MTD Heir-5 or Lakland 55-01?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by xhawk5, Mar 6, 2014.

  1. MTD Kingston Heir-5

    30 vote(s)
  2. Lakland Skyline 55-01

    92 vote(s)
  1. xhawk5

    xhawk5 Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2007
    Palm Coast, Florida
    Been looking for the best bass/modding platform for under a grand. (I ruled out Spector so don't mention it. Spector is it's own beast and doesn't sound like these other two).

    Ok. So, I've been told that the MTD Kingston Heirs are one of the BEST modding platforms out there. That they rival, and surpass Laklands Skyline 55-01 in build quality.

    So, in lieu of the info I've read quite a few times, I'd like to hear what the masses here on TB have to say about this.

    I've owned a 55-02 before and liked it alot. My first MTD will be here tomorrow and I will have some first-hand experience then, but the mods have to wait a month.

    Remember, this poll DOES NOT include electronics. Just the overall build quality of the body, neck, frets, trussrod, weight etc...

  2. Session1969


    Dec 2, 2010
    I have an Heir that is modded with Nordy pups,brass bridge and a bart pre. Awesome tone. I can't decide if I like the tone on my SB5000 or this one better. I've had a modded 5501 with the ntmb pre(pre failed and I gave it to a friend) and stock pups which was also very good. They're very close in the terms you've asked about. I like the looks just a tad more on my mtd. It's cherry flame/maple/gold and I live in Norcal(49'r country). I'd say that for what I'm playing (funk) the mtd gets the nod because of the mm pup.
  3. I think this will come down to personal preference. Ive owned a couple of Heirs but gave them the boot as there stock electronics were noisy beyond belief. The neck was incredible (better than Lakland) and fit and finish about the same. I think Lakland hardware is much better. I currently own and play a 55-01. Like the tone, stock electronics are better but have swapped out the pre. I think neck is slightly chunkier but still comfortable. They offer Plek. MTD doesnt ( or didnt when I had them)
    Not many options colorwise with either right now. answer with a you want a J/MM setup or Dual Soapbar? There are a few more soapbar options right now as a number of MM's drop the ears when they go to 5 strings. Something to think about as well.
  4. mmbongo

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

    Build quality will be a wash. If you liked the 55-02, the 55-01 is exactly the same bass just with different pickups. And like LightGroove said, a 55-01 is much easier to find mods for.

    A 55-01 modded with Bart MK5's and a Bart NTMB is my main bass and pretty much the only one I play these days.
  5. Robear22

    Robear22 Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2004
    Beach Park, Ill
    I have had both and modded both of them also. Very similar construction wise in the fact that they are solid, well made basses. The MTD is a little more modern feeling and the Lakland has more of a vintage vibe. Your pickups are the difference here and I tend to look at an Heir that has been upgraded as a lower cost 55-02. The Lakland you can take in different directions. You can get some Nordy big singles and have big jazz bass tone or go with some US Barts for more of a modern feel.

    The neck on the MTD is where I think it stands out a little more because of the asymetrical neck design. It is a pleasure to play and real smooth feeling. It also forces you to position your thumb so it offers better support. Also you get 24 frets with the MTD and 22 with the Lakland.
  6. Peredur


    Jul 7, 2002
    I have an MTD and have messed with it in all sorts of bad ways. It remains the nicest to play 5 I have ever owned (and I have owned WAY more than I care to admit to on a public forum). It is also super light, and that never hurts. The MTD combined with a set of TI Jazz Rounds and a fat P pickup in a MM5 humbucker shaped cover keeps me very happy indeed.

    They also are unfashionable so go for peanuts 2nd hand. What is not to love?
  7. xhawk5

    xhawk5 Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2007
    Palm Coast, Florida
    Well, after my first MTD band rehearsal, all I have to say is... Wow! Everyone loved the tone and look of it. I was especially diggin' the ease of play-ability.
    It's an amazing bass for what I paid as a 2nd owner. I don't get what anyone sees as "lesser" hardware. Bridge is simple, thick, and not bad at all. Keys turn with ease and adjust tune with great accuracy. No need to replace any of that.
    I did a set-up according to Mike Tobias Kingston site and got the action as low as 1mm w/no buzz whatsoever. THAT in-itself is worth the price of admission, lol. After 4-6 hrs of playtime, I can tell what all the fuss is about regarding the asymmetrical neck.
    The tone is subjective... Not as cut-through as my other bass w/an Aguilar pre... BUT, on the other-hand, it makes up for it when changing tempo, songs ect...
    I think the pickups are fine as-is. The preamp will be changed just for the hell of it, slightly more headroom would be an improvement, but I'm no hurry to do so.
    Although the poll shows an overwhelming preference to Lakland, I think the MTD is a much better bargain and just feels better. Yes, more of a modern look/sound, but I can get the classic tones also. Playability is the key IMO. As my old 55-02 had a Fender-like feel, the MTD was just easier to play, period. Fretting notes was effortless and felt faster and more responsive.
  8. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    My only niggle with the MTD imports is the hardware: it's gotten cheaper over the years. Both are great choices.

  9. FiveStringer1

    FiveStringer1 Supporting Member

    Oct 28, 2013
    Out of the two, I would choose the MTD and simply mod the things you want and you will have a great bass! The neck is so much better to play than the Lakland. Hardware is EASY to change.
  10. xhawk5

    xhawk5 Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2007
    Palm Coast, Florida
  11. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    It's a tough call, but I went with the Lakland for the vote. Out of the box, it's pretty killer. And you have a LOT of options for pickups and electronics.

    Not that you don't on the MTD... In fact, maybe there's more. But the hardware is kinda cheesy.
    That said, to upgrade the bridge on the Lakland would be a lot harder than the MTD. Maybe I voted the wrong way :meh:

    Both are killer mod platforms, that is true.
  12. Sav'nBass

    Sav'nBass What the .............. Supporting Member

    Jan 18, 2009
    Northern Va.
    I can't speak on it because I know nothing about the Lakelands.. but I own an Heir and a KZ and I like the Kingstons..
  13. Give the hardware some time. If yours has the blackish/nickle expect it to start flaking. I dont think anyone is calling it junk..its just not up to Laklands level. Sure it will function and based on your just fine.

    As far as the electronics. Not sure if you will be doing any recording but the weaknesses will become quite apparent. Even using in ears the noise was terrible for me. If your rocking out with a simple amp then prob no big deal. Enjoy!
    You can prob close the thread now that you bought yourself what ya wanted.
  14. xhawk5

    xhawk5 Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2007
    Palm Coast, Florida
    Yea, I had the headphones on and can hear what you're talking about with the preamp. So that's the first to replace.
    Otherwise, I think I made the right choice for my specific needs.
    Unfortunately, we as members cannot close these type of threads, (only the classifieds, from what I can tell.)
    Thanks everyone!