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MTD Zephyr 6, Brice Z, and Lakland 55-01 review with pics!!!!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Robear22, May 31, 2007.


  1. Robear22

    Robear22

    Sep 28, 2004
    Zion, Ill
    Here are my reviews of the three basses I currently own right now. I was going to give one as soon as I got them but I decided to wait a couple of weeks and test them out on some gigs and play them in different situations. The three basses I have right now are a Brice Z prestige 6 string, a MTD Z6, and a Lakland Skyline 55-01. That is the order of how I received them and that will be the order of the reviews.


    Brice Z Prestige 6

    As I opened the box I did not know what to expect. I have had two of these basses before and I did not know what type of top I would have. This one is the new spalted maple version and I was real curious on how it would look. I was very pleased with the visual appearance. Not the thickest piece of maple but it added a touch of class to an already nice looking bass. Construction is good with no noticeable flaws and the finish has no errors. The hardware is okay, not top notch but can stand up to the rigors of gigging.

    The tone out of the box is the best out of all of the Z’s I have owned. The volume knob works smoothly and the bass and treble do what they need to do. Adequate boost and cut can be attained. The highs are not shrill but very warm. While the bass can be a little boomy on the extreme setting just a touch adds nice swell and fill out the low end. The electronics are noisy though. That is one of the reasons I got rid of the other two. Each one I upgraded with a new preamp (Bartolini, Aguilar) and this one will not be different. But this time I changed the pickups also. I installed EMG HZ pickups with an EMG BTC 2 band preamp. This bass now is a lot cleaner and brighter sounding. Not as noisy as before but I think more shielding of the pickup cavity and electronics cavity will eliminate that. Although this bass has ash wings and a maple and rosewood neck-thru, it is not as bright sounding as you may think it should be. I don’t know if it has to do with the massive rosewood fingerboard but the tone is right for blues and jazz. Clarity on the high end but a tone filled with nice, thick low mids.

    Playability is not bad due to the flat neck profile. The string spacing is 19mm at the bridge so those that prefer tighter spacing this bass is not for you. Slapping is easy on this bass and all other styles are smooth due to the neck profile. If you have not played a six and are worried about not being able to reach some notes, I have small hands and can play from the B to the C with no problem. Overall for $500 bucks this bass is a good buy. For those venturing into the realm of ERBs this is a worthy contender. If you are looking for a platform to upgrade on then this bass will kill with Bart pickups and either a Bart or Aguilar pre.

    One more thing, this bass is heavy!!!!! Get a good strap. You will need it.
    DCFN0037.jpg

    MTD Zephyr 6

    I have been waiting on this bass since they came out. There were some negative reviews on TB about this bass but I am glad I did not heed their warnings. Word of advice to everyone, not everybody hears things the same and what may make one person tingle with delight may make another cringe in disgust!!!!!

    I got this bass from Brandt at Perfect bass and the experience was truly good. He answered every question and shipped the bass quickly after payment. When I received the bass I could not believe how light it was. Made the Brice feel like a paperweight. The construction on this bass is immaculate and I could not find any flaws anywhere. The action was low with no fret buzz and the fret edges were smooth. The trans cherry finish is even more beautiful in person and the pictures did it no justice. The burl maple top is distinguishable from some distance away and the contrast between the maple fretboard and the body stain reminds me of an F bass. I like the smoked chrome hardware a lot better than the black hardware that cam with the first run of Z 4 and 5 stringers. Gives it more if an upscale feel. The bass is light and with the wide neck you do get some neck dive when seated. This is not a problem when standing though. A good solid strap will rectify the situation. This bass is very easy to play and fatigue is lessened by the profile of the MTD neck. One of the best neck profiles in the business.

    I can see where all the complaints came from about guys not able to get a solid tone out of this bass. This bass to me IMO is nothing but a modern tone machine. If you are looking for a vintage, fenderish tone then get a fender or another jazz bass clone. This bass gives me what I am looking for in a modern bass. I have only played a few US MTD’s but I have to say that this bass is in the family for sure. Let’s just call it MTD lite!!! This bass has one of the brightest tones and the highs sing with a clarity that I have not personally owned on a bass before. Harmonics ring out and playing in the upper registers is actually a lot of fun. Crisp and clear is how I will describe the highs. The mids add some growl but I would like to change the strings first before I make my final ruling on that point. It is a subtle change unlike the highs which can be harsh for some if you do not like tweeters. The lows are solid but do not add as much bottom as some would like. I don’t mind because I just boost the lows on the amp to compensate. The slap tone is IMO where this bass shines. Modern and hi-fi for days on end. That is what it does and that is about it. You can cut the highs, boost the lows and mids, and pan to the neck pickup and you can get some cool reggae dub out of it. Or you can pan back the bridge pickup and get some burp but this bass will not get dirty. The pickups seem pretty good and are pretty quiet. I think a preamp change would do this bass some justice though. The output is lower compared to the other basses I have. Whenever I switch basses I have to turn the input gain up to get the same level as my other basses. This bass is not for everyone. If you want some modern MTD tone but you don’t have the US MTD budget then I would recommend this bass. It is one of the best playing modern sounding basses I have owned. If you are looking for a chameleon then this is not the bass for you because it does one thing and one thing well IMHO.
    DCFN0034.jpg

    Lakland Skyline 55-01
    Last but not least I received my Lakland 55-01 two days later. I was hyped up over my MTD and bought this bass as an after thought because a deal to buy a 5 string KSD fell through. I had always wanted to try a Lakland but never got the opportunity to. I ordered this bass from Bass place in Arizona and the experience with them was just as delightful.

    I opened the packaging and just like the others this bass has solid construction. These overseas manufacturers are really putting out some good stuff. I plugged it in and was blown away. I know some don’t like the Bart MK-1 pre and pickups but I was getting the jazz bass growl out those soapbar pickups. They picked up every nuance of my playing and the pre adds a lot of versatility. Then I pulled the volume knob and played it bypassing the pre and loved the passive tone even more. This bass has grit and dirt and the spacing and weight make this bass a breeze to play. I don’t know what strings are on here but this bass caught me with my pants down. I took this bass and the MTD to the studio two weeks ago and the Lakland just had something but I don’t know what it is. I am not saying that the MTD did not sound good but it was just different. This bass has peaked my curiosity about the other series and I can see a 55-02 in my future.
    DCFN0035.jpg


    All three basses were played at my church through my church rig which is a Kustom GB1200 head into an Avatar 212 delta. They were also played through my practice rig(Yorkville XM200) and my gig rig(Yamaha BBT500H and BBT210 cabs). All three were also played and recorded in a studio on several tracks.

    Sorry for the length and hope these reviews shed some light for some of you guys that are on the fence about these basses. These are three solid basses that give me a bunch of tonal variety that I have never had before. Right now the Lakland is winning out as the most played with the MTD a close second. I am picking up a Cort GB75 so I will put it through the paces also and see where that one fits in.

    Here are some pics
    DCFN0034-1.jpg
    DCFN0030.jpg
     
  2. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    NY
    So which one is your favorite?
     
  3. Bassman7PM

    Bassman7PM

    Mar 13, 2006
    Chicago, IL
    +1 On the Lakland 55-01. Just picked up one last week from another TB'er Bardolph and from the moment I first plugged it in.....OMG, I'm in love. Tone for days.
     
  4. Robear22

    Robear22

    Sep 28, 2004
    Zion, Ill
    I have to say the MTD from a looks perspective and the Lakland from a tone perspective.


    Hey Bassman, did you go to the TB GTG? You missed a wonderful clinic!! It was off the chain.:hyper: :hyper:
     
  5. CamMcIntyre

    CamMcIntyre

    Jun 6, 2000
    USA
    Nice. I remember talking to Scott Pazera about the Zephyr 6s last year before they were released. I had brought my Douglas 6 in for him to check out. If i buy a good 6-the Z6 is one of the front runners [unless if the Bongo6 comes out.....then that would win due to my EB bias].

    Great reviews-thanks for sharing.
     
  6. zachbass02

    zachbass02 One Hairy....squatch.

    Jan 3, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Funny....I've got a GB-75 on it's way to me as well as a back up to my 55-02...I've wanted to try a 55-01 too, just to see the difference between the two....Definitely bag a 55-02 if you get a chance...I tracked a country session with mine shortly after I got it fretted and it was amazing. Huge HUGE tone for days direct into an avalon U5 pre...I'm stoked about getting my GB-75 though...should be an interesting animal...
     
  7. Ed Goode

    Ed Goode Jersey to Georgia Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    Nice reviews Roland, very even handed and IMO totally accurate for the Brice and Lakland (I've never played the MTD).

    The MTD is very interesting to me, as well, and I appreciate your info on it. Is the spacing 18mm or 19mm?

    Good info .... :cool:
     
  8. Robear22

    Robear22

    Sep 28, 2004
    Zion, Ill
    The spacing on the MTD is 18mm. Mike's standard for all of his 6 strings unless requested by the customer. I would love to compare a US 6 to this Z to see what they have in common dimension wise.
     
  9. Robear22

    Robear22

    Sep 28, 2004
    Zion, Ill
    I am also considering installing either a Bart or Aggie to bump up the output on the MTD. I think that move will really put that bass over the top.
     
  10. gkbass13

    gkbass13 Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2006
    New York
    i thoguht about the idea of installing nordstrand fat stacks and an aggie pre in a mtd z if i ever got one....the same thign with a lakland 55-01...could be a fun project.

    i am completely sold on lakland basses though...i intend to make my next bass a lakland with a maple board..either a 55-02, a modded 55-01 or a joe osborn sig.
     
  11. Robear22

    Robear22

    Sep 28, 2004
    Zion, Ill
    The 55-01 I have is so sweet sounding that I do not want to do anything to it. I am going to leave it stock.
     
  12. The 55-01 is a very warm sounding bass. If you like it, the 55-02 will soothe your ears too. Buy one and you'll be really happy.
     
  13. BillytheBassist

    BillytheBassist

    Aug 18, 2005
    Texas
    Nice review Ro, some good info.
     
  14. Robear22

    Robear22

    Sep 28, 2004
    Zion, Ill
    I hope the reviews really help someone who might have been on the fence. I have a new digital camcordr/camera. I am trying to find out a way to record myself playing the arorementioned basses but I am having a hard time recording the audio.
     
  15. Lo end PUNCH

    Lo end PUNCH

    Jan 28, 2005
    Racine,Wi
    Good reviews Ro, I actually had the oppertunity to play all three of these at Robears Musicians workshop. The MTD was clearly my favorite, a sheer punch factory and the neck felt so goood. The Lakland for me, has bitten me to go out and buy a 55-02, I cant wait. I'm searching for the right one. Laklands that I've played before did not move me but when I played/heard Ro's it just blew me away!!! Yes, the Brice WAS heavy but it was very classy and a real looker that stood out very well against its counterparts, the added electronics were just what this baby needed. Thanks Roland, the LeCompte is ready for your review. Hit me up.
     
  16. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Great Reviews Robear! I love your detail. Based on what you said, I would really love to give the MTD Z6 a whirl.
     
  17. SwitchGear

    SwitchGear Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2005
    Sunny Beach
    Nics basses Robear & great reviews!

    I have a 55-01 and have installed an Bart USA pre-amp in it. This puts it very close tone wise with a 55-02. Tone wise not much change occurred (over the Korean MK1 PRE), the biggest improvement Is the pots now have an even taper instead of massive boost near full on.

    ps, I'm lovin' the Avatar cab you sold me!
     
  18. Robear22

    Robear22

    Sep 28, 2004
    Zion, Ill
    Thanks again fellas. LAG you got a real winner in that SB112. It is a nice cab and can really handle the lows. I miss it already. Just let me know when you want me to play the LeCompte Neal.
     
  19. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Mar 6, 2021

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