Upgrade my Lakland 55-01 or buy a 55-02?
I love my sunburst/rosewood Lakland 55-01 bass. It is a very versatile instrument. But......I am not fond of the preamp. What I REALLY dislike about it is the fact that is not true bypass. I have had it go completely dead on me a couple of times due to low
Anyhow should I upgrade the electronics or sell the bass and buy a 55-02 model?
Personally I love the sound of the "01" series. If your main , or even only, gripe with it is the lack of a true passive option, then get a luthier to install one at a fraction of the cost of upgrading your bass. It's a piece of cake for any vaguely competent luthier.
You could try out preamp pedals to get a taste for what the bass would be like with a different preamp.
I think going to a USA Lakland would be more of an improvement than 01 to 02 model.
I love the sound of the J/MM pickups on my Lakland (I have the LH system now and had the Barts) - it just gives a great sound no matter what the settings I use. The sound sits well with everything I've used it in.
FWIW, I play mostly in churches but the bands have varied from just a three-piece rock oriented band to what I have at my home church (bass, drums, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, B3/2nd keys, piano, 2 percussionists, 9-15 horns, some strings, 7-9 lead voices, 100-voice choir). And the bass sounds good in all those situations!
IMHO, the -01 series electronics are just OK and you do get some benefit with a better preamp (I really like the Audere sound on my Warmoth fretless). I'm just sure that it would not get you everything an -02 would.
On my stock Korean-built 55-02, you can change the voicing of the mids with a DIP switch in the control cavity. That's a pretty nice feature, IMO.
Upgrades cost vs. buying a new (or used) bass.............
I upgraded the preamp in my 55-01 with a US Bartolini 5.2A/P preamp (true active/passive). The pickups sounded ok with the new pre however, I also upgraded the pickups with Nordstrand Big Splits. The bass is now on a 'hol '...nutha....level'!! $350 (was actually cheaper due to TB discount at BBG) total upgrade cost.
I briefly had a 55-02 (older US Bart equipped model) but liked the 55-01 better. Here's a video of me playing it after the upgrades.
I'd say upgrade your 55-01 with some nice pups and a pre and you'll discover more bass than you know you had. Still at a later date you could pick up a 55-02 (and do the same)!!!! a 55-01 with some bart quads (coil splitter) and bart pre would be killing, or some bart quads and a Aggie OBP3.
I did not say new! ;-) There are some good used ones floating around the net.
Unfortunately BassNW does not have any in stock for me to play. I have not done an A/B between the 55-01 and 55-02.
I'd say go with either Nordstrand Big Singles/Big Splits or SGD Lutherie pickups and an Audere Classic 4-band. That bass would amazing then. The Audere doesn't have a passive/active option, but they sound very transparent. They also have excellent battery life.
The super cool thing about Audere preamps is that the pickups connect to it in stereo so you get a true blend knob. Most other active preamps use passive controls and the blend is a glorified pickup switch.
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