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Lakland 55-02 vs 55-94 (point of view of owner)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by baxter_x, Feb 25, 2018.

  1. baxter_x


    Nov 27, 2013
    I've owned and played a Lakland 55-02 for about one year and search many times for the main differences between the US models and the Skylines.
    Last week I found a great deal on a 55-94 Deluxe. So I sold my 55-02 ans acquired the 55-94.
    I thought it was my turn to give my point of view on how a 55-02compares to a 55-94:

    Both instruments are great, but the finish of the US models clearly wins. I own the natural translucent model, and there is no contest. Simply by looking at the bass, you immediately notice a big difference. The color, finish, and the beautiful wood of the body. When I looked back at my 55-02, I felt it suddenly looked like an entry level bass. It kind of faded.

    Still some differences here. The finish of the 55-02 is great. On par with some high end Fender US models. But the 55-94, once again, seems better on every details. Even the knobs seem "better" to turn. The best example is the back plate. On the 55-02 screws were directly going inside the wood. On the 55-94, screws are kept in place in some metal pieces, inserted inside the wood. The attention to detail really reaches another level.
    The weight is also lighter on the 55-94. It weights as much as my Sadowsky MV-24.

    The 55-02 is great, but again, the 55-94 brings it to another level. Especially for the neck. It feels, much stronger. When you play it, it really feels like it's a high end bass. Playing back my 55-02 was a bit weird, I missed the US neck.

    That's the most discussed thing here. Do they sound the same? Well.... almost to me, like 90% the same. But again the 55-94 seems to be a bit fuller, stronger, more present, more "serious". It's very subtile however. But I guess the construction of the 55-94 plays a role in that difference in the tone. It also seems to cut through a bit better. Like some high definition sound. The highs seemed less harsh, and the lows more massive without being muddy.

    Final words
    So is a US model worth it? Yes, if you don't take in consideration the price. The 55-94 Deluxe costs a bit more than 4000$, where the 55-02 Deluxe around 1600$. I found my 55-94 used for 2000$, so I didn't hesitate a second. But I don't think I would have bought it new. However a 55-02 is worth it if you want a Lakland without paying the hard price. It is still a great bass. I could easily buy another one as a backup bass for my 55-94. But I'm more of a Sadowsky player.

    One thing to note is when I played my 55-02 again after trying the 55-94, I still had a lot of pleasure playing it. I sold it for 1200$, to buy the 55-94. Which required 800$ out of my pocket.
    Yes, a steal ;)

    The 55-02 is a great instrument. The 55-94 is the real thing.

    Opened to any questions
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2018
    31HZ, MAXSPINRUN, armybass and 7 others like this.
  2. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis

    The difference between a quality production bass and a boutique bass is usually pretty subtle. The difference is more easily felt than quantified.
    MAXSPINRUN, dfoehr, jackn1202 and 2 others like this.
  3. HesslerGerard


    Jul 18, 2010
    Having played 55-94 for a couple of years now, I’d gladly take 55-02 for backup but if I have a choice, I’d always go for 94 everytime.
    armybass and madjazzbass like this.
  4. baxter_x


    Nov 27, 2013
    Totally agree
    Exactly my point of view. However, I feel I'm more of a Sadowsky guy, so I'll use the 55-94 as backup until I get another Sadowsky
    groovin_bassman and TheBear like this.
  5. Ampslut


    May 15, 2017
    Nice and honest review. I've owned a 5502 and have played a few 5594's and I agree completely. The 5502 is as good as it needs to be, the 5594 is as good as it possibly can be. I sold my 5502 because I just prefer a 34" scale.
    bozha and baxter_x like this.
  6. baxter_x


    Nov 27, 2013
    That's another good way to describe both basses ;)
    Dr. Cheese and Bob_Ross like this.
  7. JSandbloom

    JSandbloom Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2004
    Redding, Ca
    Grace Guitars USA
    The neck on the 55-94 is what makes the bass. The 55-02 is great if you’ve never played a USA Lakland. That’s why I have three of them.

  8. Kevan Campbell

    Kevan Campbell Bergantino Artist, Vibe9 IEM Artist Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Definitely agree that there’s something special about U.S. Laklands. The Skyline series are great for the money, but there is something intangibly great about the top-tier Lakland models.

    I just wish I could play 35” comfortably enough to justify buying one.
  9. baxter_x


    Nov 27, 2013
    Totally agree. However I sold the 55-94. And if I had to go back to Lakland I would probably buy a 55-02.

    What's so uncomfortable with 35"?
  10. Kevan Campbell

    Kevan Campbell Bergantino Artist, Vibe9 IEM Artist Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2008
    Austin, TX
    I have smaller hands, and I’ve found that for me I’m much more comfortable on 34” scale basses than on 35” scale basses. I think it’s something to do with my (uneducated) technique and the extra inch is something that I’m personally having trouble with.
    baxter_x likes this.
  11. madjazzbass

    madjazzbass Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2014
    I want a 55-02 so bad I can taste it, but after reading through this thread, I don't wanna be disappointed after getting it and regret not saving up some more and getting the 55-94.
  12. baxter_x


    Nov 27, 2013
    Go for a 55-02 first. Then if you really feel you are a lakland player go for a 55-94. I finally sold both of ma Laklands as I feel I'm more a Sadowsky player.
    Just trying to avoid you a waste of big cash. Personnally I'm considering going back to Lakland for the pleasure. And it'll be a 55-02. These basses are already great.
    madjazzbass likes this.
  13. Ampslut


    May 15, 2017
    But, I'm getting the gas for another 5502 or 5514.
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
  14. baxter_x


    Nov 27, 2013
    So Am I! ;)
  15. HA_DA_JA


    Oct 6, 2007
    I have owned both. The 5594 neck feels very much like my 1964 L series Fender neck. It is slimmer then the 5502 and it just feels right. But the sound is pretty much the same on both basses and after a while I thought I could use the $$$ and sold the 5594 and bought a 5502. Now I am thinking I want another 5594 to revisit that lovely thinner neck.
    baxter_x likes this.
  16. dramatwist


    Sep 27, 2019
    I've owned and played both, and tend to agree with you.
    baxter_x likes this.
  17. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    When you guys say more of a Sadowsky player, what are you referring to?
    Same pup configuration?
    Or just comparing native voices?
  18. baxter_x


    Nov 27, 2013
    I compared both and to me nothing cuts through like a Sadowsky. The Lakland tone is great but I had to push it hard to hear myself. Whereas the Sadowsky was just sitting in the mix effortlessly.
  19. Chris Szatny

    Chris Szatny Work hard...play harder. Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2016
    Albion, Indiana
    Good review. I personally never owned a 55-02 but had two 55-01s and loved them for their tone and playability as well as affordability. I ended up selling both 55-01s to purchase a 55-94 deluxe and of all the 5 strings I've owned, this is the real deal. Fit and finish is flawless. Not too heavy(swamp ash), great tone, etc. I also have a Fender Jazz V and P bass which I also love....but my 55-94 is my main axe.
    baxter_x likes this.
  20. mrpackerguy

    mrpackerguy Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Madison, Wisconsin
    Owned a 55-02 when I played in a country band. Loved it.
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