Product recommendation- G&L Tribute Series Fallout Bass

And why has it taken me over 6 months to write this blog post?

Oh, it seems like such a long time ago. Last year in 2022, I was obsessed with wanting more and more bass guitars! At the mid-point of the year, 3 hadn’t been enough and I was longing for my 4th. I was telling myself, this was going to be the last, so I had to make it good! Money wasn’t an issue, I just wanted the best out there. An oh yeah, have I forgot to mention, I was only in the market for short scale bass guitars, as after going in for my first 30 inch scale guitar, 3 Short scales later, I was in too deep to start playing full scale basses now!

So, I was literally researching every guitar brand, and seeing if they were producing short scale bases. I even had this detailed spreadsheet where I was collecting all the specs and details on each bass, and after researching for 2 months I decided to go G&L! Because my first guitar was a Fender, my second was a Musicman, so it just felt fitting if the last of my guitars would be the 3rd and final company Leo Fender was involved with, i.e., George Fullerton & Leo Fender (G&L Guitars). As I mentioned, money was not an issue here, and I would of loved an American made, but down here in Australia, that isn’t that easy to get a hold of. So, I resorted for G&L’s import line, the ‘Tribute Series’.

Besides for wanting to complete the trilogy, the handful of clips I had heard on Youtube in how the guitar sounded, it sounded great! To this point I was still looking for a short scale bass which actually had a deep tone, like a full scale, and I thought that G&L’s short scale- the ‘Fallout’ did just that! So, I made steps to acquire one.

In Australia, it seemed that only one music store was stocking the Tribute Series Fallout Bass, and at that time they only had one remaining guitar per colour. A surf green, A Candy Apple red, an Olympic white, and a Jet black. And as the 3 basses which I had previously bought, were black, white and aged natural- I wanted some colour in my life this time! And the idea of a Candy apple red guitar appealed to me greatly! So, I snatched up the last Candy apple red G&L Tribute Series Fallout bass in Australia! Yes! **Note: Funny enough, the G&L ended up being the cheapest guitar I had bought at an affordable price of $1,069.

My initial thoughts when it arrived. ‘Man, it was big!’ Yeah, I had viewed enough reviews to know that this thing defied all logic of a short scale bass. As the Shorties were meant to be more compact, so it was easier to play for us short people. But actually, having this in my hands, it dwarfed all the other short scales I already owned.

The Fallout is both large, heavy, and loud! Plugging this thing into my rock amp, with the dials all tuned in for my other basses, it was literally unplayable! It sounded so grungy, and muddy, that to get a reasonable sound out of it, I had to turn everything down by half. And once it was turned down, it then sounded like all my other short scale basses, i.e., not bass-y enough!

So, now I had this dilemma, I bought this thing because it had promise of being a deep toned short scale, but because it was so booming and overwhelming up-high, I had to tone things down to be even able to play it. And now that it was placed in ‘its box’, it was just the same as all the others, but with the downsides of being too heavy and harder to play than the others. So, I packed it away. I told myself I’ll eventually get around to taming the beast, but until then, it was going to sit in the closet.

Subsequently I changed the strings to La Bella Flat-wound strings, as the Youtube video which made the G&L sound the best, had also changed out their strings to La bellas. But even after the string change, it was still too much for my sister’s old rock guitar amp (it was just a guitar amp). Then I decided to get a proper Bass amp, hoping that this was the last reason why all 4 of my short scale guitars didn’t sound bass-y enough. And thank God, that was the reason why!

But with this revelation, I still spent more time playing my other basses on the new Fender Rumble V3, rather than using the G&L. The reasons for this was due to it’s weight again, and the contrast from going from a short scale to the more full sized like G&L.

And in terms of hardware, it also felt a little bit cheaper than my other import lines. The Polyurethane finish just didn’t feel as premium as the others, the neck plate wasn’t embossed like the Fender nor Musicman, and the toggle switch to change between modes seemed so weird. Just a single bare metal stick, which when I first received it I had thought that a plastic nob cap had fallen off during shipping. And oh yeah, the default strings on the guitar were cheap and thin (not a whole lot of thickness difference between the E and G strings).

But what was in its favour was the killer pickup, saying it was strong is an understatement! The magnets on this thing are so strong that if you push the strings down onto the pickup, there is a moment that the magnet actually attracts to it, not wanting to let it go! Which doesn’t happen on any of my other guitars. And I have to admit that the neck and the finger board does feel really nice- nice and smooth. And the bridge is chunky and premium feeling.

But the main hold-back was still the weight and size, from my understanding is that the guitar body is pretty much a full scale (if not, it’s still pretty close to it). But how it’s a short scale bass, is that the bridge is set higher up on the body, so from bridge to nut it still measures 30 inches, so it’s basically a short scale in a full scale bass’ body. The fret spacing is probably closer to a full scale’s, as it has fewer frets (19) so the markers are spaced out further apart, so the reach is definitely different from a short scale- so for me, who is all about muscle memory, it did take a while to adjust. And the way that I like to have my guitar, slung low around hip height, now with the weight, it was a bit of a back and shoulder breaker! So, after 20 minutes I’m usually already tapping out.

And the last reason why I didn’t play the G&L much,  was that my wife forbade me to bring another different guitar on-stage at church. *Grumble grumble*. So, I didn’t have the motivation to practice with it.

Until, until 2023 swung around! My wife’s rule was no ‘Red guitar’ on-stage until 2023, and now it’s 2023!!!!!! Woohoo!

So, this is why it’s taken me 6 months to finally write this blog post, reviewing my experience with the G&L Tribute Series Fallout bass.

Sound

So, even with the Fender Rumble V3 bass amp, I had to turn the guitar’s volume to 50%, to avoid distortion and vibrating things off the walls. Haaha. But with the right settings on the amp, it still sounded very bass-y. And with the La Bella flat-wounds on them, it made the guitar sound very melodic as well, at times it blended in with the tones my wife was producing on her Taylor GS Mini Koa.

Dealing with the weight

Admittedly in-between songs, each time I would take-up the weight of the guitar onto my hands, giving my shoulder and back a rest. And that did the trick, but it also made me look pretty wimpy and soft at the same time. Haaha.

Adapting to the larger dimensions

Eventually we got there, after a week purely playing the G&L, it became second nature to find the more spread-out frets and moving around a chunkier neck. And the overall size of the guitar was starting to grow on me.

And on the day of playing, on-stage at church?

It sounded great! With the Fender Rumble V3, any bass sounds good through it, because it has 100 different tones to choose from, and with the digital technology it could make any bass sound bass-y! But as church didn’t have a designated bass amp, so what it sounds like at home, isn’t how it sounds like at church. So, the guitar sounds like what it actually is as an instrument, after all the digital trickery is stripped away i.e., not good, and never loud enough. But for the G&L this Sunday, with it’s heavy duty pickup, and the fact that I sneakily cranked my guitar volume up to 90%! The end outcome was, that our Minister’s feedback to my wife after the service was, ‘the bass sounded too loud today’! Score!!!!! They can actually here me on the bass! Moohaaha!

The fallout

Well, the fallout is this, after spending a week with the G&L Tribute Series Fallout bass, all my other short scale basses feel so small in comparison. Now the other guitars feel like I’m handling a kids play thing. D’oh! The thought did cross my mind…… What if I try-out a real full scale bass……

But don’t worry short scale community, I’m too invested in being a short scale connoisseur, that I can’t possibly go full scale now! But what I do now have in the closet, is a faux full scale, just when I feel the need to look like, feel like, and sound like  a real bass player! Haaha.  

For more on the G&L Tribute Series Fallout bass, just search for it on your web browser! Good luck finding one to purchase though!

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