quite a while and recently found a used Tribute on eBay at a great price due to some cosmetic damage. I bought it, it arrived safely. Love the way it looks and feels, but plugging it in...it's not so good. It just sounds really, really muddy no matter the settings. Now, it came with flats on it, but I don't think that's it. I love flats and this is way muddier than my P-bass or even my Allen Woody with flats and foam under the strings.


The L Series is known to be pretty strong in the mids & highs. With flats, even old flats, the treble should come through. They'll clearly sound like flats, but only muddy if you EQ for muddy.

To start with, I set the pickups back to factory spec (they had been cranked down really low, so I raised them). Then I replaced the 9V. Still muddy. To me it sounds like the tone is rolled off on a Jazz or Precision, so I made this recording to test my theory.


Just so you know, lowering the pickups is very common with the L Series because the pickups are incredibly hot. Raised up is okay if you play with a light touch, but digging in can make for an adventure.

The settings are:
-both pickups
-series mode
-passive
-volume: max


Series should actually accentuate the low end, though the whole spectrum will get louder.

I recorded with both tones maxed, then the treble rolled off entirely, then the bass rolled off entirely. (I tell which setting I'm using when in the sound clip.) Does this sound right to other L-2000 users? I'm thinking rolling off the treble should have more of an effect. Rolling the bass off obviously has quite an effect!

I should note that while I chose these settings for the test, the lack of high end is present (to my ear) no matter the pickup selection or active, passive, active+high boost selection.


I'll assume that your clip was direct to your computer and not a mic'd amp.

Questions:

    1. Do you hear a clear difference in sound between active & passive? How about active with treble boost?

    2. Are both pickups fully functional? In series mode select a single pickup and see if you get sound. Try the other pickup.

    3. Do you hear a clear difference between series and parallel modes?

To my ear, it sounds like a change has been made to the EQ circuitry in the bass. The treble control seems to have little effect, which could be caused by a few things.

If you're reasonably competent tracing out a wiring diagram, take a look at the one below and compare it to your bass. The diagram is from a US L-2000, but the circuits are functionally equivalent and should be very much the same. The pots are, left to right, Volume, Treble, Bass. Look carefully for anything different or missing, particularly around the treble pot. Check solder joints to make sure that they're good & solid.

I'm wondering if someone added a swamping cap someplace, which would be connected anywhere between the signal path and ground. It would reduce treble globally and not be controlled by a pot. G&L used to install these on the US basses up to a few years ago, but not on Tributes. Such a cap, if done correctly, would be .10µF. If someone did install one, it might be twice the .10µF value or higher. The .10µF cap would still let a lot of treble through.

Click the image for a PDF suitable for printing.

Image

Finally, if you have return rights with the eBay purchase don't be afraid to exercise them if a repair is going to drive up the cost of the bass or take you out of your personal repair comfort zone.

Ken...
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Re: Help with new-to-me Tribute L-2000--no high end?

Postby SB-1_Kenobi » Mon Apr 08, 2019 5:55 pm

Ken,

Thank you so much for your incredibly detailed reply!

I'll try to respond to the questions I can now and test out the others at the first opportunity.

I'll assume that your clip was direct to your computer and not a mic'd amp.


I used a Zoom B3 to act as a buffer/pad before my audio interface since I read one of your replies to someone else regarding that. None of the effects were turned on, though.

1. Do you hear a clear difference in sound between active & passive? How about active with treble boost?


I recorded an additional sound clip to capture that (as well as each pickup) because, well, these things are subjective. I hear very little difference--no difference at all on the B I was playing as a test. At the end of the sound file I moved up the fretboard and I think I hear some difference. There is a difference in level, though. Moving up to active with treble boost caused clipping that passive didn't.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/s5wmqbbsuekh2 ... p.mp3?dl=0

2. Are both pickups fully functional? In series mode select a single pickup and see if you get sound. Try the other pickup.


As far as I can tell they're both working fine.

3. Do you hear a clear difference between series and parallel modes?


I meant to record that, too, but I won't because that is one place I can clearly hear a difference. As you said, series (switch up) is louder and bassier.

Thank you for the wiring diagram and note about a swamping cap--haven't heard of that before and wouldn't have known to look for one.

One additional question: when the treble pot is maxed (fully clockwise) should the resistance between the hot lug and the back of the pot be infinite or something less than that? Right now it's not infinite and I'm wondering if that can give any clue as to the issue or if it's perfectly normal.

Thank you so much for the help, Ken! I've got a digital multimeter on the way from Amazon and hopefully I'll get a minute to get inside this beauty and figure out what's not working right in the next couple of days. As I learn more I'll report back.
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Re: Help with new-to-me Tribute L-2000--no high end?

Postby Ken Baker » Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:11 pm

SB-1_Kenobi wrote:I recorded an additional sound clip to capture that (as well as each pickup) because, well, these things are subjective. I hear very little difference--no difference at all on the B I was playing as a test. At the end of the sound file I moved up the fretboard and I think I hear some difference. There is a difference in level, though. Moving up to active with treble boost caused clipping that passive didn't.


In a healthy L-2000 there might not be a great deal of gain increase active vs passive, though you should hear a very slight treble bump. Adding in the treble boost should just kick the treble up a few notches. Hearing the distortion at the end makes me wonder about the preamp itself.

I meant to record that, too, but I won't because that is one place I can clearly hear a difference. As you said, series (switch up) is louder and bassier.


Yes, this should be very clearly heard.

Thank you for the wiring diagram and note about a swamping cap--haven't heard of that before and wouldn't have known to look for one.


If there's one in there it was added by a previous owner.

One additional question: when the treble pot is maxed (fully clockwise) should the resistance between the hot lug and the back of the pot be infinite or something less than that? Right now it's not infinite and I'm wondering if that can give any clue as to the issue or if it's perfectly normal.


I'm not sure - sorry. It is not a "no-load" treble pot, if that's what you're thinking. No-load pots are only really effective in a guitar. The pot is still in circuit at least a tiny bit even when dimed. If the pot is in-circuit your resistance reading won't be accurate anyway because of all the other stuff connected. The volume and treble pots should be 250K audio taper. Bass pot should be 1M reverse audio taper (an odd duck).

Thank you so much for the help, Ken! I've got a digital multimeter on the way from Amazon and hopefully I'll get a minute to get inside this beauty and figure out what's not working right in the next couple of days. As I learn more I'll report back.


Cool. A DMM is handy to have. Just remember that the readings you get on a component when in-circuit will be different than if it's out of circuit. You may find that carefully eyeballing the wiring against the diagram and wiggling solder connections will render more meaningful results unless you disassemble everything.

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Re: Help with new-to-me Tribute L-2000--no high end?

Postby SB-1_Kenobi » Tue Apr 09, 2019 11:26 am

Ken, thank you for the PDF copy of the wiring diagram. I don't think I could have traced everything without a paper copy on which to write.

I only noticed three differences:
1. There are 5 wires coming from each pickup rather than 4. An additional black wire from each runs to ground. I assume that's of no importance to my issue, but of course please correct me if I'm wrong.
2. The 222k capacitor on the bass pot connecting the first and middle lugs is not there.
3. I'm not sure if this is a difference, but the 102k cap between the middle lug and back of the bass pot is labeled 2A 473K. Not sure if that is the correct value or not, or if it's even possible to tell.

Thank you again for your time and assistance!
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Re: Help with new-to-me Tribute L-2000--no high end?

Postby Ken Baker » Tue Apr 09, 2019 2:25 pm

SB-1_Kenobi wrote:Ken, thank you for the PDF copy of the wiring diagram. I don't think I could have traced everything without a paper copy on which to write.


That's why I link those. You could print the image, but the PDF will print cleaner and scale to a full sheet.

1. There are 5 wires coming from each pickup rather than 4. An additional black wire from each runs to ground. I assume that's of no importance to my issue, but of course please correct me if I'm wrong.


Odd. Don't know whether that's a mod from Cort (the Tribute OEM) or someone trying to add single coil switching and failing. Most likely the latter.

2. The 222k capacitor on the bass pot connecting the first and middle lugs is not there.

3. I'm not sure if this is a difference, but the 102k cap between the middle lug and back of the bass pot is labeled 2A 473K. Not sure if that is the correct value or not, or if it's even possible to tell.


I'll bet the bass pot isn't the correct value. If you can, even in-circuit, measure the resistance across the outside lugs. Should be in the neighborhood of 1 megohm. I'll bet it's either 250K or 500K.

Your description gives the appearance of someone messing around in there and getting over their head. They quit and left a broken bass.

If it were mine, I'd fix these problems and see where they lead me. If the extra black lead is what I think it is (an attempt at a "K" model pickup), having it grounded would be correct. The 222K cap would be 222K or 0.0022µF, 100v polyester film. The 473K (0.047µF) cap is a wildly incorrect value for that location, so replace it with 102K or 0.001µF, 100v polyester film.

If the bass pot is not 1 megohm, you'll need to order a new one from the G&L Online Store or call service to buy one 714-897-6766 x156. I think you'll need the long shaft version for your bass.

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Re: Help with new-to-me Tribute L-2000--no high end?

Postby b17krk » Wed Apr 10, 2019 8:05 am

Hi I also have a Tribute L-2K and those extra black wires that you mention are actually connecting the pickup cavity to ground.

See my post here for details: https://www.bassesbyleo.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=2796

I hope this helps somewhat
Kirk

Proud Tribute L-2000 Plus owner
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Re: Help with new-to-me Tribute L-2000--no high end?

Postby SB-1_Kenobi » Wed Apr 10, 2019 8:24 am

b17krk wrote:Hi I also have a Tribute L-2K and those extra black wires that you mention are actually connecting the pickup cavity to ground.

See my post here for details: https://www.bassesbyleo.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=2796

I hope this helps somewhat


Thank you, Kirk. Glad to know what they actually do.

That L-2000 looks gorgeous, by the way. What does the "Plus" denote? I'm guessing it's Japanese since it has a pickguard?
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Re: Help with new-to-me Tribute L-2000--no high end?

Postby b17krk » Wed Apr 10, 2019 8:52 am

Thanks for your kind words. My L-2K originally started out as a regular Indonesian made model but I managed to get hold of a clear acrylic pickguard from a Japanese website (Rakuten). I used this as a template to create a 3 ply black/white/black one but still have the clear and another black/white/black spare hanging about somewhere. The little space just above the pickup is intentional and allows me to use the pickup as a thumb rest.

The "Plus" refers to the wiring modifications drawn up by Paul Gagon throughout this thread:

https://www.bassesbyleo.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=2826

I went with Option B in the end (the version which included the pull/push volume pot for active/passive control), which meant that I didn't have to drill additional holes in the body. I've been really pleased with the results.
Kirk

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Re: Help with new-to-me Tribute L-2000--no high end?

Postby SB-1_Kenobi » Wed Apr 10, 2019 10:26 am

Thanks, Kirk!

I really like the looks of that pickguard. Sadly, they don't appear to be on Rakuten anymore, but I'm going to keep an eye out. It's a good look!

I've been looking through the mods on here and now that it looks like I'm going to have to pull some pots and do some soldering anyway it's very tempting to dabble in the mods. I'm especially curious about giving myself single coil options like the Plus mod adds. Cool stuff!

One question, since you have the Tribute. Does your wiring match the one Ken posted above on the bass pot? I've already ordered the caps to make mine match the USA specs, and I'm hoping that's the root of the problem, but it's certainly a curious change for someone to have made.

Thanks again for the additional input!
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