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Musicman Sterling 5 HS vs. Lakland 55-02

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by SRFSterling5, Jun 10, 2012.

  1. SRFSterling5


    Sep 24, 2011
    I've been contemplating this for a while. I've had the MM now for about a year. Great playing instrument with a couple of quirks that are getting a little annoying. First the string spacing is a little on the tight side at 17.5mm. Also the G string sits so close to the edge of the neck and sometimes when fretting the string pushes off the edge. I know the Lakland is an import versus the USA MM, but from what I've read and heard, the Lakland is well made instrument. Plus it has a wider neck, 35" scale length for a meaty low B, a wide range of sonic control, and a 19" mm string spacing at the bridge. I really want the USA
    Lakland but the price is a little steep for the finances right now.
    Any suggestions would be really appreciated. Thanks everyone.
  2. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    The main thing to know is that a 55-02 does not sound like a Music Man Sterling or Stingray; the humbucker is too close to the bridge to get the classic tone, but it can get close.
  3. The build quality will not be as high in my experience. The disadvantage with the 35 inch scale is that the B and E can overwhelm the higher strings and they can lose their clarity.

    The MM spacing is fairly tight but I've just got used to it.

    Nothing sounds like a Musicman as well. You want that big humbucker Stingray/Sterling punch? Stick with what you have.
  4. basspraiser

    basspraiser Jammin for the Lamb! Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2006
    Chicago - NW Burbs
    I like the feel of the Lakland neck MUCH better...

    and the 19 mm spacing is much more comfortable!

    ...as for quality, I disagree with Musicman20....I think the quality is as good if not better (in most cases)....

    if the bass is set up correctly, no string overpowers any other string....the B is MUCH more articulate on the Lakland (IMHO) for a variety or reasons.

    try one....if you do, i beleive you will but by one!
  5. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Aug 22, 2011
    I spent a long afternoon A/B'ing a MM Stingray 5 and a Lakland Skyline 55-02 Deluxe a few years back...and during the process of all the back & forth I also picked up a MM Sterling 5

    ...and put it back down pretty quickly.

    The Sterling was clearly not in the same league as either the American-made Stingray or the (in this case) Korean-made 55-02D.

    Not sure how the Indonesian-made Skylines stack up nowadays. This was back in 2009 or 2010.
  6. SRFSterling5


    Sep 24, 2011
    Mine is the Sterling HS American Made model, not the Sterling by Music Man.
    It's just that there seem to be more of a variety of tones available on the
    Lakland and to my ears, much more authority on the B string. I'll hopefully
    get a chance to play one tomorrow that I had seen at a local shop here.
    Thank you all for your opinions.
  7. pedroims


    Dec 19, 2007
    I have own an sterling 4 and an 44-02, agreed with Dr Cheese, they sound so different, quality is equal regarldess one is made in USA and the other overseas, I am lakland boy, however, I will take the sterling anytime, it is an amazing bass, I like it way more than an stingray.
    Mike Weinstein likes this.
  8. I've tried buying 5 DJ/JO 5s brand new and they all had similar problems:

    Bad neck pockets
    Poor pickup/bridge alignment (on ALL of them) meaning the strings were towards the G edge of the fretboard
    Ridiculous weight
    Misaligned Lakland logo (and smudged)
    Cheap feeling rosewood

    The USA Musicman basses won out, everytime.

    I gave up trying to buy a Lakland and now I own 5 Musicman basses (and I'm getting another).

    This might be bad luck, but even when I view new Lakland Skylines on the net, they don't have good pickup/neck/bridge alignment.
  9. nubs


    Mar 1, 2005
    apples and oranges....coke or pepsi, Big Macs or Whoppers...its what you like, thats what its all about...of course your gonna get a half dozen member from the Lakland owners group swearing by the 55-02 and you'll get the same about of EBMMen standing firm on the stingray, does that really surprise anyone.....? :rolleyes:
  10. pedroims


    Dec 19, 2007
  11. The logo was smudged, and the actual outer lettering didn't match up with the inner filling for the letters, and on an angle, therefore misaligned.

    Don't get me wrong I like what Lakland do but nearly every 5 string Skyline I've seen here in the UK has a bridge/pickup misalignment.

    There have been numerous threads about it on here from other bass players.
  12. I'd hardly call £1000+ a budget bass, when a Stingray 5 HS is around £1350-1400 with a hardcase.
  13. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Lakland must send you guys seconds because i have never seen that here. For the record, I am a big fan of Lakland and Music Man.
  14. That's what I thought haha!
  15. nubs


    Mar 1, 2005
    me too i have both and i wouldnt get rid of either one of em! i am lucky enough that my band plays with multiple tunings so play with all my good stuff! Am stnd PBass, Tbird....they all see playing time
  16. gt96g

    gt96g Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2008
    Philly Area
    here's my two cents, I am a musicman nut, I love them, and I especially love my 93 sterling. I have a stingray 5 as well. I have always favored the tone of the sterling and wanted a sterling 5 for a while, I had the chance to get one a while ago and it just didn't feel right. The ergonomics were way different from the stingray 5. smaller horn = longer reach.
  17. SRFSterling5


    Sep 24, 2011
    Well, yesterday I tried the 55-01 model as that was the only one available here. The neck just felt right, spacing was perfect. I suspect the 55-02 would be even better, so I ordered one, 55-02 Deluxe in the Quilted Natural finish. Traded in the Musicman. That low
    B tone on the Lakland just nailed it. The 35" scale is not a problem, in fact it felt better than the Musicman to me. Now the waiting begins......LOL
    madjazzbass likes this.
  18. 59jazz

    59jazz Infinite Rider on the Big Dogma Supporting Member

    I owned a Bongo 5HH and now a Sterling 5 HH. The Sterling sounds great and really cuts thru the mix, but it's a bit heavy for my aging back (10+) pounds, even with a quality 3.5" leather strap. It was becoming uncomfortable during the 2nd service last Sunday, So the Music Pastor suggested I try his Korean Skyline 55-02 during the 3rd service. A completely different animal; loved the wide spacing and the rw fret board. The sound tech left the settings untouched, and thru my Avalon U5, the Skyline had a quite a bit more punch in the low end.......I could feel it in the stage floor. I have it for the week and every night I pick it up, I like the 55-02 a little more. It weighs about 9.5 #'s and it even feels great with a cheap $3.00 2" strap. So......guess I'll be offing the Sterling 5HH soon, to get a 55-02 ;) Also.....like the OP, I could never get over how close the G string sits to the edge of the f-board on my MM 5's.
  19. MarkTrace


    Dec 5, 2010
    Ok, this is coming from someone who has never had any MM or Laklend in his hand until 2 weeks ago. I am switching from a G&L L-2000. I already sampled the L2500 and M2500 and they did not make the cut. The "presence" of the G, D, and A strings is weak (same with my L2000) compared to the basses below.

    I had a chance to A/B the Stingray HH5, Sterling H5, Stingray H5, (no classics), and the 55-02. Right off the bat the Sterling B string was the weakest of the bunch so that eliminated it immediately. I could not find a Sterling HH5 to try and after hearing the lame B string H5 there would "B" no point.

    In between the 2 Stingrays I liked the fuller sound of the HH but disliked the neck pickup location. Both have that great growl. The strings are a bit snug to each other on all MM models. Nothing that some time in the saddle wouldn't fix but for my poor slap/pop technique I need some help. Both Stingray B strings sound good with a nice attack when my finger left the string, and without A/B'ing the 55-02 I would have said they were great.

    The owner of the local music store then suggested the 55-02. He knew what I was after and thought the 55-02 would cover it. I had not considered Lakland up until that point. First off the B string is noticeably thicker and cleaner than the Stingrays. It seemed to lack that attack that the Stingrays had but in the mix that would get lost anyway. I am sure the girth of the B string sound on the 55-02 would cut through the mix. What I also noticed is that I quickly dialed in the bark / growl that the Stingrays have without that "scooped" sound of the Stingray. Of course some of the "scoop" on the Stingrays can be dialed out but it still didn't sound like the 55-02. I did however find a close scooped sound to the Stingray on the 55-02. I didn't notice the 35 scale and didn't find out about it until I got home and started doing some research. The neck felt comfortable and easy to play and did not feel as wide as the Lakland website says it is. On that subject, the Lakland website is wrong about the 3.3" width at the 22nd fret. Brian at Lakland measured one for me and it's barely 3" (I think the MMs are 2.75").

    In short, I liked the feel and sound of the 55-02 better. I was able to find more tonal options that I liked vs the Stingrays. I found the eq had more options, heck, the pots felt better too. The kicker is the pricing. Better deals can be had on the 55-02 new with nicer color schemes available,,, and without that awful pickguard. On the used side the 55-02 becomes an even better value with lightly used ones in the $900-$1000 range while the HH5 Stingrays are in the $1100-$1400 range.

    Game, set, match,,,, 55-02.
  20. I tried a new 55-02 and although it was pretty decent, the quality fit/finish was below EBMM. The pups seemed to lack character and fullness. The B was a little too boomy and floppy...nothing like the tight aggressive Musicman B.

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