I have owned and played an M-2500 long enough to confidently write a review. In a nutshell; I highly recommend it as a simple and modern P & MM hybrid.
M-2500 is an active solid body bass with a 34″ scale length, two MFD humbucker pickups, a high mass bridge with string-through-body option, volume & blend controls and boost/cut 3 band EQ. This bass doesn’t have a passive switch.
The neck pickup is placed to the P-bass sweet spot. The bridge pickup is almost placed to the MM sweet spot – it’s a bit closer to the bridge for obvious spacing reasons. Visual pickup position comparison can be found here .
MFD pickups provide adjustable pole pieces. This means; you can adjust the height of individual poles for a precisely balanced sound across all strings. Details of my preferred MFD height setup can be found here .
Compared to 19mm basses, string spacing is relatively narrow; making fast lines easier. The neck is not as chunky as a P-bass or StingRay, but you definitely feel the wood in your hand.
Soloing the neck pickup, the bass sounds like a P-bass on steroids. When I was in the market for a new bass, I was actually looking for a P-bass vibe. M-2500 neck pickup doesn’t sound exactly like a P-bass, you need to buy the real thing for that. However; it subjectively doubles the mid-thumpy-sweetness of the P-bass in a modern and powerful way due to the pickup specs. I preferred M-2500 over the P-bass, but that’s beacuse I like modern and powerful bass tones. Other players, especially vintage purists, might prefer otherwise.
This setting is ideal for blues, rock, motown, R&B, reggae, etc. settings where you would normally reach out for a P-bass.
Soloing the bridge pickup, I feel like I’m somewhere between the StingRay bite and Jaco burp. Compared to the StingRay, the pickup is placed a little closer to the bridge. The back coil is right in the middle of 60/70 Jazz Bass pickup positions, while the front coil is right behind the 60 Jazz Bass pickup position. As a result, you get somewhere between a thin StingRay / fat Jaco tone.
Unlike some “pickup-too-close-to-the-bridge” basses I played before; this setting is very usable on its own for soloing, playing chords and many other burpiness applications.
Pickup balance produces a scooped tone typically seen at J basses, but the humbuckers obviously produce a different tone than your average standard Jazz Bass. This mid-scoop provides a good playground for pop / funk / slap, or settings where you want to play hide & seek in the mix. A little deviation towards the neck gets close to a PJ sound, while a little deviation towards the bridge gets close to the Jaco burp; both usable to support the band.
Obviously, you can get many other sounds by blending the pickups and tapping the EQ.
Although the M-2500 lacks the passive option, I honestly didn’t miss it at all. Vintage purists might, though.
For those who follow G&L closely, L-2500 has arguably been their flagship bass for a long time. With the M-2500, they took the same body & pickups and replaced the relatively complicated EQ system with a simple boost/cut 3 band EQ. The pickups are wound 12% less; taking the aggression under control.
I like things to be as simple as possible without compromising the required functionality. Although L-2500 is very versatile, its switching system has always been a turn-off for me. I wouldn’t want to mess with 18 switch combinations to nail the tone I want; whether I’m recording or playing live. Having a 2 band cut-only EQ also feels like a limitation on the stage – I can’t always walk to the amp or kneel to the pedalboard to boost my frequencies.
Obviously, those are personal preferences; there are countless bass players out there who are extremely happy with their L-2500 basses. But in my humble opinion; M-2500 eliminates the disadvantages of L-2500 and replaces them with perks.
Ed Friedman has made a great M-2500 vs L-2500 video , I recommend it for an audio-based comparison.
My first attempt to have a P & MM combo bass was my custom designed Sandberg California VM 5 . Although it was a well made bass, I feel like the M-2500 is a closer shot for the purpose.
The two-pickup setting made me literally compare the M-2500 with a Jazz Bass when I did the purchase. The neck pickup of M-2500 satisfied me much better than the neck pickup of the Jazz Bass in terms of getting the P-Bass thump. Likewise, the bridge pickup produces a much stronger and deeper burp than the J-Bass.
However; combining the pickups, the J-Bass slap sound satisfied me more than the M-2500. Plus, the single coil pickups of the J-Bass are more articulate; providing a better toolkit for corresponding purposes.
Well, humbuckers vs single coils, what can I say? You can fatten single coils with some EQ boost, but humbuckers are naturally fat and strong. You can thin out humbuckers with some EQ cut, but single coils are naturally articulate and sparky.
If the priority is to get beefy tones leaning towards P / MM sounds, M-2500 has the upper hand. If the priority is to get thinner articulated sounds with that J vibe & slappiness, Jazz Bass has the upper hand.
StingRay 5 HS
In a nutshell; G&L has a great P-Bass tone and an acceptable StingRay~ish tone, while the StingRay has (obviously) a great StingRay tone and an acceptable P-Bass tone.
However, the P-Bass tone of the StingRay is more authentic than the StingRay tone of the G&L.
Comparing those two; if a P-Bass tone is a higher priority, I would get the G&L. If the StingRay tone is a higher priority, I would get the StingRay. In case of equal priorities, I would probably pick the StingRay.
M-2500 has easily joined my team of beloved bass guitars.
If you want a modern sounding P-MM~ish combo with a simple interface, I recommend including the M-2500 in your candidate list.