My bass collection - G&L


The L-5000 is G&L’s first foray into the 5-string format. At the end of the 1980s the popularity of this format had skyrocketed, likely because of the added booming B-string. Together with another new model called the L-6000E, the development of the L-5000E was announced in the June 15, 1988 price list. Both these basses would have had 2 humbuckers. The L-6000E never came to be but might have been a precursor to the infamous baritone guitar. The actual L-5000, which only became available at the end of 1988 and included on the January 15, 1989 price list, got a single Z-coil (hum-bucking) pickup instead, controlled by a volume control and a tone control. The contoured body was either soft maple (here) or swamp ash. Judging from the instruments included in the Guitars by Leo (GbL) Registry, most of them have a Black finish but the model was also available in either Red, Sunburst, Viking Blue, or White. The carefully selected, slightly chunkier, quartersawn (for additional strength), 34” scale, hard-rock maple neck with 1¾” nut either had a maple or rosewood fingerboard with 7½” radius. The sickle headstock used a 4+1 Ultralite bass tuning machine layout and was void of the G&L hook. Although still included in the first BBE-era G&L price list from January 1992, the L-5000 did not survive beyond that summer due to its unpopularity. With only only an estimated 400 built, this Rarebird has its own page in the GbL Registry on which you also find links to additional pictures in the GbL Gallery. G&L later released the L-5500 which has completely different humbuckers but does solve the neck width issue. More on the L-5000 and its evolution can be found on Greg Gagliano’s website which examples built in 1989, 1990, and even 1992. And if you can find the relevant back issue, Willie G. Moseley wrote “G&L L-500” relating the history of this model.


L-5000 (fretless)

The story behind this bass


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This Black finish L-5000 was listed by Brennan Terry on Reverb for quite a while and it finally moved into the collection when, as Bob Barker would exclaim, “... the price [was] right”. Like for all other L-5000s, the headstock is a dead giveaway for the neck being quartersawn. And for good reason. That neck does not have the benefit of any added mechanical strength due to e.g. embedded carbon fiber rods. But since the neck is very much based on the then available necks for 4-string basses, it goes right to the heart of why this model was not very popular: the neck feels uncomfortably. Another thing is that the original frets had been completely filed down by the first owner. Brennan had them subsequently pulled and filled with some nice exotic Redheart wood ghost lines by a qualified luthier. I was surprised to learn this bass is not the only one where this happened. Of the 99 L-5000s registered at the time of writing, at least one other underwent a similar treatment (S/N B019183), with one more fretless rosewood registered and an additional 4 marked as fretless with ebony boards. The latter are more likely to have come from the factory that way although the fretless option is not mentioned in a single price list. Initially, I could not tune the low-B of the set of LaBella 50-132 flat wounds down to that note before the string started flopping. But after taking off the neck to take the pictures below, I could. All that changed was the string being tensioned anew, from completely slack to taut. Go figure! Otherwise, the sound is wonderful, still snappy and articulate without any noise. Great pup.

The story behind this guitar



DEC 14 1988

DEC 12 1988

D’Addario ECB81-5 Chromes Bass Light Long Scale (45-132)