Sonic differences Lakland 55-01 vs 55-02

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by count_funkula, Sep 22, 2002.

  1. Describe the different sound of these two basses.
  2. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Caveat - You know you're in opinion territory and, secondly, I have a 55-02. But, that doesn't mean I don't respect the 55-01 quite a bit.

    I think you'll find the 55-01 is a very good sounding bass.............until you try a 55-02 or a 55-01 with the Bartolini NTMB preamp! Then, I would bet you'll think the 55-01 sounds good but not as good as the 55-02 or a 55-01 with the NTMB.

    How come? Versatility. Without getting all technical, the two completely different pickup designs on the 55-02 mean you can dial in more tones - big fat bottom, decent Jazz growl, or a crystal clear slap sound that's a bit different than a Ray (of course, strings are always a factor). The B string can sound round and warm or it can sound like a brute no matter where the dip switch for the mids is set.

    To me, the identical soapbars on the 55-01 offered mainly an improved Ray sound and that was about it. I think the crucial difference is the preamp. I found the 55-01's Korean preamp uneven while turning the knobs. Nor did it offer the extremes of the US Bartolini electronics package.

    I've seen reviews by a number of 55-01 owners who said that when they replaced the Korean preamp and had the US NTMB installed, the improvement was incredible. Ironically, for about the same price, they could have had a 55-02 to begin with......"penny-wise and pound-foolish."

    A number of 55-94 owners have said on the web that if they had their eyes closed, they couldn't tell a 55-02 they tried from their 55-94's...but they could easily distinguish the sound of the 55-01 from their 55-94's

    I wouldn't rule out other Skyline models either.
  3. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    It depends on the tone that you are after. Bart J/MM equipped Laklands are too polite sounding for my ears. They would work well in a lot of settings, but I like a more aggressive tone. The 55-01 setup has aggressiveness in spades! But if you are looking for a smooth set of tones, from J neck, quasi J bridge and quasi MM, the 55-02 may do it for you.

    I prefer the 55-01.
  4. phogchris


    May 27, 2000
    Boca Raton, FL
    I also prefer my 55-01 to the 55-94 I once owned for the same reasons as Embellisher...

    But, I am selling my 55-01 on ebay at the moment, check it out in the classified section.
  5. I would go with the US made preamp in either bass. My concern is which is better suited for a church gig.

    Unfortunately I can't find any of these things in Dallas so I would have to buy having never played one.
  6. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    55-94 and 55-02 are exactly the same, electronics wise. You can play a 55-94 at Speir Music. I don't know why they aren't carrying the Skylines. Maybe they are afraid that they would kill the US Lakland sales.
  7. KB


    Jan 13, 2000
    Chapel Hill, NC
    You could also try a Basslines equiped 55-02 or 44-02. I am getting a Basslines equiped 44-02 soon (already ordered). It should be a more aggressive sounding bass and the upgrade (done at Lakland factory along with an added pickguard) should be top notch, for very little added cost.
    Just another option
  8. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    At risk of being a hypocrite, I stay out of churches unless a funeral or wedding requires me to be there. So, I really don't know what goes down in church tones these days.

    But, I can say - DON'T get an ash body 55-02 with a maple fretboard like mine. That thing sounds like it could be brought up before the D.A. on rape charges even with the Bart electronics!!! I think the rosewood fretboard would go down better in a church setting.

    The ash/maple combo is just too raw, punishing, and over-the-top with stainless roundwounds, at least in the way I use it.

    It doesn't lend itself to a "wholesome spiritual" experience - it's "gutter dirty" for me...and that's what I like about it :D
  9. alx564


    Jul 31, 2000
    Emmaus, PA
    Let me just thank you mr. funkula for starting this thread. I was meaning to start a thread like this but I am not able to play either bass but I really want one so I wanted to see the pros and cons of the 55-02.
  10. Thats the kind of info I'm looking for Rick.

    I don't mind some good growl in my sound but it can't be too harsh. The highs should be smooth and clear.

    Embellisher, you play in church. How do you think the 55-01 would sound?
  11. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
  12. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    It depends on the church. In a more traditional, quiet setting, the 55-02 would probably fit better. In a more modern setting, with loud music and/or distorted guitars, I would use the 55-01.
  13. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I agree. My 55-01 has a very aggressive sound, and is the punchiest bass I've ever owned.

    In fact, when I brought it to band practice for the first time our guitar player commented on how punchy it sounds.

    And while it is aggressive sounding, I can still get a mellow enough tone out of it to play it in a country band.
  14. I would say that the 55-02 has a cleaner more refined sound than the 55-01. Most likely it is because of the pre-amps. This usually translates into a more refined and cleaner ensemble sound as well. It also seams to be more versitile. You can crank up the mids and still CUT THROUGH A MARCHING BAND if need be, or get a really smooth and refine tone for less aggressive types of music.
  15. sizz


    Sep 23, 2002
    Bella Vista, AR
    I agree with GreyBeard...

    I own a 55-01, but I have also played several 55-02's. My 55-01 is great & it punches through really well. The mids do a great job of cutting through & I normally set the control flat or slightly below flat, boosting a little bit when I need fingerstyle "oomph". However, I would prefer to have a slightly smoother mid which is why I plan to upgrade to a U.S. Bartolini preamp soon (there are also several other advantages to a U.S. preamp). If I need a more "agressive" mid after that point, I can always dial something in with a parametric EQ. The Korean preamp is ok, but there does seem to be some inconsistency in the way the knobs control the tone & volume.

    I would also like to explore the possibility of replacing the stock MK-1 soapbars with better U.S. made soapbars, but I have been told my Dan Lakin himself that there is not a pickup upgrade... but he was probably just saying that there is not a "factory upgrade" available. I assume that as long as the replacement pickups are the correct size I should be able to have them installed without much of a problem.

    Does anyone out there know of a direct U.S. soapbar replacement for the 55-01? Thanks:)
  16. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I don't believe Bartolini makes any American made ones in that size. I don't know about other manufacturers. You can go to their site and get the specs:

  17. sizz


    Sep 23, 2002
    Bella Vista, AR
    By the way...

    If you have experienced any problems with the stock volume pot on the 55-01 (excessive "dirty" or "scratchy" noises when you turn the knob, even when you've just cleaned it), there is a remedy that might not cost you a dime. Here's the deal:

    I talked to Dan Lakin via e-mail regarding my noisy volume pot & he told me that they had been having quality issues with some volume pots on the earlier 55-01's. Without further ado, he arranged to have a better quality pot sent to my dealer who then installed the pot free of charge under warranty. Man, what a difference!! And what great service too! I've not had any problems since and... here's the best part: The new pot totally remedied the inconsistent volume level problems that have been occuring with many 55-01's. The volume circuit is now very even & smooth over the entire range of the knob AND the knob has a tighter, more "solid" feel... what a concept!:eek:

    If you're having any kind of issues with the 55-01's volume circuit, I would suggest you look into this avenue... it's made a huge difference for my bass.:D
  18. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    It always strikes me as strange when I see this sort of thing on TB. The only time I've been in a Church in the last 10 years was for my nephew's Chistening and a funeral.

    Neither of these events would have suited any bass guitar playing and Church in my youth is tied up in my mind with gentle organ music and being told to keep quiet and not make a sound! ;)
  19. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I guess I was one of the lucky ones. I haven't had any trouble with my volume pot.
  20. sizz


    Sep 23, 2002
    Bella Vista, AR
    Thanks, Showdown...

    I'll see if I can find measurements for my pickups in the owner's manual/specs & see if I can match them with an EMG, Basslines, or Bart pickup. My dealer should be able to help too... he's very knowledgeable about these things. :)