The Duck Dunn Signature Bass: Built For Comfort and Speed

Duck Dunn Signature Bass>

Donald “Duck” Dunn, known for his syncopated grooves on classics like Wilson Pickett’s “In the Midnight Hour,” “Knock on Wood” with Otis Redding, and “Time is Tight” by Booker T and the MGs, says it was the effects of the wear and tear of four decades of touring and studio gigs that started his search for an instrument that would make playing easier.

He found it in one he had originally purchased for his son, a precision-style bass fitted with a jazz-style neck. He says the thinner neck “let him play a little faster.” Then in 1999, Lakland artist and first call session bassist Bob Glaub introduced him to Lakland.

Dunn was impressed with the quality and feel of Glaub’s bass, particularly the feel of the neck, which he described as “strong and powerful.” One thing led to another, and soon Dunn and Dan Lakin were discussing basses – specifically the creation of a new model of Lakland bass with a precision-style body and a thin jazz-style neck. Says Dunn, “We designed it together – and it’s fantastic!”
And thus the Duck Dunn signature bass was born. “The neck is fast and smooth,” says Dunn. “And the bass (Dunn’s is made from Swamp Ash and is painted candy red) is lightweight but a hummer. It sounds great – and the quality and craftsmanship is impeccable.” Dunn says that it’s so light and the balance is so good it feels more like having a guitar on his shoulder than a bass. [Note: Lakland has some control over the weight of U.S. made basses but no control over the weight of Skylines. Basses vary in weight from 8.5 – 11 pounds. –Ed.]

Having a bass that caters to the way he plays has made all the difference, says Dunn. He notes, “The neck is fast and smooth and the bass is lightweight – but a hummer. It sounds great – and the quality and craftsmanship is impeccable.” He notes, “The bass just feels tougher and more solid.” And that translates into a more comfortable playing experience for Dunn, both on stage and in the studio.

Dunn emphasizes that the right instrument can make a big difference, but that it can only take a player so far, especially when it comes to developing good time. Reminiscing about the early days as a Stax recording artist, Dunn says that it was Stax drummer Al Jackson, Jr. who taught him the most about this subject. He recalls, “Al would say, ‘Dundedunn, wait on 2 and then play.’ A lot of players know all the notes, but can’t get a feel for the music, and that’s what he was talking about – shut your eyes and wait on 2 and just listen.” Dunn refers to Jackson as the “James Jamerson of Stax,” and says that his timing was so impeccable that when playing with him, everybody’s playing “got different.” He adds, “Al also told me: ‘If you play in 16ths, think 1/8ths, 1/8ths think 1/4s.  If you cut it in half, the thoughts will be simpler, and it won’t be as busy.  And always smile.’”

The rest is history; but the first 30 Skyline Duck Dunn signature basses are shipping now. All necks come standard with binding and pearl block inlay; U.S fingerboards can be ordered with Birdseye Maple or Rosewood, Skyline fingerboards come in Rosewood only. For U.S. models Alder bodies are standard, but Swamp Ash is an option. Skylines are available with Swamp Ash bodies only. Standard pickups on both models are Fralin split coil humbuckers, but both can be ordered with Dark Stars.

For more information, or to purchase a Duck Dunn Signature bass, call Dan Lakin at 773-871-9637, email or go to the Dealer page to locate your nearest Lakland dealer.



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