Lakland Bass Guitars


About the Audio Files…

If you’ve had a chance to listen to some of the audio files included on the product pages of this site, you’ve probably had the thought, “What a great idea… I can hear every bass in every configuration, playing a wide range of styles. This is really cool.” We agree. The man behind this amazing feature is Ian Allison, a hard-core Lakland fan who took this on as a labor of love. Here’s the story behind the sounds:

Who is this guy?

My name is Ian Allison and I am a big Lakland fan. I make my living playing in Minneapolis and touring all over the US doing gigs and session work with a wide variety of artists including Lorie Line, Down and Above, The Mark Knoll Band, Quietdrive, Peter Eide, Dropping Daylight, Kenni Holmen, Just.Live, Brian Bates, The Irresistibles, Cate Fierro, The Glad Rags, Nate Sabin, and Stefan Van Voorst. I have co-written, produced and licensed songs to ABC, ESPN, MTV, USA, E!TV, and the Oxygen Network. Currently, I head up the bass department at North Central University in downtown Minneapolis where I am fortunate enough to teach, and subsequently learn from, approximately 20 bass students.

Why I Love Lakland Instruments

The origins of my enthusiasm stem from the quality of Lakland basses and also from two encounters I’ve had with Lakland’s customer service.  I’ve worked with Carl Pedigo (Lakland’s Shop Master) on several occasions.  He is always extremely attentive and caring – both to the instrument and to my needs as a customer.  He once even gave me a ride to my bus stop after I had picked his brain (and probably his patience) for over two hours . . . on his day off.  Unbelievable. 

I own several Lakland basses and every time I pick one up I am constantly blown away by how great they are.  These instruments are fantastic .  The combination of traditional stylings, contemporary craftsmanship and meticulous attention to detail make Lakland basses speak with an authority that is both an aesthetic nod to the great basses of yesteryear and a bold tonal assertion that is unmistakably Lakland.   Each and every one of their basses has a voice – something unique and assertive.  And this got me thinking . . .


How can Lakland, as a company, textually demonstrate their line of basses to players that want to check them out but have limited access to do so?  What would motivate a bassist who is unfamiliar with Lakland basses to seek one out?  What are the sonic differences between a Joe Osborne and a Daryl Jones?  How does the Hollowbody with flats sound in a rock context?  How about a Jerry Scheff in a jazz application with the bridge pickup soloed?

The Project – Calling all Tone Junkies and Bass Nerds!

I want to begin to answer these questions with an ongoing project that I have started for Lakland.  What if you could hear all of the Lakland models in sound clips on the website – with all pickup combos and string choices?  By allowing an audio comparison of all the models of Lakland basses over consistent genre track beds, you can now get a feel for each individual instrument’s voice. 

So ENJOY!  I hope that you find this project to be fun and enlightening.  I know I’ve come to some startling conclusions regarding my notions of what should and shouldn’t work with particular bass sounds in various styles of music. Overall, I hope you have a blast listening to the differences in how the tone of these basses sits or stands out in a mix.  That’s the most interesting aspect for me.  And ultimately, I hope this project motivates you to get a Lakland bass in your hands.

The Genres

My goal is to demonstrate the versatility and various sounds and textures of Lakland basses in a controlled recording environment.  For each individual genre and track, I use the same accompaniment and same mix.  The only elements that change are the bass, pickups, and string type.  And YOU, the user, have the ability to change these parameters. I feel that this will give you an idea of what you might be looking for in a bass.  Additionally, you may be surprised by a bass over a particular genre that you wouldn’t immediately think would work for you.  Greasy, funky slap track on a hollowbody with flats anyone?

The Players

I could not have even begun to think about tackling this project if it would not have been for the time and ridiculous playing of the brilliant musicians that helped me out with this project.  Thank you thank you thank you!

Ian Allison – Bass, Engineering, Editing, Mixing and Mastering on all tracks 

Zachary Young – Drums on Fingerfunk, Ballad, Hard Rock, and Pick Punk 

Zach Miller – Drums on Motown, Slap, Gospel, Reggae, Jazz, and Country 

David Young – Guitars and Engineering on Fingerfunk, Ballad, Hard Rock, and Pick Punk

Ken Wilson – Guitars and Steel on Motown, Slap, Gospel, Reggae, Jazz, and Country 

Pete Shu – Keys on Slap, Gospel, Reggae, Jazz, and Country 

Wayne Thomas – Engineering on Motown, Slap, Gospel, Reggae, Jazz, and Country

The Recording

I record all of the bass tracks on a Pro Tools system through a Demeter preamp and Apogee converters.  No EQ is used at all in the recording of the basses.  In mixdown, I generally use light compression on the basses, with a conservative 3:1 ratio.  The compressor is a software-based McDSP CB-1.  I set the tone controls wide open on all the basses and in the case of active basses, all EQ controls are set flat.  The tracks are mastered with McDSP software.

Family Owned

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Q. How do you pronounce Lakland? Lake-land or Lackland?

A. Lakland is pronounced Lake-land with a long first A (note the symbol over the A in our logo). The name comes from a combination of Dan Lakin and original partner Hugh McFarland. LAKin plus mcfarLAND equals Lakland.

Q. What is the difference between a Deluxe, a Standard and a Classic?

A. Electronically the models are the same. The Standard and Deluxe are both made with Swamp Ash for the Body and are available in sunburst and translucent finishes. Deluxe models add a figured Quilt or Flame Maple Top, tone-wise the addition of the maple top is negligible. The Classic has a body made from Alder and is available in solid metallic finishes only and a pick guard is added (un-attached).

Q. What is the difference between Ash and Alder for body wood?

A. Southern Swamp Ash tends to be a little lighter and has a more figured grain that is suitable for translucent and sunburst finishes It has great full-range tonal characteristics, very balanced. Alder has more of a “midrange punch.” It is the type of wood Fender used on many of their early (pre-CBS) Jazz Basses. Alder offers what many consider the “Vintage” tone.

Q. What is the sound difference between Rosewood, Maple and Ebony Fingerboards?

A. Maple boards have a bright and round response with good ringing piano-like treble and sustaining quality. Rosewood is a little mellower on the treble side with great midrange and thick bass. Ebony has the brightness of Maple but the treble characteristic has a different “presence” that especially helps bring out a “growling” quality that sounds great with fretless basses.

Q. What type of strings do Lakland basses come with?

A. Most come with Lakland custom stainless steel roundwound mediums, .045”-.105” (add a .128” for 5-strings). Our US series Hollowbody and Decade models are set up with our Lakland Joe Osborn signature flatwound mediums, .045”-.106”.

Q. What are the factory setup specifications?

A. Truss Rod 
These operations are effected by turning the truss rod adjustment nut clockwise to decrease forward bow, or counter-clockwise, to increase forward bow. The amount of forward bow, sometimes called, “relief” is typically measured in .001″s. Our necks are designed to work well with about .008″ relief (about the thickness of an average business card). To measure this we use an 18″ straight edge, touching at the 1st and 12th frets, resting alongside the A (5-string basses) or D string (4-string basses). The distance between the straight edge and the 6th fret is the amount of forward bow. If your playing style requires a higher action you may also need a little more relief. The deepest relief we’ve seen on a working bassist’s instrument is .015″.

String Height – Action 
After you adjust your relief you must adjust your string height. This is done by turning the tiny set-screws on the bridge saddles. The measurement is taken at the 12th fret and is the distance from the top (or crown)of the 12th fret to the bottom of the string. Our instruments are set in the factory at (5/64″ under the G-string) (5.5/64 under the E-string) (6/64 under the B-string). One should use all the above measurements as a starting point and adjust the heights to your individual playing style. Once you have your action set correctly, any changes to the way your bass feels is probably due to humidity changes. A good set-up should address the way your instrument has changed. In most cases this should be a slight truss rod adjustment.


Q. What recommendations do you have for maintaining the neck on my US made Lakland bass?

A. The back of the neck is a hand rubbed oil finish with a thin wax coating. We recommend occasionally cleaning the neck with pure orange oil and reapplying a coating of clear paste wax or bowling alley wax. After applying the wax, allow to dry for five minutes then wipe off the excess. The wax can be scuffed with fine steel wool to produce a satin finish or polished to a dull luster depending on your preference. Avoid cleaners and polishes that contain added thinners or silicone.

We also recommend orange oil for cleaning the fingerboards. The maple fingerboard does not require any sealer after cleaning. We recommend Howard Brand Feed N Wax after cleaning for our rosewood and ebony fingerboards.

Q. What recommendations do you have for maintaining the neck on my Lakland Skyline bass?

A. The necks on our Skyline series are relatively maintenance-free but should be cleaned with pure orange oil periodically. Avoid cleaners that contain added thinners or silicone.

We also recommend orange oil for cleaning the fingerboards. The maple fingerboard does not require any sealer after cleaning. We recommend Howard Brand Feed N Wax after cleaning for our rosewood and ebony fingerboards.


Q. Which hex wrench sizes are needed to make adjustments to my bass?

·       US series truss rod: 5/32” 

·       US series bridge saddle height adjustment: 1/16”

·       Skyline series truss rod: 4mm 

·       Skyline series bridge saddle height adjustment: 1.5mm

Q. How long should I expect the battery to last in my bass?

A. A quality alkaline battery should last between three and six months. Be sure to disconnect the cable from the output jack when you aren’t playing the bass to avoid needlessly draining the battery.

Q. Why do I have to disconnect the cable when I’m not using the bass?

A. We use a TRS (tip-ring-sleeve) stereo phone jack on our basses. The battery negative is wired to the ring terminal of the jack. When a mono guitar cable is inserted into the jack, it creates a connection between the ring and sleeve (ground) terminals of the jack, engaging the battery into the circuit. Incidentally, if you use a stereo cable, this connection will not be made and the bass can only be used in passive mode. This is not an issue with any of our passive models.

Q. Can I use a rechargeable battery in my bass?

A. We don’t recommend using a rechargeable battery in our basses. They typically do not produce the full 9 volts and can affect the performance of the active circuit.

Tech Docs

Control Layout: 44-01/55-01 Skyline

LH-3 Control Diagram

Hollowbody-34 Control Diagram

Stacked Knob Control Diagram

Bartolini Control Diagram

LH-3 Wiring Diagram

Alternate Midrange LH-3 Settings

Serial Number Sheet

Factory Pickup Height Sheet

P-Bass Control Diagram