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Lakland: Barts vs. Lakland p'ups

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by SanDiegoHarry, Apr 16, 2009.


  1. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    So I bought this used 4-94 a while back...

    And I absolutely dig the tone I get. With both p'ups hot, the three position switch gives me this great J sound or a very warm MM sound... I don't know how it could be better...

    which begs the question: How do Lakland owners feel about the updated p'ups? I know the story, how Lakland decided to go to their own design/source because Barts were hard to find (or maybe too spendy). Do folks feel they are better/worse or about the same as the original barts? To folks ever retrofit their newer laklands with barts to get "that sound"?

    Just curious
     
  2. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    Wow. A Lakland thread that stayed quiet for a while. Weird.

    This is going to be a tough question to get an objective answer to. (And justifiably so) there are a lot of Lakland fanatics here who support whatever Lakland's current initiative may be.

    My 4-94 has barts. Very smooth and polite. Even sounding.

    My old 44-02 had Lakland pickups. Smooth and polite. Fairly even sounding. But maybe just a little more raw.

    Its hard to compare the two because I didn't own them at the same time. I can tell you that I felt like by 44-02 blended into the background a little more than I liked. My 4-94 cuts through the mix a little better. Is it the pickups? Dunno, but it seems a reasonable that this is at least a factor.

    Buy we're both behind the times. Chisonics are the current flavor of the week.
     
  3. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Yeah, can you explain the whole fanatical devotion thing to me? I mean, I *dig* my bass, much as I have dug other basses... but if a company makes a poor decision, I'm not going to stand behind them just because they make something I like... Now, I'm not saying that getting rid of Barts was a poor decision... Heck, Barts are no longer en vogue with most folks these days, right... But I don't care what kind of saint Dan Lakin is, he's just a guy selling a product and is hardly perfect... yet I get the sense that Lakland has become a bit like Apple - it has developed a cult-like status that sometimes borders on the irrational...

    No matter - thanks for the info. I know that I really dig where my bass sits in the mix, not to mention the crazy good way it plays. :)
     
  4. duke2004

    duke2004

    Mar 29, 2004
    Cambridge, Mass.
    wvbass is right, we quickly get into a lot of IMHO territory.
    For what its worth, Ive owned a USA 5 string with barts and really disliked it. However the Bart MM on my Modulus seem to work well, probably because the Modulus is so bright.
    My opinion is that the Barts are a bit muffled in the high end, less hi fi. Keep in mind ive played and liked EMGs for years.

    To my ears, the new Laklands are great at doing the vintage vibe thing as well as being able to get a semi hifi sound. I believe the preamp is key in that system, as the treble knob seems to be centered at a fairly high frequency.

    I dont have ChiSonics, but i do have a P with a Darkstar. My understanding is that Lakland decided keep a bit more money "in house" by avoiding the outsourcing of pickups, which is good business practice (or obstensibly some other reason). If the Chi's are close to the Darkstars (which are themselves an attempt at BiSonic pickups) then they are totally a different animal than either Lakland or Barts in the 4-94 / 44-02. A great sound of their own but certainly they aint going to be as good at trying to replicate the holy trinity of the jazz/p/MM basses.
     
  5. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Well, of course this is highly subjective stuff... and while I agree that "insourcing" your parts is smart business, there is something to be said for keeping with high-quality parts - - and if your in-sourced parts *are* comparable quality to say, barts - well then, it's all good, right?

    As far as that holy trinity - yeah, wasn't that the great potential of Lakland...? Well, I know my bass comes close. It gets a better front-p'up P sound that I expected, and a very good 2 p'up J sound... MM & bridge J however... They are good, dont' get me wrong, but they don't sound like a MM or a J to me. The sound I get that I *really* dig is both p'ups wide open, toggle switch to the front (toward the neck), EQ flat. Man, that thing ROARS. To my ears it's like the perfect blend of MM and Fender. I think I'm going to go home and play *right now*!:hyper:
     
  6. mongo2

    mongo2

    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I agree, but I wasn't actually interested in "cloning" particular instruments anyway, but it had it's own vibe and tonal versatility that while not a precise clone of any particular instrument they worked very well in their "roles".
     
  7. bino

    bino

    Jun 27, 2002
    Orange County
    I've owned a 4-94 and 55-94 with the Barts and now a 4-94 with the Lakland pickups. My feeling is that the Barts had more of a compressed quality. I like it in some contexts and absolutely did not in others. Also, the Lakland pickups break up just a bit when digging in which gives sort of a vintage/passive quality without crossing over completely to a vintage vibe or tone.

    I'm with you though, the bass screams. I love it. and the neck is simply perfect to me.
     
  8. rayzak

    rayzak

    Jan 13, 2001
    Louisville, KY
    Well, I can't help too much as i've yet to play a Lakland with Lakland pu's or Barts (I've owned a Joe Osborn and own a Bob Glaub with Lindy Fralins). However, Lakland has some nice soundclips of their pickups on their website. Check it out.
     
  9. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    I like the comparison. Apple makes a first class computer at a ridiculous price. But it is well done top to bottom. Sounds Lakland-like to me.

    I can see the muffled in the high end thing. Definitely so compared to EMGs I've heard.

    Not sure I agree, but several people seem to think so.

    My opinion on the Barts and the Lakland pickups is that they provide good tone, but are not memorable. I don't think you're going to listen to a recording and say "there's that Lakland tone" in the same way you're going to identify with a p bass or a stingray. Laklands are about their necks and playability moreso than tone, IMHO. Don't get me wrong, my Lakland sounds very good. Its just not a distinctive, unique tone.
     
  10. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Oh boy - this could be a can of worms...:p

    Agreed. For my part, I've heard a very few basses that, recorded, have a signature sound - and two of them were fenders, one was a Rick. Ken Smith is the other that leaps to mind...

    But Lakland doing the whole bolt-on slab thing is really just "Fender Improved", rather than something very original. Perhaps it's because Leo pretty much got it right the first time... which given that they whipped up the P and the J ~50+ years ago, that's pretty freakin' amazing.

    As far as "compressed" quality to the sound for Barts... I can see that. But that works for me - I tend to dig in too hard when I play fingerstyle, and I like to slap a fair amount (oh no, the technique fashion police will have my head! Run! Run!):D

    And I played EMGs for years and I *know* they can feel VERY compressed - I just much brighter and hi-fi sounding. I like barts more because they have warmth I like. That said, EMGs are about the most under-rated p'up out there, if you ask me. They are just not fashionable right now.
     
  11. duke2004

    duke2004

    Mar 29, 2004
    Cambridge, Mass.
    Im sure some of the Lak-heads here can find some of the various references Lakland makes in their marketing material where they claim that the line of J/MM basses is designed to cop the sound of those three pillars of bass tone (jazz/p/MM). Of course a 44-02 cant cop a P bass as good as a dedicated P bass, but its pretty close. And in a gig situation its probably more than close enough for the audience. Studio recording is another issue.
     
  12. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    That has always been the thing with a front J p'up - - close enough for a bar, ya know. I'm 100% just rolling the blend up to neck and faking it no "lowdown" or any other clearly "P" tune...

    I think most folks spend *way* too much time agonizing over tone and not nearly enough time practicing. Hell, look at the gear we have available today compared to Jaco and Jameson - yet is anyone going to suggest their recordings didn't cut it because their gear wasn't great?
     
  13. zachbass02

    zachbass02 One Hairy....squatch.

    Jan 3, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    I'll keep the barts in my Lakland. The LH3 system hasn't really wowed me. I much prefer the barts.
     
  14. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    I know I spend way too much time agonizing over my tone. That's part of the fun.

    The bridge pickup is the cool one - it gets all midrange-y and burpy and makes cool sounds. But the neck pickup is where the money is. I played a jazz for a long time and always favored the neck pickup. I was a bit surprised when I started reading that the "signature" jazz sound was the bridge pickup all the way up and the neck pickup rolled off just a bit.

    And yeah, my Lakland can do a reasonable job mimicing other basses. I've got nothin' but love for the Lakland fanatics, too. I can see where there coming from. But, the first Lakland I played (a 4-94) was described to me by the owner as a high-end version of a Fender bass.

    I guess the cliche of "Leo got it right the first time" came to be for a reason. But I kind of think he got it right the second time. And the third. "The first time" bass kind of went away for the most part, except for Sting and Chef.
     
  15. g4string

    g4string Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Melissa, TX
    You are forgetting that before the LH3 system, you could get Bartolinis OR SD Basslines. Of course the SD Basslines still had the Bart preamp. I have contemplated swapping out the Bart preamp for an Aguilar and the Basslines for Nordstrands.......but the why mess with a good thing, right??
     
  16. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Indeed. At volume, do you think anyone can tell the difference? Even in a recording, unless you're doing a Victor Wooten thing, who's going to care about a tone nuance - - but the listener *will* care about how you play.
     
  17. JAUQO III-X

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    CHICAGO,IL.
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    A lot of you may not be aware of this but Dan Lakland will tell you himself that there is no distinctive/signature Lakland sound.
     
  18. g4string

    g4string Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Melissa, TX
    Bewteen the Barts and SD's.........night and day difference!!!

    The LH3 is supposed to fall in the middle of the Barts and Basslines. I think if you swapped your Barts for the LH3 you might not notice a huge difference. I am assuming there will be some differences.

    If you want a more aggressive sound, get the SD's

    If you want a tad more aggressive sound get the LH3

    If you want a change.......either would work, but I would suggest looking into Nordstrands at that point (plus preamp change, his pups dont jive well the Bart pre)
     
  19. g4string

    g4string Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Melissa, TX

    I could see that..........IMO, "the sound" is a combination of your amp, your fingers, and your bass.......amp and bass 40%/40%, fingers 20%

    However, his basses do sound different than others. Just the way it is.
     
  20. bino

    bino

    Jun 27, 2002
    Orange County
    Interesting. And I agree with this too. I don't here a signature tone, just one that I love. For my wants, I get a fat, punchy fingerstyle tone without the aggressiveness of a new stingray but with more guts than a soloed jazz bridge pup.

    oh and FWIW, i own a Nash J and just purchased a custom jazz with barts. :D
     

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