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Lakland USA 55-94 Deluxe
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Lakland USA 55-94 Deluxe

5+ string bass guitar from Lakland belonging to the USA series

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« Lakland 55-94 Deluxe »

Published on 12/07/09 at 15:00
Swamp ash body with Transamber (orange) finish and quilted maple top; quarter-sawn, compound radius maple neck with birdseye maple fingerboard and ebony fret markers; 22 frets, bone nut; 1.81' wide at the nut, 3.3' at the final fret; Bartolini J/MM pickups with Bartolini preamp; three-band boost/cut active EQ, volume, pickup mix knob and three-way bridge PUP coil tap toggle; proprietary Lakland dual access bridge (thru-body or thru-bridge); 35' scale; .75' string spacing at the bridge; 22 frets

Acquired in 2004 from Vintage Bass Trading Co. in Arizona as part of a trade for a fretless Ripper and an EBMM SR5. I had been playing e Korean-made Lakland Skyline 5501 for about two years and liked it so much that I went for the USA-made model. MSRP at the time was around $4500, it's now $4950, Current street price is about $3000.

I love everything about this bass. I've been playing since 1965 and have owned just about every popular bass -- Rickenbacker 4001, Fender P and J, Music Man, Gretsch, Hofner, Gibson, and the original Steinberger XL headless graphite bass. I run the 55-94 virtually flat through almost any amp and it sounds perfect, but it can produce a range of sounds, from P bass to Music Man String Ray. Yet it still has its own Lakland sound. The neck is the best fiver neck I've ever played -- a compound radius that gets thinner as it goes up, so you're not put off by the width of the neck on the upper frets. Spacing at the bridge is the same as a standard Fender 4 string P bass, which I prefer After almost 6 years on this bass, any other neck feels terrible. I recently did a recording session and the producer raved about the 55-94: went straight to the board, set flat, with two-year-old TI Jazz Flats, and it kills. The other bassist on the project used a Sting Ray 4, and no amount of tweaking can make it sound as fabulous as mine (yes, I am proud). The sound is absolutely even from the open B string to the 22nd fret on the G. And the 35' B string is the best I've played.

No negatives, although this was a lot to spend for a bass. But the price compares favorably to what I paid for my then-rare Steinberger in 1982. There is nothing I can say bad about this bass -- or any of Lakland's basses.

Fit and finish, workmanship, and sound on the outdo any of the others I've owned. It's lightweight -- less than 8 pounds, perfectly balanced and beautiful. The birdseye maple fretboard alone is enough to turn heads, but the quilted maple body finish is almost 3D. Electronics are quiet and allow a wide range of sounds. I have never played a bass that's better built.

Although expensive for most players, the Lakland 55-94 is absolutely the best bass of its kind in the world. If you like fender and Music Man basses, the Lakland 55-94 offers the best of both those manufacturers, plus a good bit of it's own magic. For those on a budget, the Lakland 55-02 offers identical electronics and specs that are very close to the 55-94 for about half the price.

This review was originally published on http://www.musicgearreview.com
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