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Lakland - What am I missing?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by porterbass, Mar 14, 2014.

  1. porterbass

    porterbass Supporting Member

    Jul 11, 2013
    My intent is not to bash Lakland at all with this thread. I'm trying to learn as I know they have a great following here on TB and I have respect for the people here who play them.

    I have purchased two Lakland basses in the past few weeks and don't really understand the passionate following for these vs a number of other brands, including Fender. I was a bit disappointed in both of them...and returned both. A new 55-02 Special Edition and a used 44-64 Custom, both Skylines. I am looking to add both P Bass and Jazz Bass styles to my collection. I was thinking either Lakland or Sadowsky. Went for the 55-02 vs the DJ-5 because of hearing about the versatility of tone on the 55-02. (For reference...Had a Fender CS 64 Jazz Relic that I sold last year. That was a really great bass. Wish I hadn't sold it.)

    The Laklands I tried just didn't inspire me. Didn't really like the necks on either...a bit with the shape and too heavy of a finish on the neck. I like a lighter finish or oil finish on the neck. The tone was okay. Was thinking about trying the 55-60 or DJ-5 but I'm just not feeling it. What am I missing? Based on all of the reading I've done, I thought the Skylines would be fine for me, but I'm now thinking I should be looking at the U.S. models or back to Fender. I played a Fender AVRI Jazz this week that was horrible, more with the setup and the neck shape. Not sure what to think there...again I've heard great things about those but not that one. Played a '66 and '71 P Bass this week that were amazing. The '71 was reasonably priced.

    What am I missing on the Laklands?
  2. cabcreaser

    cabcreaser Supporting Member

    Feb 12, 2005
    If vintage and custom shop fenders are your reference point, I would recommend you try a US Lakland. Laklands may not be a good fit for you, but the US necks feel very different than the Skylines.
  3. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Sounds like Lāklands are not for you.
  4. maybe just live with one for a while? I've been playing the baby shown below all through this tough winter in the Northeast in which almost all my musical instruments (don't ask how many I have), including notably one Fender AVRI, have gone way out of whack between steam heat in the house, cold outdoors, etc. Meanwhile, my Lakland plays perfectly throughout.

  5. InhumanResource


    Dec 28, 2012
    I've been a die-hard fender j-bass player for about 15 years, but recently splurged on a lakland skyline 5501 because I wanted a 5-string and just wanted to try something different from the whole Fender and Fender-like world of sounds.

    I find the neck comfortable (realize you addressed this) but the tone is most definitely different than what I was accustomed to. Very clear, plenty of mids and cuts right through the mix...but somehow just doesn't "hug" and thump the way I am used to bass behaving. Figure I will give it more time, but it may just be that this baby and my new SS head will get traded in for an SVT, and back to the jazz bass I go.

    Seems like it's a matter of taste...if you are used to an old school, fair to moderate amount of dirt to your sound and feel, these kinds of instruments may not be for you.
  6. xroads


    Nov 6, 2012
    Maybe the Laklands are not for you, but: if you don't like the neck finish, you can roughen it up pretty easily. That should not be a deal breaker.
    Neck shape is personal preference...you can't do much here (except ordering a custom neck from Lakland US).

    I am a big fan of the traditional Fender 60s Jazz sound, and recently bought a DJ5 in order to have a 5-string. I can see what you are saying, but for me, after finding the right setup, the right strings, I am pretty happy with the sound I am getting.
  7. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Aug 22, 2011
    That may have something to do with it. I think the Skyline series are remarkable instruments for the price, but I've never played one that didn't remind me somehow that it was an offshore instrument. (Full disclosure: I own one, and love it...for what it is.)

    That's odd, my Skyline's neck has a very light finish on the neck, a barely-perceptible satin. Perhaps they changed neck finishes when they moved from Korea to Indonesia?
  8. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    My experience with Lakland has been thy make great high quality instruments, if you like their niche or not, and have amazing customer service that bends over backwards to please it's customers. Just my experience.
  9. mmbongo

    mmbongo Chicken Pot Pie. My three favorite things!! Supporting Member

    Lakland Skyline = $1000
    Sadowsky = $2500

    So there's that. As was already said, you probably want a USA Lakland.
  10. smcd


    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    Why would you sell a Fender CS bass that was "really great"? Why wouldn't you buy a '71 Pbass that was reasonably priced and "amazing"?
  11. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
    +1 not sure what's going on, but it sounds like "the grass is greener on the other side"
  12. Thumpinshelton


    Apr 10, 2010
    Keep searching....if basses were a one size fits all then there would not be multiple manufacturers. I love my Laklands, but play with plenty of guys who love other brands such as MTD, Smith, Sadowsky, etc....So, find what works. To me searching for a new bass is worse than picking a house or a car!!!
  13. Itzayana


    Aug 15, 2012
    Oakland Ca
    No manufacturer can be "all things to all people".
    You may not care for Lakland, but I am sure that you will agree that they are very good quality instruments. I personally love them and a Lakland is my primary instrument.
    But like an old friend of mine used to say... "That's why they make all those different colors of paint."
  14. porterbass

    porterbass Supporting Member

    Jul 11, 2013
    If my girlfriend understood me the way you do... ;-)
  15. porterbass

    porterbass Supporting Member

    Jul 11, 2013
    Your Lakland is gorgeous...love the finish.

  16. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I'm a Lakland guy but I did not like the 55-02 either. I have a 44-60 Custom Limited and a 55-01. Love them both. Neck profiles are perfect for me. I like 'em flat.
  17. MarTONEbass


    Jun 19, 2009
    Norton, MA
    Try the US model 5594. You might like the quartersawn neck better. I took some 0000 steel wool to the back of the neck and I dig it. It's my main player right now and for the foreseeable future. Don't be afraid to twist the knobs either.

  18. petergales


    Dec 29, 2009
    Leeds UK
    Totally agree! Excellent company and great products. I had both the Joe Osborn and Bob Glaub signature models and they were great basses.
  19. porterbass

    porterbass Supporting Member

    Jul 11, 2013
    Thanks very much for the input. I'm going to go to a Lakland dealer over the next week and play some U.S. built ones.

    Regarding selling my CS '64 Jazz Relic.... yes, it was one of those moments when I was packing it up and I knew I would regret it. But, I was buying another Elrick Hybrid 4, this time fretted, and thought I didn't need both. As much as I love the Elricks, I do miss having that passive Jazz tone in the stable. I would purchase another CS '64, but I would rather have a 5-string J-type at this point and I don't really see 5ers as Fender's strong point. That's why I was looking at Lakland and Sadowsky. I'll try a U.S. DJ-5 over the next week.

    Regarding the P, I am seriously considering the '71 Precision, but will try the U.S. Lakland 44-64 also.

    I like everything I hear about Lakland's customer service which is part of why I was interested. Bonus that their shop is less than a mile from me here in the city.

    Thanks again
  20. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    Not sure what you're missing. Maybe they're not for you.

    Personally, a US Lakland 44-94/55-94 is a bass that's on a short list of basses I'd like to own along with a nice US MTD 435/535. I already have a great US Spector NS-5 and an NYC Sadowsky Vintage 5 that I don't play.