How does your Lakland compare with your Fender?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Btbp, Jun 14, 2019.

  1. Specifically, a Fender Jazz vs. a Lakland 44-60 and/or a Fender P Bass vs. a Lakland 44-64.

    While I think the answer to this is really "it depends", I am curious as to what people who have or had both makes of similar models feel about them respectively from actual experience.

    Did you gone from one to the other, did you go back, etc.?

    This gets more complicated given the ranges for each of the four, but there must be some commonalities as well.

    I am in the market for my next two basses and am weighing some ideas, and have owned a number of Fenders and one Lakland.

    (If there is an existing post on this please point me to it)
  2. dannylectro

    dannylectro Supporting Member

    Aug 2, 2010
    Hartsdale, NY
    Well.... as someone who owned (and still does) a 2014 USA Fender Jazz and then ordered a Läkland USA version of the same bass (which I ended up selling) I offer this opinion:
    The Läkland was a gorgeous, spectacularly well-built bass with great hardware, electronics and everything else that comprises a great bass. I thought/hoped it would eclipse the rest of the basses I own, that it would become my “one & only”, and that I could shed some part of the numerous basses I own. It didn’t. Frankly, it was better than my USA Jazz, but not enough better to justify its $3300 price tag. I also found that I REALLY don’t get along with the old style concentric volume/tone controls; I prefer the V/V/T style on modern J basses. I guess I could have ordered those... but I didn’t.
    I also found that it wouldn’t, couldn’t, replace the other basses I own and (in most cases) love.
    So rather than spend more money on modifying a very expensive bass to get a control situation I liked, and being pretty happy with the Jazz I owned, I ended up selling the Läkland.
    Also... it didn’t say Fender on the headstock. Does that make me a bad person?
    DirkP, Btbp and P. Aaron like this.
  3. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I’ve played Fenders and (USA) Laklands. Laklands have more solid necks (though the USA Fender necks are close).
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  4. Lakland > Fender, there’s no contest here.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
    bassbully, Trouztrouz, Btbp and 2 others like this.
  5. I (only) have a Skyline (a Decade), and I like it but don't love the neck. I have never tried a USA model nor have had access to one to try. My preferred bass would be a PJ 44-64, but the Skyline versions of those have the exact same neck as a Decade.

    What I like about my Decade is it's solid-ness and the Plecked neck is extremely stable and true, it feels in an unexplainable way better than most Fenders I've played or owned. I imagine the US Lakland models are Sadowsky-level quality or near that.
    blindrabbit likes this.
  6. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    I had 5 string versions of these basses. A 2009 AMSJV and a 1996 55-94 and I thought they were excellent basses. I sold them because they were both over 10lbs and that is now too heavy for my back. I'm sure the 4 string versions will be great instruments as well.

    How do we tell you which one is best? You've got to try and decide for yourself. I liked them enough that I wouldn't rule out buying another but at the time I sold them and bought something else that I liked even more. Check out my sig.
  7. dannyelectro's, micguy's and the first part of yours responses are perfect examples of what I was asking for - experiences.

    I wasn't asking for anyone to tell me what is best, sorry if you thought it read that way, after playing 40-something years I know the folly of such a question the obvious answer to it, which you provided.

    Since you mentioned it, although weight is not an issue for me, I actually prefer a more weighty instrument.
  8. Update on this thread -

    Something interesting happened re this today. Went to a guitar shop which I hadn't been to in a couple years, to try another Fender Player P Bass* to compare it with one I played in another shop. While a cheaper model, they are quite acceptable in quality and playability, and worthy of consideration even though I prefer a better quality instrument. Well, they didn't have any Fenders.

    What they did have, which was a pleasant surprise, was a Skyline 44-64 PJ, first time I've seen one in a shop or ever played one.

    One reason why I don't like the neck on my Skyline Decade is it has a thick lacquer finish, flat radius, and while thin nut width, the neck is a little thick. It hurts my hand to play this bass live for more than a few songs in a row, doesn't happen with my other J-neck basses.

    Now I had contacted Lakland a year or so ago about this some time back, as the necks on those looked exactly like the one on my Decade, which I mentioned above as liking but not loving. And Lakland confirmed they were the same. So while like the configuration, I don't want two basses with that neck.

    So the interesting part is, the 44-64 in the shop has a nice satin neck, no thick lacquer, and as a result, is thinner than my Decade. It has block markers but no binding (my Decade has a binding). It has a flat radius, which I don't care for, but it is nice enough to reconsider what I'd ruled out some time ago.

    My Decade is about 10 years old, perhaps they made them differently back then, and/or maybe only the Decades have that heavy finish. I plan to check with Lakland re this.

    So my expectations have been reset somewhat on the 44-64 as a Skyline model. I had originally thought to wait until finances would allow for a US Lakland PJ and get the Motown machine first*.

    *For the record I'm looking, eventually, for two basses, a PBass for flats for a Motown-y sound and feel, and a PJ bass for a more modern sound. Finances permitting, I'd wind up with a used PBass or a new Player, and a 44-64.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2019
  9. birminghambass

    birminghambass Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2002
    Birmingham, AL
    IMO Lakland has much better fit/finish than Fender. Even the Skyline line was nicer than my USA Fenders. However, I no longer own any Laklands because I could never get used to those tiny frets. Sucks for me.
    Btbp likes this.
  10. Interesting. On one hand, I don't care for 70s-type super wide frets like on my older Fenders sold long ago, and I like thinner frets, but I think they may be harder on the hands - is that why you don't like the Lakland frets?
  11. @dannyelectro - this had a VVT setup, like you, this is what I prefer.
  12. birminghambass

    birminghambass Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2002
    Birmingham, AL
    Medium jumbo or jumbo are my preferred size. I play with a very aggressive style, I can't do vintage Fenders either for the same reason.
  13. REV

    REV Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I always thought the idea of combining the best aspects of a Fender bass and a Musicman bass should result in a really superior instrument. However, I have never been able to bond with any Lakland bass that I have played. That doesn't mean they aren't good basses, just not for me.
    Btbp likes this.
  14. Double E

    Double E I ain't got no time to play... Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 24, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    I have three Lakland Skylines made in Indonesia, one Fender American Standard and a Fender MIM Standard.

    I will admit that the Fender AmStd is probably the one that looks and feels the best... by small margin though.

    The Fender MIM is wonderful as well.

    The three Lakland Indo basses hold up nicely to either Fender and not just "for the price" either, they are literally on a level playing field for practical purposes.

    They are all different styles though so this is assessment is mainly from a fit and finish standpoint. But they all play great and are of excellent quality.

    The closest match style-wise are the Fender Am Std Precision and the Lakland 44-64. The Fender P is a straight up Modern Fender P bass while the 44-64 is a traditional P body and pickup with a 1.5" nut. So the feel is different between the two and although different, the tones are just killer from both. The Fender does the more familiar iconic P sounds perfectly while the Lakeland captures a bit more grindy, throaty tone.

    Not sure it'd be fair to compare a USA Lakland to a production Fender, they are more in the league of Fender's Custom Shop.

    This post is probably no help at all... the real test is when the bass you are considering is in your own hands.
    Btbp likes this.
  15. Acoop

    Acoop Supporting Member

    Feb 21, 2012
    About ten years ago I dropped by the Buffalo GC and played a used USA Joe Osborn that was killer. ... I'm guessing it was maybe $1500? ... But, that's a guess. ... I regret not taking that home. ... And as fate deals with those that wait, I dropped by three weeks later and she was gone. ... Other than that it's apples and oranges. You shouldn't compare brands if you're looking for a great instrument.
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  16. Well actually, I found it quite useful and enlightening, thanks.
    Double E likes this.
  17. 6AM


    May 31, 2018
    Buffalo, NY
    Not in my experience.