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MTD 535 Questions

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by thehurlatron, Nov 30, 2006.

  1. First off. Will a $4500 MTD PLAY better than my Lakland 55-94? (not sound better, obviously wood and electronics will play that part)

    Or In this price range is it more about looks/feel?

    2. This may be a dumb question, but what is a "zero Fret"?
  2. A zero fret is a fret right in front of the nut that the string rests on when played open, open notes should then sound more like freted notes since they are then fretted as well, make sense?

    As far as playability goes, it's just impossible to know which will play better for you, but it will play different. You may love the way the body shape hangs or you may prefer your lakland, same goes for neck shape. It's too subjective to really give an answer, you'll never know until you try. I've played some incredibly expensive basses that I just hated the playablity of, but hand me a fender knockoff and I'm right at home playability, though not necessarily sound, wise.
  3. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    They both have similar neck specs: 35"-scale, wide string spacing at the bridge (3/4") so they could feel similar, although MTD 535's necks are asymetrical in the back (arguably, more comfortable) while Laklands have a regular profile.

    In general, MTDs are very modern-sounding: bright, and snappy; Laklands can be warmer, and will offer a little more sound variation because of the MM pickup.

    I personally dig MTDs construction more (Mike Tobias is an absolute master) and Laklands are more of a parts bass - high quality, nonetheless, but they do not have that custom-made feel than MTDs have.

    I sold my MTD 535 because it was just too bright, lakcing any kind of warmth, which I prefer, and 35"-scale with wide string spacing at the bridge is reserved for players with bigger hands than mine.
  4. chinjazz

    chinjazz Supporting Member

    Sep 11, 2002
    Atlantic Beach, FL
    1+ on what Lefty007 said...
    I've owned both, and can say a few things. Body and neck wood selection will definitely give you subtle characteristic differences. To me (and this is subjective too), the MTD will give you a wide array of tone capabilities. I didn't feel I could get a close enough Jazz tone (bridge solo) because of the soap bars. But that was a no brainer because I always have a Jazz bass to pick up. The Lakland can get closer to this kind of Jazz tone (ie, the split coil on the bridge soap bar). Both basses could produce a P-Bass tone, and as Norm Stockton puts it "P-Bass on Steroids" will be achieved with the MTD. Very cool!

    Putting all the classic tone goals aside, I felt the 535 cut thru the mix better time and time again, and it had more character to me. Again, remember that wood choice is key. If you're going to spend 4K, you definitely want to get to play a few different MTD's. I found that I liked the Wenge neck w/wenge fretboard. More snappy and sturdy as "all get out". I once was pulling the bass off my shoulders and the head stock hit a fast moving (metal) ceiling fan. I thought... Oh... Shi..... And not a scratch! Of course that isn't a real consideration, but I thought I'd share that story.

    Get down to a shop that has MTD's! Most likely you'll find they also have Lakland 55-94s to.
  5. I currently have a 535, and I used a 55-94 for about a year as my #1. I also currently use a Lakland JO5, which I understand has the same/similar neck as the 55-94.

    I've heard that Mike's neck specs have varied somewhat over the years, but IME, the MTD has a slightly thicker neck and a smaller fingerboard radius. As a result, the Lakland neck feels a bit wider and shallower. But the difference isn't a huge one, I'd say the necks feel somewhat similar. Differences in playability between the two are more about personal preference, IMHO.

    Maybe you should consider the tonal differences as the primary factor, since the MTD with barts sounds drastically different from a barts-loaded 55-94. As others have said, the MTD is more modern with crisp, sparkly highs, although the preamp is quite versatile. A slapping machine. The 55-94 w/ barts was a little more old school sounding with a nice midrange bark, as I recall. I have no experience with the Lakland or SD pickups though.

    Both are very very good basses. If you're considering an MTD, I have had a really, really good experience working with Mike Tobias.

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