A Closer Look: Lakland Skyline basses

Published on 09 September 2020


Lakland basses are the real deal.

Played by high-profile pros like Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler and the Rolling Stones’ Darryl Jones, Lakland is an inspired choice for the experienced bassist.

Lakland basses each have their own unique take on a classic bolt-on look. Their instruments are known throughout the industry for their expert workmanship and fine attention to detail. Like most US custom builders, their American made instruments are masterpieces, and so are priced accordingly.

However, in today’s ultra-competitive climate, it makes sense for all guitar builders to take that knowledge and expertise, and put it all into a more affordable range of basses made in the Far East. Lakland knew this early on, releasing their imported Skyline range back in 2001. The Skyline name itself is a mark of quality recognised by all well-informed bassists, especially those who favour a blend of both classic and contemporary influences in their pro-grade instruments.

The Skyline range of basses allows Lakland to enter the market with a range of excellently spec’d basses, with a predictable level of build and delivery, in order to complement their US custom shop one-offs. Lakland Skyline basses are professional quality, with several slam-dunk features that set them apart from the competition.

Whenever we have deliveries of Skyline basses, they cause excitement. They don’t last long either, which is why we’d like to talk to you about them before they fly out of our doors! We are the only dealers in the UK who have access to these wonderful basses, and we are very proud to be able to bring you them. Let us look into some of the wonderful features you’ll find on certain Skyland basses, before introducing you to one or two or our favourites from our latest shipment...

Famous Preamp and Handwound Pickups

Most bassists today understand the importance of a quality preamp. Unlike electric guitars, we bassists need to have power and authority in a very specific way. Our audience needs to feel what we are playing as much as hear it! Active preamps can really help us in our quest to deliver our music by providing up-front power and punch, as well as allowing us significant levels of tone-sculpting, directly from the instrument. We think of it as ‘fine-tuning’ our sound to each environment we find ourselves in, so we’re never relying on outboard equipment: it’s never ‘set-and-forget’ when you have this power under your fingertips!

Lakland’s LH-3 preamp is famous for its powerful and malleable tone. In particular, the switchable midrange feature allows you to determine exactly how and where your sound fits on the band’s overall spectrum. It’s enormously powerful, and of course can be adjusted for different styles and sets by using the small internal DIP switches.

As for the pickups, most Skyline models (GZ models, for instance, have EMG pickups) have custom wound units containing Alnico magnets. Together with the preamp, the overall Skyline sound is crisp and contemporary, with detail, punch and clarity. Who wouldn’t want that? Whether you choose a model with vintage ‘J’ single coils or opt for a bass with an ‘MM’ humbucker (you can have both, actually), you’ll be able to play with as retro or as modern a tone as you prefer.


Dual Access Bridge

This clever invention is used on the vast majority of Skyline basses and is so wonderfully simple we wonder why nobody thought of it before!

Some players like the feel and tension of strings that travel through the body and over the bridge, whilst other players prefer the easier tension of strings that sit entirely on top of the body. Lakland allow bassists to have their cake and eat it, by offering up a design that lets you try both ways! Do you want more sustain or more tension? It’s up to you!

It’s also worth mentioning that every Lakland Skyline bass receives a proper fret dress and level from the famous Plek machine! This is a real mark of quality and shows the company’s dedication to bringing you the best bass they can, at every single price point.


Lakland Skyline 55-02 Custom Black Sparkle Ebony

We loved this bass as soon as we laid eyes on it! The 55-02 is a mainstay of the Lakland Skyline range, and is well known to be a versatile beast indeed. This particular model is an empowering 5 string, finished in Black Sparkle with an Ebony fingerboard. Inlays? Big, beautiful blocks made with Pearl and Abalone, no less! Stunning? We’d say so!

This Skyline 55-02 has an Ash body, a 35” scale and a feel to die for. This has the LH-3 preamp we mentioned, the dual access bridge and both a single coil and humbucker pickup. Between all that and the low B, there really isn’t much that this bass can’t attack and dominate.


Lakland Skyline 44-64 Custom GZ

Can we take those amazing inlays and raise you a translucent purple finish?

Yes we can! Take a look at this stunner! This is literally just in the door, and it’s pretty magnificent. The 44-64 is Lakland’s updated take on a certain Californian classic, but this ‘GZ’ model goes somewhat further. Inspired by the signature Lakland USA model for Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler, this model borrows a little of that vibe and builds it into this affordable and quite epic bass.

It’s Ash again, as you can tell by the distinctive grain visible through that unbelievable finish (you can have it in Black, too), and there’s an Ebony fingerboard here, too. This time, it’s a more standard 34” and, like the 55-02, comes with top grade Hipshot tuners.

The pickups, as we mentioned earlier, as EMG units, configured in an arrangement we call ‘PJ’, meaning ‘Precision and Jazz’. You get a Jazz-style single coil pickup at the bridge and a Precision-style split-coil at the appropriate middle position, bringing you a wide pallet of tones to paint with. This one will look great on stage, no matter which style(s) you play.


Final Thoughts

As we mentioned, there’s always a bit of a buzz when we take delivery of a new batch of Lakland Skyline basses. They are always so cool looking and so lovely to play! They are selling already, so please do make sure you check them out while we have some available! Whichever you decide on, you’ll be playing a bass with the best blend of vintage feel and modern performance. They look stylish, they fit in to every musical situation whilst being simultaneously individual, and they will provide decades of rock-solid performance, with a strong, versatile tone. Remember, guitarguitar is the only place in the UK to buy these wonderful basses!

We think you’ll love them as much as we do.


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