The world of yowhatsshakin


One more instrument in the Dale Hyatt Collection. The headstock does not have a model decal on the teat-less sickle headstock. 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 wrinkle 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 selection toggle-switch in the pickguard beyond the master volume control, single tone controls, and output jack. The 34” scale, quartersawn hard-rock maple neck with wide 1⅞” nut, the only G&L I have with this width, has a maple fingerboard and the light-weight tuning machines are identical to those found on the L-5000. What also should be clear is that this model has little-to-nothing to do with the ill-fated L-5000E appearing on the G&L June 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, looks quite a bit different with its EMG 40 DC 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. No other information is available on this model which clearly did not make it to production.


G&L ‘Z-5000’ prototype

The story behind this bass

Year:                  1991

Serial number:    B021354

Neck date:         OCT 16 1991, marked ‘TEST’, ‘1 ⅞’

Body date:         OCT 16 1991, marked ‘R Harris’

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

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. 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 would be helped by a PTB system.