12/06/2009

I have been threatening to write up a canned response for years.

I can't tell you how many times I've fielded the question, "How can I make my L-2000 sound like a Fender Precision?"  So I've patiently (mostly) explained things as best I can on an individual basis.  Today I saw a post where a gentleman was trying to get a MusicMan Bongo (a fine instrument, by the way) to get close to a "P" in tone.

That pretty well cooked it, and I started getting out the Mason Jars.

So, without further adieu...



A G&L L-2000 (or an EBMM  StingRay or Sterling or Bongo) isn't going to be able to cop the sound of a Fender Precision or Jazz bass.  It might get close, but it'll NEVER do it exactly.

Leo Fender, the father (if you will) of the Precision, looked at guitar and bass building as an evolutionary thing.  Always the tinkerer, he was continually trying to improve the instruments he built.  With this in mind, one should look at G&L L Series basses as Leo's final step in the evolution of the Precision and Jazz basses.  Pre-Ernie Ball MusicMan instruments, which came from the same factory that G&L instruments are now built in (under the CLF Research name), were also part of Leo's evolutionary steps, and I'm pleased to see that the Ernie Ball company is continuing to evolve their vision of Leo's progeny.

With the understanding that evolution changes things, it might be a little easier to wrap the noggin around that idea that there really is a LOT of difference between a humbucker from G&L or MusicMan and the pickup of a Precision.  Obviously, they look different.  Under the covers, they're built different, wound different, have different magnets, and are voiced different.  So they're going to sound different.  You can fiddle with EQ all you want, but all you'll get is close.  Maybe.

So you might say, "But Ken!  The G&L Split Humbucker looks like a Precision pickup and it's placed in the same sweet spot."  To which I'd have to say that looks ain't everything and the two pickups have a vastly different sound, with the G&L split pickup having a much more aggressive tone.

The bridges are way different, as is neck attachment.  And don't forget that the necks themselves are built differently.

So here's the deal.  You want a Precision sound, get yourself a Fender Precision.  They're a good bass.  You want a Fender Jazz sound, get yourself a Jazz bass, which is also a good instrument.

But please...  Don't expect a modern electric bass to exactly copy the sound of a 40 or 50 year old design.  For all the flexibility and capability that these new basses bring to the player, it's just not going to happen.  They all have a wonderful native sound all their own.

On a closely related note, you can't get a StingRay tone out of an L-2000 or vice versa.  A Sterling and an L-2000 can get close, but not a 'Ray.  Or a Bongo.  Capisce?


Now, lemme pot this with wax, get the cap screwed down, and we're done.

Ken...

Copyright 2009 Ken Baker and bassesbyleo.com