Review: Lakland Hollowbody Series Bass
Bass Player Magazine, May, 2001 - "Hi-End Corner"
Fond of melding vintage-bass vibe with modern construction and electronics, Chicago's Lakland produces axes that capture the look and feel of classics such as the '60 Fender Jazz (Joe Osborn Signature) and the '64 Precision (Bob Glaub Signature). For his Hollowbody, Lakland's Dan Lakin drew inspiration from treasured tone boxes such as semi-hollow EB series, and then looked to the Big Kahuna of Kingston, New York-Mike Tobias-for a design update.
Mike's mods include foregoing hollowbodies' traditional arm-creasing binding and instead carving a comfortable, elegantly contoured body that balances well strapped on or played seated. It's a bit heavier than some vintage models; since the Lakland is fully hollow with no supporting centerblock, Tobias had to devise a body with enough mass to be structurally sound while still offering the requisite resonance-and with minimal feedback.
"Our tester impressed us with its deep, flawless sunburst finish over the mahogany body and maple top."
Our tester impressed us with its deep, flawless sunburst finish over the mahogany body and maple top; tight heel connection for the 34" scale, graphite-reinforced maple neck; precisely cut bone nut; and exemplary fretwork along the rosewood fingerboard. The obsessively tidy control area was even gloss-finished. (Traditional hollowbody design eschews shielding; in single-coil mode, the HoBo's soloed pickups produce a moderate amount of directional hum.)
The quartersawn neck's light oil finish had a pleasingly woody feel, but such finishes can be subject to grain raising from sweaty hands or wet weather-as happened with our tester. The problem is easily remedied by using #0000 steel wool and rubbing in a furniture paste such as Min-Wax. Our tester arrived with low action, but the smooth-working truss rod made it easy to crank it up to our preferred meatier feel.
The flatwound-strung HB's toneful thump asserts itself unplugged-it's louder than a number of acoustic guitars we've played. Amplified, it combines weighty punch with mid-range sweetness. The controls (volume and tone for each Bartolini pickup, 3-way pickup switch, humbucker/single-coil toggle) don't produce dramatic changes, but instead provide variations of the HB's basic flavor, from , say, milk chocolate (single coil/bridge-only) to triple fudge (humbucker/neck)-no pistachio almond in this shop.
Through a 300-watt Ashdown 1x10 combo with a four piece band, the Lakland combined low-mid focus and hollowbody boom with the soloed back pickup in humbucker mode and the tone control rolled way down. (The soundman had taken a line out of the amp and cranked the signal through the monitors and mains, which meant the HoBo would feedback if we weren't careful about damping the strings.) In a session for a DJ's house track with the Lakland going direct into Digital Performer, the engineer favored the neck pickup for the thickest tone possible. In an acoustic guitar duo the HB yielded nice upright flavors in single-coil and humbucker modes with both pickups on full. The high-register sweetness made upper-fret fills a little too tempting.
As players rediscover the joys of the hollowbody sound, finding a good-sounding vintage axe is problematic-and guaranteed expensive. If you're getting that hollow feeling, but have a full bank account, check out the Lakland.
For more information about the Lakland Hollowbody Bass, click here.