Most Desirable Vintage G&L?

Leo's "Final Frontier"

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Most Desirable Vintage G&L?

Postby derick » Tue Aug 03, 2010 8:55 am

Hey, I stumbled across a bass on Craigslist the other day that I thought I should buy. This bass was discussed here by the owner last fall, and although it's no longer available, trying to justify why I should purchase this particular bass to my wife made me start thinking about the question: What is the most desirable Vintage G&L? G&L vintage prices fall far short of most comparable basses, and the reasons for this could be a whole 'nother topic for discussion.

The bass that I missed out on was a 1981 Slotpole Wunkay Mahogany Ebony Board Tobacco Sunburst. Although I've never played a Hog Wunkay, my thinking is that it is the most desired wood/neck combination out there. It has rarity and is more valued than the swamp ash, and particularly the poplar. The few maple body examples that exist are apparently so rare that most people have never seen one, so they're totally off the charts. The early 1 11/16 7" radius (or the rare 1 5/8" which I've never played) necks are, to me, the best necks that G&L ever made. I'm thinking that the L-1000 is more desirable than the L-2000 because of the upgrades in electronics that, my understanding is, improved the tukays beyond the original design. Also, there are lots more L-2000s out there. Is this is incorrect thinking on my part, that the general view is that the later L-2000 electronics aren't considered better?

G&L's early Pro-Line Basses, as I understand it, were the L-1000 and L-2000, so that's why I'm only discussing those two. The El Toro was a Pro Bass, but does it rival the L series in desirability?

Anyway, I'm saying that the early wunkays were Leo's ultimate improvement on his original P bass, and they were never improved upon. The later change to the back loaded controls was strictly cosmetic and brought us the dreaded "barrel jack" issue, so that's not an improvement.

I like the slotpoles because I've owned one for 29 years and they're so distinctive. Since I've owned one so long, that's the prototypical pickup, for me.

So anyway, that's my question. What is the ultimate desirable/collectable vintage G&L out there, and why?
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Re: Most Desirable Vintage G&L?

Postby ghiadub » Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:29 am

+1 on the slot poles, they are my favorite, not sure about general consensus for desirable.

Hog is great and fine, but my ash/maple weighs 8.5lbs and sounds like a mack truck. That is desirable to me, again, I am fairly new to the GLeek club, so I will let the more knowledgeable Gleeks answer your question.
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Re: Most Desirable Vintage G&L?

Postby Ken Baker » Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:50 am

derick wrote:The bass that I missed out on was a 1981 Slotpole Wunkay Mahogany Ebony Board Tobacco Sunburst. Although I've never played a Hog Wunkay, my thinking is that it is the most desired wood/neck combination out there. It has rarity and is more valued than the swamp ash, and particularly the poplar. The few maple body examples that exist are apparently so rare that most people have never seen one, so they're totally off the charts. The early 1 11/16 7" radius (or the rare 1 5/8" which I've never played) necks are, to me, the best necks that G&L ever made. I'm thinking that the L-1000 is more desirable than the L-2000 because of the upgrades in electronics that, my understanding is, improved the tukays beyond the original design. Also, there are lots more L-2000s out there. Is this is incorrect thinking on my part, that the general view is that the later L-2000 electronics aren't considered better?


My thinking is that there is desirability from a collector's standpoint, desirability from a player's standpoint, and improved from an evolutionary standpoint. While there are some less numerous L-1000s out there that have good collectible desirability, the L-1000 as a line isn't all that uncommon. The players that swear by them do so because of the thundering simplicity of the instrument. OTOH, the L-2000 is an evolutionary improvement because it is generally a more capable bass with greater tonal variability.

The 1 5/8" neck? I totally get that. I used to have an L-2000 with a #8 neck and I currently have a mid-90s SB-2 with a #6 neck. The El Toro is just nicer. For me. The guy down the block; I dunno.

I think I'd disagree with the idea that the L-2000's electronics aren't considered better than the L-1000's. They're quite different instruments. Remember too that Leo was always evolving his creations. He looked at the L-2000 as the best bass he ever made.

The El Toro was a Pro Bass, but does it rival the L series in desirability?

So anyway, that's my question. What is the ultimate desirable/collectable vintage G&L out there, and why?


Depends on who's doing the desiring. For me, the El Toro is more desirable. It's tonally way different that the L series and is very cool looking. There are also notably fewer of them. Interceptor basses are even more unusual. L5000's ALL quality as rarebirds. Lynx, Legacy/LB-100, SB-1 and SB-2 in their early permutations; all have a certain desirability in a collector's eye and a certain different desirability in a player's eye.

For me personally, the L-1000 isn't much of a draw. Anything that can be done with an L-1000 I can do with the L-2000 (or my L-2500) except for lining up the slots on the pole pieces. Others like the L-1000 for that simple thunder thing.

Ken...
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Re: Most Desirable Vintage G&L?

Postby derick » Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:11 pm

Ken Baker wrote:The 1 5/8" neck? I totally get that. I used to have an L-2000 with a #8 neck and I currently have a mid-90s SB-2 with a #6 neck. The El Toro is just nicer. For me. The guy down the block; I dunno.


I always thought that I had a 1 5/8 neck, but on closer examination it's actually closer to a 1 11/16. There was supposedly a fair amount of variation in the early necks as they were finish sanded by hand, if my knowledge is correct. Either way, it's a much friendlier (to me) neck than my BABP LE #8. They're both good, but the '81 is better.

Ken Baker wrote:I think I'd disagree with the idea that the L-2000's electronics aren't considered better than the L-1000's. They're quite different instruments. Remember too that Leo was always evolving his creations. He looked at the L-2000 as the best bass he ever made.


I wasn't clear about what I was trying to say here, I was comparing the early "Vintage" L2000 to the later and current 2K models, not to the L-1000. What I meant was that the early L2K basses arguably weren't the ultimate evolution of the design, that the later electronics are generally, I think, considered to be an improvement over the early ones.

Ken Baker wrote:For me personally, the L-1000 isn't much of a draw. Anything that can be done with an L-1000 I can do with the L-2000 (or my L-2500) except for lining up the slots on the pole pieces. Others like the L-1000 for that simple thunder thing.


As an aside, if the salesperson that I ordered my 1K through in 1981 would have told me the true facts about the 2K, I would have bought the 2K. He told me that the bass would produce no output without a battery. If I would have know about the passive switch, I would certainly have purchased the L-2000. But I was kind of in a "no bullshit" phase at the time, so the white L1K fit right in. I has been essentially bulletproof for 29 years. I've even pulled it out of its case and walked on stage after it sitting for a year and the thing was still in tune. Note that this is not recommended behavior.
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Re: Most Desirable Vintage G&L?

Postby MickeyOne » Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:22 pm

Although my wunkay (Hog/Maple) is my go to bass, (great neck, super low action) my L2K never ceases to amaze me with thunderous tone, it can do the same things (although differently from the wunkay and more.
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Re: Most Desirable Vintage G&L?

Postby Reb » Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:42 pm

I love my 83 HoG/Maple and 84 Black?/Maple L1K, and have a 81 Hog/Ebony on the way and we'll see how that one is. Love the L1ks for the tone and solid playing. I'm with the OP on the 2K technology. Had and early 80s years ago, but just picked up a late 90s L2k Red Trans/maple and am really loving it. L1K, L2K There's enough love to go around.
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Re: Most Desirable Vintage G&L?

Postby Ken Baker » Tue Aug 03, 2010 5:44 pm

derick wrote:I always thought that I had a 1 5/8 neck, but on closer examination it's actually closer to a 1 11/16. There was supposedly a fair amount of variation in the early necks as they were finish sanded by hand, if my knowledge is correct. Either way, it's a much friendlier (to me) neck than my BABP LE #8. They're both good, but the '81 is better.


I used to love a Jazz-style neck, such as the G&L #6, and it still works for me. I definitely don't care for the #7, but can live with the #8 quite well. This El Toro neck though, that's a whole 'nother ballgame. That too is a draw to the old basses. The necks were a little flatter then and nicely rolled as well. The new ones are good too, but still...

I wasn't clear about what I was trying to say here, I was comparing the early "Vintage" L2000 to the later and current 2K models, not to the L-1000. What I meant was that the early L2K basses arguably weren't the ultimate evolution of the design, that the later electronics are generally, I think, considered to be an improvement over the early ones.


Oh! Okay - that makes more sense. Thanks for the clarification.

As an aside, if the salesperson that I ordered my 1K through in 1981 would have told me the true facts about the 2K, I would have bought the 2K. He told me that the bass would produce no output without a battery. If I would have know about the passive switch, I would certainly have purchased the L-2000. But I was kind of in a "no bullshit" phase at the time, so the white L1K fit right in. I has been essentially bulletproof for 29 years. I've even pulled it out of its case and walked on stage after it sitting for a year and the thing was still in tune. Note that this is not recommended behavior.


It did work out well for you and that's good. Kinda makes you wonder if the salesman didn't know or if he was feeding you a line.

Ken...
...at least the doctors find me fascinating...
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Re: Most Desirable Vintage G&L?

Postby spideyjg » Sat Aug 14, 2010 12:30 am

Ken Baker wrote:I used to love a Jazz-style neck, such as the G&L #6, and it still works for me. I definitely don't care for the #7, but can live with the #8 quite well. This El Toro neck though, that's a whole 'nother ballgame. That too is a draw to the old basses. The necks were a little flatter then and nicely rolled as well. The new ones are good too, but still...

Ken...


You have been assimilated into the mid to late 80's neck fanbase. [smilie=cheeky-smiley-025.gif]

Between The Bulls and the Lynx those are the sweetest necks in the herd.

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Re: Most Desirable Vintage G&L?

Postby Ken Baker » Sun Aug 15, 2010 10:10 am

spideyjg wrote:You have been assimilated into the mid to late 80's neck fanbase.


You may be right. I no longer have a #8 neck to compare with, so I'm working off of (perhaps faulty) memory. The #6 on the SB-2 feels great but somehow a little cramped near the nut, which is kinda funny coming off the L-2500. The El Toro just seem perfect, at least for now.

The problem here is with arthritis in my left thumb. It's been going on for a long time, but I think I finally crossed the line and overcooked it at last May's OCHSA show in Santa Ana. I didn't pick up a bass at all for a couple months, and now, reaching across a 5 string neck just kills it. I'll get it fixed eventually, but it's back-burnered for a few months until we can recover from Marie being injured and off work. I should go pull the batteries from the 5'ers.

Ken...
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Re: Most Desirable Vintage G&L?

Postby joyboy52 » Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:22 am

Ken-On a personal note, I hope things work out for you. Best Wishes. Kevin
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