With so many models and options available to bass players today, I will be completely honest in saying that if I did not play left-handed, chances are that I would have missed-out on finding my new favorite bass and some of the best instruments made in the USA.
Right-handed players, please don't leave disinterested nor let the reversed photo below scare you away. The PB4 is the white bass in the middle.
I simply want to share my experience and pay it forward to you.
IMHO, Carvin has hit the ball out of the park with a P/J bass that takes the game to a new level.
The fit and finish on the passive PB4 model I ordered are top-notch and the aesthetics are Carvin's closest yet to a traditional, classic bolt-on. The bass weighs approximately 8.5 pounds and was proudly made in the USA. Total price, including a case and shipping, was less than $900 USD.
With the above preliminaries out of the way, I will now focus on what I believe makes this instrument so special:
Carvin's new SCP P-Pickup is absolutely killer! The tonal profile takes the familiar "woody and thumpy" and then adds major, focused bark and bite, like a bull-dog. Others have described this nuance as "grit", but to me it is the difference between a solid punch to the gut and another made with a set brass knuckles. This pup knocks like no other I have played.
Just as much of an unexpected surprise is Carvin's new JVA single-coil in bridge position. Prior to purchase, I was concerned about possible single-coil hum, lack of a humbucking design, and output level. Not only is the hum extremely minimal, but the JVA's output level and sweet, bell-like tone and clarity are off the hook. The JVA is able to keep up with the SCP without any problem and the combination of the two pickups is fantastic, allowing for globs of P/J flavored volume blending.
The new, modern-twist on a familiar body shape is one of the most cushiony, comfortable and balanced rides ever hung from a strap. In person and in your hands, any aesthetic prejudice you may have should melt away instantly.
To complete the experience, the tung-oiled, sexy, and snappy 20-fret SB4000 neck is back and better than ever on the PB4. Perfect fretwork, 14" radius, modern, precise tuning machines that practically grip the strings, and a string tree-less, angled-back SB-style headstock that arguably could be Carvin's best shape option to date. The bass has a very vibrant, snappy acoustic resonance to it, clearly heard when unplugged and felt under fingers when amplified.
I am more than impressed with the PB4 and even more grateful that Carvin offers it to left-handed players like myself, leaving me cash left over to treat my ongoing GAS.