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Lakland USA or Korea

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by HotRoded, Jul 5, 2005.


  1. HotRoded

    HotRoded

    Jun 6, 2003
    Maryland
    After trying a whole bunch of stuff, I have pretty much decided my next bass will be a Lakland, either a 55-02 (made in korea) or a 55-94 (made in USA).
    I have tried them both, I haven't been able to tell a sound difference. Am I turning death ?!

    The finish of the back of the neck was different: mat on the 55-94 and glossy on the 55-02 (which made me almost prefer the 55-02, but that's probably that's because this is what I am used to). Is it always like this?

    I found the neck is a bit chunky, but that did not bother me, I found playability was great.

    Anyone has experience with one of these 2, or both?

    The choice is between a new Korean version with a hard shell case upgrade, and a used American one. Haven't decided yet.

    Any comment apreciated. Thx.
     
  2. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    I'm assuming you meant "deaf", otherwise this post is pointless, falling on death ears. :D Ok, ok, 'nuff of that...

    Should be an oil finish on the 94 and a SATIN (tho yes, finished) neck on the 02. My 02 is satin, anyway, and it feels great to me. I also hate gloss finished necks, but will put up with it for the right bass.

    Somone said the 02 is 80-90% the bass for 50% the money. IMHO, they're dead-on. Dan Lakin even states he wants the Skyline to perform VERY closely to the USA series. In his mind, it says Lakland, it needs to be awesome... in any price range. IMHO, he's achieved that goal nicely.

    I totally love my 02, and play it often. I may invest in a 94 someday... maybe to get different woods (one of the "limitations" of the Skylines), maybe just to get that extra edge in quality, but the 02's good enough that I can take my time planning that.
     
  3. HotRoded

    HotRoded

    Jun 6, 2003
    Maryland
    :D :D :D

    You're right, that's what I tried to say, I just wasn't familiar enough with the terminology :oops: :rollno: Thanks for clarifying.
     
  4. jefframm

    jefframm Supporting Member

    Dec 2, 2003
    Atlanta
    My main bass is a 55-94 classic, and I also have several skylines. The five string skylines have the graphite bars in the neck just like the US ones. My Skyline JO5 is a great bass and the only neck diff is the finish. You can, BTW, have Dan's guys do an oil finish on the Skyline neck, or at least you could back in late 2003. Can't remember the upcharge but it was about $100 back then I think.

    Although I love all my Laklands, there is a subtle difference with the US built 55-94 for me. The fit and finish on the skylines is excellent, but i would have to say on the US bass it's superb.

    From an electronics standpoint, the 55-02 and 55-94 are identical (as far as I know from specs and playing). You really can't go wrong with either.

    have fun,
    jeff
     
  5. If you can't tell a difference, get the Skyline and pocket some cash.

    Oh, along with the "death" quip, "hotrodded" is spelt with 2 "d"s. :D
     
  6. There are a lot of 94-55's out there used. The fit and finish, AAAA tops and the extremely light weight body on the USA models make them somewhat better for me than the Skyline 02 models. I would go for a used USA Deluxe and get the real thing!
     
  7. Stox

    Stox

    Mar 18, 2005
    London UK
    I have tried several 55-02's and found the fit and finish 2nd best to the 55-94's.

    My 2 pennies
     
  8. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    As an owner of Lakland USAs and Skylines, I'll say you can't really go wrong with either. The USAs have the graphite reinforcement which makes for a stiffer neck. Absolutely no dead spots. They are also quartersawn, which helps in stability. The neck is less likely to warp because the grains work against each other to keep it straight (That's what I heard from G&L). The oil finish defintely feels better to me than the satin finish on the Skylines.
    The other main difference is in fretwork. The fretwork on a Skyline is exceptional, but the fretwork on a USA is just phenomenal. It's the best fretwork I have ever seen, and the rounded edges make the neck that much better feeling to the hands. The USA is worth the extra $$ just for the superb fretwork. I own a fretless 44-02 and I feel a little cheated because it doesn't have the exceptional Lakland fretwork that I have fallen in love with.
    The finishes on the USAs are better as well. I have a 44-02 and 4-94 that both have cherryburst finishes. The top on the 4-94 is thicker, the red is richer, and the quilt is more pronounced. Visually, I can tell the difference. The bodies are also lighter on the USA series. My two Skylines both weigh 9.5, while my USAs weigh 9lbs and 8.5 lbs.
    There's also a difference in fingerboards. If you're going for maple fingerboards, then the USAs have the most awesome birdseye boards. For rosewood boards, the Skylines have a nice rosewood, but the USAs have an cool indian rosewood that isn't as porous and has a nice tight grain. For fretlesses, the Skylines have rosewood boards, while the USAs have ebony.
    Tuners are also different. My Skyline 44-02 has Hipshot ultralights on them, while the 4-94s have Hipshot tuners that look like smaller HB-2s. The 4-94s have a higher tuning ratio on them, so it's easier to fine tune. Both sets of tuners are very smooth.

    As far as tone goes, you can't really tell much of a difference. Both sound incredible live or recorded. The electronics are the same, but acoustically the basses can vary because of the quality of woods. The real difference to me is the playability.

    Like I said, you get more than your money's worth with either, so it's hard to go wrong.
     
  9. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    +1
    There is a diff (as another poster said), but it is subtle, and maybe not worthy of the extra bux to some folks.

    Ok, now yer just gettin' mean... :bag: ;)
     
  10. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    So do the Skylines, but only if you're talkin' 5 strings. FYI.

    +1

    Odd. The frets are finished on both lines at the USA shop, and the fretwork you describe also matches my 02... nice rounded edges, perfect level, etc.. :confused:

    Definitely. The figured tops on the Skylines is VERY thin. Dan will be the first to tell you that none of his figured tops matter to the tone, but the one on the Skyline is so thin I don't like the way it looks on a natural finish, 'cause you can see the edges. On a burst, it looks great, but yeah, the USA's look better.

    (fingerboard woods, tuners, etc.) Yeah, again, mostly cosmetic non-functional quality, except the tuners, but I really have absolutely no complaints with the Hipshot LP tuners on the 02, so that's "effectively" cosmetic to me, as well. The rest, "tone woods", etc, yeah, there's a diff, but again, pretty subtle from a functional standpoint.

    IMHO, the bottom line is in how much you can afford to pay for in intrinsic value vs raw functional value, and the "luxury tax" on this one is high IMHO... tho yes, worth it to some. :)
     
  11. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    I heard that they had some of the Skylines are being finished in Korea now. I'm not sure when they started doing that.

    I'm not saying that the Skylines don't have awesome fretwork, because they do. But I do notice a difference in the frets between my 4-94s and 55-02.

    When I get home I'm gonna have to check it out, and see what the difference is. Like I needed an excuse to play my Laklands.
     
  12. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    I've "heard" this too, but the web site still says "ALL". I bet the Dude would know. Maybe we should PM him. Otherwise, hell, let's just call Lakland. I'm sure they'll be honest about it. All I can say is mine sounds and feels incredible, and if it wasn't done in the USA shop (tho I think it was) it might as well have been.

    Uh oh, sounds like a project. Me too. I'll see if I can get a good macro pic in the thread, but in the mean time, you can see a fair amount here at least:

    FYI, this is actually my bass. They still have its pics up in their archive...

    Taken from:
    http://www.thegrooveshoppe.com/Basses_In_Stock/Lakland/Lakland_55-02.html

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Senor SQUID

    Senor SQUID Guest

    Jan 11, 2004
    I currently own 2 U.S.A. Lakland's and have played the Korean version of the 55-94 and found the USA one to be made better as well as fell a lot smoother and lighter. My Joe Osborn weighs 8 1/4 lbs and my 4-94 weighs just under 8 lbs. They both have ash bodies. The korean one I played felt like 10 lbs or so to me. The USA basses have the graphite reinforcement quartersawn necks which makes the neck a lot stiffer with no dead spots and rgeater stability. I was always a big fan of oil finishes as compared to satin finishes-- I guess thats why I never liked Sadowskys(Well that and the fact that they are not strung through the body)-- but that a whole other topic. The frets felt a lot smoother with the U.S.A. ones to me also. If you have the extra money the USA is worth it. As I say you pay for what you get! I have played the skyline Hollowbodies and thought those were awesome though. To each his own. Just my 3 cents
     
  14. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    +1 all yer points, except again, just to make sure nobody's confused, if yer talkin' the 5 string models, the Skylines ALSO have the graphite reinforcement bars feature. They don't have the quartersawn necks, but I'm not so concerned about that, since my MTD has a flat sawn neck, and it's got ZERO issues.
     
  15. HotRoded

    HotRoded

    Jun 6, 2003
    Maryland
    Do you mean it is possible to order directly from them, eventually with some options?
     
  16. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    I don't think so, but you can work with them and the dealer of your choice. I know of more than one case where someone hand picked an instrument on a factory visit, and then worked out purchasing thru the dealer. Also, the dealer can just "order" this for you. You don't have to go direct for this stuff, either. Bottom line is, Lakland's just a damn fine company 'cause they're all about pleasing customers and dealers both, and they put out a top quality product.
     
  17. Senor SQUID

    Senor SQUID Guest

    Jan 11, 2004
    I wish I never got rid of my MTD bro. I think I see another one in my future. I am not sure what neck and fretboard combo would suit me best?
     
  18. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    Hopefully not to derail, but a real quick rule of thumb on it (so to speak) is, if you're a bit more about the slapping, prolly the wenge/wenge, otherwise, his maple necks are a lot more "traditional" sounding, which a lot of fingerstyle players (like myself) prefer. I thought the w/w was a bit too compressed and odd in the midrange. The maple/ebony just felt like "home", and I can darn sure get a killer slap tone out of it, as well... at least good enough for me anyway. :)
     
  19. HotRoded

    HotRoded

    Jun 6, 2003
    Maryland
    From I have seen, it seems that the Birdseye Maple fretboard is more popular than Rosewood.

    Did you Lakland owners choose it because of the sound or because of the look?
     
  20. BoiNtC

    BoiNtC

    Nov 25, 2002
    NYC, USA
    I had a 55-02 on order with the Dude, but then I saw that gorgeous trans 55-94 here and I snatched that up, the price between a new 02 and a used 94 is so minimal that I decided to go with the upgrade for the 94.

    Theres a 94 Deluxe on sale here/at low down sound by a TBer for 1600 I believe, also a great price, I would have snatched that one up if I didn't already pick up the trans white one.