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Lakland 55-02 advice

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Luke.Walton, Mar 31, 2009.

  1. Calling all Lakland owners,

    I'm going to be purchasing a 5 string bass (hopefully) within the next 12 months, and the Lakland 55-02 has really caught my eye, and I am yet to find a bad review of them.
    Am currently playing my Dad's (yes, I'm only 17) old p-bass which I love, but the need for the extra string is calling me.

    Have not played one as of yet, but there is a store in Sydney (living in Wollongong, NSW) that apparently has them, and am on school holidays in less that 2 weeks, and plan to go on a 5 string spree.

    I'm not a complete musical greenhorn, I played euphonium for several years, until accident forced me to stop, long story, then moved onto guitar for 1 - 2 years and have been playing bass for 3 or so years, and have been in church/youth group P&W band for around 2 1/2.

    Is there any deep dark secrets about the Laklands that I don't know about, and would it be better to opt for a Joe Osbourne 5, etc.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanking in advance.

  2. Eublet


    Jul 28, 2006
    55-02 is very versatile, so for a one bass kind of player, they're hard to beat. No dark secrets about them. The Skylines do vary in weight, so if you want one that is light, you'll have to look around and be patient. And of course there are small variations in the line (as with any bass) that might make you really like one over another, so try to get your hands on the bass before you buy it.
  3. dave64o

    dave64o Talkbass Top 10 all time lowest talent/gear ratio! Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2000
    Southern NJ
    You'll have a tough time finding anyone who can legitimately badmouth Laklands.

    The only negative I can say about the 55-02 I had is that the 35" scale just wasn't for me. There are many who will say you can't tell the difference but I'm one of the unlucky few who did. Maybe for me it was the combination of wide spacing AND 35" scale? Don't know but it simply didn't feel right to me and that sucked because there's nothing bad I can say about it - extremely well made, extremely versatile, sounded fantastic, looked gorgeous.

    If you're like most people and don't find the slightly longer scale length, you'll have yourself a fantastic bass!
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I know what you mean - the neck is definitely more suited to people with large(r) hands - for me, this makes it easier to get about - but I think people with smaller hands prefer narrower spacing and maybe 34" scale as a faster neck...?

    I see nothing wrong with the 55-02 although when I bought mine, I tried a few and definitely preferred the Deluxe version! :)

    Really you have to try basses to see whether they suit you, though...?
  5. buffordbass


    Nov 11, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amps, Lakland Basses
    +1... the 55-02 is one of the most versatile basses you can buy.
  6. kraigo


    Jun 21, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    I've got a 55-01 and I'm very happy with it. Given the choice between a 55-02 and a Joe Osborn or some other "Jazz" model, I'd probably take the JO. But that's just me. I like my 55-01 better than any of the above because I dropped in some Nordstrand Dual Coils and that suits me best.

    You can't go wrong with any of them, it's a question of which one is right for you.

  7. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    I have a 55-01 because my two US Laklands (4-94s) are excellent instruments- versatile, stupidly well-made, and perfect feeling instruments. After playin one song on the first 4-94, the drummer told me "never play another bass with this band". I got it after playing bass for over 20 years, and managing a guitar store for 11 of those years. It supplanted my Fender Vintage Series '62 P Bass that I bought new in 1983. That's how good the Laklands are.

    The 55-01 and 55-02 appealed to me as my primary instrument is 4-string, but for some church things having a 5 to get in under the B-3 is important. The appeal of the Lakland series is that it's the only 5 stirng I've played (except for an early Modulus of some sort- it was going to cost me over $3K in 1985 or so, but boy was it nice!) where the B string sounds like it's part of the same instrument. Most B strings in my experience sound like an afterthought.

    The 35" scale didn't bother me much. Yeah, it's different, but not a huge differnece in feel. I just take the attitude that, like fretless, it's a different instrument. I also play an Ashbory bass, as well as guitar so I'm used to switching between 18", 24.75". 25.5". 34", and 35". The more you play the less the variance is going to impact you.

    Why'd I get a 55-01 instead of a 55-02 or the US ones? Because I wasn't gigging for pay when I got the five, and I really like the Bart soapbars in the 55-01.

  8. Eublet


    Jul 28, 2006
    I don't quite agree with this. I certaily think that a larger neck with wider spacing introduces some additional physical challenges, but I think the whole thin/thick issue and how it affects a given player has more to do with technique. Someone who uses proper fretting technique is going to be far less impacted by neck variances than someone who chokes the neck.
  9. There IS difference in the 55-94's and the 4-94's necks for me. Maybe it is, like someone said, the scale and the profile differences taken together, but I did spend some time for a transition, and I wouldn't say it was smooth. I have large hands and long fingers but I rather play the 5-string Lakland the way a player with smaller hands would play a 34" scale bass, like, with more substitutions and less stretching. On the other hand, it doesn't bother me after several months of playing at all, and I only vaguely recollect was it was like, playing a 34" scale bass. I do remember though the 4-94 fit me as a glove, it was just meant for my hands. But I now only recollect that with my brain, not remember with my hands
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well as I said, it never affected me - but it was the only slight, possible downside I could think of and that was what the OP was asking about!! ;)
  11. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    I'm a Lakland owner; I'll bash the 55 series for you. Aside from the scale length, Laklands, to my ears, have a very refined sound, with both the Bart and Lakland pickups. Laklands are the Clark Kent of basses. They do their job well, but they do it politely. Maybe you'd prefer a bass thats a little bit more raw and unrefined, tone-wise. If you look around, you'll see guys swapping out Barts for Lakland pickups or Nordstrands or something else. And now, you see guys choosing Chisonics rather than the other Lakland pickups. What you'll find they say is that "my Lakland sounds great, but..."

    Also, the -02s just aren't as nice as the -94s on average, IMHO. They don't feel the same to me. If a used -94 is available in the same price range, I'd look away from the new -02.

    Still, I'll be very sad if I ever have to part with my US Lakland. And I was very sad when I had to part with my Skyline series.
  12. Thanks for all the advice, another question I had, the Bartolini pickups or Laklands.
    Are there any major differences in tone, etc?
  13. zachbass02

    zachbass02 One Hairy....squatch.

    Jan 3, 2005
    Nashville, TN

    "Who You Are", "You Make Me Smile", "Is There More", "Your Awesome Name" were all tracked with a 55-02 with barts. I love barts in my basses and this particular 55-02 is my studio workhorse. I'm not sure I would like the LH3 system in my bass or the new CHI sonics. Producers love how the barts sit in the track. anyways, my $.02.
  14. I can't disagree per se with the too large neck comments as it is to each his own, however I had a 55-01 and the neck was in my opinion, incredible. I have little tiny rat paws and I never found the scale length, width, radius, string spacing or anything to be a problem at all. I only played a couple 55-02s, but if the neck is different I couldn't tell. For what it's worth I thought the 55-01 electronics were a bit ho hum, very versatile, but very plain vanilla. It could emulatemany different sounds but not copy any. I played only older 55-02s, but if I had been able I would have prefered those electronics/pickups to the 01s, but in your shoes I'd play both. You may find that the extra money for the 02 is not really necessary for your needs and the 55-01 will work. Either way, ergonomically for me either one was a superb fit and I will buy a USA Lakland some day for sure.

    WV- of course the 01/02 isnt as nice as the 94, but the price difference makes them well worth it and I didn't have the bread for a USA lakland at 17. Who does?
    madjazzbass likes this.
  15. Eublet


    Jul 28, 2006
    No problem. I was just suggesting that I don't think 35" scale has as much to do with having small hands as it does with not having good fretting technique.
  16. basspraiser

    basspraiser Jammin for the Lamb! Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2006
    Chicago - NW Burbs
    The 55-02 is one of the most versatile instruments out there...you can get a P sound...a J sound....a MM Sound and many others....

    I have a 55-02, a DJ5, and two JO5s (as well as 4 other Laklands)...the DJ and JO are GREAT J basses (nicer than anything else I have played) but the ARE J basses....the 55-02 is more versatile....

    good luck!!!
    madjazzbass likes this.

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