My bass collection - G&L


Just like the L-2000 3 years earlier, when the El Toro was included in the June 1983 price list, it was introduced both in a totally passive version (El Toro) as well as with an added preamp (El Toro-E). An El Toro with maple fingerboard retailed for $699 (excluding case) and $729 (excluding case) with either rosewood or fretless ebony fingerboard. A case would cost an extra $110 while a preamp added $100 to the total. The passive version still shared the series/parallel switch with the El Toro-E. The pickup selector is bypassed in the series setting with both HB-2 Bi-Pole™ Magnetic Field Design humbuckers always on. Just like the L-2000E before, the El Toro-E turned out to be much more popular and became the only entry as of the January 15, 1984 price list. Hence, the passive El Toro was only in production for about 7 months and is rare, even though it was used for the initial ad shown below. This Clear Red passive El Toro has a swamp ash body. Compared to the active El Toro-E, it has a simpler wiring harness consisting of just a (replacement) 3-position pickup selector, series/parallel switch, volume, and PTB circuit, but with a 250kΩ pot for the treble cut control instead of the usual 500kΩ, all mounted on a control panel. The hard-rock maple neck with 7½”radius rosewood fingerboard has a matching painted headstock. One can see a Black El Toro on Greg Gagliano website. Beyond that, Willie G. Moseley discusses the passive version in his “The G&L El Toro” article.


El Toro (passive)

The story behind this bass


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Finally found one. In Europe no less! Yeahman’s Vintage & Used Guitars, operated by Michael Marti in Bern, Switzerland, listed a passive El Toro on Reverb around my birthday in 2021. Although the difference in their pickups might cause their wiring harnesses to differ slightly, either a passive L-2000 or a passive El Toro would have fit the bill. But he latter it is. It is came neither with case nor gig bag but a G&G tolex hardshell case could be scored at a reasonable price. However, that case was a better fit for the Interceptor Bass w/Kahler so they were swapped. The body date is from the first month of production while the date on the neck is clearly well past the January 1, 1984 date quoted above. The volume pot is from week 26 in 1983, which is already later than June 13th, and the treble cut pot is from week running from October 3-10, 1983. So the bass was clearly put together later and it is likely the neck is still the first on this instrument. The sound is just fantastic. Without preamp, it is all in the pickups. There is more snap due to their smaller footprint. I do understand why the El Toro-E survived being able to drive long cables with its buffered output. But sonically, there is not much difference and much is to be found in this instrument’s simplicity. The ideal bass for a guitar player used to the PTB circuit.

The story behind this guitar



MAR 23 1984, marked ‘#3’

JUN 13 1983

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