My bass collection - G&L


One more instrument in the Dale Hyatt Collection. The headstock does not have a model decal on the sickle headstock without the G&L hook. So what to call it? When it was first offered to me in mid-2013, a couple of months after Dale Hyatt had passed away, the label was simply “G&L Prototype 5 string bass”. But is is clearly similar to the L-5000, with only 2 differences. First, the obvious addition of a second Z-coil humbucker between the black powder-coated Locktight (Saddle-Lock) bridge and the pickguard, mounted into a perfect rout, machined by Lloyd Chewning, on the contoured soft maple body with just a sealer coating. Second, the pickup selector is a mini-toggle switch in the pickguard beyond the volume control, tone control, and output jack. The quartersawn hard-rock maple neck has a 34” scale, 1¹³⁄₁₆” nut, 7½” radius maple fingerboard, and Ultralite bass tuning machines, all specs identical to those of the L-5000. What also should be clear is that this model has little-to-nothing to do with the ill-fated L-5000E announced on G&L’s June 15, 1988 price list. Beyond a preamp, that instrument was also intended to have 2 humbucker but likely more similar to the MFD buckers on the L-2500. And the L-5500, which became the BBE-era 5 string bass, has the same neck width but looks quite a bit different with its EMG Soapbar 40DC buckers. Hence the name ‘Z-5000’ was chosen for this prototype. The bass resided for quite some time with Roger Cox, one of Dale’s close friends and co-creator of Ampeg’s famed SVT amplifier, before being returned. A second ‘Z-5000’ with S/N B019420, likely augmented by a previous owner, popped up on Facebook in late-2018. The additional Z-coil on this Black ‘Z-5000’ has the same location as on this prototype but now with its pickup selector located between the 2 controls and a simpler wiring harness: just a treble bleed cap on the volume pot. No other information is available on this model which clearly did not make it into production.


‘Z-5000’ prototype

The story behind this bass


Serial number:

Neck date:

Body date:


As stated above, this bass was offered to me before. At that time, I was still very much focussed on the Broadcaster/ASAT. Only later, I became more interested in what G&L built when Leo was still alive and hence this model showed up on my radar again. It was part of the large batch of instruments Mike Teepe, of Acme Guitars in St. Louis, MO, got out of the Dale Hyatt estate. And for me it was waiting for the right moment. Now it is here with all the provenance and original shipping carton to boot. According to the hang tag, the instrument was completed “10-18-91” when it was also added to the sales log with Dale as the indicated recipient in the “Inv#” column and a designation of “Proto #1” in the “PO#” column. An interesting aspect of this bass is the neck width at the nut. With a width of 1¾”, the L-5000 was perceived to be rather narrow. G&L solved that problem on the production L-5500, but this prototype seems to indicate they were already experimenting with a 1¹³⁄₁₆” nut width several years prior. The bass is extremely loud and easily overdrives my amp. Only the initial part of the volume range provides some smooth tones. In addition, the tone control has very little effect. This bass certainly needs a PTB circuit.

The story behind this guitar


B021354 (from Dale Hyatt collection, only prototype built with this configuration)

OCT 16 1991, marked ‘TEST’, ‘1 ⅞’

OCT 16 1991, marked ‘R Harris’

D’Addario EXL170-5 Nickel Wound 5-string Light Long Scale (45-130)