G&L: The Sounds & Players of Leo’s Swansong

G&L Musical Instruments is the final brainchild of the legendary Leo Fender after his departure from Fender. The company was formed in 1979 alongside longtime collaborator and friend George Fullerton, who is credited with contributing designs for the first solid-body electric guitar, and the name G&L is an abbreviation of their first names – a testament to the faith they had in the company and instruments.

The name G&L doesn’t come with quite the pedigree of heavy hitters Fender, Gibson, Ibanez, and Music Man in the music world at large, but ask any bassist worth their salt whether a G&L is a top-quality bass and you’ll get a resounding yes every time. The 45-year tenure of G&L in the bass world can be best described as a quiet rumble – often considered, never quite the mainstream.

A series of design innovations were implemented into many of their Fullerton factory products, such as the hi-mass ‘saddle lock’ bridge that uses a side-setting screw to secure bridge saddles and improve sustain, and Leo is on record saying that G&L instruments were ‘the best instruments I have ever made.’

What bassists use G&L basses?

You won’t find quite the stories list of bassists laying down grooves with a G&L in their hands as competitor offerings, but plenty of top artists swear by their trusty L-1000 or ASAT model as their go-to axe of choice, and the players we’ve picked showcase the capabilities and versatility of the G&L brand.

Before we dive into the tracks of the day, we have to give a special mention to David Steele’s incredible moves when performing with the Fine Young Cannibals and sporting his L-2000, it’s worth the watch.

With that out of the way, let’s get to it!

Tom Hamilton: Aerosmith’s Walk This Way (1975)

While eagle-eyed readers will spot the date of this track landing 4 years before G&L was even founded, we cannot discount that Tom Hamilton has been a longstanding player of G&L. He has used a G&L ASAT bass since 2000 and even has a signature model to his name.

Walk This Way is a classic Aerosmith track that exemplifies their stomping melodies and riff-based songwriting. Tom focuses on supporting the main guitar lines with an active bass line that moves around a C major during the verse – darting between the 4th, 5th, and flat 7th notes to create the verse, and a chromatic run off the A for the iconic main riff.

walk this way bass tab

Check out Tom and the Aerosmith crew rocking it up just down the road from us at BassBros during Download 2014 in Donington Park. He’s sporting his signature G&L ASAT bass in all its sparkling glory.

How to get the Walk This Way tone

Realistically, any classic rock styling with a bit of gain is going to serve you well when playing this one back so don’t worry about being fussy with your tone, but here are our tips to recreate Hamilton’s sound:

  • G&L ASAT bass
  • Bonus points for playing the signature model
  • Medium amount of drive mixed into a clean signal
  • Mid and trebles boosted, small cut to bass
  • Play with fingers to keep a smooth attack throughout the riff

Dee Murray: Elton John’s I’m Still Standing (1983)

Dee Murray is the longtime bassist for singer/songwriter and ivory key extraordinaire Elton John. His bass playing can be heard on no less than 13 of Elton’s 31 disc catalogue and has been featured on many of Elton’s biggest hits.

I’m Still Standing is a dance-led track that features quintessentially 80’s synths, a popping bass line soaked in chorus and flanging effects, and the dangerously catchy ‘yeah, yeah, yeah’ that’s just popped into your brain. The core of the bass plants firmly on the beat, driving a quarter-note pulse throughout the entire song. Murray throws in a number of octave pops that can be heard as he moves through the main chord progression, as seen below.

I'm Still Standing bass tab

The key is to just focus on keeping a steady pace and colume throughout the whole run, which can be especially tricky if you’re using a slap style to get the best sound and to throw in impromptu pops. We’ve left the specific octaves out of the tab above, so just experiment with adding various ones in and find the ones that work for you!

How to get the I’m Still Standing tone

Although we can’t be sure, it’s incredibly likely that there was a synth bass layered over the top of Dee Murray’s take. The sound of the bassline is so synthetic in nature that it would take a gargantuan amount of chorus and flange to get close to what we can hear on the record. So yeah, that’s the plan!

  • G&L L-1000 with active pickups
  • Heavy use of chorus and flange effects
  • Mid and trebles boosted
  • Play with a slap technique to make the pops stand out

The Bottom Line

We always feel that G&L don’t get the love they really deserve. Every single one that comes through the doors at BassBros feels incredible, sounds huge, and is endlessly versatile to suit a wide array of musical styles – from the Indonesian-made Tribute series to the top-of-the-line USA models.

Leo Fender has done more for the bass world than almost anyone, and G&L is the lasting legacy of a true musical visionary. If you’ve never had the pleasure of giving a G&L bass a spin, we highly recommend you take the time to – you won’t be disappointed.

We have a selection of G&L basses available at BassBros, so feel free to get in touch and arrange an appointment to find your perfect bass.