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Lakland Decade Skyline vs. USA

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by powellmacaque, May 8, 2010.


  1. I am really considering a Lakland Decade as my next bass, but I am not sure whether or not it'd be "worth it" to save up for the USA version (how much could I pick one up for? I've only seen the Skyline quoted).

    Now, I know I'm probably going to get a "only you can determine worth" type of answer, but I don't think I can get my hands on one anytime soon, but I'd like to know before I start actively searching:

    1. I've heard the sound clips on Lakland's website and those clips are quite tasty, just not long enough for me to determine: can I get an old Allman Brothers tone from these? Not all the time, but could I punch it in and cop a really nice old fat tone? Is one series better than the other for this tone (Skyline vs. USA)

    2. Is the Skyline just a teaser for the "real thing"? Do they feel/sound drastically different?

    3. I know the USA series is considerably more; are they made to order, or are they readily available in stores? In my searches throughout nearly every music store on the Florida Gulf Coast, I've only seen 4 Laklands and they were all at gigs I was performing at. If they are made to order, how much more are the custom colors and other features?

    4. Will the quality of my customer service go down with the purchase of a Skyline (I know nothing about Lakland or the customer service)?

    Any other advice? The clips on the Lakland site really have sold me on this bass, but of course I have to play one and really dig up some knowledge before pulling the trigger on what will be my biggest bass purchase yet (if I decide to go for the USA model).
     
  2. I havn't played a Decade but I know Dan Lakin described the neck p'up tone like a "produced P sound", so I'd say yes to your first question.

    2. The main difference between the two will be the feel of the neck. The U.S necks have an oil IIRC, and the Skylines have a satin finish on the back, there would also be a difference in weight as they are able to be more selective with wood choice when making US basses.

    3. Dunno about availability in America, but I'm sure there would be some floating around.

    4. No, not at all
     
  3. travep

    travep Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2010
    Austin, TX
    Don't know about service. My Skyline has not had issues. I do know that the Bass Emporium here in Austin does not actively carryl the American ones...I guess the price is limiting & from my understanding the Skylines are very comparable. I do know that mine, especially the neck, does not feel like a "discount" version. I know that they assemble the parts and completely go over every instrument here in the US. That's probably why it takes so long to get them if you order them (according to John Files at the Bass Emporium). Very nice instrument, IMO.
     
  4. You might be able to mimic the tone a bit but those Chi-Sonics are their own beast and do not sound like anything else IMO. Also Fender tone is hard to capture with different pickup settings. There should be no difference here between US and Skyline as the electronics are the same. On the US you could get an alder body which might get you closer to that tone BUT the hog bodies on the Decade really seem to me to be the best combo. Also with these pickups I am not sure how much the body wood would really change things.

    As Luke pointed out the details are really in the neck. IMO the necks are different feeling. More so now with the Indo models then before. Neither is better or worse in fact I often times prefer the Skyline neck (on the Glaub for instance) but they do feel different. Also the US line has graphite reinforcement in the neck. Sound wise they should be pretty close to identical.

    US Laklands are tough to find in stores but you can find some online. Most people order them and wait a few months to get it. Different colors will not add to the price. In fact I am not sure what will their US price is pretty standard. Maybe getting blocks and binding on the neck would hike the price a bit. While they are made to order they still have limits to what they can and will do.

    Customer service for both are through the same people. Lakland has full control of the Skyline line.
     
  5. dave64o

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

    Jun 15, 2000
    Southern NJ
    There's a page on the Lakland web site (IOW - click here) that describes the TLC that goes into the Skylines. You are NOT getting a cheap copy from a Skyline, they are very well made.

    Whether or not you want to spend significantly more on a USA model is up to you. I wasn't able to spend the extra money and got a 55-02 but I never felt like it was a "lesser model". In fact, I liked it even more than the Stingrays I've owned, which are American made. My only issue with the 55-02 was that the combination of longer scale length and wider string spacing was tough for me to play. If they made a 34" scale 5 string with narrow spacing, I wouldn't hesitate to buy one.


    EDIT - Just to clarify, I am *not* taking shots at Stingrays. I've owned two, still own one, it's my main bass, and I can't foresee selling it.
     
  6. basspraiser

    basspraiser Jammin for the Lamb! Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2006
    Chicago - NW Burbs
    This discussion really comes down to color and a few other things. The Skyline only comes in one (albeit) sweet color combo - trans burgundy and black headstock. In a US Lakland you can get just about any color you want.

    the feel and sound will be VERY similar. The necks are slightly different feels and the US necks are quarter sawn vs. Skylines which are not....quarter sawn gives you more stability etc...

    the electroncics are identical...you just need to decide if you want single coil or humbuckers (an upgrade option)....you can get a pretty good P sound out of the neck pickup but as Johhny says, the CHIs really do have a character all their own.

    customer service is phenominal regardless of whether you buy US or Skyline....they treat you the same...and they DO treat you nice.....I have owned several US and Skylines (over 10 total to date and counting)...and the customer service and quality have me hooked......

    Try one and see what you think....maybe start out with a Skyline and then decide....you may want to buy another Skyline model instead.....you can buy 2 Skylines for 1 US Lakland (or there abouts!)
     
  7. IanAllison

    IanAllison Supporting Member

    May 27, 2006
    Minneapolis
    Howdy sir,

    My name is Ian and I do the clips for Lakland. Just thought I'd chime in to tell you that what you're hearing on the website is a Skyline model. The pics and description lead you to believe that it's a US Decade - but it is in fact, an Indo Skyline.

    I need to get that changed on the site so that it's not misleading. It's funny though - when I'd talked to Dan about doing clips of both the Skyline and US basses for the site, he told me, "They'll be indistinguishable in a recorded clip."

    That's confidence in your import model!

    And just another 2 cents here - the neck is the biggest issue for sure. I happen to LOVE US Lakland necks but I know a lot of folks who actually prefer the Skylines.

    Ian
     

  8. Oh man. You have no idea how many hours (days?) I've spent listening to those clips. Seriously catchy stuff.

    I'm not really looking for a "Fender" tone... Just a vintage pillowy type tone. These basses have been on my radar for quite some time just because of the looks and sound clips, I just have to find one out there and play it.
     
  9. Madcity Fats

    Madcity Fats Supporting Member

    May 28, 2008
    Madison, Wisconsin
    I recently bought a Skyline Decade and am nothing but impressed with the quality. I own several US G&L basses, have owned a couple of MIA Jazz basses and a Thunderbird and the Skyline's quality is right up there with the best of them, IMO. And I really dig the neck.

    The neck pickup is the essence of vintage tone, if you ask me. Dan Lakin has said about the Decade that he wanted something with a true neck pup because you don't really see that on more modern bass designs, and that he designed it with the more traditional player in mind.

    Like you, I waffled a bit on the Skyline vs. US question, but ultimately my budget steered me toward the more affordable option and I don't regret it. Let's put it this way: If money were no object I'd order a US Decade in a heartbeat, but I'd keep the Skyline and probably go for a different wood combo (like ash/maple) just to mix things up.
     
  10. snakesandarrows

    snakesandarrows

    Oct 12, 2009
    How is the weight of the wood different? does anyone know how they differ exactly. I know the Skylines have mahogany, and the U.S.'s have a choice of 3 woods (inlcuding Mahogany). I want to get a U.S. one, and if I did I would get Mahogany. Is there a difference between the weight of the Mahogany U.S.'s and the Mahogany Skylines??
     
  11. I can't give you specific numbers, but generally a Skyline bass would be heavier than it's U.S counterpart, but I wouldn't call the difference a deal breaker
     
  12. My Decade Skyline is pretty light around 8lbs the chisonics and positioning give it a distinctive honky sound.
    As per the sound clips the bass sounds great with RW's or Flats and can be played in any genre, does it sound like a Fender P, nah, good but different.
    It can get close to an EB Gibbo especially with the HumB pups and it reminds me of my old Fender Coronado with tons more Vol and body, a hollow'ish sound.
    The neck is sweet, the burgundy and black guard with those pickups look sexy. oi love it

    3 years on... did you get one?
     
  13. RedHotFuzz

    RedHotFuzz

    Mar 16, 2014
    If only there were a Skyline Decade SS, one would be on its way to me now.

    No way I can afford the USA shorty. :crying:
     
    El Pelusa likes this.
  14. I've recently discovered this beauty of a bass, I want a leftie US shortscale decade they cost around $3520!

    If only they made the skyline shortscale and left handed....
     
  15. Sav'nBass

    Sav'nBass Supporting Member

    Jan 18, 2009
    Northern Va.
    I have actually been looking at these basses, the 55-01 - 55-02, 55-14 in particular but the whole line overall, for about two months now . Those clips on the Lakland site have a lot to do with me pursuing this ... in fact this is the first time in a long while that I have even considered dropping the extra coin for an American made bass..
     
  16. RedHotFuzz

    RedHotFuzz

    Mar 16, 2014
    I know, isn't it insane they don't do a Skyline version of this bass? Grrr...
     
    El Pelusa likes this.
  17. basspraiser

    basspraiser Jammin for the Lamb! Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2006
    Chicago - NW Burbs
    Ahhh...they have skyline bodies and a short scale HB model....I believe the short scale HB model neck is a standard j neck but short scale....you can contact

    Leo@lakland.com

    To see if they can be interchanged....I am not sure.....also...I know that they always order "spare"necks in case an issue arises etc.

    Just saying....you might have to buy a decade from a dealer and order a neck from Lakland.....

    Just a warning....I know leo is slammed right now so he may take a while to respond
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2014

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