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Lakland Osborne Skyline vs. Lakland US/Alleva-Coppolo

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by christoph h., Apr 22, 2010.


  1. christoph h.

    christoph h.

    Mar 26, 2001
    Germany
    Hi!

    First of, I know that the thread title implies that I want to compare apples to oranges or start a production vs handmade flamewar. But I'm actually looking for a 5-string Jazz Bass and I'm not really sure what to do.

    The factors are as follows:

    1) I'm in Europe and Lakland Skylines are readily avaible here. US models are harder to get and Alleva-Coppolos are a real PITA to get. There's also no real used market for any of them.

    2) If you look at my profile, you'll see that I own both "boutique" basses (Fodera, Nordstrand) and production basses (Musicman) and a "boutique production" bass (Suhr).

    Even with a Fodera in my stable, the Musicman has been getting a lot of "money gigs". In fact, the Suhr and Musicman are my main players.

    I don't really care about a bass' origins, as long as it's well made, reliable and sounds and plays great. I do notice factors such as neck stability, weight and balance - I play a lot, so healthy ergonomics are important.

    3) I think I would feel a little bit better about not bringing a $4000 bass into some smoky dive bar. :)

    There's more things, but I don't want this to get too long...

    So my question is: Do you think I could get happy with a Lakland Skyline Joe Osborne? I think I would replace the Lakland PUs with Fralins.
     
  2. GregC

    GregC Johnny and Joe Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2007
    Chicago
    In my opinion, yes. I own 3 US Laklands and two Skylines, and I still give the Skylines a significant amount of playing time. I think they're fine basses, well-made with great playability. The older ones do vary more in terms of weight; since they started being made in Indonesia, however, I've encountered fewer 10+-pounders. Also, I think Plek'ing (instituted at the same time as the move to Indonesia) has improved the playability a little bit from the previous couple years' of Skylines.

    As for pickups, I have a JO with Fralins and I love'em. But I think the Lakland J pickups get reasonably close--you may find you don't want to change them out.

    Good luck with your decision!:)
     
  3. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Offer to trade your Fodera for a minty A-C here on TB. If the person getting your Fodera will pay shipping to Germany (assuming the A-C person is in the USA) you may not come out too bad since A-Cs can be over $5000 new depending on what you order.
     
  4. JimB52

    JimB52 User Supporting Member

    May 24, 2007
    East Coast
    I use a Skyline JO with Fralins at gigs regularly. I actually prefer it to my US JO in a live setting.
     
  5. christoph h.

    christoph h.

    Mar 26, 2001
    Germany
    I've toyed with that idea, but I'm not sure I can let the Fodera go - it's really a great bass.

    I also thought about just buying a Skyline and trying it out. If I like it, then I'll just have to forget that the US/AC may be even better... :)
     
  6. christoph h.

    christoph h.

    Mar 26, 2001
    Germany
    That's an interesting comment! Can you tell me why you prefer the Skyline?
     
  7. KNURRR

    KNURRR

    Oct 12, 2009
    Probably it's not that frustrating, when it gets stolen. :)
     
  8. JimB52

    JimB52 User Supporting Member

    May 24, 2007
    East Coast
    The V-V-T configuration is easier to deal with on the fly, it's lighter, and yes, it would be less upsetting to have it walk off during a break.
     
  9. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I own a Skyline JO5 and it's probably the best bass I've ever owned. It's a true workhorse and an easy player! I did, however, upgrade the pickups to Nordstrands and I added an Audere pre-amp. I did not like the stock Lakland pickups. I'm sure the Fralins sound better. My bass is extremely light. Easily 9lbs or less. IMHO, you can't go wrong with a Skyline JO5.
     
  10. KNURRR

    KNURRR

    Oct 12, 2009
    That's interesting. What Nordstrands are you using and how does they compare to the stock laklands?

    Btw, i own a Skyline JO5 aswell and love it dearly! It's playability is outstanding IME.
     
  11. Rumblefisher

    Rumblefisher

    Aug 22, 2007
    Astoria, NY
    Ever considered Sandberg basses? They should also be readily available for you. They are fantastic. I would love to be able to afford one...not that they are all that expensive though.
     
  12. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I got the dual coil noiseless model. Much wider range than the Laklands in my opinion. Much more transparent! I couldn't get much high end with the Lakland/Hanson pups. Kinda stuck with a midrangy twang whenever I popped a string while I was slapping. My new setup kills!
     
  13. christoph h.

    christoph h.

    Mar 26, 2001
    Germany
    Interesting comments about the new pickups. I heard they were more aggressive which I always associated with more high end.

    Regarding Sandberg basses: I haven't really considered them because to me, "Fender-style" instruments are an "American thing". German/European luthiers specialize in more modern "boutique" designs (Lefay, Ritter). Even Sandberg became known for their own designs and only later began to offer Jazz/Precision-style designs. There's no real tradition with Leo's designs in Germany, so I never viewed them as being authentic enough. But maybe you are right and I should check them out.
     
  14. GregC

    GregC Johnny and Joe Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2007
    Chicago
  15. narud

    narud Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    santa maria,california
    if youre used to what a jazz bass sounds like, youd be happy with the stock laklands. theyre great sounding pickups. the noiseless nords and an audere combined is a combo thats pretty modern and hifi/hitech. not particularly fendery or jazz bassy imo.

    i played an indo dj 5 string and was extremely impressed with that bass. played as good as anything at the bass exchange in sherman oaks and for the budget minded, an excellent choice.
     
  16. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I disagree. My bass still has a Jazz bass sound. Not modern at all. The Audere pres are pretty transparent. Having said that, it is a Lakland and not a Fender. If I had that Fender sound from my Lakland, I would have kept it stock.
     
  17. Billy Low

    Billy Low

    Apr 14, 2003
    Chicago
    Sandberg Guitars
    Funny thing is you'll be hard pressed to get a Fender tone out of newer Fenders!!! :cool:

    IMHO Don't disregard the Lakland P'ups before giving them a spin. Alot of R&D went into those P'ups. Remember that Fenders from different Era's have different voicings for various reasons, and it's not all in the p'up. The Lakland J- p'up is voiced similarly to a 60's Fender J pup. Although the wire used is not the same as the original 60's P'ups. You would be hard pressed to find much difference between the two. These are no mamby pamby el cheapo electronics! The same p'ups are used on the Skylines as the US models. I love the Fralin p'ups as well.

    The JO-4 has 60's p'up spacing as opposed to the DJ's 70 p'up spacing. IMHO what that constitutes is that the 60's tend to have a bit more beef, the 70's a bit more burp. This makes a difference as one may view the specific "Fender Tone" they are after
     
  18. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    In my case, it was the slapping tone I didn't like with the Lakland/Hanson pickups. Other than that, it was cool. Honestly, the Fender pickups have a wider range than the L/H pickups, IMHO. Way better slap tone. I just needed a more versatile sounding setup instead of a one trick pony.
     
  19. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    The Jazz Bass Sound is a Fender Sound. Nordstrand HCs with an Audere (I've had both) is decidedly modern relative to a classic Fender Jazz Bass.

    The Lakland pickups are great, they're not exactly a full-on 60's fender sound, they're a bit more aggressive than that, but they sound really great. I replaced the Fralins in my USA JO5 with the Lakland single coils because they had that little bit of extra bite and presence without sacrificing the killer vintage vibe. I would never pay the price for a replacement Fralin to go the other way, since a quick turn of the tone knob puts the laklands pretty much in fralin territory. They're close.

    So now back to skyline vs USA. The big difference for me is the neck (which is sleeker on USA), the nut (plastic on the sklyine, bone on the USA), the frets (which are incredibly detailed with individually rounded ends on the USA), and the body wood (which can be Alder on the USA and always Ash on the Skyline).

    If you want to stay close to a 60s fender sound, you have to go USA to get the alder body. If we're talking 5 string it will be 35" scale which moves it away from the fender sound a bit, but its still pretty close. Otherwise it just comes down to whether or not the luxury feel of the USA justifies the price for you. Sklyines can be great basses (they do vary a bit), the new Fenders are pretty darn nice, and you could also look at Nino Valenti or Dan Atkinson for a custom build.

    DJ's don't have 70's pickup placement BTW. They're modeled after Darryl's late-60's Jazz.

    There is one other option you're not mentioning -- Sadowsky Metro. Since you're clearly a gigging bassist, and appreciate ergonomics and functionality, I'd have to suggest giving a Metro a spin. In many, many cases (not all) a Sadowsky will pop a bit more in the mix than a Fender while also filling a bit bigger space, still leaving room for the other sounds. And everything about them is perfectly dialed in for gigging. I'm a big time J-Bass guy, and I have and use all of these (Lakland, Fender, Sadowsky), sometimes that really round/woody Fender (or Lakland) sound is just the thing (especially for rock with a pick, or interestingly anything on the mellow end), a lot of the time the Sadowsky gives me that something extra in the mix that especially shines in weird sounding rooms. It'll get you through the gig, you can hear your fingers on the string, you play better ...

    If you're talking 5 string, I do suggest swapping the metro pickups for either single coils or DiMarzio Area-Js. On 4 string the metro pickups are great.
     
  20. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    Funny, I find the L/Hs to be way more versatile than the Fralins, with a much better slap tone. I found the nordstrands to be too shiny up top to get the kind of sound I like. It just depends on what you like to hear, what your rig sounds like, your band ... these are all great products.
     

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