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Lakland owners: Why buy a 5594 over a 5502 ?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by MarTONEbass, Oct 20, 2010.

  1. MarTONEbass

    MarTONEbass Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2009
    Norton, MA
    I did a search on this topic and came up empty, so here it goes:

    I am fairly convinced I want a 5 string Lakland as my next bass. Looking at the 5502 versus the 5594, are there advantages for one over the other?

    I understand the major difference is in the quality of the neck, so how does that affect the overall tone or playability?

    I have read up on the differences between the Bartolini and LH3 pickups, and I think both would meet my tonal goals, although I am slightly partial to the Bartolinis.

    I also understand that it is better for re-sale value to buy American Made, but buying a bass with re-sale as a consideration seems counter intuitive for me. I only have 3 basses, and I intend to keep the Lakland for a long time.

    Right now I can get a brand new 5502D for $1500 and an almost identical 5594D for $2400. So, why should I spend the extra $900?

    Any input would be greatly appreciated!
  2. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I doubt if you will hear much, if any difference in tone. The improvements that a 55-94 offers over a 55-02 are subtle. The neck is just feels better. 55-94s have nicer finishes. Quartersawn necks are more stable also. You also have much more control over how your bass will look too.

    Remember the principle of diminishing returns? This is a great example.:)
  3. MarTONEbass

    MarTONEbass Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2009
    Norton, MA
    Thanks for your input, Doc, can you explain how the law of diminishing returns works in this case? I failed economics.:p
  4. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    If you want an off the rack, albeit solid instrument, go for the 55-02 and save yourself some money. If you want the added features and maybe some custom features, go for the 55-94.
  5. Lakland Skyline: all you could ever need
    Lakland US: All you could ever desire

    This is hyperbole, but it sums it up. You won't be missing a whole lot in the skyline if you don't AB compare them, as every skyline I have ever come across stacks up beautifully on it's own merits. But when you side by side them, the little details of how amazing the US models are comes through. I hear its the same deal for Sadowsky. YOu really have no idea what kind of detail and level of execution is possible on a "Fender knock-off" until you have experienced it.

    Back to Laklands, I would only see you having a problem if you bought both of them, as you would probably only ever play one. But if you can only buy one, either one will satisfy.

    Not sure if I get this right, but I think what he is getting at with diminsihing returns is that the 900 dollar difference at this price level is much less pronounced and subtle than a 900 dollar difference between a 1000 dollar bass and a 100 dollar bass. After 1500 bucks or so, you are paying for perfection in that last 5% of the basses total build. Those that do say its worth it though.
  6. Also, I do believe that the 55-94 models have graphite rods in the neck but I'm not sure about 55-02 models, and you can't get a birdseye fretboard on a 55-02. I think you get hand picked woods with the 55-94 as opposed to whatever woods you get with a 55-02. That could mean a reduction of the overall weight of the bass by a few pounds. Please correct me if I'm wrong though.
  7. I've often wondered the same! I will get a 5502D but I wish I could get the awesome birds-eye-maple fingerboard that you can get on the 5594! Looks amazing!!:D
  8. worxforme

    worxforme Self Actualized Bad Speller

    Dec 10, 2009
    LAnsing MI
    If you buying new then buying the 5594 is supporting the US economy.

    Used, I don't think it matters.
  9. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    You got me. The 55-02 is a great bass and the level of improvement on the 55-94 is visible, but it is not a huge improvment over the budget model because the 55-02 is alreaqdy built to a very high level of quality.
  10. Lakland is still a US company even if you buy their imported bass. You are supporting it a bit more with the US, espescially since it costs more, but you are not taking food off of some luthier's table if you buy a skyline.
  11. Hoover

    Hoover Inactive

    Nov 2, 2007
    New York City
    Both the 55-94 and the 55-02 have graphite reinforcement in their necks. It's only the 4-string Skylines that do not have that feature.

    Great comparison between US-made & Skyline here: http://www.lakland.com/skyline_vs_us.htm
  12. chrisp2u

    chrisp2u Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2005
    Buffalo, NY

    Also, if buying new, you're also supporting the store you're buying it from since they mark it up as well.

    Personally, whether you decide on a 55-02 or 55-94, I'd say keep an eye out in the classifieds here or at laklandowners.com for a used one. There have been some sweet used Lakies available on the used market lately. Great way to save a bunch of $$$ and as long as the bass has been well taken care of, you'll still be getting the same great quality instrument.
  13. What Doc is saying is that the 10% increase in 'quality' will cost you 50% more once you get to this 'already very good' level (Skyline).

    Once you get to the level of the Skyline or Sadowsky Metro, it costs a lot to make them 'a little better'. I own a Sadowsky NYC that is 85% the same as the Metro and cost me a 50%+ premium for that 15% 'better'. It was worth it to me. However, hard to justify if you are on any sort of budget.

    Unless you want an expensive fancy topwood, or you are one who loves to look at the grain of the wood, or see a neck pocket that is perfect and hand cut, etc., etc., there would be little reason to spend the additional large amount of money for the USA Lakland.

    IMO and IME, having played a bunch of each.
  14. Tampabass

    Tampabass Going Viral By 2080 Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2006
    I know you are, but what am I?
    or get a great 55-02 used here on TB for $850 to $1,000 or so. Several have been floating around lately.
    I've not played a 55-94, but, IMO, my 55-02D is all the 5 string I can imagine wanting or needing for a long while - tone, feel, looks, everything.
    I HAVE compared a 44-94 with a 44-02D and, honestly, I couldn't tell much difference between the two, aside from the beauty of that particular 44-94.

  15. I would avoid the 8500 dollar Skyline's, but YMMV.
  16. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    I have never owned either. But I have gotten to play both of those exact basses recently. I posted about it in my Ric vs Lakland vs Peavey thread that I started a couple of weeks ago.

    I played the 55-02 at Sam Ash in Atlanta almost 3 weeks ago. I played the 55-94 Dlx at a local shop last Saturday. Since it wasn't a direct, back-to-back comparison, my conclusions are, naturally, somewhat suspect.

    Disclaimers dispensed with, I liked the 94 a lot better than the 02. I thought the neck felt better. It seemed to have a slightly different shape on the back side, almost like the 94 neck was shaved a bit as you get closer to the body, to make it a bit flatter.

    And I thought the 94 sounded better. Specifically, it seemed like I could get more different tones from the 94. I.e. twiddling the knobs from one extreme to the other seemed to produce more of a change to the sound. The 94 could do everything the 02 did, but then added more. It seemed like the 94 could produce more of a snarly growl than what I could get from the 02. But they both had a nice, clean, hi-fi-ish sound.

    Would I pay more for the 94 over an 02? Absolutely! An extra $900? I don't know. I am EXTREMELY unlikely to ever pay more than $1200 - 1500 for a bass, period. Unless I decide to custom order something that is truly unique. I have more than one bass already, that I got for $1500 or less, that I like better than even the 55-94.

    The value proposition is really up to you. Some people actually enjoy it more to have something that is 90% as good for 50% of the cost. Knowing that others spent way more to have something that is only JUST slightly better is part of their satisfaction in ownership.

    Other people, like me, won't be satisfied with anything that's important to them if they know they could have spent a bit more money to get something that is better. That's why I have only had US G&Ls and a US Cirrus, instead of Tributes or a BXP. And why, if I ever did buy a Lakland, I would probably only consider a US model.

    You have to know which kind of person you are to make the final decision.
  17. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    If it sounded better, it may have been due to the body woods or neck as the pre-amps are identical in both basses (unless one had the older Bartolini system in it).
  18. I've just bought a used 44-02, and i cant see the difference in that and the 44-94 other than the USA build quality, and the better tops. Wether the neck feels better i have no idea. However...

    I am VERY happy with the build quality, the playability and the sound of the 44-02, so i dont feel the need to get the USA model. This will stay with me for a while now!
  19. emblymouse

    emblymouse exempt Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2006
    The neck. USA necks are superb. Buy used.
  20. mccartneyman


    Dec 22, 2006
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Managing Editor, Bass Guitars Editor, MusicGearReview.com
    I've owned four Skylines and my main bass is 55-94D Trans Amber. I belive teh Skylines still used brushed meatl on the bridge saddles, whereas the USA are shiny. The USA is lighter in weight and the neck has never given me a bit of trouble, nor has anything else on the bass. It is my go-to bass for recording. Skyline necks feel no different to me, even though the finish is different, but I did have a Skyline JO5 with rosewood board that had a dead spot on the G string at fret 5 -- the infamous "Fender dead spot," if you will. Of all the bassesI currently have, the 55-94 is the one that "feels right."

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