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BB75PFL vs. Lakland 55-94FL vs. PentaBuzz

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by embellisher, Jan 4, 2001.

  1. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I still haven't decided on a new 5 string fretless, and the new Carvin P series has added a new twist to my dilemma.

    I can get the Carvin with every option imaginable(quilt, abalone, 5 piece neck, etc) and a tweed case for $1331.49

    Or I can buy michaeln's slightly used fretless Lakland 55-94 with case, bag, strap and 4 extra sets of strings for $1750 + shipping(Fedex only).

    Or I can buy a spankin' new PentaBuzz, either a NOS 2 year old with the standard tone circuit for $1900, or one that just arrived to a high position on the wall at GC today with the NTBT option for $2200.

    I know I had a similar thread to this, but the Carvin was not really a contender until the new Piezo model came out. Carvin has 50% off options and 50% off cases right now, this bass would cost me $400 more without the sale, and that would put it in the same price range as the Lakland and the NOS PentaBuzz.

    Opinions, people?
  2. ka-tet


    May 2, 2000
    don't get the carvin.
  3. I agree.
  4. i would also take the carvin off the list, i would go will the pedulla but thats only because i have a buzz 4, i have not played the 5
  5. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Go for the Pentabuzz. Amongst fretless basses, it has the most cachet. It's also exceptionally well made.
  6. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Wow! Way more responses than my other thread received.

    I know that the Carvin is not in the same class as the Lakland or Pedulla, but it is a beatiful bass, and I was sorely tempted at $500 less.

    But it sounds like everybody who has replied so far agrees with what I have read about Carvins since I joined the board in April. Carvins are beautiful and well made, but pretty lifeless tonally.

    Is that what I can read into this?

    I love the PentaBuzz, and I am sure the 55-94 kicks a$$ too, I have played a fretted 4-94 and was impressed.

    So I guess I'm down to the 2 finalists again.

    What about the Stingray fretless? Again, not in the same class, and obviously not as versatile, but any comments on that one?
  7. I have a fretted 55-94 that I think is awsome. I'm hoping to get a fretless version someday when I'm in a better financial situation.

    One thing to consider is the resale value. I know the Laklands hold their value pretty good. You could probably sell it years from now for the same price, or more, as long as you take care of it. I'm not familiar with Pedulla's resale value. Carvin's sucks so if you did decide to go with that bass, I would plan on keeping it.
  8. Laker


    Mar 23, 2000
    Got my fretless 55-94 Lakland just before Christmas and it has that great Lakland feel with a good fretless mwah type sound. What a bass!

    There is no comparison between my fretted 55-94 and my MM Stingray 5. The MM is a nice bass but not in the same sound/playability league as the Lakland.

    Just my $.02 worth.
  9. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Whichever of these I buy will be a keeper(I don't sell basses) but the resale is something I considered too.

    Carvins you are lucky to get 1/2 of what you paid for them, Pedullas are a little better, but I know that if I buy the Lakland for what michaeln is selling it for that I could get that back out of it if it is still in great shape.

    I am pretty much torn between the PentaBuzz and michael's 55-94, and can't figure out which one to buy.

    If only I could find a fretless 4-94 or 55-94 to play, that might make the decision for me.
  10. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    The Pedulla is the one bass out of the three you can touch first before buying...have you touched it? Did it speak to you? That may sound like a corny question but for $2200 it should really grab you, if not why spend the money?

    As a former owner of a brand new Carvin fretless 5, the only way I would recommend buying a Carvin in that range is used. That is not a slap against Carvin, it's basic math. The Lakland at $1750 has a market value of at least that, as you already know. Even though the Carvin is $400 less initially, if you have to (or just want to) sell it you're probably looking at maybe $700 used, right after you bought it.

    This basically means that you could buy the Lakland, play it for say six months, sell it and break even. Total cost (not counting strings;)...$0. Buy the Carvin @$1331, play it for six months, sell it for $800. You're out of pocket $531. In this case the Carvin cost more to own and operate.

    I don't think there's any doubt that depreciation is large on a new Carvin and it's a factor on a new Lakland, too. That's why I buy used.

    $2200 for the Pedulla puts you in the neighborhood of some very nice fretlesses:) That puts you in the range of used Ken Smiths, Zons, Elricks, Rob Allens, Ken Lawrences and even Linc Luthiers, which look "different" (an understatement;)) but sound phenomenal. There are several other bass, too, for less money.

    Have fun.
  11. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Brad, I played 2 lackluster PentaBuzzes, a nice NOS 2 year old with the standard preamp, flawless except for one long but shallow scratch on the back, and one at a GC that everybody and their dog has messed with. Sad shape, don't know if there are any scratches, it's hard to tell for all of the fingerprints, and all of the gold hardware is starting to oxidize on it.

    Then, at a different GC, last night, played a beautiful, brand new, only played by one salesman/just got it in that afternoon one with the TBT option, through an Eden Metro.

    That one spoke to me. In a big way. It's hard to imagine any fretless sounding better.

    I am just scared of missing out on such a good deal on a Lakland.

    Oh, and Brad, which models, for less than the Pedulla, are you talking about? Tell me more!:D
  12. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings

    "That puts you in the range of used Ken Smiths, Zons, Elricks, Rob Allens, Ken Lawrences and even Linc Luthiers"

    Also, if you haven't checked out a Peavey Cirrus fretless 5 @~$1300 new ... don't try one "after" you buy something else:D My Zon Legacy 5 is still my favorite fretless but I'd definitely consider the Cirrus if I was in the market.

    My point is, there's a bunch of stuff available in the $2k range used and new. Check out http://www.bassalone.com, http://www.bassgear.com or http://www.bassnw.com for examples to get some ideas.

    As much as I disklike Warwicks, I played a Thumb fretless a couple of weeks ago that sounded very nice. I've also seen Modulus Genesis fretless 5's for ~$1200 used.
  13. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I am not finding any of the 'That puts you in the range of' basses except for one unlined Sonus(I need lined;)) with soapbars(I want PJ, JJ or JMM). I am going to keep checking the usual suspects however.

    Can't handle Warwick, unless I run across a used Streamer Stage I or II.

    I did find a pre Gibson:eek: Tobias Signature 6 'professionally converted' to lined fretless for $2695.

    If it were only a 5!!! If it weren't a little more than I have, I would be sorely tempted to get it anyway. I can play a 6, I just prefer a 5.
  14. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    They're not there every day but if you keep an eye out, they pop up on a regular basis. I saw a Genesis fretless 5 for $1199 tonight on a web site. There's a Vigier fretless in the same price range (actually less) on another site.

    Locally I see Smiths, Brubakers, Sukops and all sorts of stuff. They don't stay in the stores for long.
  15. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Brad, I don't like Modulus.

    Most of the others that you have mentioned I have never seen in person, but have heard great things about.
  16. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I don't like Modulus either but... some of the Genesis basses I've checked out sounded pretty good. All Modulus do not sound or play the same.
  17. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I agree, but I don't like the Genesis series either.

    Neck profile is too chunky, and they still sound sterile to me.

    Amazingly, every Zon that I have ever played(4) sounded much more organic or whatever the word I am looking for is than any Modulus I have played.
  18. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    That's why I bought a Zon fretless. I've found nothing that works better for me.

    I tried the Genesis fretted through several amps at GC and hated the way it sounded. Then I tried it with an Ampeg BA-115 combo. Sweet! The neck is chunky but as an owner of 2 Fender Jazz Deluxe 5's, I don't have a problem with chunk anymore. I have thin and chunky necks and don't really notice any more.
  19. maestrox


    Oct 8, 2000
    It strikes me that the Lakland and PentaBuzz are pretty different in both pickup configs, and more importantly, neck shape. I've found Laklands to be really quite comfortable, while the one PentaBuzz I played was a bit chunky with a neavily finished neck (yuck...personal bias). In addition, isn't the Pedulla 34" scale, while the Lakland is 35"? Maybe an issue...maybe it isn't.

    After finding my Zon Lightwave 5 fretless, I don't really look at other fretless basses...in addition to the killer tone, I can't imagine a better neck profile. In fact I liked it so much that I had a devil of a time finding a 5-string fretted to be its companion in crime. I found a Sonus Custom 5 that was close (bought a used '96), and while it is damn nice, it just didn't totally send me (my buddy said I was just nuts). I kept looking around and found a new Zon Custom that just KILLS...and the neck is exactly the same as my fretless...well, except for having frets. I'm poor now, but what are you going to do...

    Anyone want to buy my '96 Zon Sonus Custom? It's cool and a deal...
  20. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    A new contender has entered the arena!

    I finally found a Peavey Cirrus fretless 5, and OH MAN! It is awesome!

    Neck is more comfortable than the Pedulla, the tone is not as bright as the poly coated Pedulla but with a Pau Ferro board it has tons of mwaaahh!!!

    And it is more versatile than the PentaBuzz tonewise. And only $1199.00 with hardshell case. New!

    Quilt maple top on alder back, transparent red, graphite reinforced 5 piece maple/purpleheart neck.

    I am in love!

    Now I've got some serious thinking to do, since I can't play the Laklnad first. This one wins out over the Pedulla, and at 1/2 the price.

    Brad, thanks for reminding me to try a Cirrus, I had played a fretted a few times, but forgot about it when I decided to get a fretless 5.

    michaeln may kill you if I decide on that over his Lakland!:)

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