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Lakland USA JO vs Skyline JO

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by peabody, Oct 4, 2005.

  1. peabody

    peabody Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2002
    La Crosse, WI
    I've decided to take the plunge and sell my Sadowsky (see the want ads...) and buy a Joe Osborn. I have a Bob Glaub with the JO neck, and I find I like the neck better on my Glaub than the Sadowsky neck.

    Here's my question...for those of you who have tried both the USA models and the Skyline models...is the USA model really worth the extra $$$? My local guitar shop is a Lakland dealer and they can order a basic USA model for around $2500, but I found a new Skyline from a dealer for a little over $900 (plus shipping, case, etc.). My Glaub is a Skyline and I love it. The fit and finish is good, it plays well and sounds fantastic with the Fralin pick-up. I was thinking I wanted a USA model, but I'd certainly consider the Skyline if it's somewhat comparable. Thanks in advance for your input...

  2. jacove


    Apr 12, 2003
    Aalborg, Denmark
    I have only played the skyline, the neck was ok, but not anything special IMHO...From what I've heard the USA's should be far superior in terms of feel and playability....can you say more precisely what you prefer to the sadowsky neck...
  3. peabody

    peabody Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2002
    La Crosse, WI
    The difference in the two necks is difficult to describe. For one thing, it really is apple and oranges because the Glaub has a rosewood board and the Sadowsky has a maple board. I just find the Glaub neck easier to play...it seems thinner and the finish on the back plays "faster" for me. To be honest, I wish I could put the neck I have on my MusicMan Sterling on all of my basses. I love the feel of that neck...again, thin and fast. Does that help?
  4. jmain

    jmain Oo, Uhn't uh, Yes! Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2005
    Alexandria, VA
    I haven't played the USA series, but I own a Skyline JO5 with a rosewood board. Awesome bass, but haven't owned/played a Sadowsky either. I guess there is a little more attention to detail on the USA, but the info on the website says that the Skyline is checked in Chicago prior to distribution; which would mean fret filling, etc. I'm stoked with my Skylind Jo, but that's just my $.02
  5. jacove


    Apr 12, 2003
    Aalborg, Denmark
    ok I agree, I have similar experience that the sadowsky's are a bit chunky compared to the Lakland and MM Sterling...a couple of years ago I absolutely swear by thin necks cause I got VERY small hands, but I've just grown to like necks with a little more beef, they give more support and provide less fatigue IMO...with the thin round neck like the Sterling I tend to push my thumb over the edge, like a guitar player, but I can more easily keep my thumb in the right place with a fatter neck...Another thing that helped me was to change the string spacing, to me it made a world of difference...the sterling and osborne has both a more narrow string spacing both at nut and bridge compared to a sadowsky, that can sometimes also play tricks on you, I've even found that the sterling is a bit narrower spacing than the osborne at the nut, therefore it also feels easier to play. I had a luthier to make me copies of the Sterling nut and that nut is in all my basses, and I try to keep the spacing equal at the bridge....I'm not saying you should keep the sadowsky, just sharing my experience... ;)

    Also, just want to add, then I tried the Sterling with the sadowsky nut, and somehow the neck felt bigger and not as fast...actually it was Roger himself that recommended me to change the spacing a couple of years back....
  6. Fawkes007


    Sep 13, 2005
    SF Bay Area
    I have played both, and here are what I thought to be the differences:

    1. Balance. The USA JO balanced perfectly. No neck dive. The Skyline does not balance as well; not a dramatic neck dive, just a teeny weeny bit, but enough so that I could tell the difference.

    2. The neck on the USA JO is simply gorgeous to look at, hold, play, etc. It feels like a nice old neck. It plays like a dream. The Skyline neck, to me, was run of the mill.

    3. In terms of sound, the USA was much warmer and and truer across the dynamic range. There could be a few reasons for this...the neck on the USA has graphite reinforcement bars, the body wood on the USA is either Swamp Ash or Alder (ash on the Skyline). I believe they both had the Bart preamps.

    The USA JO was selling for $2800 here ("We don't discount those as Lakland sets the prices."), the Skyline somewhere around $1000. The USA is a superior instrument hands down, but as I am so fond of saying, $2800 for a jazz bass is stupid. That being said, it was one of the finest Jazz style basses I have ever played. Everything about it felt great. The Skyline felt good, but not great.

    Now, if I had to compare the Skyline to a Fender Jazz in the same price range (which I did), I would go with the Skyline.

    If you are patient, you might be able to find a nice used USA JO for around $1500-$1700.

    In the meantime, go try a Mike Lull.
  7. Aaron J

    Aaron J

    Jul 16, 2003
    Cincinnati, OH
    Let me say first that I think Skyline JOs are incredible basses...especially for the price. I have played a number of them in various stores. With that said, after owning a USA JO for a number of years, I just feel the the USA is an overall more solid bass. The neck is probably what feels the most different to me. I love the neck shape and finish on my JO. The rosewood fretboard is amazingly thick :eek: and the frets are beautiful. The woods I have seen (fingerboards, necks, and maybe a sunburst finished body here and there) look and feel like they are a higher quality level.

    Soundwise, I would bet that they are pretty close. I have never used a side by side comparison, but the electronics are the same. I never remember being dissapointed playing a Skyline JO. Given the better woods and construction, I would bet the USA might sound a little better, but you would probably be splitting hairs at that point. The sound of the Skylines always blow me away for their price.

    Good luck! I don't think you can go wrong with either. Hope this helps.
  8. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    With basses like these, you're higher up on the price curve -- meaning it takes A LOT more money to get measurable improvement. Whether that improvement is worth it is up to you -- if you're a one-bass, play-it-every-day kind of guy, the USA may be worth it.

    If you're like me, and only play part-time, and like to "play the field" (play a lot of different basses), then the Skyline JO is one of the best values out there.

    Of course, if you've got tons of money, just buy a USA Lakland and a Sadowsky and sell the one you don't like as much. ;)
  9. Ike Harris

    Ike Harris

    May 16, 2001
    Nashville TN
    I can't comment on the USA JO5, but I did own a 55-94 Deluxe for a couple of years and was semi-pleased with it. Didn't care for the maple FB, dealing with batteries, lots of knobs to twist, etc. I just got a slightly used Skyline JO5 and it's ideal for me since I play upright 95% of the time. I've gotten back in the Fender-ish tone for electric but need the 5th string for the few things I do on BG, and this seems to be the best bet for me price-wise and otherwise. I like the feel, the sound, the fact that it's passive, and it's looks(sunburst/rosewood/t-shell). It will need a professional set up as the neck is bowed too far down and gets fret noise on the business end of the FB, but there are some good people here in town that can do that and if it stays solid I'll be a happy camper.

  10. spc


    Apr 10, 2004
    South of Boston
    I've never tried a Skyline JO, but I have a Lake placid blue USA JO that is the nicest bass I've ever owned (serial #73, anybody know hold that would be?). Also kills any bass I've personally played...The neck is amazing, the bass overall is light, the tuners are amazing, super stable set-up (in New England, that's saying something). I say hold out for the USA one if you can swing it...

  11. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Here are the differences:

    - The US JO has more options for finishes, whereas the Skyline has only 3TS, Black, and Natural
    - The US JO has the option of a vintage mint green or tortoise PG, while the JO only has the vintage PG.
    - The US JO comes with a pickup cover for the neck pickup, the Skyline doesn't.
    - The US JO has birsdeye maple with ebony dots, or indian rosewood with birdseye maple dots. The skyline has plain maple or rosewood with plastic dots.
    - The US JO has graphite reinforcements that make for a more stable neck, and less dead spots.
    - The US JO has a quartersawn maple neck, while the Skyline is flatsawn.
    - US JO has alder body option, the Skyline is ash only.
    - The US JO has a bone nut, while the Skyline has a plastic nut.
    - The US has vintage size Hipshot tuners with tapered shaft, while the Skyline has Hipshot licensed ultralights.
    - The controls for the US JO are vol/tone vol/tone on stacked pots, while the Skyline has the standard v/v/t similar to most J basses.
  12. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    I can't wait till I get my USA JO fiver......

  13. gbenner


    May 20, 2001
    ocean, new jersey
    On the Skyline JO5 string the neck is Flat-Sawn Rock Maple with Graphite Reinforcement Bars, the four string does not have the bars. I have the 5 string JO Skyline, and it's one of the best sounding and playing basses I have ever had. Im sure the US version is a better bass, but you can't go wrong with the Skyline.
  14. Dude

    Dude Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2000
    Owner: The Dude Pit Forum (closed) Producer: School of Bass
    Whoever told you that was FOS.
  15. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    :D yessir!
  16. Senor SQUID

    Senor SQUID Guest

    Jan 11, 2004
    I own a USA Joe Osborn and have a USA Bob Glaub w/ a JO neck on Order. I know a lot of people love their skylines but I never played a skyline that I liked. I do own a Sadowsky Metro and have played them side by side with a NYC and found them to play and sound exactly the same. As far as skylines they are great for the price but I love my USA's. AS far as Lakland setting the prices I don't think so. I got an awesome deal from Grasshopper and Beaver!!