BY DAVID ABDO
It’s not uncommon to hear marketing
speak describing economy-class instruments
with statements like, “these basses
use the same parts as our flagship models”
or “it utilizes identical construction and
build philosophies.” They’re statements
that appeal to our sensibilities as well as
our pocketbooks. But when woods of lesser
quality, cheaper electronics based on originals,
or compromised craftsmanship are
part of the equation, these frugal forays can
often end up in disappointment.
But there are a number of builders
that show a commitment to consistency
throughout their entire lineup, and G&L
is one that’s known for building quality
instruments across the board—from their
U.S.-made models to the imported Tribute
series. The latest addition to the G&L family
is the Tribute series M-2000 bass, which
incorporates a brand-new preamp into the
template that has made G&L basses so
popular for over three decades.
Variation on a Theme
Modeled after G&L’s well-known L-Series,
the Tribute M-2000’s recognizable body
shape is a hybrid of previous designs
brought to prominence by Leo Fender.
The M-2000 reviewed here boasts a nice
honeyburst finish, but it’s also available in
transparent blueburst, 3-tone sunburst, or
The M-2000’s neck design relies on the
best of past G&L accomplishments: Six
bolts support the satin-finished, C-shaped
neck, which feels smooth and solid. It
maintains the company’s standard 12" radius,
though it is slightly narrower—down
from 1 3/4" to 1 5/8".
Where the L-Series and M-Series
truly differ is in electronics. Though the
Magnetic Field Design pickups look the
same as those found on the L-2000, the
pickups on the M-2000 are wound differently
and dialed in specifically for the
M-Series preamp. The recognizable switches
of the L’s preamp have been replaced by
a more streamlined design, giving the
M-Series a unique level of flexibility not
found in other G&L basses. The 18V active
system features volume and blend knobs,
and a 3-band EQ with smaller, detented
dials. This new preamp nicely complements
the pair of MFD pickups, which deliver
characteristic G&L tone—a combination of
assertive lows with detailed high-mids.
The comfort and playability of the M-2000
were simply stunning, so kudos should go
to G&L for their attention to detail with
this bass. The weight and balance were
just right, letting it maintain its position at
nearly every playing angle. The neck was
impressively smooth and allowed effortless
shifting across all areas of the fretboard.
And the M-2000’s design provides ample
room between the neck pickup and fretboard
for sophisticated slapping techniques.
Aside from some bird’s nest-esque wiring
in the preamp cavity, this is an instrument
that doesn’t appear to have cut any corners.
Enhancing the frequencies of the MFD
pickups, the intuitive, practical, and great-sounding
preamp provided a wide tonal
palette. This was particularly evident during
a rehearsal with a horn band playing a variety
of soul and funk classics. Plugged into
an Ampeg B2R head paired with an Ampeg
4x10, the M-2000 could quickly go from
Rocco to Jaco with a twist of the blend control.
Fine-tuning the tones was simple—the
slightest adjustment to the bass, mid, and
treble knobs offered plenty of boost or cut
ability. It couldn’t quite cop Marcus Miller’s
exact tone, but many thumb players will
still appreciate its aggressive, biting sound.
Although the M-2000’s tone-shaping
capabilities are excellent, for me the most
pleasing setting was with both pickups
balanced and the EQ flat—it allowed the M-2000 to clearly convey whatever my
hands asked it.
You know that feeling you get when you
pick up a bass with no expectations and,
in an instant, it triggers an explosion in
your mind because it feels so surprisingly
comfortable and contains such a nice variety
of tones? The next thing you know,
you’re trying to figure out what other
gear to sell so you can buy the new wonder.
This could be a possible scenario for
anyone giving G&L’s Tribute M-2000 a
go, because it rivals its U.S.-made counterparts
in construction and playability.
Whether you’re a novice or a pro, if you
like G&L bass tones, you’re likely to love
Watch our video demo: