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Lakland vs Roscoe vs Sadowsky

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by joeybcdt, Oct 17, 2004.

  1. joeybcdt


    May 6, 2004
    SE Texas
    I've decided to step into a five string. I want American-made.

    So far I'm looking at:
    Lakland 55-94
    Roscoe LG 3005 and SKB 3005
    Sadowsky Either the Standard 5 or the 24 Fret 5-String.

    What are the main differences between the two Roscoes?
    What are the differences between the two Sadowsky's?
    How do the 3 brands compare to each other?

  2. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    The difference in the two Roscoes is the body shape. There should be minimal differences between the two sonically.
    Between the Sadowskys, the Standard 5 has J pickups. The 24 Fret 5 string has soapbars - more of a modern sound.
    They're three very different sounding brands, if you list what sounds you're looking for we can help you narrow it down.
  3. MyDogBo


    Aug 25, 2002
    i attended a christopher cross concert last night in a very small venue .. jonathan clark, an excellent bassist, alternated between a pair of 55-94's .. In particular, the "B" sounded extremely solid on his pair of 5's ..
  4. joeybcdt


    May 6, 2004
    SE Texas
    Man...you're gonna make this tough.

    I'm a converted guitar player. The only basses I've ever played are a '76 Musicman Stingray, a '90's American Jazz with active EMG's (my main bass these days) and soon to be adding a restored Cirrus 4 maple (Never played it).

    I really like the sound of my Stingray but the neck needs some work, lots of fret buzz. I like the Jazz too. I like a bass that can growl when I dig in, something with some balls. I'm not into "bright". I like agressive and warm if that makes sense. Something that will jump at you on "Brick House" and relax you on "Drift Away".

    My amp is a Sansamp RBI/QSC PLX 1602/Schroder 1210.
  5. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    IMO, the Lakland 55-94 is a fantastic choice for a 5-string. It has a very defined-sounding B-string.

    I haven't had the good fortune of trying out a Sadowsky or the Roscoe LG or SKB3005. This may be a good thing, because I'd most likely jones for one.

    My take on the Lakland is it has a bit of a MM vibe, but it's a lot more flexible. Great quality fit and finish, killer sound, plays like butta.....I want one too! :)

    I have a Roscoe SKB3006. It has a 'modern' sound, yet it also has warmth. I have the Bart preamp, which IMO has really good flexibilty. I think the Roscoe has kind of a P-Bass vibe to it. It's B-string is wonderful. Roscoe also offers the Demeter and Aggie preamps. The LG body is slightly smaller than the SKB body, the LG also has slanted pickups. I really don't know how it affects the tone. I've been told that Keith Roscoe will make the LG body without slanted pickups if you so desire. I'd love to have an LG or SKB3005 one day too! :)

    By what I've read here, and by the list of bassists that play Sadowsky's, they must be a fantastic line of basses.

    All three are great choices IMO.
  6. joeybcdt


    May 6, 2004
    SE Texas
    I was pretty sold on the Lakland until I started reading about the Sadowsky's and Roscoe's. Now I'm just confused.
  7. if you really want to mess yourself up have a look at an F-bass :D
  8. I own a Lakland custom 5...like it very much. However, the Sadowsky gets the nod as far as feel, as well as usable
    tone(s) across the entire spectrum. I say 'usable', because the Lakland has the potential to dial up a huge range of shaping options...but they (for me) don't 'nail it' like Roger's basses do. I really don't have experience judging a Sadowsky 5, and I'm quite happy w/ the Lakland in that dept. - I just have become a Roger convert on the basis of 4 strings. I've ordered a Sadowsky Ultra Vintage in 4 string and I'm keeping the Lakland specifically for its B-string exceptionalities. Roscoe, undoubtably is a fine instrument. But I'm from the Fender school...and it feels like 'home' to me. So Keith's basses I can have an appreciation for, but...I'd put them at the bottom of my list, if choosing between the three. I think if I had the choice; going that route away from the 'Fender thing', I'd look for a well preserved Alembic Series I or II.
  9. GRoberts

    GRoberts Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Tucson, AZ USA
    I like my F Bass BN5 better than my truly exceptional quilt topped Roscoe LG3005 if that says anything. The Roscoe is wonderful World class bass, but my F Bass has more Marcus Miller like Slap bass presence and tone that I could not get from my Roscoe. My F Bass nails a delightful balance of Vintage Jazz Vibe paired with a touch of Modern tone. It has a full, deep, phat low end that is exceptionally well focused and a wonderful B string. My F is much more versatile than my Roscoe was. No disrespect intended toward Roscoe. If I could have afforded to keep the Roscoe at the time I would have. But alas, I let her find a new loving home. I'm thrilled with my F bass and am thinking about getting another. - Gary
  10. mike sancho

    mike sancho SANCH

    Feb 10, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Of the three you mentioned I have had 2 Roscoes and I just got a Sadowsky Metro. I loved the Roscoes but the 35 inch neck ws a killer on my left hand so I let them go. I still miss that Roscoe tone, nice and fat and I liked the slap tone. I've played Laklands on several different occasions and I did not like them very much. I find them to be heavy and I just couldn't find a tone I liked. The Metro is 34 inch neck, very comfartable and really nice to play. Plenty of tone including a real good vintage Fender tone. Killer slap tone but nice and warm also. If you can you should try to play all of them. If 35 inch neck is no problem the Roscoe is nice. If you're looking for vintage tone and real nice slap tone I'd go with the Sadowsky.
  11. Tough call because all three are really great basses, but the Lakland and Sadowsky are going to give you more of a J-bass tone and feel whereas the Roscoe is a totally different animal.

    As far as the differences between the two Roscoe's, I think that the SKB's have a slightly more warm tone because there is more wood to them. The body is a bit bigger than the LG, which for me seems to work better. The pick-ups aren't slanted either on the SKB, and some would argue that there is a difference as well. I will say that I anchor my hand a bit differently on the LG than I do with the SKB because of the p-up position, so as a result my technique is slightly different which produces a bit different tone. All in all, both are great basses and either would be my choice out of this group if you are looking for a bass that can give you a monstrous low end.
  12. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    The Sadowsky is my choice. 34" scale, great workmanship, most musical preamp. You get the tone you want almost instantly. Great live bass, really cuts. I've owned 3 Roscoes and 2 Laklands so i can speak honestly. A new Metro is about 2k. Go for it

  13. joeybcdt


    May 6, 2004
    SE Texas
    Aren't the metro's made in Japan or Korea? I've got to stick with U.S. made.
  14. ivanthetrble


    Sep 9, 2002
    I own a Lakland 55-94, a Sadowksy Vintage 5 and Roscoe SKB3005. First off, good luck with your shopping but I don't think you can really go wrong with any of them. They are all damn fine basses, but they are all very different.

    Sadowsky: does the "Fender thing" better than the rest. Build quality and after the sale service at about a good as you will ever find. Roger and crew are great if you have problems or need work done down the road and I speak from first hand experience. The neck of the Vintage 5 is the widest of the bunch by far but it is still very comfortable. Lots of room for slapping if that is your thing.

    Roscoe: neck isn't as wide as Sadowsky. In fact, the Roscoe probably has the thinnest and most narrow neck of the three. Good if you have smaller hands. The 35 inch scale isn't a problem for me but some find it a stretch. The B string on the Roscoe (and Lakland for that matter) are a bit tighter than the Sadowsky but they all three sound pretty good IMHO. Build quality on mine is again first rate. Haven't had the need to talk to Keith Roscoe about my bass and haven't needed any kind of service so I can't speak on this.

    Lakland: very comfortable neck. Nice string spacing and width. Great B string and very flexible as far as tone goes. Build quality and service are top notch (and I do speak from first hand experience from dealing with the Lakland shop). Dan Lakin and crew are fantastic with after the sale service.

    Bottom line, if I had to choose only one of these basses to play for the next 10 years it would be a very tough decision but I think I would choose the Lakland. It is the one that I seem to reach for the most often when heading out the door for a gig. Have fun with the search and good luck.
  15. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    I've owned a Sadowsky Tokyo ( great bass ) and a few Roscoes as well as a couple of Laklands. The Roscoe is more of a boutique vibe.. not really a Fenderish bass as are the Sad and Lak.. Roscoes are beautiful, have a killer lo b and are a great value for a truly handmade custom bass.
    all I can really add is that of the three, a Lakland is what currently resides in my gig bag. To me, they ALWAYS do the job right.. sometimes i still yearn for a good o'l super J bass, but I am quite content with the 55-94.
  16. Thumper


    Mar 22, 2000
    Syracuse Ut
    I’ve owned:

    4 Roscoes (1 SKB 3005, 1 SKB 3006, 2 LG 3005s)
    1 Sadowsky Standard 5
    4 Lakland 55-94s

    I currently own 2 Laklands and have pretty well gotten rid of all my other “boutique/coffee table” basses, having decided Laklands work best for me in covering 50 years of classic and hard rock. IMO they have the ultimate blend of comfort, playability, looks, and versatility.

    The Sadowsky was a beauty, very comfortable, light, but not as versatile, didn’t cut through as well, and had one major flaw I won’t go into here for fear of a lynch mob :ninja:

    The Roscoes were my second favorite boutique basses. The ONLY reason Laklands won out was weight, my lightest Roscoe was 9.25 lbs, and truthfully, I wish I still had it, the rest were 9.5 lbs and up. But when it came time to make my final selection, a Duncan equipped 55-94 fell into my lap. Now I have Bartolini and Duncan PUPed Laklands, and am a happy camper. It sure is nice being off of the GAS merry-go-round (admittedly, in a perfect world, I’d have a fretted Elrick 5er, but my world is close enough to perfect, I’ll survive with just my fretless :smug: ).

    I agree though, any of the three basses in this thread would work in 99.9% of applications.
  17. JimS

    JimS Supporting Member

    I can't help which brand having never played Roscoe and having played Lakland only in stores and never at a gig.

    But I would like to emphasize what Dave Wilson said.
    And, the Sadowsky 24f sounds dramatically different than the Sadowsky jazz and PJ models.

    However, Sadowsky now comes with the following accessory which made it a no brainer for me.

    Happy hunting.
  18. GRoberts

    GRoberts Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Tucson, AZ USA
    Show off! ... Look at those curves will ya! Nice bass!
  19. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    well, two can play THAT game!
    actually, Christine was one of the stars of STORM, the show i played for a while here in Vegas.. she is happily married and i have a lot of respect for her, she is a wonderful singer, even if the is blue.. or aqua .. or teal....
  20. JimS

    JimS Supporting Member


    But mine isn't married. In fact she wants to marry me. But I'm suspicious: she might be a 'bassdigger'. One has to be careful.;)

    *as opposed to 'golddigger' ....for the slow members of our audience