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Bongo5 HSC VS. Lakland 55-02

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ElBajista, Apr 27, 2006.


  1. ElBajista

    ElBajista

    Dec 13, 2005
    Sebring, FL
    At first I was thinking about a 6 string bass, but I thought about it more, and a 5 is much more practical for me at this time. That said, I think I've narrowed down the search to these two basses.

    Obviously, I'm trying to decide which is best for me. I know that the best way to choose is to play both, and I have at seperate times, but I've never AB'ed them. I'm looking for any advice from others who have either owned/AB'ed these two basses.

    My info:

    The only place I play out is with my church, along with a traditional choir, grand piano, and acoustic guitar, playing traditional Catholic hymns. Basically, all I need for that gig is mellow, deep-yet-clear tone with enough range to handle all those darn piano pieces written in Eb. When I'm at home, however, I am always playing with my JamMan looper, so I need a bass that is extremely versatile in order to diversify the loops.

    Which of these two basses is most versatile? I know that the Bongo has the 4band EQ which can do just about anything, but the Lakland has the Barts which might fit in better with the church situation. Also, only the Lakland has the ability to go active/passive which is a big plus for me, in case the battery craps out in the middle of Mass. Also, being able to play in passive is just one more tonal option.

    I'm wondering if the Bongo might be too aggresive, or the Lakland too "smooth." Smooth is fine for Church, and aggresive is fine for home, but I need a bass that can do both.

    Right now I'm dead stuck in the middle between these two. Both are great basses and each has their fan club, but for the life of me I can't decide.

    :help:
     
  2. Sean Baumann

    Sean Baumann Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Livin' in the USA
    Don't forget the 34" vs 35" scales. Seriously, both of these instruments feel totally different. I've never been much of a Lakland fan, though I've owned a couple. I don't have my Bongo yet, but I can review it next week.

    I played mostly in church up until a week ago (well I still do, I just play christian rock outside of church as well). I would say that either bass can be tamed enough for your p&w/hymn. Eq and pickup panning is your friend. I'm pretty much thinking the bongo will play double duty for me.
     
  3. msquared

    msquared

    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    I don't envy your situation. Both are extremely comfortable basses with a versatile electronics package that are killer deals for the price. Both deserve the fan clubs that they have.

    I'm in the Lakland camp, mostly because for years as a drummer I played with guys who would bring out 55-94s and it sounded incredible. When it came to the point that I was ready for something good, that's what I went with and had no regrets.

    That said, I would pay full price for a Bongo any day of the week. Depending on who you talk to they are either awesome looking or yet another sad casualty of the BMW design team (and I'm in the latter camp) but I love 'em.

    As a side note: The dual humbucker Bongo is probably going to be "more versatile" than the 55-02 is going to be, but that's kind of like saying that Bruce Lee can outfight Chuck Norris. In a fight, you are going to do really well having either one on your side. Neither suffers the "one trick pony" comments that basses like the Stingray do.

    I think it really kind of comes down to looks and whether you prefer 34" scale (Bongo) or 35" scale (55-02). No matter what, you won't go wrong.
     
  4. ElBajista

    ElBajista

    Dec 13, 2005
    Sebring, FL
    I didn't think about the different scale lengths, but that never bothered me when I tried out these basses before.

    That's what I figured anyway. Both basses are probably versatile to handle what I want for Church, but I wonder how I'll like the Lakland's Barts at home.
     
  5. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    To me. the biggest difference is that the 55-02 has a coil splitting switch for the big humbucker. This allows that bass to achieve several tones that favor the Fender jazz. The 55-02 with Bartolinis does not sound much like a Stingray, with Duncans, I understand it comes much closer to a Stingray. The Bongo can come very close to a Stingray if one solos the humbucker and cuts down the treble. Both are very versatile in their own way.
     
  6. ras1983

    ras1983

    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    i recently had to make the same choice, and as my avatar implies, i chose the bongo. i personally preferred the bongo's far more aggressive tone to the lakland's, but i didn't have a chance to try a lakland with the Duncans. both were pretty good, but i just fell inlove INSTANTLY with the stealth bongo.

    its wierd, as soon as i picked it up and played it, i knew that i HAD to have it.

    i think you will have to try to A/B them at some point to see which one speaks to you more.
     
  7. Sean Baumann

    Sean Baumann Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Livin' in the USA
    Buy 'em both used and sell the one you don't like! :)

    They both pop up in the classifieds or ebay pretty regularly
     
  8. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Chicago
    I think a stock 55-02 would more than meet your needs for in and out of church, but if you want more punch than the barts, wait a month and get a Lakland with the new Lakland/Hanson pickups and preamp, I have played them, and they are one of the most flexible pre/pups setups I have ever played. They should be available sometime next month.

    Also, you can always order a Lakland with the Semour Duncan pickups if you want more agressive capabilities.

    The deciding factor may well be the comfort of the instrument, I love the lakland scale and neck profile, but the bongo might be your preference.

    Two good choices, but 2 fairly different animals.
     
  9. ElBajista

    ElBajista

    Dec 13, 2005
    Sebring, FL
    The more and more I think about this, the more I realize that I picked two completely different animals. :rollno:

    I'm leaning towards the Lakland, for a number of reasons. The coil-switching ability along with being able to run passive are both a big plus.

    The other thing is, I already have a Jazz bass (an SX) that i've been modding, and I absolutely love. I plan on getting the frets professionally leveled to make it even better. Would the Lakland's tone be too similar to the Jazz? Maybe the Bongo would be "different" enough to justify having it? :confused:
     
  10. ElBajista

    ElBajista

    Dec 13, 2005
    Sebring, FL
    You know, I'll probably end up doing something like this, only one bass at a time.

    That's what I figured anyway. Buy it used, that way if I dislike it in any way, I can sell it and get most of my money back. That's how I rationalize buying all of this gear. :D
     
  11. Sean Baumann

    Sean Baumann Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Livin' in the USA
    24 vs 22 frets as well.... That was another reason I picked up the bongo. When I had a Lakland 55-94, I did sort of remind me of the Jazz is you split the coils. I rarely used it that way though.
     
  12. Sean Baumann

    Sean Baumann Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Livin' in the USA

    My long lost brother! heheh :D lol, check out my profile. I do this all the time.

    Oh hey, don't forget the string spacing differences. If you do alot of slapping, the Bongo may be uncomfortable for you (string spacing, space between neck and pickups). I am HOPING that I can overcome that, as I am trying to do more slapping...
     
  13. ElBajista

    ElBajista

    Dec 13, 2005
    Sebring, FL
    I could order a Lakland with the new pre, but I have to buy used. I need to buy used to save money in the first place, and also because I'm going to be moving out, going to nursing school, and getting married all within the next year and a half, so I need to be sure that I won't lose too much money if I have to sell some of my gear. :D

    I just need to figure out a reason to go to Orlando and try out both basses to decide.
     
  14. ElBajista

    ElBajista

    Dec 13, 2005
    Sebring, FL
    24 frets is another plus for me. I keep finding pros and cons to each! I would like 24 frets, but I would also like active/passive abilities! argh!
     
  15. Sean Baumann

    Sean Baumann Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Livin' in the USA
    I don't remember the passive setting on the Lakland being anything special. Perhaps I thought of it as a safe way out if your battery died. Going on 7 years of bass playing and I have never had a battery die. I just change them every couple months or so, not like they are expensive. Even if I did have one die, I have extras with me anyway.
     
  16. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Two different animals indeed.

    For what it's worth, I play a 4-94 in a small cathedral. The Barts have a smoother, darker tone. However, the preamp makes it nice and versatile. The coil switching option is nice on the humbucker, and I actually use it. The 55-02 is similar in tone, but the bass boost really kicks in on the low B. Sometimes it can get boomy in a large room. As far as the passive option, you may notice a significant drop off in gain when you go passive. You can remedy this by adjusting the gain trimpot for the preamp in the control cavity.

    If you can wait, I highly recommend the Lakland pickups that will be coming out soon. I played them at NAMM, and I really loved the tone. It has a little more zing and cut on the humbucker that was more MM like that the Bart.
     
  17. ElBajista

    ElBajista

    Dec 13, 2005
    Sebring, FL
    That was another question I had, how is the passive tone of the lakland? There is no control over it, unfortunately.

    I found a buyer for the Lakland, and a 55-02 on Ebay, so I'm going to try out the Lakland first. We'll see what happens!
     
  18. ElBajista

    ElBajista

    Dec 13, 2005
    Sebring, FL
    I planned one adjusting the active gain trimpot to match the passive volume.

    I would like to try out the Lakland pickups/preamp, but I have to buy used, and I'd have to wait for a while for a used one to pop up.:meh:

    I found what seems to be a good 55-02 on the 'Bay, so I'm going to go that route for now. We'll see what happens!
     
  19. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    When the new pickups come out, you can swap out the Barts and install the Lakland pickups. That's what I'm planning to do.
     
  20. ElBajista

    ElBajista

    Dec 13, 2005
    Sebring, FL
    Hm....Not a bad idea. I'd have to play some first, though. Aren't they supposed to be the middle ground between the Barts and the Basslines? Has Lakland already said how much they are going to be?

    Are you planning on replacing the Bart preamp too?
     

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