My bass collection - G&L


The presence of a preamp on a G&L bass is not uncommon. Any bass with the Tri-Tone System has one as well as models like the El Toro-E/Interceptor Bass or Climax Bass/L-1500. But in all these cases the preamp does not make these basses active in the modern sense of the word. Yes, it affects the output impedance so you can drive long cables and/or one can boost a particular frequency band. But all of their tone controls are still bass cut and treble cut, i.e. a filter, not a booster/attenuator. Sure, one might argue that is semantics because in case a frequency band with a reasonable high upper limit is boosted, the treble cut may still cause it to be six of one, half a dozen of another. But nowadays an active bass is considered to be one where certain bands can be boosted and/or attenuated by a controllable amount of dBs. The closest G&L ever came to that concept before is the L-5500 with EMG’s proprietary BTC System with ±12dB treble and bass controls. In 2011 G&L went a step further with the introduction of the M-2000 and M-2500 employing their proprietary 18V Active System with a ±14dB 3-band EQ. Their MFD bass humbuckers are voiced especially for this system and are slightly different than those found on e.g. the L-2000. G&L also wanted to create a true active JB platform using the same system but first a particular problem had to be solved. The JB/JB-2 Alnico V single-coil pickups turned out to be much too noisy. Hence, new Bi-Coil Alnico pickups were designed with hum cancelling capabilities within the same JB pickup footprint. Hence, the MJ-4 and MJ-5 had to wait until 2013. Beyond the 3-band EQ, one finds a master volume control and a pan control with center detent to indicate both pickups are mixed in equally. Otherwise, it is still a JB-2 like bass with a Saddle-Lock bridge and hard-rock maple neck, which came standard with a 12” fingerboard and 1½” nut, and Ultralite bass tuning machine. The MJ-4 and MJ-5 were only short lived and discontinued by January 2018. However, there is still as hidden page on the G&L website one can consult for more information (and check out the rave review by Ed Friedland aka The Bass Whisperer):



The story behind this guitar


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Should it be an M-series? Or should the collection be extended by adding an MJ-series bass? That question was not resolved until the arrival of the fretless JB of the previous page and the addition of a discarded set of Bi-Coil pickups and a full wiring harness. The choice was made to look for an MJ. It is not that they are rarely offered but the asks were many times more than street price for a new one. That is until this one showed up in late-2021, an MJ-4 completed on 6/2/2014 as per its spec sheet. I contacted Chris Eilers and within a couple of days this beauty had made the trip up I-5. And what a beauty it is! The Blackburst finish on the flamed maple top is gorgeous, as is the matching burst headstock, while the rest of the swamp ash body is an opaque black. With so much “darkness”, of course a bass like this is asking for an ebony fingerboard with understated pearloid dot markers. But how about the binding to set it apart? Or the quartersawn hard-rock maple neck? The nut on this bass is a factory installed white Graph-Tech TUSQ XL nut. So much to like about it esthetically. Sonically there are so many possibilities it will take me a while to figure out what I like best, i.e. what suits my style and the gear used. Maybe that video can help. But first impressions are great.

The story behind this guitar



none, marked ‘MJ-4’, ‘Blackburst’, ‘PH’, ‘Gnut’, ‘315816-1’


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