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Do I want a Lakland?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by rojo412, Mar 8, 2005.

  1. rojo412

    rojo412 Walnut is fun! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    I have played 1 Lakland in my life for maybe 5 minutes, it wasn't set up for me, and I have memory loss issues :smug:

    I got swept up in a graphite fetish, so my past few basses were multiple Moduluses, a Steinberger, and what was supposed to be my ultimate bass... A Status Empathy 5. I loved the bass since it was a little easier to play than the Mods, sounded better, and always had better action than any wood bass ever....

    ... Then I bought a USA Fender J Dlx and my world came tumbling down.

    I missed the sound of single coils, the fart of wood, the simpler electronics. True, I was getting into a world of neck issues (comparitively) and buying a bass worth quite a bit less, but the tone is unimpeachable.

    Well, this has made me think of getting a bass to replace my Status, a bass that would compare closer to my J, without the usual Fender issues: Big head, wacky neck probs, basic construction.

    Here's my things:
    I like J bass tone, clean and clear, some bark, but controllable
    I have a Warwick with the best midrangey tone that I don't use, but have always liked
    Susatin is good
    Low maintainence, always a plus
    Sits comfortably on a big guy
    Buying sight unseen is okay, crafted well, if I don't like it, it's me, not the bass

    Also, I am not the biggest Bartolini fan. But the preamp is apparently custom for Lakland, and the basses are offered with Seymour Duncans. Is the bass different enough from, say, Pedulla's Bart-equipped stuff?

    This would obviously be a used bass. A Skyline may be considered as well, but I have no idea how those really compare.

    Any thoughts, much appreciated.
  2. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    How about musicman?
  3. rojo412

    rojo412 Walnut is fun! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    I've had 3 of them, and as much as I liked the Stingray Tone, I wished I had something else to play with. Rays seemed very purpose oriented. Also, I felt the last one I had lacked some output.
  4. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    If you're set on Lakland the first model I'd look at would be the Skyline with US Bartolini electronics.

    What's your budget? There are some pretty ridiculous deals out there for $1500 or less on used bolt-on boutique basses.
  5. If you're serious about a Skyline Lakland I'm about to put one up on eBay. PM me and maybe we can work something out. They are excellent values.
  6. r379


    Jul 28, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    Which Lakland are you thinking of?
  7. rojo412

    rojo412 Walnut is fun! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    The only models I am currently considering are the 55-94 or 55-02. I would be looking for something in the low price range of the US made ones (like a Standard or something more basic, color and option wise) or the primo Skyline (Deluxe, as highly figured as they can be).

    Idealy, it sounds like a US made one with Seymour Duncans is my drug of choice, but essentially, I'm looking to get a great deal on a players instrument. Also, I saw they made a Dual-J configured one. Whatever I can find in the "Lower than $1400" range, basically the idea.

    If anyone has (had) both, please let me know how they stack up.
  8. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    As I read your post, I can't help but think Joe Osborn signature, either Skyline or US. You can always drop a preamp in it, and Lakland offers a Bart preamp with the Lindy Fralin pickups (at least in the US, not sure about Skyline).

    I played a Bart-equipped 5-string Joe w/ Lindy Fralins at the Lakland factory and was converted that very moment from Lakland detractor to Lakland lover. :hyper:
  9. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I had a Lakland Skyline 55-02 that kicked ass. I sold it and bought a Stingray. I wish I would have kept the Lakland.
  10. rojo412

    rojo412 Walnut is fun! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    I did actually play a US JO (earlier one) at GC when I worked there. It was very nice for a 62-style jazz, sounded awesome, even passive.

    If they only made a Daryl Jones 5 string...

    But I think I want to keep things factory installed. I did the Aguilar OBP-3 in a Modulus I had and it was way too much trouble and money. I like upgrading, but am looking for something that doesn't need it.

    For custom stuff, I could just buy parts and build a really nice bass, but it would be worth jack diddly squat, should I decide I want something else (which has been near 100% of the time so far). That, or get a Valenti built up, but again, resale value is an issue, especially sight unseen. If I buy a used Lakland anything, if it stays in good shape, I can most likely recoup all my investment if I don't like it.
  11. rojo412

    rojo412 Walnut is fun! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Doesn't surprise me.
    Although, I had a Stingray from 91 and sold it for a Groove Tools 7 string.... dumbest thing I ever did!
    Which brings up another point... are the Skylines as lame as the GT basses were? I mean, true, they weren't that bad, but not good either.

    If you are looking at a Skyline versus a US, is it a really nice piece that just happens to be made overseas? Or is it like Squier or Mexican versus US Fenders?
  12. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    Street price on a Lakland Skyline 55-02 Deluxe (quilted top) is about $1250-1300. Street price on a Joe Osborn is about $900 (4-string) or $1000 (5-string). You can get a J-retro preamp installed at the factory for $325 for the Skyline Osborns; the 55-02 is active. Therefore, adding the J-retro makes the Osborn about the same price as the 55-02 Deluxe. The Fralin pickups on the Osborn are REALLY sweet, but you can't get the "highly figured" appearance of a 55-02 deluxe with the Osborn option. I haven't the foggiest idea what swapping in Seymour Duncans does to the price.

    So it boils down to what you want tone-wise:

    The classic 60s Jazz bass sound with the addition of a J-retro?

    or the modern MM-J configuration with a figured top?

    Either one is pretty nice! :D
  13. rojo412

    rojo412 Walnut is fun! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    If the tone of new Deluxe J basses are like that of a 60's J with a preamp, then yes, that's what I want. But really, I'd like something that offers the modern tone with classic ability. In other works, I want it all.

    I love crisp, clear slap tone. I love a thumpy, snappy fingerstyle tone. I want a quiet preamp with decent levels of output.
    I don't want to sound like the bass is in need of a new battery all the time. I don't want to sound like Geezer Butler unless I decide to.
    I want to sound more like Marcus Miller than James Jamerson (and people, I'm using the names for description, don't start on the whole "practice" and "You can't sound like them"... talking tone, people!)
  14. Poon


    May 20, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA

    Oh my friend, but they do. Several of our fellow TBers already have them. Check out E-BAY

    I was thinking about pickin this one up too, but I'm actually talking with NINO right now about building me a valenti :D

    Oh and remember if you'd like another pre-amp like a J-Retro or something, you can always have Dan Lakin put one in for you at the factory
  15. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    If I recall, Marcus used a Jazz bass for much of his work. It's one of the most versatile basses made -- everyone from Marcus to Geddy Lee has used them extensively -- they're great for slapping, great for fingerstyle, etc -- the wide spacing of the two pickups is one of the things which gives them so much option in terms of tone.

    Personally, I've ordered a Darryl Jones 5-string with a J-retro. I could have got it sooner, but I wanted black, w/rosewood fretboard. Color options are more limited for the DJs, and I was bummed that I couldn't get it in a Sunburst finish to show off the woodgrain, but I love the block inlays, and most importantly, I wanted more of the 70s Jazz bass sound of the DJ than the 60s sound of the Osborn. I'm REALLY looking forward to getting my new DJ5!!!! :hyper: :hyper: :hyper:

    Oh, and the J-retro is as good a preamp as there is. It adds a LOT in terms of flexibility in tone, which sounds like just what you're looking for.

    Here's a link to the Dude's Lakland website. Dudepit Lakland Forum
    Click on the "DJ5 pics" thread for a look at some sweet basses. Check out the "Dude's Lakland gallery" page, too. I'm gassing over the hollowbody fretless at the bottom of that page!! :D