The world of yowhatsshakin


Leo Fender was the ultimate tinkerer and pickups were always an area of focus to him. How can a modern day instrument even sound better than those from yesterday? After the successful Magnetic Field Design (MFD) humbuckers on the L-1000 and L-2000, G&L used smaller footprint Bi-Pole™ humbuckers on the El Toro, introduced in June 1983, while retaining a similar body shape. And as with the L-2000, this model was initially available in both pure passive (El Toro) and active (El Toro-E) versions with only slightly different electronics. The master volume, Passive Treble and Bass (PTB) tone controls, and (black) 3-way pickup selector are retained. Both active and passive version also have the red 2-way mini-toggle also known as the parallel/series bass boost switch. When pointing towards the bridge, the 2 buckers are in parallel which of course is only effective with the pickup selector in the center. With the switch towards the nut, the pups are in series and both always on; the pickup selector switch has no effect. The El Toro-E also has a white 2-way mini-toggle control for the battery powered preamp: towards the bridge the bass is in high-impedance passive mode with amp/battery bypassed, towards the nut the amp is engaged and the bass is in low-impedance active mode able to drive long cables without loss of fidelity. Note that the L-2000E has a 3-way switch offering another active mode providing treble boost. The active version turned out to be so much more popular, the passive version disappeared within 6 months even before the very similar Interceptor Bass was introduced in March 1984. The El Toro was available with mahogany, ash, or maple body. All links to El Toro basses above go to Greg Gagliano’s website where he also features a beautiful El Toro with flame neck. Beyond that, there is this article written by Willie G. Moseley which appeared in the August 2010 issue of Vintage Guitar Magazine.


G&L El Toro-E

The story behind this bass

Year:                  1983

Serial number:    B012660

Neck date:         OCT 31 1983

Body date:         none, marked ‘G-G’

Strings:              D’Addario EXL170 Nickel Wound Light Long Scale (45-100)

By mid-2017, the El Toro was the only Leo Fender designed G&L instrument not yet in the collection. Notwithstanding it is not considered to be a G&L Rarebird, it is actually hard to find one. Not having a passive L-2000, acquiring a “plain” El Toro was preferred. But Bruce Fowler, who also sold me his Interceptor Bass (rear-mounted controls), had this perfect Gold Metallic El Toro-E waiting for me. In real life, the bass looks gorgeous with just a couple of battle scars. It is a little hard to assess the wood due to the paint remnants in both neck pocket and battery compartment, but my best guess is this bass has a soft maple body. The sounds is pretty much identical to the Interceptor basses on the following pages: pretty powerful and in your face. Nice.