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Is this USA Joe Osborne Five worth the asking price?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Poon, Sep 12, 2008.

  1. Poon


    May 20, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA

    The Back Story:
    To kill some time and just window shop a bit, I went over to my local botique bass shop in Sherman Oakes, CA. They have a plethora of high end basses, including all the normal names, and my mainstay, Lakland.

    First of all, Kudos to Justin from the Bassexchange/Amp Shop. Every single time I go in there, Justin provides a really relaxed and comfortable environment to browse in. He's the coolest guy to just shoot the breeze in regards to gear. He's like talking with a good buddy, rather than a salesperson.

    The History:
    Having owned everything Lakland (Skyline) under the sun, I've been a huge advocate for the quality of product and service that we receive as skyline owners. Having played a number of American made 55-94's and Bob Glaubs, I never noticed a justifiable difference (for me) in the 2-3x increase in cost. That was until I did an A/B comparison with a USA JO5 pictured above and a the Skyline JO5 pictured here.[​IMG]

    The American Made JO5 felt better, sounded nicer, seemed more balanced. The neck was a little less chunky (which is interesting because I feel like the skylines have pretty flat necks). The sound was really smooth. For lack of a better word, it sounded more "vintage" than any Jazz Bass I've ever picked up. It sounded more Fender J-bass than any fender J-bass I've ever played. I suddenly realized...this is what a 60's inspired j-bass is supposed to sound like. The Alder body had a smooth sound that was immediately recognizable. Man...could I use this. The color is gorgeous. Then a bomb was dropped on me. $2799+tax. Ugh...That's roughly 3x the amount that a used Skyline JO5 and over 2x the cost of a brand new JO5.

    I know there are a ton of these threads, but do you JO5 owners out there...do you feel like the USA version is worth the money?
    How much do you think that green meanie is worth?
    How much is the going rate for the USA JO5's now?
    Has anyone's opinions been changed over time like mine?

    But...at this point, unless I sell some more basses and amps, I can't afford this beauty anyway. But if I did have the cash, I'd snatch it in a second. Justin told me Andrew Gouche was drooling and going to snatch it up a few days ago. If he digs it, it must be worth something. :D
  2. (subscribed so I can post my response when I get to work).

  3. IanAllison

    IanAllison Supporting Member

    May 27, 2006
    They're worth it.

    I've played a BUNCH of Laklands and to me, the US models all feel more resonant and solid than the Skylines. I had a bass playing friend over to my place today and we did the US vs. Skyline vs. old Fender comparison thing - and to HIM, he felt like the Skylines had more of a sproingy barmph to them - similar to my 78 Antigua Jazz in my avatar.

    Sproingy barmph?

    It's 3:39 in the AM a week before I'm about to get married - cut me some slack!

    YES - sproingy barmph! You know what I'm talking about right? Fenders seem to have this - where they feel a little loose and dig-inable. And hey, no disrespect to the barmph - it's totally a vibe!

    BUT I'LL TELL YOU THIS; when I play a really good old Fender - I don't hear the barmph factor. It feels more solid and like the wood has dried and aged appropriately. I feel this way about ONE Fender bass I own - which is a 71 P. And I feel this way about ALL of my US Laklands.

    To me - the US Lakland price point is ABSOLUTELY worth it because you're getting the best old Fender that Fender never made - for a FRACTION of the cost of said great old Fender. AND - you don't constantly have to drag the Lakland to your favorite (but EXPENSIVE) repair guy to deal with the plethora of issues that come with the vintage Fender. And the pickups are great. And the tuners are so hip. And the oval bridge totally rules.

    . . . but that price does seem a touch steep to me. Were I you, I'd wait for one to show in the TB classifieds - seems like you can pick up a used US Lakie in the high teens.

    . . . oh the HELL WITH IT!! Offer Mr. Nice Bass Sales Guy $2500 out the door and own the best 5 string J in existence!

  4. albass111


    Feb 13, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA

    I second Ian's thoughts.

    Skyline's are great for the price point but they are not the same as the USA made ones. I played a passive USA JO made for an artist that played and sounded like a Pre CBS fender.

    I have owned four skylines and no longer own any of them.

    FWIW the 3tone burst that you had was one of the best feeling Skylines I've ever played.
  5. allexcosta


    Apr 7, 2004
    I don't know the 5 string version, but I played the USA JO #011 and it was an incredible experience, worth every penny. I still cry when I remember that day, guy was selling it for 1500 bucks and I had no money. Oh well...
  6. Well, worth is directly related to how much a specific individual is willing to pay for something.

    That aside.....

    I can't strictly speak to the US vs Skyline JO5, but I've owned a 55-02 and currently own a 55-94. To me, the 55-94 plays better, sounds better, weighs less, had a much nicer neck, and feels better overall than the 55-02. Until I owned a US Lakland, I really didn't know if it was "worth" the price difference or not. It might not be "worth it" to everyone, but I don't think I'd sell my 55-94 to get a 55-02 and have cash left. But I would sell a 55-02 to get a 55-94 in a minute.

    I think the 55-94 is by far a better instrument than the 55-02, but only you can decide if it's "X" dollars better for you.

  7. willsellout

    willsellout Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2002
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Sweetwater Sales Engineer
    A US Lakland is the only bass manufacturer currently that I'd drop 3 grand on. They are totally worth it, especially if you hang onto it for the rest of your life. Not so worth it if you end up selling it at a huge loss though:)
  8. basspraiser

    basspraiser Jammin for the Lamb! Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2006
    Chicago - NW Burbs
    I agree with the neck comment....my 55-94 neck feels "smoother" than my 55-02 neck BUT, the weights are identical....now, the quilting on the 55-94 blows away ANY 55-02 I have ever seen....

    Also - my 55-02 has the LH3 and the 55-94 has the Barts so they sound TOTALLY different.....I, for one like the LH3 better so i like my 55-02 "better" than my 55-94....but - don't want to start an argument, just stating my opinion.

    as for the ORIGINAL purpose of this thread, I would say go for it! YES a US Laklie is worth it! there is one in my future (somewhere - somewhere!)


    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    I love that version of Sherwood Green !!!!!! :bassist:
  10. Supertanker

    Supertanker Watch the dog! He is trained to bite!

    Jun 23, 2005
    I know exactly what you mean!

    I think the Sproingy barmph has to do with the wood (possibly the age/moisture content?).

    You can find Skylines without the Sproingy barmph and lightweight.

    I've been fortunate to have 3 of my 4 Skylines hand picked at the factory.

    As such they do not have the "SB" and are light. One even has a drastically different neck profile.

    But the person that picked them knew a hellava lot more about it than I do.

    Perhaps that is main difference between US and Skyline models...
  11. dukeplaysbass

    dukeplaysbass Supporting Member

    I have an old US JO5 and it sounds incredible. A recent left hand injury makes it difficult for me to play fivers anymore, so I sold them all -- but I kept this one because of the sound and feel.

    I've owned a few Skylines but they never seem to measure up to the US axes. The Skylines are great, but the US basses are better. The necks seem more solid and the fit and build seems to have been done with lots more care. That said, I think the way to look at the whole US vs. Skyline thing is whether you have the money. I can afford them, so I go for the US versions. Not everybody can, I realize that.

    Here's mine, custom built for me back in 2005. Carl and I picked out the body and neck while I was at the Lakland factory. It's just over 8 lbs.

  12. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego

  13. i love the bass exchange!

    and yes
  14. Poon


    May 20, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    If you guys don't mind me asking (and if you feel more comfortable PMing me please do so)...

    But how much did you guys get your USA JO5's for new?
  15. Supertanker

    Supertanker Watch the dog! He is trained to bite!

    Jun 23, 2005
    This is the crem-dela-crem of JO5's.

    All others MUST bow down!

    It's worth it weight in gold.

    Actually I think you own Dan some money! :eyebrow:
  16. SonicBlueJoe

    SonicBlueJoe Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2007
    Visalia, CA

    I'd love to have those blocks on mine, but it bows down to no other!

    My pic is from the day I got it, so it's a little over 4 years old. I paid $3000 new, so I would think the Amp Shop's $2800 on a Pre-Owned bass is on the high end of negotiable. I sold a Skyline JO5 that I fell in love with immediately to get this, and it's been my main player ever since. Totally worth it to me, no regrets whatsoever.
  17. Evan_S._Brown


    Jan 10, 2008
    Sounds like you've been bitten by the US bug....
    just be careful its hard to stop.

    I've got a US bob glaub and a 55-94 deluxe and i'm seriously looking to purchasing a JOBO in the not too distant future.
    I love the skylines, think they are great basses, but the US signature series really nail that vintage vibe so much better
  18. dukeplaysbass

    dukeplaysbass Supporting Member

    Ya. That is a problem. It can quickly get out of control.....
  19. sandmann


    Dec 27, 2005
    i totally agree with you guys.

    it is the difference between a very good bass, that does every job very well (skyline), and a perfect bass (u.s.). having owned three skylines (i only kept the hollowbody which is fantastic) and still owning two us-laklands (55-94 deluxe and jo5) i would say that the difference in sound might be very subtle and probably unrecognizable but the feel of the instrument and the handling is different. it only is a slight difference but it there and for me it is important.

    i easily could part from the skylines i owned but i never could sell my us-laklands. they are like good friends to me. maybe you understand what i mean. for me they are worth the difference in price since i know i will keep them for a lifetime.

  20. Poon


    May 20, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    While I'm in love with the USA made Laklands, I'm not good enough of a player to drop that kind of cash (with the economy the way it is).

    I guess it's Skyline's for me for now. I'm young, I can deal with the weight, and I can do my own fret jobs/setups...I'll make do.
    Like I was saying to Justin at the Bass Exchange, if I didn't have a frame of reference, I would still think that the Skyline's are on par with the US made ones. And while I was bitten by the bug, common sense and bank account that says Rent, Utilities, Girlfriend, Credit Card Bills, Band Expenses...etc Take precedence over having "the best". We'll see what time tells for me, but for now...give me Korea's finest.


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