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55-01 live and reviewed!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Eilif, Feb 8, 2006.

  1. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    So nearly two months after recieveing it, I finally got to take my lakland 55-01 out for a live show. It didn't let me down. The tone was smooth and strong, and it played beautifuly and easily. What a bass! It would have been nice if the soundman could have gotten a good mix in the house but we can't have everything right?

    I reviewed it for talkbass and pasted it at the bottom of this post.


    and pics of it are here


    Anyone have experiences with a 55-01 or 44-01 to share?

    Here's the review.

    Make/Model: Lakland 55-01

    Year: 2003 (purchased used)

    Neck: 5 bolt maple neck

    Manufactured: In Korea, setup and fret dressing in Chicago.

    Price paid: 500 w/OHSC

    Woods/Finish: Cheryburst ash body with maple fretboard

    Scale: 35"

    Electronics: Bartolini MK1 Pickups and Preamp (vol, blend, hi, med and low)

    Construction: The fit and finish of this bass is impressive to say the least. The cherryburst finish is even prettier than the pictures on the Lakland website. The multi piece body ash body is well matched on the front, but the individual pieces are visible on the back if you look closely.
    The frettwork is very well attended to, with no sharp edges, as I would expect on an instrument for whom one of the selling points is that final setup and frettwork is done in chicago.
    The hardware on the bass is of high quality. The licensed Hipshot ultralights are very smooth and hold their tuning well and the nut is standard but well attended to. I am not sure why Lakland doesn't use a more substantial cast bridge, rather than their current model, but I have not noticed any loss of sustain, so perhaps they have thier reasons for keeping thier trademark bridge.

    Sound: The 55-01 sounds very good in a variety of tones. The preamp is not particularly noisy, and it cuts through the mix well. I don't believe that the 55-01 has any "weak" spots, but if I had to pick a "weaker" part of the instrument, it would be the preamp. As has been mentioned elsewhere, the bart mk1 preamp has some harshness and seems to be voiced for the more agressive player. Not surprising considering the MK1 is most commonly found on Ibanez basses. It is fairly difficult to get more deep vintagey sounds without cutting all the mids and most of the highs.
    Smooth tones and deeper vintage sounds are possible, and the preamp is by no means inadequate, but a more versatile pre will probably be in order for my bass in the future.
    In the live situation, I have found that it sounds very good and cuts well in my pop-rock group ( www.somethingordinary.com ) and hasn't sounded at all out of place partially replacing the passive jazz bass that previously was my main instrument. (now secondary)

    Comfort/playablility: The 55-01 balances well on the lap or on a strap, and is not neck heavy. The super low action makes it very easy to play, and the neck has seemed very stable for the 2 months I have had it.
    The flat neck profile makes the wide neck and coresponding wide string spacing very comfortable and playable. I have not found that the 35" scale creates a noticable difference, except in the fact that the string tension is nice and tight, and the "b" string feels particularly good. Playing the bass low on a strap could cause alot of wrist tension and stress due to the wide neck. This bass might not be a first choice for those with small hands and fingers, or those who prefer a tight string spacing Also, this bass is not a lightweight, but it's weight of 10 lbs puts it right about in the middle of bass weights.

    Customer Service: Upon purchasing this instrment I emailed Lakland to find the year, model and electronics package, and truss rod information for this particular bass. I emailed them at the end of the day, and the next morning I had a message in my inbox from Dan Lakin himself with the answers to all of my questions. After researching Lakland, I have found that this kind of prompt service is standard for Lakland.

    Other: I would like to take this opportunity to speak to the design asthetic of the 44-01, and the 44-02, the 55-01, 55-02 and their corresponding american models the 4-44 and 55-94. Even before getting the chance to play lakland basses, I was attracted to their modern/vintage design asthetic. Lakland has taken fairly traditional headstock, tuners and bridge, matched them with a variety of traditional instrument finishes and woods on a body that his half modern, half vintage, and an electronics package that is quite versatile. Thus, they have created a series of distinctive instruments that visually and sonically fit into almost any musical/visual melieu, while being always readily recognizable as a Lakland.

    Conclusion: Though I have only owned this instrument for two months, I feel confident that it will be with me for quite a while.(though perhaps with a new preamp) If it were stolen I would definately buy another Lakland, though with the confidence I now have in Lakland quality, I might use the opportunity to purchase a product from the higher end of the Lakland product line.
    I would definately recomend this bass as an excelent choice for the intermediate or advanced player who wants a long scale professional quality instrument, but wants to keep the price under 800 dollars (a new one goes for between 750 and 800).
    As a former music salesman, I can say without exageration, that I have played most of the production basses out there at this price point (Ibanez, Cort, Dean, Fender, Yamaha, Rockbass, Musicman SUB, washburn, etc.) and with the exception of some used instruments of exceptional value, I have not found this bass's equal.
  2. I picked up a lightly used 55-01 Deluxe on eBay a few weeks ago. I'm diggin' it so far. Playability is excellent, with a great neck that I felt at home on immediately. I got a light one (9 lbs.), and it's comfortable to play sitting or standing. I'm a Fender player from way back, so it's taking some time to get used to the tone, but it has a nice smooth sound with a big bottom and crisp highs. I strung it up with a set of DR Fat Beams, which I really like. I haven't gigged with it yet, but I've played a couple rehearsals with it, and it fit in the mix fine with all preamp controls centered.
  3. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Nice bass Steve! What year is that one? I wasn't aware that the 55-01 ever came in a deluxe model. They seem to have shaved the options on the 55-01 down to 3 colors and maple vs. rosewood.

    Also, how does the rosewood board sound?
  4. Hollow Man

    Hollow Man Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2003
    Springfield, VA
    Hey Karl, I'm glad to see you got my old 55-01 out to a gig! Happy to hear that it's working out for you. It really is one of the most beautiful Laklands I've come across. Keep on enjoying her! :bassist:
  5. I was told it's a 2004, but there's no 4 in the s.n., which starts with 03. Do you think that makes it a 2003? Anyway the 55-01 came in a deluxe QMT model until last year, I think. Regarding the rosewood, I don't know if it makes a lot of difference in the sound, but I like the looks of it with this color. I haven't played a maple board 55-01, so I can't compare the two. Yours looks great! I was looking for either a cherryburst/maple or a sunburst/rosewood when I ran across this one.
  6. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Thanks Aaron,
    I am definately keeping this one. You sent her to a good home. :) After last friday's performance, she will be getting lot's more gig time.
  7. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
  8. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I owned one briefly! It was a nice bass! Light and good looking! It just wasn't for me! I bought it thinking I desired a wider neck than the 5 strings I'd been playing but it was hard on my hands. That and the 35" scale! I didn't like the small frets either! Give me jumbo frets anyday! It just wasn't me. I'm a Fender guy!
  9. Yes, he certainly is. I've e-mailed him with other questions and he was very helpful. Today I asked about my s.n. and whether this bass has graphite in the neck. A couple of hours later he replied that the bass was made in November '03, and that all Skyline fivers have graphite-reinforced necks. Lakland is a great company to deal with, and they'll be first on my list when I shop for a new bass!