Dan starting playing the bass in 1976 at the age of 11. After formal training in jazz in high school, Dan set his sights on Rock N’ Roll.
In 1991 Dan started a buy and sell company specializing in bass guitars. This was called, Dan Lakin Basses. Pre-internet, the business was based around a monthly list mailed to subscribers. At its peak it reached 1000 bassists.
From 1991 – 1994 Dan had the opportunity to see (and hear, and feel) almost all relevant basses on the market. Some needed repair so Dan worked with a local repairman named Hugh McFarland. Hugh was highly skilled and his fretwork was legendary. Hugh also had experience in production after working at the Dean Guitar factory in the 80’s.
In 1994, Hugh and Dan decided to put together a bass from scratch using features only found in high end basses. Most of these were not “Fender style” So they set to create a high end, “Fender style” bass. Combining the J bass with the Stingray (kind of a best of Leo Fender bass), the Lakland bass was born.
They settled in on a MM/J pickup configuration. The idea was born after Dan read a review of the Warwick Dolphin that had a soap bar pickup in the bridge position and had the ability to split the coils so it was ether a MM or a J depending on how it was set.
Work on the prototype started in January of 1994. Dan provided the neck shape and opinions on electronics, while Hugh focused on the physical attributes of the bass. The prototype was finished in July of 1994. Hugh and Dan attended the Nashville NAMM show that year with prototype in hand.
They moved out of Hugh’s work shop in January of 1995 and carved out a shop in Dan’s family’s tire recycling factory on Dominick in Chicago. Hugh left in 1996 and his former apprentice, Carl Pedigo took the lead in the factory.
Lakland became the choice of many top bassists throughout the world. An import line of more affordable basses called the “Skyline” series was added to the product mix in 2001. Dan ran Lakland until 2010 when he sold it to the Pirruccello family.
In 2013, after a 3 year non-compete agreement, Dan came back with a hybrid product under the D. Lakin brand name. These basses featured all USA Hipshot hardware and were manufactured and assembled in Korea. This line was discontinued in 2017.
In 2019, Dan hooked up with former Lakland employees, Kirk Hunter and Dan Strack. Kirk was Lakland’s designer and Dan Strack was a builder. Production of all USA made line using this team has just begun…